One of the first things you'll notice is that Tamiya manufactures quite a number of different Mini 4WD chassis to choose. They have an introduction page in their website on this subject with characteristics describing each chassis. However, I like to see how things are related to each other, so here's my tree diagram classification of Tamiya Mini 4WD chassis:
Tamiya Mini 4WD chassis can largely be grouped based on the motor type to be used with them. Most chassis use single-shaft motor, while some use double-shaft motor. Double-shaft-motor-driven chassis all have the midship layout. MS Chassis is the first double-shaft-motor-driven chassis. Tamiya and SMC Motor co-developed and co-produced the double-shaft motors for the new chassis, resulting in 50/50 power transfer. The batteries are now moved to the sides of the chassis. The basic MS Chassis components would later be reused and redeveloped in the MA Chassis. MA and MS Chassis belong to the high-performance Mini 4WD PRO car line-up.
Single-shaft-motor-driven chassis can be differentiated into front-motor and rear-motor chassis. Currently, the only front-motor chassis is Super FM. The front motor gives Super FM Chassis an advantage for balance in up-and-down courses.
Rear-motor chassis can further be grouped into short, medium, and long-wheelbase chassis. Short wheelbase is great in the turns, long wheelbase translates into stability, and medium wheelbase falls in between. Super-II, VS, and Super 1 chassis fall under the short wheelbase category. AR, Super TZ, and Super TZ-X chassis are medium wheelbase. Super XX and Super X are long wheelbase chassis.
- There are chassis other than the ones listed above (Zero Chassis, Type-1 Chassis, etc.) but they have been discontinued.
- As can be seen above, rear-motor chassis has the most population.
- Short-wheelbase chassis are the most common (MA and MS Chassis wheelbase are also 80mm), the second most common is medium-wheelbase, followed by long-wheelbase chassis. Super FM Chassis has a wheelbase of 83mm which is between rear-motor medium and long-wheelbase chassis.
- The newest chassis is MA which was released in 2013, second newest is AR (released in 2012), followed by Super-II (released in 2010). Type-1 was the first chassis that Tamiya came out with when it launched its Mini 4WD series.
- MA Chassis is the heaviest to date.
Why is chassis knowledge important? Relating that question to what we have here in Indonesia, Tamiya Mini 4WD races are categorized into different classes. And if you look at the Tamiya Mini 4WD Chassis Information Guide, you'll see that based on their radar charts, MA and AR Chassis seem to be the superior ones. However, based on my observation, they are not always the chassis of choice, because each race category favors different chassis than the other. Hopefully we'll look more into this in my next post.