For those who have been tinkering with WLToys RC buggies over the last few years, it has become pretty common knowledge that the now famous 144001, 124019 and 124018 are clones of the lesser-known LC Racing EMB series. So, who is LC Racing? They are an RC brand that has been around since 2012 when they launched their 1/14 scale EMB platform. In 2013, they began to sell in the USA under the Tacon brand, offering the product line in both brushed and brushless models. The Tacon and LC Racing product ranges consists of a short wheel-base buggy (the EMB-1), which the 144001 is a clone of and the short wheelbase monster truck (EMB-MT) which the 144002 is a clone of. They also have longer wheelbase 1/14 versions for their Truggy (EMB-TG), Desert Truck (EMB-DT), Short Course Truck (EMB-SC) and Rally Car (EMB-WRC) that the 124019 and 124018 are based on. They have since expanded to larger 1/10 scale RC’s, but their bread-and-butter products are still the 1/14 and 1/12 scale categories.
Looking at the two images of the LC Racing EMB1 and WLToys 144001, one would be very hard pressed to distinguish the differences on the surface. The EMB-T and 124019 visually look different mainly because of the body styles and wheels, but they share the same architecture underneath the covers. But still equally difficult to see in pictures is why an LC Racing model commands a 2x price premium compared to the WLToys model. As a point of reference for when this article was written (November 2021), a brushed 124019 with 3 batteries retailed for USD$139 and an LC Racing EMB-T with 3 batteries for USD$270 on Banggood.com.
LC Racing EMB1 vs WLToys 144001
LC Racing EMB-T vs. WLToys 124019
Our regular contributor Geoffrey Chan is at it again, this time with a very detailed build guide for the LC Racing LC12B1. This is a fantastic 1/12 4WD buggy from LC racing that comes as a kit. These cars are well priced (for a race car) and are highly competitive in carpet racing.
I will start by saying that I’m a big fan of LC Racing RCs. It was just a matter of time before I finally pulled the trigger and picked up what is essentially the King of 1/12 scale 4WD buggies. I’m quite confident that there isn’t a better engineered buggy in this scale on the market today. Make no mistake, this is not a budget RC. Although not as expensive as larger 1/10 scale buggies, it is still more than 2x the cost of a WLToys 124019. Even up to 3x the cost depending on what electronics you decide to put in. What you get for the extra dollars spent on an LC12B1 is better material quality, much tighter fit and finish and overall better tolerances. It should also be mentioned that this buggy’s dominance is not at speed runs, but at quick acceleration, jumping and cornering. If speed runs are more your thing, then modifying a 124019 will get you more bang for the buck. That hasn’t prevented others in the LC Racing community from building theirs into a speed runner, it just wasn’t the intended use or design and where this car truly performs and rules.
The WL toys 124019 and 144001 are budget 4wd on/off road RC cars that have great handling due to the fact they were essentially copied from the LC Racing EMB-1 and EMB-TG. With that said like many cars the are susceptible to body roll making handling less than idea on high speed corners particularly where grip is good. In this article I'll show you the LC Racing anti-roll bars that will cure this body roll and how to fit and give you feedback on how it improves handling (spoiler: it's a big improvement). This mod is not suitable for the 124018 nor the 124016
The suspension in these WL Toys cars is very good from the factory but from time to time needs the suspension oil filled to the correct level which I show you how to do here. I found that replacing the very heavy brushed 550 motor with a much lighter system like my drop in brushless upgrade or cheapest brushless upgrade improved handling further thanks to the more even weight distribution and better loading on the springs.
As we all know by now the WL Toys 144001 (and 124018 / 124019 by extension) is a budget copy of LC Racing EMB-1 that utilises cheaper materials and electrical components to make it a lower cost offering. LC Racing spares for the EMB series are surprisingly cheap - often cheaper than the WL toys parts. In the list below I've made it clear which parts are a direct fit and which parts will fit with a little modification.
Link below are to the AliExpress store that I trust - they have been running successfully for over 7 years and will ship worldwide. You may of course have other options locally like Troy Remy in Canada (find him in the QuadifyRC Group), Warren RC in USA, RCMart out of Hong Kong and direct from LC Racing themselves.
I love the WL Toys 144001 1/14 scale RC Buggy and have written a lot of articles on tuning and upgrading it here. It is inexpensive and runs well stock or is easily upgraded to brushless power which offers better speed and acceleration as well as battery life. But how does it compare against the car on which is was based, the LC racing EMB series on which the 144001 was (let's face it) copied from?
So surely you know by now that the 144001 is a budget copy of the LC racing EMB-1 but with a bigger brushless 550 motor and integrated ESC/receiver and no slipper clutch. This means that WL Toys have been able to grab a big slice of the popular RC car market at a price point of $70-80 for the 144001 vs $200ish for the LC racing equivalent. But this is clearly not a fair comparison so what if you take the brushless upgraded 144001 with a raft of replacement parts, tally up the cost and then compare? Would you still buy the 144001 to upgrade or would you just got straight for the LC racing? I'll break this down by price and performance in order to give you the clearest information to make this decision for yourself and my opinion I what I would (and did) do.