Nitro Brakes Quick Tip

Ty Tessmann and his pit-pop Gord know a thing or two about wrenching on a 1/8-scale buggy or truggy, and Ty’s cars always look perfectly tuned-in on the track.  Who better to ask for a quick tip than the guy who owns multiple championships at races like the ROAR Nationals, Dirt Nitro Challenge, Silver State and Neo Race, among countless others?

We sent some electronic mail across international borders to Ty in Canada for a tuning tip that would be quick, easy, and informative–and after (we assume) finishing off his Tim Horton’s coffee Panda Express, he sent us this tip on setting brake bias.  Ty simply and succinctly shares with us his preferences for brake bias and driving style.  It may surprise you to discover that Ty doesn’t think much bout the percentage of brake bias he runs–only the way it feels on the track and on the pit bench. 


Ty says, “Brake bias is one of the most effective yet most overlooked adjustments on an rc car.  Adjusting it to accommodate your driving style or track conditions can become very important.  I prefer more front bias on my car on probably 85% of the tracks I run on.  The reason for this is that I can hit the brakes hard and my car will always track straight.  My driving style is more hitting the brake before the corner and driving around it trying to keep as much corner speed as possible.

Tessmann Corner

In the past there have been tracks with so many 180’s and the grip has been so low it is hard to get enough steering so in those cases I will increase rear brake to help me get around the corner.  This driving style in my opinion is not the best way to get around the corner but sometimes necessary to do to get around the track fast.

Regarding percentage of braking front to rear, I have no estimate for that (other than more front than rear).  Once the brakes are adjusted on the track, I will test the braking power on the bench by holding one wheel and turning the opposite side wheel manually to get a feel for the brake setting.  I’ll do this for the front and rear.  Basically I want to learn how the brakes feel off the track by hand when the setting is good on the track.”

So there you have it, in Tessmann’s own Canadian-to-English words.  Pretty simple, eh?   Ty pays almost no attention to the percentage of brake bias front to rear; rather, he focuses on the braking power needed for each track he races, and then learns the braking feel setting at the pit bench.  As Ty says, brake bias can be a small adjustment that makes a huge difference in lap times and consistency.