Go Kart Parts
When you start out racing go karts, you quickly come to realize that there quite a few go kart parts and accessories that you need to stock up on, in order to cover most issues and problems that will come up at a race meet.
In this post we will cover the main components of a racing go kart and the kart parts you need to have spares of. Some of these components like a kart chassis, you will only need one of, but other more consumable parts like go kart tires you are going to need a number of different types.
In future posts, we will cover off parts required for an off road go kart, electric go kart and an ATV.
Go Kart Parts - Non Consumable
So the first things we’ll cover are the generally non consumable parts of a go kart. Although you won’t be replacing these very often, buying the right type can be very important
Go Kart Frame
The chassis of a racing go kart really comes down to how stiff it is. They are generally made out of metal tube, usually steel, and need to have the right balance between flexibility and stiffness. Go kart frames that are used in racing have no suspension, so the chassis need to be able to deal with the stresses generated in high speed corners without breaking.
Kart chassis are generally classified in different types:
- Straight - CIK/FIA approved, where the driver sits in the centre of the frame. Used in most racing
- Open - CIK/FIA approved, where the kart has no roll cage
- Offset - These karts ar used for speedway racing where there is only left turns. The driver sits in the left hand side of the frame.
- Caged - These karts use a roll cage to protect the driver and are normally used on off road or dirt tracks.
When choosing your go kart frame, look for one that has adjustable stiffening bars at the front, rear and sides. These will allow you to change the setup of the kart depending on weather or track conditions. Normally you would want the chassis to be stiffer, but if you are racing in wet conditions, the ability to reduce the stiffness and allow for more flexibility could mean the difference between winning and losing the race.
More information on getting started karting
Go Kart Engine
The engine you choose for your go kart is going to depend largely on the class or category that you are going to be racing in. There are both 4-stroke and 2-stroke go kart motors used in most major national and international karting events, with 2-stroke controlled or restricted being the most popular.
The most widely used engine category globally is the 125cc class which is TaG (touch and go) where you use a key or a button to start the engine. There is both a restricted class (where engines are fitted with a restrictor plate), and an open class. These engines use a clutch and are water cooled.
Some of the more popular engine makes in the sport are:
Go Kart Wheels or Rims
The wheels or rims on a go kart that the tires are attached to, are usually made of light weight aluminum or high grade magnesium. You will only require a couple of sets of rims but will need to invest in a decent set of tools to replace tires as they wear or if you need to change to a different compound tire.
Go Kart Parts - Consumable Parts
Next we'll cover all the parts that you will need to stock up on as you'll need to be replacing these frequently.
Go Kart Tires
The tires on a racing go-kart get a lot of punishment. Go Kart frames do not have suspension, so all of the g-forces encountered when negotiating high speed cornering are transferred through the frame into the tires. Tires are the one thing you are going to go through a lot of. You need to ensure you have enough of the different types so you can change them out to accommodate different weather conditions and track surfaces.
- Slicks - these are the most used tires for track racing in dry weather. Slicks vary in compound type, going from very soft to very hard. The majority of time super soft and sticky slicks are used for racing as they deliver the best grip levels and car control available, but the downside is they wear very quickly and will need to be replaced often or the grip levels will decrease make racing unsafe.
- Wets - These are used in rain or damp conditions where there is water on the track. These tires are generally narrower the normal slicks and will have grooves to allow water to disperse away from the tire, maintaining grip.
You would choose the right compound slick to suit the track type and temperature. Because these can change during the course of a track meet, you will need to have enough of each type to ensure you are as competitive as possible.
Go Kart Clutch
A racing go kart clutch connects the engine to the rear axle and chain and allows the engine to be started by a button (TaG) system. In the past, go-karts needed to be push started, but the introduction of a clutch allows easier starting, with the clutch only engaging when the engine reached a certain speed (RPM).
Most racing kart clutch systems are a dry centrifugal clutch type, where friction discs are forced together by weighted arms to engage the clutch at certain rpm’s.
Go Kart Brakes
Stopping your kart is clearly a very important factor. Most racing karts use a disc brake system which is located on the rear axle. There is a racing class called shifter karts, where you are able to use a front brake as well. On these type of karts you are able to modify the braking bias (how much front or rear brake to be used) and the brakes are controlled via a dual master cylinder.
Go kart racing is a fantastic sport where you can experience the thrill of racing at a relatively inexpensive price point. There will be some expense when you start out in the sport and you need to purchase a kart and the spare parts that you need to ensure you are able to replace broken and worn components.
We hope the information in this hub will help you identify the parts you will need to get started and what to look out for as you progress in the sport.
As always, the members of your local club are a wealth of information and you should always seek advise from them on the best place to purchase parts for you kart.
Good luck and we'll see you on the track.
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Joanna on June 03, 2015:
Hi all,Have been interested in a while at buindilg my own cart, but have been worried about the carts safety regards flipping over and not having any protection. I'd be please to hear your thoughts and advice. Like a lot of people starting out and doing research is there anybody that supplys working drawings.GH