How to Choose the Right Go Kart For You

As the title suggests we will in this article cover everything there is to know about choosing your go-kart. We will discuss about:
  • The top brands to consider
  • Buying the chassis + engine together or separately
  • Buying a brand new kart of a second-hand kart
  • What to check when buying a used go-kart
  • What class of Kart you are interested in and the associated budget
  • How to choose the right size
  • Exploring other options such as turnkey or renting
  • Lastly, we will discuss depreciation and the go-karts reselling prices
As you will read in a minute there are many good brands if you want to buy a brand new go-kart. But note that these brands only produce the chassis. Sometimes they have partnerships with engine manufacturers. If they don’t, you will need to find an engine that can be mounted on that chassis and that matches the class you want to be in. We recommend going for a secondhand go-kart as chances are you want to buy one for you kid. In 2 years time, he will outgrow the chassis so it is better not spend too much on a brand new go-kart. If you want to buy a secondhand go-kart we compiled a list of things to check before buying, go to that section for more details. Then go to our sections about the class and the size in order to choose the right go-kart for you. Keep in mind that if you are a beginner you want to start in a low class. The higher classes need more performance which means more money to spend on maintenance. We recommend learning to use a simple go-kart before upgrading. We will finish by exploring other options than buying a go-kart such as renting or turnkey. We will also present a table showing the expected resale price of a go-kart you are buying now. Without further due let’s start.

Top Karting Brands To Consider

The first thing to know is that go-kart manufacturers are actually only building the chassis. They are more chassis manufacturers. Their chassis is made to accommodate some particular engines. Some manufacturers will have partnerships with engine manufacturers and you can buy the chassis + engine from them. Top brands to consider for go-karts manufacturers are:
  • Tonykart
  • TOP Kart USA
  • Margay Racing
  • Kosmic
  • Exsprit
  • FA
  • CompKart
  • CRG
  • Fullerton
  • BirelART
  • Sodi
  • MS
  • RK
  • OK
  • Intrepid
  • Praga
  • Mach1
You should look into the chassis’ made by these brands that are considered high quality in the karting industry.

Where to Find New Or Already Used Go-karts?

You can find the chassis on the website of the brands above. You can find also the engines compatible with each chassis on the website of their respective brands. Generally, go-karts use Briggs & Stratton, IAME, Yamaha, Vortex engines. You can check the compatibility of the engines on the chassis manufacturer’s website or by seeking advice (for example your local karting store). The engine you will have to use will be determine by the class you want to be in. So first, determine the class you want to compete in. Then choose the right engine and a chassis that is compatible with it. For secondhand go karts check this ressource.

Should You Buy Your Chassis & Engine Separately

The question really comes down to our next point: will you buy a new go-kart or an already used one? If you buy a new go-kart, generally you will only get the chassis made by the manufacturer. You need to buy a compatible engine and then mount it on the frame yourself or seek for help (for example your local kart shop or track). Sometimes, the chassis manufacturers will offer the engine that comes with the chassis. If you buy an already used go-kart, you have the choice. You can buy a chassis plus its engine or buy the chassis and the engine separately. In short, you can buy a new chassis separately with a new engine, a used chassis separately with a used engine or a used go-kart with the engine already mounted on the chassis.

Should You Buy a Brand New Go-kart or an Already Used One?

There are several factors at play here. First, what is your goal? Do you want to go to compete? Or do you want to do some laps on your local track just to have some fun? Second, what is your budget? If you are interested in karting only for fun or if you have a tight budget definitely go for a second-hand go-kart. If you want to compete, you can also find very fast go-karts with good quality if you buy an already used go-kart. Even if you have the means, it is not really a good idea to go buy a new go-kart. Chances are you are buying it for your kid that will start doing some racing. As we all know kid grow up and they often grow out of the chassis. In fact, many go-karts that you find on the market are the go-karts used by kids who grew past their chassis. Pay also particular attention to the popularity of the brand you are buying from. The more popular the brand the easier it will be to find parts or to make repairs to your go-kart. For engines, it might a bit different. You can buy a new engine that will last longer but you can also find very good engines in the secondhand market. Buying a new go-kart to sell it 2 years later is not that smart. You should go for an already used go-kart. If you go for a secondhand go-kart with its engine you have another issue if you are a beginner in go-karting. How to check if the go-kart you are interested in is in good shape?

Things to Check When Buying A Used Go Kart

1 – You should first check the functions. Check the steering shaft, check that it is straight, connects correctly to the tie rods which in turn connects to the stub axles. Check that all moves correctly. On the right and on the left. 2 – Do a visual check of the chassis. 3 – Do a visual check of the engine and ensure that the bolts and engine cover have not been touched. 4 – Check that there are no parts with a different colour and nothing that don’t belong to the kart. 5 – Usually the axles suffering from an accident are bent. Put the go-kart on a stand and make them roll to ensure that they roll freely. 6 – Look for visual damage. On the chassis and below the chassis. Usually, the part under the chassis should be flattened a bit due to contact with the asphalt but check that it is not too much. 7 – Check the welds. Check that all the welds are original welds. 8 – Checks that the chassis is devoid of cracks. This is important if you are looking to compete. If you are just interested in go-karting for fun this can be disregarded. 9 – Check the yolks. The yolks are C shape part that the stub axles are bolted into. Check their shape. This is hard to fix so if the shape is not a perfect C you should stay out if you want to do some competition, else it is ok if you just want some fun. 10 – Chassis should be straight. Replacing tubes costs around 1000$ so be careful on that one. 11 – Lastly, all chassis are relatively the same. There is no brand that has a special material or special technology that justifies paying twice as much for their chassis. 12- If you see used tyres, don’t worry. Tyres are destined to be changed often so don’t pay particular attention to that.

What Class Of Go Kart You Need To Choose

This is very important. Probably the most important section of this article. Go-karts are divided into several classes. The aim is to divide the competitors according to the power of their engines so that a weak engine will not race against a more powerful one. These classes in turn define the level of performance of go-karts. Each go-kart class has is characteristics in term of competition, go-kart maintenance, horsepower, etc. You need to choose carefully what class you want to be in because the higher the class the more expensive karting becomes. As you will see in a minute, you should choose the class according to your objectives (leisure or competition) but also by keeping in mind that you can’t jump right off the bat into a shifter go-kart without learning to use a simpler go-kart first. You also need to be careful about your budget. The more a go-kart has high performance the more expensive maintenance will become. Each country has its karting class. Each state in the US may have different classes so make sure first to check what are the classes in your state and local go-kart track. Here are the main classes in the US:
  • The first class is the LO206. Usually powered with a Briggs & Stratton Engine. The LO means local option and 206 stands for the displacement of the engine in cc. The engines on this class are with a pull start. The go-karts have only brakes in the back. These karts can go up to 50 mph (80 kph). You can find a new one for roughly $4.500 and a used one for half the price. The main advantage of this class is that the go-karts are very simple and easy to maintain. The go-karts on this category also use regular fuel which is cheaper. In short, it is cheap and easy to maintain. Also, bear in mind to never touch the engine yourself. Servicing should be done by a proper partner of your engine manufacturer if you don’t want to lose the warranty and if you want to race.
Type of Engine start Pull start
Type of brakes Rear brake only
Engine LO206
Level of maintenance required Low
Top Speed 50 mph (80 kph)
Price for a new go-kart $4.500
Price for a used go-kart $2.000
  • The second class is powered by 100cc single-speed 2-stroke engines. Usually the KA100 or VLR100 by IAME, Vortex or Yamaha. Like the first class, it has rear brake only. The main difference is that there is a battery to start the engine. The engine recharges the battery when you start the go-kart. Top speed is around 60 mph (95 kph). It costs roughly $5.500. You can pay half the price if you go for a used one. This is easy to maintain and cheap. Another difference is the type of fuel that is different in this class.
Type of Engine start Electrical start
Type of brakes Rear brake only
Engine IAME/Vortex/Yamaha
Level of maintenance required Low
Top Speed 60 mph (95 kph)
Price for a new go-kart $5.500
Price for a used go-kart $2.700
  • The next class is the TAG (Touch & Go) powered by 125cc single-speed 2 strokes engines. Usually powered by the X30 or Rotax/IAME engines. The engines produce up to 30 hp and allow a top speed of 70 mph (110 kph). You can buy a new one for $7.000 and a used one for $4.000. The maintenance for this go-kart class is a bit more difficult as the go-karts go faster their tyres are used more rapidly and they consummate more fuel. The maintenance on this kart is still doable but a little more complicated than the 2 previous classes. The go-karts on this category have a chain & sprocket. They also have a water cooling system.
Type of Engine start Electrical start
Type of brakes Rear brake only
Engine IAME/Rotax/X30
Level of maintenance required Medium
Top Speed 70 mph (110 kph)
Price for a new go-kart $7.000
Price for a used go-kart $4.000
  • Our next class if the 125cc DD2 (direct drive to speed) class powered by 2-geared 2-stroke engines. Main engine supplier is Rotax. The engine in this category produce up to 35 hp and the go-kart can go up to 78-79 mph (125 kph). The go-karts here have an electrical start along with shifter paddles on the steering wheel. The battery doesn’t self-charge so you will have to charge it your self. The go-karts on this category have rear and front brakes. You can find a new one for $10k and a used one for half this price. These go-karts are high performance and maintenance-friendly as the have no chains and sprockets. The engine has also an internal water pump for cooling that you don’t need to touch as this is all internal. You will spend high on fuel and tyres as this kart goes faster. It remains a good value for money when you compare the cost of maintenance to the performance you get.
Type of Engine start Electrical start with a battery you have to charge
Type of brakes Rear-front brake
Engine Rotax
Level of maintenance required Medium
Top Speed 78 mph (125 kph)
Price for a new go-kart $10.000
Price for a used go-kart $5.000
  • The last class is the shifter class. These go-karts are equipped with 125cc 2-strokes engines with 6 speeds. Engine suppliers are Honda, IAME and Rok. The engines can produce up to 40 hp for a top speed of 80 mph (130 kph). These go-karts have front and rear brakes. The main difference here is that the engines are push start meaning that somebody has to push you before you put yourself in the correct gear or you have to push the kart and jump in. A new one is around $12.000 and a used one around $7.000. The shifter go-karts are high performance but also high maintenance. You need to change the tyres once a month, they consummate a lot of fuel and you need to frequently change the brake pads. It is expensive to maintain.
Type of Engine start Push start
Type of brakes Rear-front brake
Engine Honda/IAME/Rock
Level of maintenance required High
Top Speed 80 mph (130 kph)
Price for a new go-kart $12.000
Price for a used go-kart $7.000
Now that you know your class, if you want a brand new go kart or a used one, let’s see how to make sure you get the right size.

Choosing The Right Go Kart Size

Well this is a subject in itself. This depends on many factors. 1 – First, in what type of racing are you interested in? Sprint, Oval, Endurance? For example, a go-kart made for oval racing will be studied so that its chassis is adapted for constant left turning. A chassis made for endurance racing will have tubing of higher diameter (typically 34mm). Sprint race go-karts have tubes of 30/32 mm diameters. So first, choose the type of competition you want to participate in. 2 – Then it all depends on your age. Usually sizes are classified like this:
  • Kid Karting – Age 5-7
  • Cadet Karting – Age 7-12
  • Junior – Age 12-15
  • Senior – Age 15+
  • Master – Age 35+
Kid karts are shorter and have tubes of 26 mm. Cadet karts have tubing of 28mm whereas Junior karts can go up to 30 mm. Senior and Master classes have generally 32mm tubing. 3 – You also need to know which class you want to race in. A class determines the engine power. Since the chassis needs to receive the engine, you need to choose the class in order to choose the correct size of chassis.

Exploring Go Karts Turnkey/Renting

When you buy a go-kart you have some additional costs: you need to buy a trailer to transport it, you need to buy tools to maintain it, you need to buy gear such as gloves, etc. Turnkey means you go to your local track and you just turn the key and start to race. You don’t own the kart, you don’t transport it, you don’t maintain it, etc. You just pay when you use it. This can be an alternative if you are short on money as go-karting is expensive. But note that if you choose to do this, each session is expensive and that you will need to pay for repairs if you crash. In any case, check with you local karting track for this option that might be convenient.

The Expected Reselling Value And Depreciation Table Of A Go Kart

In this last section, we will discuss how a go-kart that you buy (new or already used) sees its value decreasing over time. This will help you estimate the reselling value the go-kart you are hoping to buy or analyze the seller’s asking price by comparing it to the go-kart’s retail price. In order to create this table, we analyzed more than 70 used go-kart ads and compared the selling price with the cost of the new chassis + engine. Here is the table. The table just below goes from one year old go-karts to 10 years old go-karts.
Go Kart Age Depreciation
1 year old 22%
2 years old 31%
3 years old 40%
4 years old 46%
5 years old 55%
6 years old 62%
7 years old 66%
8 years old 71%
9 years old 75%
10 years old 80%
You can see here than a kart that was previously owned loses at least 22% of its value right off the bat. After 9-10 years the kart has still value simply because it can still work. Usually karts this old are sold between $700-$1000 and they don’t lose more value.

Similar Posts