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Different Style Kart Wheels

Wheels are essential in the overall make of a go-kart. Aside from the fact that they keep the kart rolling, they can provide different benefits depending on what you use. Similar to other parts of the kart such as the engine, every wheel is different. Today, we are here to lay out all the different styles of kart wheels.


  1. Alloy/Aluminum

The material Aluminum is soft and lightweight, making it an ideal material to make go-kart wheels. However, Aluminum is prone to more heat. This means that the wheels easily rise in temperature, especially when the kart is idle and not moving. This can present an issue especially for long races as too much heat can result in the tires degrading quickly over the course of a few laps.


In terms of the budget aspect, Aluminum wheels are generally cheaper than the other wheels on this list.


Cadet classes and even some Junior classes tend to run Aluminum wheels as they have less bodyweight and don’t generate as much heat in the tires. The Alloy wheel can get the heat into the tires quicker, providing more initial grip to the driver.

Most drivers use an alloy rim in the cooler conditions or when it’s wet.


Aluminum if you need to work the tire harder and generate heat (rain

  1. Magnesium

When compared to Aluminum wheels, Magnesium is much stronger and stiffer. Because of this, heat is easily dissipated, keeping the temperature cooler over long distances.


The Magnesium’s biggest advantage is the fact that they can provide long-lasting performance that can come alive at the final laps of a race. With Magnesium dispatching heat much better than Alloy, this keeps the tires warm and can last longer. This is because the tires do not heat up quickly.


All in all, the Magnesium wheel is best for drivers that struggle with tire management and preservation. In the event that they also struggle to keep temperatures down, Mag wheels are still to their benefit. We typically see drivers using soft compound tires and in the summer months using Magnesium wheels.


  1. Wet Rims


Wet wheels, as the name suggests, are made for races in wet conditions. These wheels are made of either aluminum or magnesium. When it comes to wet weather racing, aluminum wheels are generally more favored as they generate heat much quicker compared to magnesium. Furthermore, if you feel the need to work the tires harder than usual, aluminum wheels are still your best bet. Wet rims are typically a narrow rear rim also. The reason for this is they tend to generate more grip being narrower, which helps with rear traction in the rain.


This doesn't mean that Magnesium wet wheels are not needed however, as they also have their own benefits regardless. While it may be a struggle in terms of heat generating, the wheels come alive once they are in the right temperatures. In fact, at the right temperatures, Magnesium wet wheels last longer than Aluminum wheels and can give you the edge especially at the home stretch of the race.


Another advantage of wet rims is that they release less heat compared to dry rims. This is because of the narrower tire which results in less heat taken in. 

wet rims


Those are the three different wheels you can choose from as a driver. Each one has their different pros and cons. However, all are viable options depending on the track and temperature you’re racing in.


Now, it is up to the driver to find the one that suits not just their driving style, but also the track conditions on race day. To help, Kart Class has the ideal program for you! Led by 18-time Australian Kart Champion David Sera, the Kart Setup Program leads drivers to victory lane with providing the right adjustments to make across a race weekend.

1 comment

  • Hi , I have some experience with aluminium and magnesium rims. As you point out in the above article there are heat dissipating differences between aluminium and magnesium rims. There are also other factors. The stiffness of the rim and the ability of the rim to absorb vibration are also factors. With magnesium it absorbs vibration better than aluminium and this looks after the tyre better and that I believe is the main difference. Interestingly most current car steering wheels are magnesium. The reason being to absorb vibration which makes it smoother to drive. Other components are also made of magnesium. Motor mounts and also engine blocks(bmw) for the above reasons. As you can see it a combination of heat transfer, stiffness and harmonics. Also magnesium Motor mounts on kart engines are helpful with the vibration and harmonics.

    Ross Edwards

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