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Pros and Cons of the X30 engine

On the previous blog in this three-part series, we talked about the Rotax engine. With it being known for things such as cost effectiveness, reliability, and high top-end speed. However, it also carried negative aspects such as its constant need for maintenance, low torque, and how much it struggles in low-speed tracks. In this entry, we will now analyze the IAME (Italian American Motor Engineering) X30 engine. From its advantages and disadvantages, to find out if this is the engine for you.

We need to remember, that in some countries you may be forced to race a particular TAG engine depending on the series you compete in.


Pros: Easy to Use

  • Starting off, the X30 is known to be beginner friendly for drivers who are starting out. From setting the engine up to preparing the engine for the track, the process is relatively easy to follow. It is also known to be very easy to drive and allows a lot of room for error when you are on the racetrack, which can help you improve overall as a driver. If we compare this to the Rotax engine which requires the driver to be extra smooth on the throttle, there is very little room for error.


Cons: Less Straight-Line Performance

  • On the contrary, high-speed tracks are not the X30’s forte. Basing off the specs of the engine, when compared to the Rotax and ROK engine, the X30 only has 28 horsepower, compared to that of the Rotax which has 30 horsepower, and the ROK which has the most horsepower topping out at 36. And while a change in setup may help, it does not completely solve the problem. This leaves the X30 vulnerable in straightaways and can see you get overtaken unless you have a good defense lined up or exited the prior corner with more speed than your rival. Depending on the series you compete in, the weight for the X30 engine compared to other engines in the TAG category might not a factor on the straights.


Pros: Great Acceleration

  • The X30 is synonymous in being the go-to engine in low-speed tracks. Tracks such as Las Vegas, and KF1 see the X30 shine due to its exceptional acceleration response. Specifically, the X30 is most powerful on the exits of the corners, meaning that you can carry a ton of speed heading to the next corner or during the straightaways of the racetrack. This can be beneficial when it comes to overtaking as you can set up your opponent for an overtake as you utilize the X30’s acceleration to your advantage.


Cons: Needs multiple rebuilds

  • As we mentioned in the Pros and Cons of the Rotax Engine, the rebuild interval (number of hours before an engine needs repairing or cleaning) of said engine is very high. The same cannot be said for the X30 however. It is estimated that the rebuild interval of an X30 is around 15-20 hours. This estimate is only for the top end of the engine, with the bottom end having an interval of around 25-30 hours. This means that you will see yourself fully rebuilding the X30 engine frequently given the low rebuild interval.


Pros: Easy to find parts

  • IAME was founded in 1968, making it one of the oldest kart engine manufacturers out there. Couple that with the fact that most drivers use an X30 engine, you can guarantee that you can find a lot of engine parts for a very reasonable price (If you get lucky, you may even find a second-hand engine that is still in good condition and affordable). What’s even better is you don’t even have to search far! Your closest kart track is sure to have spare parts lying around, which shows the availability of these parts.


Pros: Carb Tuning

  • According to drivers who have used and are currently using the X30, the carb tuning is a simple process to find the sweet spot. Carb tuning/ jetting is simply finding the perfect balance between petrol and oil to allow proper combustion and lubrication of the engine. The X30 has a carburetor that can be adjusted whilst driving, which is something that the Rotax doesn’t offer (fixed jet in the carburetor), so once a driver gains experience, they can adjust both the high and low speed needles if they are searching for more performance in a certain area of the racetrack.


So those were some of the pros and cons of the X30 engine. Remember that these points given are subjective and not set in stone. These pros and cons were formed according to the experiences of other drivers using the same engine brand. At the end of the day, everyone’s experience is different. What others have observed you may not even experience it. An engine’s compatibility in relation to the kart and driver is always down to feel. Therefore, understanding your go-kart and being able to relay the information on how the go-kart feels is important. Next week, this 3-part series will end as we look at the ROK Vortex engine.

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