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Which go kart should I buy?

Let’s have a look at which go-kart people should buy when they are starting out in go karting. Now this is really going to depend on the budget, age and size of the driver, because these are three factors that are going to determine which kart is going to be suitable to you.

Now, first and foremost, we need to work out with our budget whether we can afford a brand-new kart or must go to a secondhand kart. Now, I recommend to a lot of newcomers into the sport to start on a secondhand kart. The reason for this is that the person who purchased it for new value, you've already saved a lot of money because it's decreased in value, so you get to pick up a bit more of a bargain. But with this, if you don't like kart racing in two, three, four months’ time, you can sell the kart. You're not going to lose too much money because you've already paid a fraction of the price of a new kart.

This way you can spin out, you can drive off a track and you can learn. Make some mistakes knowing that any little scratch on the kart, the kart that you purchased probably has a couple of scratches already or a couple of dings on the kart. So, we always try and recommend starting secondhand if that's what your budget allows, and that's a good entry point.

Now we're looking at secondhand karts. For a complete engine and kart, you're looking anywhere between sort of three to four and a half thousand dollars. They can be a little bit more expensive depending on, when we say used kart, but they might only be one or two races old. They've still got a lot of value to them. But if they're a couple of year-old kart then that's going to be more than suitable for you to start off with and just to see whether you like kart racing or not.

If we're looking for a new kart package, we might be looking at say eight to $10,000 and that's for the latest equipment, your data logger, it might be with your fancy rims and things like that. So that's the sort of price point you're looking at, either say four and a half thousand or say $9,000.

Next thing that comes into account in which go-kart we should be buying is that it's the age bracket that you're in. Now, if you are between six and 12 years of age, the chances are you are going to be in our cadet category. Well, definitely between seven and 11 years of age you have to be starting off in cadets. Now with that, they have a smaller chassis to suit our smaller drivers. So, the wheelbase is around a 950-millimeter wheel base.

Then as you grow into the junior category, between ages 12 and 16, then you look to buy a bigger chassis. You can buy a full-size go-kart, which is what kids, if they are big enough, can fit into at 12. That can be like what an adult, what the parents would use or something like me, who's six foot two, that's the same go-kart that I would use.

You would then look to fit, whether it's a pedal kit, so it slightly raises the pedal box up so that a smaller driver can reach the pedals okay. You might have to move the seat forward a little bit. You might have to put some padding in the seat just so they can be more comfortable in a bigger size go-kart. But that's the go-kart you're going to be looking at when you're moving towards that 12 to 18 age bracket.

Now, when it comes to different sizes, different weights as well, there's some tall drivers, some adults, they might go to a slightly stiffer and bigger chassis. So, like a 32 mm chassis. Where predominantly most of the karts that are manufactured now are 30 mm tubing size. That's suited to people that are in the weight limit of 50 kilos to 90 kilos. If you've got drivers at 110 kilos that want to drive a go-kart, they can still fit into the 30 mm chassis, but it might not be as suitable for them. They might look to be buying a 32 mm chassis. That stiffer chassis absorbs that weight a little bit easier, and it might handle better than the 30 mm chassis. They're a little bit harder to come by those karts, because 90% of the adult chassis they make suit people in the sort of that 50 to 90 kilo weight range.

When it comes to engines, it really depends on the series or the competitions that you're looking to enter. Some classes are going to be using a Vortex brand. Some classes are going to be using a Rotax brand. Some classes are going to be using an IAME brand as well. So again, depending on the local series or the local club that you compete at, find out what's popular and then go from there.

I hope that gives you a bit of an idea of which go-kart you should be buying when you're looking to start out in kart racing. Remember budget, the size of the driver and the age are the determining factors when purchasing kart.

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