When you are building a go-kart yourself, there are numerous things you have to factor in. However, nothing is as important as choosing the right clutch system to ensure the safety and performance of your creation.
The go-kart clutch market is filled with hundreds of models, some coming with their compatible components, others as standalone units. Your choice greatly depends upon your personal preference as well as the engine you have sourced.
To help you out, we have compiled this post reviewing the 7 best clutches for go-karts. You can also check out the buying guide and FAQs towards the end to help you make the right choice.
Our Top Picks for the Best Go-Kart Clutches
|FDJ Minibike Go Kart Clutch |
|– 10 tooth sprocket |
– ¾ ” BORE
– Works with #40/41/42 chains (here’s how to measure them)
– Built-in keyway
– Does not need set screws
– Works with 2 – 6.5 hp engines
|Auto Express Centrifugal Clutch |
|– 12 tooth sprocket|
– ¾” BORE
– Works with #35 chain
– Suitable for 2 – 6.5 hp engines
– Set screws included
– Built-in keyway
The 7 Best Clutches for Go-Karts
Let us now take a look at the 7 best clutches for go-kart listed in detail.
The FDJ Minibike Go-Kart Clutch boasts a high-quality steel construction that is both wear-resistant and heat-dissipating. It is not just affordable but also very durable and long-lasting. The FDJ clutch is available in three different variants – 10 tooth, 11 tooth, and 12 tooth – making it easy for you to find the suitable one for your go-kart. The 10 tooth sprocket works with #40, 41, and 42 chains and the 12 tooth variation for #35 chains. The 11 tooth sprocket is also compatible with the #35 chain but has a ⅝ inches bore.
This go-kart clutch system comes as a standalone device. The package doesn’t include a compatible chain or any mounting screws. However, that does not stop it from being one of the best options to get your hands on. It is quite compact in size with an outside diameter of 107 mm and a total height of around 3 inches. It fits a ¾ inch crankshaft with a built-in keyway. This FDJ clutch works best with engines of 2 to 6.5 hp and tires not larger than 15 inches.
We really like it for its high-rated engagement of 2,300 +- 300 RPM. Also, it also comes with a built-in keyway so that is something you won’t have to worry about. Plus, the affordable price makes it a good choice as well.
- Easy to install
- Comes without any components
- Can get really loud
The Auto Express Centrifugal Clutch is the most affordable offering on our list of best go-kart clutches. It also comes as a standalone unit, however, the package does contain the mounting screws. It features a built-in keyway that enables you to install it over a ¾ inches crankshaft easily.
This clutch boasts a high-grade steel construction that makes it extremely durable and long-lasting. It is equipped with a 12 tooth sprocket that is compatible with the #35 chain. The Auto Express Clutch is suitable for engines outputting 2 to 6 hp of power with a high engagement range of 2200 +-200 RPM.
- Reasonable pricing
- Durable and long-lasting
- Comes with set screws for easier installation
- Can sometimes lock up at idle speed too
- Needs frequent lubrication
The MooSun Centrifugal Clutch is another great option on this list. Besides being affordable, this clutch system comes complete with mounting hardware as well as the compatible #35 chain. The clutch is pre-keyed with a 3/16 inches keyway that enables it to fit well over most ¾ inches crankshaft.
It features a 12 tooth sprocket that enables it to reduce loads over most 2 to 6.5 hp engines. It is suitable for smaller go-kart engines and can be used on karts with rear tires no bigger than 15 inches.
The device makes for an extremely inexpensive transmission. Once installed correctly it will enable your go-kart to power up quietly in a safe, no-load state. And when you engage it not just reduces the vibration but also ensures that it utilizes peak torque for efficient engine performance.
- Comes with compatible chain and mounting hardware
- Suitable for 2 to 6.5 hp engines
- High engagement speed
- Set screws may loosen quickly
- Chances of chain breakage
We really like the Trkimal Centrifugal Clutch because of its compatibility with 2 to 6.5 hp engines. Since most on-road go-karts operate with such engines, it is a great option for you to check out. It is an extremely durable, wear and tear-resistant engine component that also comes at an affordable price.
It comes in three different variations – 11 tooth, 10 tooth, and 12 tooth. The 10 tooth variant works well with #40, 41, and 42 chains, while both 12 and 11 tooth ones work with the #35 chain. However, since you are purchasing a clutch for your go-kart, the 11 tooth variant of this clutch won’t be the right choice because it fits ⅝ inches crankshafts. The other two are better compatible as they can easily fit with ¾ inches crankshaft.
- Includes the set screw kit
- High impact wear-resistant steel construction
- Delivers 2000±100 RPM engagement speed
- Heats up
- Complaints of faulty units received
The Bravex Centrifugal Clutch is another worthy contender for your go-kart. The package contains the clutch as well as the mounting hardware. The chain is not included in the package, so you might have to purchase one separately.
This clutch comes in two, 10 tooth and 12 tooth configurations, with the 10 tooth working well with the #40, 41, and 42 chains and the 12 tooth variant with the #35 chain. The unit comes with a built-in keyway which greatly facilitates its installation. Bravex Clutch is highly compatible with engines producing up to 6.5 hp power output but is not recommended for motors running above 200 cc.
We also like it for its sturdy construction. The unit features a high-performance M42 high-speed steel core that makes it extremely durable. With its Japanese bearings, it can produce 2,000 +- 100 engagement speed. What’s more? It comes with a money-back guarantee. If it gives you any problem, Bravex is only a call away.
- Durable and high-quality construction
- Comes with compatible hardware
- Money-back guarantee
- Set screws are not included
The Max-Torque Clutch is one of the best clutches for go-karts both in terms of construction and longevity. While there are many identical-looking replicas, the original Max-Torque outperforms and outlasts them all.
It features solid steel construction that is both wear and tear-resistant. It can easily withstand extreme engine environments taking the load off the engine to provide smoother and hitch-free performance. It works extremely well with engines producing up to 7 hp output.
A good thing about this unit is its versatility. Max-Torque provides aftermarket parts for anyone looking to upgrade its performance. You can look into getting upgraded internal springs and clutch shoes to substitute the original ones to match their performance with a more powerful engine.
- Heavy-duty construction
- Delivers smooth acceleration
- Easy to install
- Requires frequent oiling
If you are after a go-kart clutch that comes as a complete package, the LAFORMO Centrifugal Clutch is a great option for you to check out. It comes as a full kit complete with the clutch, chain, and set screws. Despite the inclusion of components, this go-kart clutch costs much less than many standalone units making it the right choice for most buyers.
The device features a built-in keyway measuring 3/16 inches. It fits well over most ¾ inches crankshaft with a flat key and the included pair of set screws. There is a 10 tooth sprocket to fit the included #40, 41, or 42 chain. It works well with most 2 to 7 hp engines delivering an engagement rate speed of 2300 +- 300 RPM.
Although this centrifugal clutch boasts quality construction, maintaining a low gear ratio and proper oiling will help you enjoy its optimum performance. Overall, it has satisfactory reviews so you can confidently consider getting one of these.
- Complete kit
- Compatible with 2 to 7 hp engines
- Built-in keyway for easier set up
- Not very suitable for off-road go-karts
Buying Guide: Go-Kart Clutches
This section explains everything you need to know before purchasing a go-kart clutch.
Types of Go-Kart Clutch Systems
A clutch engages and disengages an engine from the load it is pulling. Doing so is extremely important to maintain the engine’s performance and integrity. There are several different types of clutch systems that are used for various driving equipment parts. For the sake of simplicity, below we have discussed the types of clutch systems that are used in go-karting.
By far the most common and affordable go-kart clutches. These devices work by flinging the weights in the engine shaft to create a centrifugal force.
Variable Transmission Clutches
These clutches make use of two variable pitch pulleys to deliver high speeds while allowing the engine to run at a slower pace.
Despite being the easiest to set up, belt clutches are the least preferred clutch system for go-karting. They work by gradually tightening the belt for engagement.
This durable yet expensive type of go-kart clutch works by spraying out oil on a turbine wheel inside a sealed container to generate motion.
Electric go-kart clutches are simple yet expensive. They work using magnetism to generate a motion with the help of a battery and an electromagnet.
How Does a Go-Kart Clutch Work?
Since centrifugal clutches are the ones most commonly used in go-karts, we’ve summarized how they work below.
A centrifugal clutch consists of the housing, linings, springs, flyweights/clutch shoes, and hub. It mounts on the taper or parallel crankshaft of the engine and when it rotates, the clutch also rotates at the same speed. The flyweights generate the centrifugal force responsible for its motion, while the springs and the linings determine the speed at which it engages.
How to Choose a Go-Kart Clutch?
Choosing the right clutch for your go-kart is not an easy task. Especially when you are a first-time buyer. Here are some factors that will help you identify the right one for your needs:
Since your clutch needs to withstand the hot and rough engine environment, it has to be durable and sturdy. You should look for a model that features high-grade steel construction. Such clutches are long-lasting because the heavy-duty construction enables them to withstand heat, strain, and friction once it engages.
Since the clutch does not operate alone, you have to ensure the availability of all the relevant components required for both its installation and operation. As you may have already understood, some clutch models come with the necessary components, while others come alone. For the forme,r you don’t have to worry about parts like set screws, keyway, or chain. For the latter, you have to source these components ensuring that they are compatible with each other.
While most go-kart clutch models are quite affordable costing around $20 to $25, the ones coming with compatible components like set screws and chains tend to cost a bit more. Clutches that include a go-kart chain tend to be the most expensive of the lot. But if you decide to purchase a standalone model, it will cost you less. However, you have to think about the expense of purchasing other required components as well.
The gear ratio of your go-kart has a direct impact on its performance. The higher the gear ratio the slower your go-kart will go. So, you should aim to get a smaller gear ratio value to go faster. But remember, faster speeds apply more strain on the respective parts so aim for a safe ratio.
To learn about the gear ratio you should divide the number of teeth on the rear sprocket by the number of teeth on the clutch sprocket. For example, if your rear sprocket has 60 teeth and you divide it with the 10 teeth on the clutch sprocket, you get a gear ratio of 6:1 or simply 6.
We hope that everything we explained about go-kart clutches was clear enough. If you still have any queries floating across your mind, the FAQs below will answer them clearly.
Is a clutch better than a torque converter?
A torque converter should be your choice if you want lower torque. They have the ability to adjust the gear ratio according to the engine’s RPM. Clutch, on the other hand, maintains the same gear ratio while boasting a higher engagement range. They are a better choice for racing karts that are tuned to generate maximum speed. Here’s our article on the difference between a torque converter and a clutch.
Are all types of clutches compatible with go-karts?
Yes, you can certainly use any type of clutch for your go-kart. We only reviewed the best centrifugal clutches in this guide because they are by far the most affordable and common clutches for go-karts. But you can also look into getting a hydraulic or electric clutch.
Is it difficult to maintain a go-kart clutch?
Being an important component of your go-kart engine, the clutch requires a certain amount of maintenance. But don’t you worry as its maintenance is not difficult. You have to check its condition from time to time and make sure it is adequately oiled at all times.
How long does a go-kart clutch last?
The lifespan of your go-kart clutch greatly depends upon its installation, maintenance, and your application. If installed improperly, the clutch can fail within two minutes. But if installed and maintained properly, it can easily last as long as five years.
Are all go-kart clutches the same?
No, go-kart clutches come in 10 tooth, 11 tooth, and 12 tooth sprocket size variations. You can determine the right size for your go-kart by checking the number of teeth on the rear sprocket. Before purchasing any size, make sure both the sprockets require the same chain size.
The clutch is responsible for making your go-kart stop and go. It is an essential component that ensures both safety and optimal go-kart performance.
For this post, we carefully assessed numerous go-kart clutch systems and concluded that the FDJ Minibike Go Kart Clutch is the best of them all. It is a heavy-duty clutch that is suitable for various power vehicles. You can choose between 10,11, and 12 tooth sprocket variations, plus, it works with most go-kart engines so you won’t be short of choices.
Although most of the go-kart clutches we reviewed above are quite affordable, the Auto Express Centrifugal Clutch stands out as the most affordable of them all. It is a centrifugal clutch with 12 tooth sprocket that works with the #35 chain. Plus, it delivers 2300 +- 300 RPM which is good enough for most applications.