Go-karting has taken over the world like wildfire. It is an extreme sport that thousands, if not millions, enjoy every day. Racing around the grounds with a sense of competition gives a different adrenaline rush. This explains why go-karting is becoming popular every passing day.
But every go-kart enthusiast likes to learn more about their ride. Some even go as far as building a go-kart at home from scratch. It helps them understand their kart better and later perform better on the ground. That is why, if you are a true go-karting aspirant, you should also learn about the parts of go-karts and understand their mechanism. So today, we are looking at the essential go-kart parts and seeing what function they provide. Let’s discuss!
Go-Kart Engine Parts
The engine is the backbone of any vehicle. No go-kart can work without a top-notch engine. It consists of the following parts:
The electric motor is a core part of any go-kart. Especially where indoor go-karting is considered, electric motors play a crucial role to get them going. They get their power from a battery and, in turn, supply the energy to the engine.
Electric motors are highly effective and eco-friendly instead of their gas-emitting counterparts. They are noiseless in function and effectively reduce both noise and air pollution.
Ignition coils are one of the crucial parts of any go-kart. These coils are responsible for starting the kart efficiently. When you start your ride, these coils convert the low voltage into high voltage, thus sending power through the engine. As a result, it transfers the energy to the spark plug that later initiates the engine through the gas/fuel mixture in the cylinder.
Unlike a clutch that features a fixed gear ratio, the torque converter offers a continuously variable transmission (CVT). Meaning, karts that function with torque converters have variable gear ratios that are automatically controlled using a pulley system.
You can find this feature in small karts and low-speed go-karts. It works on the principle of two parts, a driver pulley, and a driven pulley. The driver pulley is connected to the crankshaft, and the driven pulley is attached to the jackshaft. Once the kart is in motion, the belt expands, and the gear ratio changes hence achieving the function of torque converters.
Go-karts are prone to heat quite quickly. If you’re an owner of a high-performance go-kart, you must be familiar with its standard water requirement or other coolants. These coolants are added to the radiator part of a go-kart and reduce the engine’s internal temperature, hence preventing it from heating up. You have to keep refilling the radiator to avoid it from drying up. Because if it runs out of water, there won’t be any cooling agent for your engine, and the heat will end up damaging your engine and motor.
Usually seen in off-road go-karts, the exhaust system is manufactured from steel or carbon fiber. This system is added to avoid gas buildup in the machine. It gets rid of the gasses and harmful substances that can have a harmful effect on the go-kart’s performance.
There are multiple chains present in a go-kart. These chains help connect one part of the machine to another and keep the machine running smoothly.
You can find chains that connect sprockets with one another. Likewise, there are chains between crankshafts, sprockets, and jackshafts. And if the kart contains torque convertors, you will find chains between the jackshaft and rear axle as well.
This means that chains are the connecting parts of any go-kart, and without them, the connections will be broken, resulting in a malfunctioning kart.
A carburetor is the element of go-karts that is responsible for determining the air-fuel mixture ratio of the ride. This component mixes the fuel with air pressure to provide optimum power to the motor and initiates the engine function. It contains two inlets, one that connects it to the air chamber and one for fuel intake.
Carburetors are highly recommended for high-performance go-karts. They keep up the requirements of top-notch racing karts and make them last longer with greater efficiency.
As discussed, go-karts need some air intake to keep up the engine’s performance and maintain its efficiency. But just as these air inlets are essential for high performance, it is also crucial that this air gets filtered before entering the carburetor. And this job is done with the air filters located before air inlets. They ensure that no foreign particles like dust or dirt enter the carburetor, thereby preventing the blocking or choking of the engine.
You might not find this element in electric karts as they lack the carburetors as well. But if you own a gas-powered go-kart, you will indeed find some air filters installed in your ride.
The axle is essentially a shaft that is present on the rear part of the go-karts. It acts as the building block for the machine and holds many parts together in their place. There is only one axle in go-karts because the front wheels of karts are directly connected to the frame with a spindle. But the rear wheels require an axle as it provides the necessary force to turn and move the wheels in an appropriate manner.
The axle is further divided into the following sub-parts:
The crankshaft is the part of any go-kart that converts the reciprocal motion into rotational motion. It comprises several cranks and crankpins and works on the principle of a crank mechanism. The crankshaft is attached to the engine using connecting rods and helps achieve the optimum efficiency of the go-kart engine.
It transforms the usual vertical movement of the piston into the horizontal rotations, thus setting the engine in motion. So in simple words, you can also say that a crankshaft is the backbone of the axle.
Once the crankshaft produces the rotational force for the kart, the jackshaft synchronizes it. It is simply a long shaft that operates between the engine and its axle. It transfers the force generated by the crankshaft to the rear axle, helping the kart to set in motion.
The jackshaft consists of a stub with bearings on the ends that connect with pulleys or cranks for optimal force transfer. You can commonly find this element in go-karts that lack direct contact between the rear axle and the crankshaft.
Similarly, jackshafts are used to connect the engine and rear axles in go-karts that work on the principles of torque converter setup.
As the rotational force starts moving the rear axle of the go-karts, bearings come into work and help carry out this function smoothly. There are small rings made with carbon chromium steel that carry rolling elements between the inner and outer races. It significantly reduces the friction of the axle and provides much controlled and efficient motion.
There are four bearings in any go-kart. Two bearings are attached with the front spindles, while the remaining two are attached with the rear axle. Regardless of their small size, these rings are one of the vital parts of any go-kart, and their presence makes a huge difference in the performance of your overall ride.
You will find multiple sprockets in a go-kart. Sprockets are small toothed wheels that are connected to different go-karts parts with the help of chains. In fact, the distance between two teeth on the sprocket can help you get an idea of which size chain your kart needs (more on that here.) You can commonly find sprockets in the clutch, crankshaft, and in the rear axle of any go-karts. The teeth number of the sprockets can vary according to the requirement of their function. Similarly, each sprocket requires a compatible chain drive in order to function correctly.
You can say that sprockets act as the connecting chain between different go-kart components. And their primary job is to simply connect the force-generating elements in order to provide a smoothly moving ride.
As discussed above, chains are used to connect two sprockets in any go-kart system. When the force is generated in the crankshaft and is ready to move towards the axle, these chains help carry this force to its destination. The chains transfer the power from one sprocket to another and set the kart in motion during this process. You can find such chains between axle sprockets and jackshafts. Similarly, these chains are also present between the torque converter and the axles.
Although their sizes can vary depending on the space available, the core function remains the same with all roller chains. You can further imagine that if any of these chains break during function, the whole force transfer is disturbed, leading to a non-functional go-kart.
Go-Kart Switch System
Like any vehicle, go-karts also require a specific system to control the ride’s power. This is called the switch system in the go-kart industry. It consists of switches and controllers that help provide better control over the kart by either manual giving control to the driver or through a remote control system.
The switch system for go-karts can further be classified as follows:
Key switches are the first part that a rider interacts with, in a go-kart. It turns on the engine of your kart and initiates the ride. You can commonly see this element in off-road go-karts and gas-powered karts. But if you can’t find critical switches in any go-karts, you will indeed observe one of its alternatives. For example, some manufacturers still offer starter cords to initiate the function of the go-karts, while others give a pull start feature. That said, key switches are still one of the most famous options for go-karts initiating purposes.
Controllers are commonly found in electric go-karts. They are responsible for different functions ranging from speed control to braking mechanisms. Since electric go-karts work on the principle of hybrid mechanics, they don’t require much manual control. Instead, you can find multiple switches that offer specific functions.
For example, the speed controller of the go-karts is connected via wires to the accelerator and the electric motor. When you change the speed from the switch, it automatically transfers the signal to your motor and changes the speed effectively. The braking system also works on the same principle and controls the deacceleration of the kart. The controllers can vary in terms of wattage and voltage, but they all carry similar functions in go-karts.
Fueling System Parts
Depending on the type, each go-kart has its specific fuel requirements. The gas-powered ones need regular fuel refilling while electric ones need recharging. And this requirement can also change based on the performance of your kart. That said, the fuel system of go-karts’ is made up of three parts: fuel tank, fuel pump, and fuel filter. These are further discussed below:
Fuel tanks are one of the most crucial parts of any go-kart. These are small containers that store and supply fuel to the kart.
Their position and sizes might vary, depending on the chassis and company, but the key feature of their function remains the same. That is, to store and supply the required fuel to the engine.
Usually, fuel tanks are located just beneath the steering column to save space. But now, you can also find some go-karts that feature fuel tanks on the side or towards the back as well.
As the name suggests, the fuel pump keeps the fuel flowing into the carburetor from the tank. It pumps out the fuel from the tank towards the carburetor, where it is used for engine function.
Commonly, you will find vacuum fuel pumps in go-karts. These pumps are mechanical and do not require any energy source to function. With the pressure change in the carburetor, the fuel is pumped into it and mixed with the air. It is a relatively simple procedure and makes sure that your kart has a constant flow of fuel so that you can enjoy a comfortable ride each time.
Fuel filters are critical when it comes to high-performance go-karting. These filters are connected through two lines. One is attached to the fuel tank, while the other is connected to the carburetor’s fuel inlet. It prevents any dust particles or clogging materials from entering the engine or carburetor and, in turn, avoids damage to your go-kart.
The filters are made from small magnets and sieves. The magnets attract rust from the fuel and stop it from entering the carburetor. Similarly, the sieve filters out the foreign particles and ensures that your go-kart doesn’t lack in performance and efficiency.
All go-karts need a top-notch steering mechanism that facilitates their turns and sharp cuts. This steering is provided by different parts that work together for this function. They are described below:
Located in the lower region of the steering shaft, the tie rods help in the turns and spinning of the go-karts. There are two tie rods in any go-kart, left and right. The right one is connected to the right spindle arm while the left one is connected to the left spindle arm.
When you make a turn using the steering wheel, the coupling force is generated. As a result, the tie rods push the wheels and turn them according to the steering wheel’s direction, resulting in the turning of the go-karts itself.
As discussed above, spindles are present on the front of the go-karts and help in steering and turning. The tie rods on the kart are attached to the spindle that is essentially responsible for carrying the hub of the wheels. It helps the rider achieve sharp cuts and turns without having to steer too much.
For an exciting go-karting experience, it is important that you invest in a comfortable seat. As when you’re comfortable, you perform better.
As far as go-karting is concerned, you must choose a kart with appropriate seats. Because if you get a go-kart with the wrong seat size, you will have trouble controlling the machine, and it can affect your overall game.
Following are some other parts of go-karts and their seats:
Go-karting is an extreme sport, and because it is such a high-intensity hobby, it requires some safety protocol as well. One such safety element includes seat belts.
You can commonly find this part in outdoor and off-road go-karts. Because indoor go-karting is held in controlled settings, it doesn’t necessarily require such safety equipment. Usually, go-karts feature a 3 point or 5 point safety belt depending on the intensity of the ride.
This one is commonly an optional part of go-karts, but some companies are now adding built-in paddings to the seats. These paddings are there not only for the driver’s comfort but also for his safety.
If your kart doesn’t offer this feature, you can attach the pads effectively in target points where the hit impact is maximum. That way, even in cases of hits and accidents, the impact will reduce significantly, thus preventing serious injuries.
Go-Kart Brake Parts
To control the speed and to stop your go-karts, you need a braking system. Each go-kart has its unique braking system, but they all work under a similar principle. Following are some subparts that make up the braking mechanism of any go-karts:
Pedals are the functional parts of every go-kart. Most of the time, you can find two pedals in any go-kart – the first one for acceleration, and the second one for braking systems.
The pedals are attached to the framework using cables or wires and help the driver control the ride using foot pressure.
Some go-karts for kids have manual pedals that you kick for riding, much like you would on a bicycle. If you’re interested in buying one of those for your kids, we’ve got a detailed article on our top picks that you can access by clicking here.
As the name suggests, footpeg is the part that you push with your foot. It is the outermost part of a pedal and provides a comfortable braking system for the driver.
If you are a true go-karting fan, you must be familiar with the word chassis. A chassis is essentially the framework of any vehicle, for example, go-karts. It contains all the mechanical parts of the machine and functions at the core of the ride. In other words, you can also say that the chassis is the skeleton of any go-kart.
There are two types of chassis, conventional and non-conventional. The conventional chassis contains a frame with all the mechanical parts. Later, it is attached to the kart with a ladder frame. On the contrary, the non-conventional type offers a frameless design. It doesn’t come with any ladder frame and the chassis body itself acts as the frame for all the essential parts.
You can not imagine a go-kart without wheels. They are one of the vital components of any vehicle and help produce movement of the kart. Following are the parts that help keep the wheels in position while aiding in tire movement:
Just like any other vehicle, tires are a crucial element of go-karts. Traditionally, go-karting requires slick tires with no profile in order to maintain high grip on the track. That said, this condition can change depending on the sport’s intensity and weather conditions. For example, off-karts need larger tires to cope with the tricky terrain.
Likewise, you might want to use profiled tires when you’re racing in rainy conditions or on wet tracks.
Rims are small stainless steel parts that hold the tire and attach it to the hub. You can identify rims as the metal component present in the center of the tires. It works as the connector between axle and wheel and keeps the tire firmly in its place.
Usually crafted from aluminum and stainless steel, a wheel hub is used to hold the wheels secure in their position. There are two-wheel hubs in any go-kart, front and back.
As we discussed above, front hubs are connected to bearings for turning. Likewise, the rear hubs are connected to the axle. Although slightly different, both carry the same function and help secure the wheels during the ride using nuts and bolts.
Go-karting is a thrilling sport with a vast number of aspirants. But while go-karting is highly competitive, it also requires a certain skill level to master the sport. You can say that go-karts are small cars occupied with high-performing parts. And although it is small in size, it contains all the necessary equipment to keep up with the kart performance.
Above, we discussed some of the common go-kart parts, their essential functions, and principles. You can further look into the details of these parts and subparts to further understand their complexities.