It would be safe to say that go-karting is one of the most popular motorsports today! Be it anyone, track owners, car racers, or insurance companies for that matter, everyone seems to be debating on “How fast are Go-karts?”
Let’s put this debate to rest. Shall we?
The fastest a go-kart can go is up to 150 mph. However, most indoor go-karts drive at a maintained speed of 40-50 mph.
Needless to say, indoor activities need to be controlled and kept safe. This is why the speed of the karts is maxed out to a limit, as is the case for Andretti go-karts. This, however, is not the case with outdoor tracks, specifically those that have minimum turns. When tracks are wide with the least amount of safety requirements, the kart’s speeds are not required to be maintained.
This is why you will come across multiple go-karts that have the same engines but varying speeds.
Why Does Go-Kart’s Speed Vary?
Go-karts have their fair share of history that has led to the variations in it. It started as a passion project of a speed racer, Art Ingles some 60 years ago. The kart was then developed further in the late ’70s, however, the original kart was always kept as a prototype.
Initially, the kart came with a chainsaw engine but then progressed to a purpose-built engine in the latter years. Now, motorsport was a thing of Americans but the Europeans couldn’t hold back from its charm and started creating variations to the go-karts.
It was in the 80s and 90s that varied displacements for both 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines came into existence. These displacements are basically what set the level of competition as beginner, intermediate, etc.
Fast Go-Karts Engine Classifications
There are 5 main engine classifications when it comes to go-karts:
- 50cc: Can go from 34mph to 60mph
- 100cc: Speeds up to 73mph
- 125cc: Speeds up to 79mph
- 200cc: Offers a 71mph speed
- 250cc: A whopping 147mph
Now, as you can see, the 50cc go-karts have a range of speed that it offers. This is why it is one of the most preferred go-karts for kids. A maintained speed is a necessity when it comes to children, you wouldn’t want your kid flying off the track and hurting themselves now!
The regular 50cc and 100cc engines are also recommended for people starting their journey as go-kart drivers. The models are easier to control at lower speed levels and ideal to get a know-how of the engine’s operations and maintenance over time.
More advanced users can opt for the 125 or 150cc go-karts. Go-karts with engines heavier than 150cc should ideally be driven by professionals who’ve had a proper experience with the sport.
Also, note that these are common speeds of some of the more popular kart designs. You may find lots of variations in the market; multiple 200cc go-karts can only speed up to 40mph.
The Category of Stroke-Engines
Go-karts can be divided into two broad categories based on the functionality of their motor engines. Heavy engines like the 200 and 250 cc categories are likely to have a 4-stroke engine. Whereas, the lighter models operate on a 2-stroke model.
The main difference is in the engineering design of the engine. A 2-stroke model will complete its five main functions including intake, compression, ignition, combustion, and exhaust in a single revolution of the crankshaft. Meanwhile, a 4-stroke model will complete its functions in two revolutions.
Just like normal vehicles, a 4-stroke design has a higher power stroke. This means it can sustain a better speed while consuming lesser fuel. The drive is also smoother. However, it has a certain speed limit and that’s why the highest speed for a regular 150cc engine is higher than that of a 200cc one.
The Speed of Electric Go-Karts
Electric models have received immense popularity over the last decade. These designs eliminate several issues attached to the conventional gas-powered go-karts. They produce lesser sound, eliminate carbon emissions, and are cheaper to maintain over time. All in all, electric go-karts are friendly both to your budget and the planet!
An average model has 20 horsepower and can race up to 50mph. Some go-karts have a limit of 60mph as well. There are more expensive models on the market too that are larger and have bigger batteries. These power sources produce a greater torque which results in high speeds of up to 150mph.
The fact that many electric models are now being used in professional racing arenas shows that the stigma about these go-karts being slower is baseless. Just like gas-powered vehicles will vary in speed based on engine size, their electric counterparts rely on the size and power of the main battery to shoot up to higher speed levels.
Some Pro Tips
- Reaching the max speed: To get the most out of your go-kart, simply flooring the accelerator pedal won’t do the trick. Make sure to maintain rip when in corners because every time you slip, you will lose speed.
- Understanding Turns: There is nothing like the adrenaline rush when flooring the speedometer. However, mastering the turns on tracks can be a challenge. Oftentimes, racers tend to push brakes when they reach turns. The best way, however, is to accelerate as much as you can till you reach the corner of the turn. When you reach the apex, start turning, and press the brake. And as soon as you pass the apex, start accelerating again.
What Else to Look For?
You might be a speed junkie who thrives on the thrill of speeding but there is more to look for in a go-kart than just its speed.
Need for Maintenance
Every vehicle needs some sort of maintenance over time. When it comes to flashy models, the engine gets worn due to the high-speed and power requirements. You’ll generally notice that 2-stroke models have a shorter life than their 4-stroke counterparts. This is due to their higher requirements for power generation.
A 4-stroke model maintains a better speed at a lower rpm and thus the engine functions well over a longer period! Similarly, the brake-pads, mainframe, tires, and wheels can all run out of air quickly in a flashy go-kart. Thus, make sure you balance the speed thrill with the extra cost it incurs upon your pocket.
Ease of Repairing
Repairing and replacing parts is crucial for go-karts. Even if you maintain the vehicle properly, keep its speed under check and optimally drive it around, every part has a certain lifecycle! It is bound to eventually run out of use.
Thus, opt for models that not only provide a great thrill but also have replacement parts easily available. Racing go-karts can be involved in minor and major accidents. This means the frame has to be stronger and the exterior will also need repairing from time to time.
Chassis and Mainframe
The chassis and mainframe lay the structure of a go-kart. Its size determines the room you’ll have while driving the vehicle around, whereas the quality is essential in balancing it at a higher speed level. The chassis dimensions become very crucial when looking for fast-paced go-karts.
You should pick an option that balances speed and comfort through its design and quality!
Frequently Asked Questions
How fast is a 7hp go-kart?
The exact speed limit will depend upon the specifications of the model. Its size, structure, and limiters decide what top speed the go-kart can achieve. However, on average a 7hp model can easily maintain a high speed of 30mph. Some of them can go up to 35mph as well.
How many cc engine does an average go-kart have?
Well, some engines are more popular than others. The 50cc range is mostly used by children, whereas the ones above 200cc are exclusive for racers and professionals. This leaves three main categories for the majority of beginners and intermediate drivers. The 125cc engine provides an ideal balance of speed and control in this regard and thus is commonly used in models available on public tracks.
Can go-karts go up to 100 mph?
Yes, they can. However, these go-karts are not very common. They’re more expensive and are harder to maintain. Moreover, both indoor and outdoor kart tracks have several turns. Even if the go-kart has a higher speed limit it is impossible to maintain the level on such terrains. Therefore, many track-owners don’t invest in such models. They’re also harder to control for beginner-level racers.
Do professional go-karts have higher speed limits than regular ones?
Yes, they do. Just like racing vehicles used in formula one have higher speed limits, the go-karts designed for professional racers can shoot up to speed levels as high as 250mph. These go-karts are not readily available and most of them do not have an off-roading permit. They’re maintained by professional race tracks and are only safe to use when operated by experts in the sport.