Early go-karts were powered by engines meant for lawnmowers or chainsaws. Now, however, these small vehicles sport either 2- or 4-cycle engines that can reach speeds over 100 miles per hour. Whether you’re starting out in recreational riding or competitive racing, selecting the right kart and gear sets you up for a fun, safe, and thrilling experience.
Before You Get Started
Often times, riders confuse go-karts, ATVs, and UTVs. However, they are all different vehicles with different intended uses and it’s important to understand the features of the vehicle you’ll be driving. An ATV (all-terrain vehicle) is commonly used for off-road recreation or transport with a single rider. UTVs (utility task vehicle) are also used on rough terrain, but come with a truck bed and carry two riders, instead of one. Go-karts, however, are typically used for racing and can also be rented for recreation. They hold one rider and are traditionally raced on paved, indoor and outdoor tracks.
Lessons will help you become a more confident and skilled driver. Many tracks offer lessons for a broad range of ages and skill levels. Insurance is another important consideration before you begin driving. In the event of an accident, an insurance policy may help cover medical costs outside your normal plan. It’s also important to look into local regulation of go-karts so you know the laws governing their use.
Use Appropriate Safety Gear
Choose comfortable clothing when getting ready to ride a go-kart. Wear shoes with a closed toe and heel. Tie back long hair, and remove any jewelry. If you are on a high-speed track, you may be asked to wear a racing balaclava and gloves.
Always wear a helmet. Finding the right helmet is critical to a safe and fun go-kart experience. Look for a fully certified helmet with good visibility. For extra protection, consider a full-face helmet. It will protect your eyes as well as muffling extraneous noise.
Choose the Right Type of Go-Kart for You
Karts fall into two main categories: racing and off-roading. Off-roading karts, like this 200cc Adult Gas Go-Kart from RedFox Powersports, are larger, set higher above the ground, and may have a cage. Some are built to carry several passengers in addition to the driver. Choose a larger go-kart if you will be using it for exploration and transportation rather than exclusively using it for track racing. A multi-seat kart is a good choice for children who wish to drive if your state does not allow young children to drive without adult accompaniment.
Most racing karts are sprint, oval, or professional karts. Sprints are an excellent overall kart, especially for beginners. They are fast and fun and work on a variety of tracks. Oval karts are built for tight turns in one direction and are used on oval race tracks. Professional karts, including Enduros and Superkarts, are extremely fast, reaching speeds of over 100 mph. They’re meant for experienced racers and may require licensure to operate.
Modern engines are efficient and powerful, giving gas go-karts a longer range over electric karts. Gas karts offer cheaper maintenance, responsive handling, and a lower purchase price. If perfectly maintained, gas karts go faster than electric karts, but they do require more upkeep to maintain that edge. The 200cc DF200GHA is a great model for a multi-seat kart.
Electric go-karts offer their own pros and cons. The benefits include more torque, easy maintenance, and no exhaust fumes. The largest con is the short run time before they need to recharge. A nice choice for children operating their own kart is the GB 1000W Electric Go-Kart, which is 48V with three speeds.
With the proper preparation, this sport is open to a wide range of age groups, from children to adults. Alone or in a group, off-road or racing, the versatility of go-karts makes them a great choice for a new activity.