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Discussion Starter #1
So how's about some info on these machines? I was interested in the 'bout 6 years ago, but then I lost interest over time. Now I'm interested again. I know they're like motorcycles 'cept they've got four wheels. I think that a kart might be what I need to practise proper driving technique. Any URLs and tips would help. I'd also like info on where to get a good one. I'm not going to get it anytime soon. I'm soooo pooorr. But I can make plans to get one later, and I'd like the info now. So help me out with what you can. Thanks

-Martin
 

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First question.

What do you want to do with it?

Play on a kart track?

Wheel to wheel in some karting series?

Autocross?
 

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I did some sprint (road course) racing in a 125cc and 250cc shifter kart, and they're alot of fun. The ride is violent, that's the only way I can describe it, so you'll have to be in good shape to be competitive. If you're planning on wheel to wheel racing in one, there is the distinct possibility of injury. They are open wheel cars, so touching wheels often results in someone becoming airborn. If you're on the track with overly aggressive or inexperienced drivers, you need to be careful. You can't trust them to have good track manners.

I ran in an open tire class (no spec tire), so you basically go through a set of tires in a day. Factor in a prorated top end overhaul (every 3rd race day or so), entry , fuel, etc, and you end up spending about $300-$350 for a day of racing.

Like most race cars, it was about 3 hours of work for 1 hour of track time.

On the plus side, it'll be an experience you cannot duplicate in a car, unless you get a top level formula car ride. Sometimes, after a race, I would just sit in the kart, too exhausted to get out. The sensory experience of shifter kart racing is difficult to describe.

Autoxing a kart is much cheaper, but much less seat time. I haven't autoxed one, but would only prefer to do it on a smooth course, which many of the autox courses don't feature.

If you take a ride in one, you'll probably want to buy one. I used to sell karts, and very few people weren't interested in buying after driving one.

Good luck,

Jeff
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thx for the replies and insights. I haven't thought enough 'bout what to do with the kart. That's b/c I'm not sure where to start. My best guess is to autoX since I would be a novice. Also my greatest enemy would be a bunch of cones. Am I right? What I want to do eventually, after I gain enough experience and when the funds start rolling in is to do some wheel to wheel kart racing.
BTW Pls don't laugh at me if I say something stupid. :p
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here's some info about myself so that you may better assess me and help me better.

My goal: to be able to control a performance car at its limits. I doubt I'd make it up high in the leagues but just to be able to be a decent driver will make me happy.

Here are some of my desires and objectives:
1) Know how to control/correct over and understeer in both a midengine car and in a front engine, rear wheel drive car.

2) I love watching rally races and so Pendulum Swings are something I've been practising. Practise makes perfect, and I'm gettin' there.

3) to learn all else there is to know that I haven't known yet about driving a performance car.
 

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The reason I asked because there are various flavors of karts and it depends on what you want to do. If you are serious about autocrossing a kart, then you want a motorcycle based engine, 125cc shifter kart. If you want to get into wheel to wheel, you may instead want to look into a non-shifter like a 100cc Rotax kart. Mainly because some other types of karts have a lot of good competition, numbers of people involved and support. In some regions, the shifter class is less popular.

The other issue is degree of difficulty. A shifter kart is a lot more difficult to drive than a non-shifter. Not scary impossible, but a number of karters think it's normal and best to start in a lower powered non-shifter and work your way up. Most of them did that.

On the other hand, I started in a 125cc shifter because that is what is classed in SCCA autocrossing.

You may feel you can handle going to a shifter kart right away also.

As far as how to use it, the easiest thing is an open track day. Typically you pay $20-25 for the entire day and it's mostly open. When you feel like, go out and take some laps until you want to come in and then rinse, repeat. For a new person, you can often time it that you are mostly alone on the track and can concentrate on driving and shifting and not on traffic. Put a large X on the back of your helmet to warn others you are a novice katrter. They will give you more room.

A few lap days would be the thing to do before you try autocrossing a kart. Autocross can be more difficult as to reading the course at ground level, at knowing where to go.

The best thing to do if possible, is to find someone local that autocrosses a kart and get some help. I can help see if people in your area exist.

Info at http://www.ekartingnews.com/forum.php

What you want (if you want a shifter) is this: Karts are made of parts. The roller chassis is from a handful of suppliers. They bolt on an axle, hubs, brakes and body pods. Then someone attaches a seat, radiator, and an engine. These parts are all easily replaced. They just bolt on and off. What stays is the chassis.

Since the brakes are matched to the chassis, as are the body pods, what is important is to find a chassis that you can find replacement parts and support. Major players like CRG, Arrow, Renspeed, Birel, Track Magic...and more. Is there a kart track near you? A kart shop? They can be your best resource and often have used karts for sale.

The important thing is to not end up with a bastard kart without the abilty to find replacement spindles or brake pads.

Secondly, get a newer kart. Karting is brutal and age takes it toll on welds and metal. You can't really say all 1999 and newer karts are fine and older ones suck, because it depends on their use. But try to get newer (and it's easier to get replacement parts also). Watch out for karts that have been wrecked and the frames rewelded. Watch out for new powercoating as sign of a rebuilt frame.

The engine is another major lump so get the one you want. The rest of the bits are not a big deal. Need a different seat? No worries. Change the steering wheel for cheap. Kart parts are a lot cheaper than car stuff.

The best way to buy if money is an issue, is a used kart from someone getting out of karting. It happens. Then they also get rid of a lot of special tools, parts, supplies, etc. You can get a kart stand (which you will need), maybe a trailer. Extra rims, tire bead breaker. Perhaps some gauges. Kart suit, rib vest, helmet? You can easily spend $500-1000 more on these bits and pieces if they did not come with your kart.

A good used setup can be had from $3800-5000. You can go cheaper and expect to buy parts later as you can afford them. I have seen people buy a good chassis and intend on replacing the motor or rebuilding it later.

10megs kart track video, shifter kart at Moran raceway
 

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Discussion Starter #8
:) Thx for all the info. What a great wealth of knowledge you all have. I knew I joined the right forum. I'll do some more research in my spare time.
 
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