Go Kart Engines - Knowing the Differences Can Enhance your Racing

Published: 26th February 2010
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Open wheel racing is just about as exciting as it gets. Watching skilled Indy Car drivers race around a 2 1/2 mile oval at speeds greater than 230 mph can be an adrenaline-pumping delight. Karting is just a variant of Indy Car racing. The difference is that go karts are smaller and use smaller tracks, but the fun of racing a go kart can be just as huge. Additionally, do not start thinking that karting is kiddie stuff because many skilled and professional race drivers began their careers here.

As with everything else there is a big difference in the type of karts that may be raced. Speed is mostly determined by the size of the go kart engines, but it's also affected by the quality of the go kart frame, especially when it comes to cornering. Super Karts hit the highest speeds and can reach high speeds in excess of 160 mph. Or you can choose to race different types of go karts that will be a lot slower. Recreational go karts found at neighborhood fun centers can offer speeds that will reach just 10 or 15 mph so there's a big range for you to decide from.

Racing motors are usually 4-stroke or 2-stroke. Different editions of the 4-stroke motor have been incredibly common within the amusement parks and fun centers, but electric motors are gaining in popularity. Electric motors are perfect for family amusement centers for several reasons. They're terribly inexpensive to maintain and operate, and only require a recharge when their juice gets low. There is no need to fill them up with high-priced gasoline since they obtain their power from long-lasting batteries. And gas motors experience a lot more mechanical troubles and as a result electric engines are cheaper to maintain. Plus, there are two disadvantages to electric motors. They do not have as much power and they have to have their batteries recharged after about twenty minutes of racing.

Top manufacturers of 4-stroke go kart engines are Tecumseh, Honda, and Briggs and Stratton. These companies build low-powered motors that can turn out somewhere between 5 and 20 hp. These motors are typically used by novice racers or in family amusement centers. But do not let the little amount of horse power fool you; a number of these engines can propel a go kart at speeds as much as 50 mph. 50 mph might appear slow after going 70 mph in your automobile on the interstate, but once you get out on the track it's an entirely new ballgame.

Producing about 50 hp is not out of the question with a 4-stroke motor. These motors can run at up to 11,000 rpm (revolutions per minute) and are often used in various National Championship class races, but if you want to race at top speeds you will need to dig up a 2-stroke engine. Some 2-stroke motors can produce as little as 10 hp or fewer, but some can also turn out 90 hp or more at 16,000 rpm. Speeds around 160 mph can be achieved with these robust 2-stroke motors.

Engines have come a long way over the years. Most older karts were air-cooled, but as speeds improve most motors of today are water-cooled. A number of the less powerful 4-stroke motors are still cooled with air, but the top hp engines are generally water-cooled. With the numerous differences in power, there is an engine out there that is perfect for you, regardless of what sort of racing you want to do.

Go to GoKartTires.Org and locate handy info about a variety of go kart topics such as choosing the best go kart tires, how to get the best prices on cheap go karts, and important info about go kart engines.

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