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What is a go kart? A small low motor vehicle with four wheels and an open framework; used for racing or recreational fun. It can also be called a kart and there are many different styles and types. There are small electric and gas powered gokarts, some with open frames, some with roll cages for safety and others have fiberglass enclosures built around a frame to copy or mimic larger vehicles.
Learn Go Kart Basics:
Karts were initially created in the United States in the 1950s post-war period by airmen as a way to pass spare time. Art Ingels is generally accepted to be the father of karting. He built the first kart in Southern California in 1956. Karting has rapidly spread to other countries, and it currently has a large following in Europe.
The go cart is popular for 'kids' of ALL ages. Even though it's technically a sort of machine or powered, wheeled vehicle,
it's still considered a toy simply for the amount of fun you can have on one!
The chassis is an extremely important element of the kart, as it must provide, via flex, the equivalent of a rear wheel differential. Without this, the inside rear wheel of a kart would cause very difficult problems during a turn. This is called inside wheel lift and is needed as otherwise due to the lack of a differential it would be hard to break the karts forward momentum. Karts typically have no suspension, and are usually no bigger than is needed to mount a seat for the driver and a small engine. Chassis construction is normally of a tubular construction, typically steel, with different grades and diameters of tubing as well as their actual configuration offering different amounts of flexibility.
Kart chassis are also listed as 'open' or 'caged'. Caged carts have a roll cage surrounding the driver, and open karts
have no roll cage.
While hobby go-karts depend on gravity for propulsion, racing karts use a small engine. Several types are available, as well as differing fuel options. Gasoline 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines are the most common type, but other types of propulsion are available:
Engines running methanol or other alcohol-based fuels
Pressurized gas, using a cylinder carried with the kart
Electric motors powered by kart-mounted batteries
4-stroke engines are typically standard lawn mower, generator, or even chainsaw engines, sometimes with small modifications, developing from about 5 to 20 hp (4 to 15 kW). Briggs and Stratton and Honda are manufacturers of such engines.
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Important GoKart Facts & Tips:
The design of the go-kart chassis has everything to do with how well it moves on turns and maintaining side bite. If the width of the rear rails (go-kart frames constitute front rails and rear rails) is narrow, with measurements ranging from 24¨ to 25¨ - from "kingpin" to "kingpin", the ends of the rail - it will have less side bite. Wider rails barely ever exceed 30¨ on standard go-karts. The dynamics of the front and rear rails can be effectively pictured using this example: suppose you had two bottles - a two-gallon jug and a 16 oz. Water bottle. Giving it a swift, hard poke to its side - which container has the best chance of tipping to its side? If you guessed the water bottle, you guessed right! Wider rails provide stability and "foundation" while turning, reducing the side bite overall.
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