z31maniac HalfDork
10/28/08 7:06 p.m.

After going to our local karting track this past weekend (albiet not shifter karts or two-strokes or anything) I've been considering the idea of not buying another sportbike next year and buying a kart.

Either a 125cc Tag, or possibly a 125cc shifter kart. This will allow me my competition and speed fix and I'll get to keep the E30 from being thrashed at auto-x's and trackdays (although it would still occasionally see them) anyone actually have a karting background or can provide some insight?

I have a few friends who are also seriously considering it. My beater would easily handle towing a trailer with a kart and gear ('98 Z34 Monte Carlo)

I know karts are fairly maintenance heavy. Just hoping to get the opinions of those who have actually done it.

walterj HalfDork
10/28/08 8:15 p.m.

I considered this as well, but all of my racing/camping/drinking buddies are in sports cars and sedans so it would be in addition to, not in place of for me and that is probably not going to fly around here with the mrs... unless my kids get the bug - and then dad will beed one to properly teach them :)

z31maniac HalfDork
10/28/08 8:25 p.m.

Good point.

Another thing I was thinking is that in the future when I've got my stupid debt paid down and make more money, a spec class of some sort (Miata or E30, or whatever) would be fun............but a kart would be an excellent place to master my control skills and get back into the habit of wrenching on something that isn't my daily, and thus not a necessity.

My E30 is beginning to become to nice to want to thrash on a regular basis.

Jamesc2123 New Reader
10/28/08 8:55 p.m.

My dad and i fixed up a 100cc 2 stroke this summer and got it to a few kart tracks and autocrosses before the end of the season. The only part of karts which may be seen as more "maintenance heavy" is the engines, which have lifespans in hours rather than hundreds of thousands of miles like cars do though.

Other than that, maintenance is VERY easy to do and cheap as all parts are very accessible and the machines are so simple. Our kart has less than $1000 into the whole package right now and has been a lot of fun fixing up, and just stupid fun driving it. I'm lucky it requires a full face helmet, otherwise everyone would see my stupid terrified giant grin the whole time I'm in it.

fifty New Reader
10/28/08 9:17 p.m.

Buy whatever everyone is running at that track - around here it's World Formula.

carguy123 HalfDork
10/28/08 9:28 p.m.

Keep in mind it's tough on the body. Bruises after a session are the norm.

maroon92 SuperDork
10/28/08 10:19 p.m.

I will be getting one as soon as funds allow. even if I only use it for Solo, it still will be a blast.

fiat22turbo SuperDork
10/28/08 11:17 p.m.

I believe working out regularly (like professional race car drivers and MotoX riders do) will help. A proper-sized seat also helps along with a rib protector and a good neck brace.

Oh and a shifter Kart sounds great, but they are usually more difficult to learn to drive and you'd be better starting off with a slower Kart to get used to the lateral forces that the Karts can generate and how to adjust the chassis and tires to maximize them.

skierd Dork
10/29/08 12:11 a.m.

Its not that hard to learn a shifter with enough seat time, assuming you've been autocrossing for a while and have a good basic idea of how to drive. It will beat the snot out of you though, so wear a rib protector and a good neck brace. To give you an idea of the speed potential, a kart took FTD at the Solo Nationals this year. If your main priority is autocross and you have other karts in your region or plan to travel to national events, you'll need a shifter to be competitive. If your main priority is w2w karting, find out whats popular and supported at your local track(s) and get that chassis and engine combo. And seat time, lots of it, for either option.

Kart are and aren't maintenance heavy. Maintaining a kart is much like maintaining any other dedicated race car: you gotta have time to do it and you always want to show up to an event prepared to 1)run and 2)replace stuff. Everything is a wear item essentially, but most of it can be replaced quickly and easily. Stock Moto's are relatively reliable (for a kart) since its a '99 CR125 motor and pre-97 CR125 6spd transmission, parts are available at any Honda Powersports dealer too. Autocrossing only, a good motor thats taken care of should last a few years. Even in road racing, a stock moto will last most of a season. KT100's and TaG's have a significantly shorter lifespan (10-15 hours of run time) before needing a top-end rebuild at minimum (piston, ring, bearing). Tires are cheap at ~$200/set and last as long as V710's I guess? Wheels are cheap at about $200/set new. Axles get pricey, hubs are cheap, brakes are cheap, etc.

I loved my Rotax, but working full time and school full time left me with no time to race, let alone wrench. There is a definite learning curve to driving these things, gotta learn to trust the chassis/tires and get somewhat used to the acceleration and cornering power, not to mention shifting. Once I'm out of school the only thing I can see myself autocrossing is either a stock class daily driver or a shifter in F125.

DWNSHFT New Reader
10/29/08 1:51 a.m.

Well, if you like to go fast...

To go faster than a 125cc shifter kart, you can buy: 1) Formula Atlantic, low six figures 2) Indy Pro, mid six figures 3) IRL car, seven figures 4) F1 car, eight figures

You can get a good used shifter setup for mid four figures ($4-6K) and go wicked fast. Maintenance seems to be failry easy, but frequent. Carb jetting is something you will have to delve into. You simply can't measure the grin factor. It is a more honest driving experience than any other thing I have ever driven, including an Ariel Atom. In other words, there is nearly nothing between you and the raw speed. Lamborghinis feel slow after my kart.

If you want to race wheel-to-wheel, go to your local kart track and see what the competition races; there is little shifter action in Phoenix.

No, a kart is not a replacement for a track car. But it's easily 80% of a track car, and a track car is only 40% of a shifter kart, as the kart is so much faster and more raw.

The flip side is, if you want to race karts competitively, be prepared to spend silly money. Multiple friends of mine spent less racing Spec Miata than 125 shifters.

Good luck!


ncjay New Reader
10/29/08 10:09 a.m.

There is nothing that has a better fun to dollar ratio than a shifter kart. If you live in an area where shifter karts are popular, you'll get plenty of seat time. It does seem like more and more people are using shifter karts for autocrossing.

rob_lewis GRM+ Memberand Dork
10/29/08 11:32 a.m.

Finding out what runs locally is probably the most important step. You don't want to buy something you find out later you can't get parts for and can't really race against each other. Our local track had a NasKart class that was a Birel enduro chassis with a Honda 4-stroke motor. The karts were darn near bulletproof and easy to work on. Plus, the racing was always pretty evenly matched, which made for fun racing and great spectating.


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