Looking at a shifter kart

80Jr and Sr, 125 Senior, Stock and Masters

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Justin Hudson
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:23 am

Looking at a shifter kart

Post by Justin Hudson » Tue Sep 30, 2014 4:08 pm

I have been thinking of buying a shifter kart to start a new hobby but I have no clue what the cost will be per race or what class would be a good starter class. I have a possible trade deal for a kart with a 125cc Honda engine but the guy who has it knows nothing about it and it does come with a stand. Any input and guidance would be appreciated. Thanks in advance

Patrick Roth
The master poster
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:47 am

Re: Looking at a shifter kart

Post by Patrick Roth » Wed Oct 01, 2014 8:12 am

Justin,

Glad to see your interest in the sport! It's a fun and addicting! I will do my best to answer some of your questions but your best bet would be to stop by the track on a race day or maybe meet up with someone on a practice day.

In terms of where to start, depending on your age, a natural progression into the sport is to start with a 4-cycle class known as a Chonda (there is a move to a Briggs LO206 which will likely be voted on in January). The 4-cycle class is the least expensive way to get out there and get some experience. For roughly $2000-$2500 you can find a used chassis with a motor (you still need some money to buy safety gear which you should be able to pick up for ~$600). Tires in this class last a long time and I would estimate a set of tires to last 3-6 months (tires cost around $225/set).

Once you have a feel for whether you like the sport, the next step would be into a 125cc TaG motor which jumps the horsepower from 6.5 to 28. It's still a single speed, centrifugal clutch, but the speeds are much higher. TaG motors can be bought used for ~$2000 (I bought my first used TaG chassis/motor combo for $4000 which is a good ballpark). This class goes through tires much more often and when I was in this class I averaged a new set of tires at least once/month. It also is a step up in fuel cost as the Chonda class used pump gas while TaG uses race fuel at roughly $75 for 5 gallons (plus cost for the oil to add since TaG motors are 2 cycle).

The ultimate in speed and acceleration class is the shifters (~38 HP). A shifter kart requires front brakes so the chassis is more expensive (a nice used shifter chassis/motor package can be found for $6000-$8000). The fuel is approximately the same cost as a TaG (burn more fuel but use less oil). I burn through tires more than the Tag so I average 1.5-2 sets of tires per month. The nice thing about the motors are they are Honda's which are easy to work on, durable, and parts are easy to find. While most people say the Honda motor is less expensive in terms of maintenance, I think it is pretty much a wash as even the durable Honda has it's failure points. The shifter class is a tough one to start in not only because they are a challenge to drive (they are a heck of a lot of fun!) but the competition is made up of people who have moved up through the ranks and usually have years of experience and 1000's of laps under their belt. I'm not saying don't start here, but it may take a while to become competitive.

All of these classes require maintenance of which I'll be happy to walk you through once you have a better feel for a class that peaks your interest. Please feel free to email me at proth0303@gmail.com or call me at 630-453-0834 if you have more specific questions. There are a lot of little details to consider of which would be best discussed over the phone.

Patrick

Justin Hudson
Posts: 2
Joined: Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:23 am

Re: Looking at a shifter kart

Post by Justin Hudson » Wed Oct 01, 2014 1:38 pm

Thanks for the info. Is there any chassis that are off brand that are really cheap? In my case I have an atv that I may trade for a shifter but I am not sure of the value of the kart. The guy that has it does not know anything about it either. How many races should I get out of a rebuild typically? I am 25 years old and just looking for a hobby for a couple weekends a month.

Patrick Roth
The master poster
Posts: 149
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 5:47 am

Re: Looking at a shifter kart

Post by Patrick Roth » Wed Oct 01, 2014 2:17 pm

There are so many brands of karts out there. Some of the biggest brand names are CRG, Birel, Tony Kart, and Intrepid (there are plenty out there, these are the ones that come to mind as having a relatively big local presence). CRG and Birel are supported by the local shops so this is always what I would recommend but these are by no means "off brands".

Here's a link to the EKN constructors championship to give you an idea of other names of kart brands. After about #20, the brands are ones that I have rarely, if ever, seen at GCKI or surrounding race tracks.

http://ekartingnews.com/2014/09/09/ekn- ... ptember-9/

If you end up with an old chassis and/or an unknown brand there is always the risk of not being able to find parts. Just recently a gentleman acquired an older kart with a Yamaha shifter motor and struggled because the brake parts were hard to find (spent a ton of $$$ getting his brake issues fixes) and the Yamaha motor isn't used in many, if any, series in the US (no one runs a Yamaha at GCKI). He ended up buying a Tony Kart and putting a TaG motor on it.

With that being said, the stock moto Honda (also known as a CR125) is a very popular motor. I currently run one of these and I replace the top end every 8-10 hours and plan do to a bottom end at ~50 hours. I'm at the track 3-4 times per month (a lot) and on average I put a top end in every 3 months. The parts bill is about $100 for a top end and is very easy to do (suggest spending a little money on specialty tools to make it easier, maybe $50). The bottom end is about $500 in parts and I have yet to do one myself but if you are mechanically inclined and patient, it doesn't look very hard. If you are going to the track a couple times a month and don't get too crazy in jetting (meaning leaning it out to the ragged edge), you should be okay with a top end around 6-12 months and a bottom end several years away (from the last know bottom end rebuild).

If you send me pictures of the kart I might be able to help you out. If not, I know some really old guys that might be able to help fill in the blanks. Usually there is a metal tag riveted to the chassis on one of the cross rails behind the seat. Take a close look to see if you can't find one (may not be there).

Ken Snider
Loud Mouth Poster
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Jun 12, 2014 11:40 am
Location: Missouri City, TX

Re: Looking at a shifter kart

Post by Ken Snider » Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:15 am

That is a great delivery of information - Patrick. Very well explained and bases covered in a nut shell right there.
Ken Snider - X30 Master

Jean Michel Gaston
The master poster
Posts: 207
Joined: Fri Mar 04, 2011 9:13 am

Re: Looking at a shifter kart

Post by Jean Michel Gaston » Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:02 pm

there are a couple of decent looking shifters in the for sale forum right not for not a lot of money. Both are Birels with stock honda motors on them. I'd say they are pretty good deals for the hobby option. If you were to race seriously, they would need a closer look to make sure the chassis is up for it.

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