Which Type of Kart is Right for You?
When considering getting involved in kart racing, it is important to keep in mind a few basic things:
- The age of the driver competing (aka you, or perhaps your child, relative, etc.)
- Your realistic budget
- Your competitive goals, and ambitions
Here, CKT has outlined the 3 main sizes of karts. Each kart has a ‘chassis’ size, which is the core structure of the kart. For more information on how karting is structured by age, consider checking out our comprehensive and detailed resource on the subject, “Karting 101” as well as our 2020 Racing Classes page.
A key definition to understand the following information: the term ‘wheelbase’ is used to determine the spacing between the wheels on many vehicles. On a kart, this measurement is made in a straight line from the centerline of the front wheel, to the centerline of the rear wheel. For ease of measurement, CKT recommends measuring from the center of the kingpin of the front spindle, to the middle of the rear axle, as this is the straightest line to measure. Calipers can be used to determine axle diameter, then halved to find radius for most accurate measurement if you so desire.
Determining the Right Kart Chassis Size For You
- Kid Kart chassis are small in stature, roughly ‘1/2’ scale of a true full size kart chassis.
- These chassis are designed to fit smaller drivers, usually ages 5 to 8.
- Most Kid Kart chassis have a wheelbase between 700 and 850mm. If you find a chassis with a larger wheelbase than this, it may not be a Kid Kart chassis, therefore inappropriate for this category or age range of drivers. To most experienced karters, it would be quite hard to confuse a Kid Kart for a cadet, but easy for beginners.
- Cadet chassis are medium sized, roughly ‘3/4’ scale of a true full size chassis
- Typically, these chassis fit a driver aged 8-12. The exact brand, type, and size of cadet chassis varies somewhat, depending on year and model.
- Most cadet karts have a wheel base between 900 and 1010mm. While not universal, many cadet chassis wheelbases are almost exactly 950mm, hence why some people may refer to a cadet as a ‘950’ chassis. Although much more rare, 1010mm wheelbase chassis are legal for cadet category competition. However, anything longer in wheelbase than this is not allowed. If you find or consider a kart for use that has a wheelbase larger than 1010mm, it may not be used for cadet categories or drivers.
- Full size chassis are, appropriately, the largest category of chassis available for common karting competition.
- Typically, these chassis will fit most drivers aged 12 and older. For some drivers, the 1010mm chassis fits slightly better, which is why it is allowed for the Junior 2 category (and only this category, and Junior 1 cadet, Junior 1).
- Most full size karts have a wheelbase between 1200 and 1450mm. If you are considering a kart with a smaller wheelbase than 1300mm, consider contacting CKT, as most will not be allowed to be used in full-size karting classes.