Buying A Kart (Australia)

2010

There are lots of schools of thought about buying a Kart, these are just a few of our opinions. When buying, it is a good idea to think of the kart in two separate parts. The Engine and The Chassis. People usually don’t sell engines on chassis
Second Hand.

New Chassis

If you decide on buying a new Kart your choices are usually European Or Australian. This process is a lot like buying a car in so much as European is bandied around as better quality and engineering. This is true in some respects but can be misleading. For example would you say an Audi is a better car than a HSV Senator. In my opinion I would take the Senator. Also another thing to take into account is that Australian karts are built for our track conditions where as European karts are built for European conditions. Having said that our conditions are fast becoming like European conditions. Confused yet ?. Its quiet simple really. Have a look at the workmanship and quality for yourself, Go to your local track and see whats around and whats winning. Also you will have to take into account that European karts are up to $1000 dearer than Australian karts. So if you are on a Budget this could be a factor. One important thing to look for in purchasing a new kart is SERVICE. Remember you are a beginner and are going to need help in how the kart works. Look for someone who goes to races or has drivers they might sponsor who will give you tips and advice.

If you are buying a new kart we will assume you are buying a new engine as well. You can’t really go wrong with a new engine and the dealer will tell you best how to set it up. If you are going to buy a second hand engine read the second hand section below.

One final note don’t be scared to buy a new kart because you think you will wreck it. Whilst you can wipe a kart out, to do enough damage to make it unusable you would be spending a good spell in hospital, and this vary rarely happens. The point being your normal run of the mill spins, scrapes and such will usually amount to no more than a bit of side pod damage or bent parts which can all be replaced, wether second hand or new the replacement cost is the same.

Second Hand Chassis

You can always find a good bargain in second hand karts, some are just that and some are not. There are a few things to take into consideration when buying second hand. If you are going to buy second hand and are going to be taking the sport fairly seriously, I would suggest not looking at anything over 2 or 3 years old. The reason being that chassis engineering is always improving with each model. Although the rate of development is not as rapid as in other forms of Motorsports i.e. motorbikes or cars, you will notice the difference between a 3 year old chassis to a newer model. The trade of is that the older they get the cheaper they get, so if your intentions are for a bit of fun you can’t really go that wrong. Remember to think to the future though what you might think is going to be a bit of fun can soon turn into a serious competitive sport.

A couple of other thing to look out for in a used kart are. Does the seat fit you. If not you will need one $100 to $140, does the kart need new tyres. If so $190 does any part look like it needs to be replaced? So you can see for the money you might have to spend getting it up to your quality could be just as well spent putting it towards a new kart. This is a decision only you can make but its worth keeping this in mind.

When looking at a used kart look for general straightness. By this we mean steering shafts, axle, bearing carriers, tie rods, etc. Don’t worry to much about things like missing paint and scratches. It is impossible to own a kart for more than a race meeting without ending up with a few of these souvenirs, no matter how good you are. Powder coating is cheap and lot of people get this done before they sell it.

Good bargain hunting tips are. Chassis that are less than six months old and around $800 cheaper than new price. This usually means a spouse has put the foot down and something has to go or someone has had enough and is moving on. You can sometimes pick up good race team chassis as they turn their karts over pretty regularly.

New Engines

New engines are pretty self explanatory. They are new as such should be legal and ready to race. If you are serious about being competitive though you would be looking at getting a new engine Blueprinted this will set you back anywhere up to $500.  If buying a new engine it would be a good idea to talk to a dedicated engine builder. Shop around and ask around about who is a good builder in your area. To be honest there aren’t to many bad ones or otherwise in a smallish business like this they would not get much work. Go to tracks and ask around and look at who’s engines are winning. Always remember if your down the track, ask questions . Its your money and you want to be spending wisely.

Second Hand Engines

People will in the industry will usually recommend you don’t buy a second hand engine unless you can be VERY sure it meets the AKA legal requirements. As a rule when people have a good engine they don’t sell it, but there are always exceptions to that rule. You will have to use instinct a bit here. If the person is selling the engine for a good reason (other than its slow) They would not hesitation in telling you who their engine builder is. After you find out who that is give them a call and ask about the engine. They should be able to dispel any worries. If the person has 4 engines sitting on their bench and is not retiring from the sport you could be pretty sure you are getting a slow one, they don’t sell winning engines.

Miscellaneous Accessories

Before I start this list I should point out that one of the benefits of buying second hand can be that you get some of these things for thrown in with the deal. The list below might look a bit scary, but most of the equipment purchases can be spread out over a bit of time.

Here are a list of things you will need to go racing:

  • Race Suit
  • Helmet
  • Boots
  • Trolley
  • Trailer
  • Selection of Sprockets
  • Tools around $100 for specialty tools
  • Tacho

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