Newbie motor question

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    Me and a couple of friends have been doing the ‘research’ thing on karting. They’ve bit the bullet and bought in to the hobby. I’m a little short of cash at the moment, so the research has to carry me for now.

    I’ve noticed that the Honda motors are rather popular as a low-strung, long lived motor, and it’s got some interesting chinese knock-off ( possibilities.

    What I haven’t seen yet, is the use of Honda’s v-twin motor in karting. (

    Knowing that karting is all about weight and balance, is this motor too heavy for what it brings to the table or what? (Or have I just not seen enough karts out there yet?)

    Rodney Ebersole

    Rocketsled, The hobby of karting does take many forms. If you want to race karts agaianst other people locally you should get a look at what is being used as far as motors and rules.
    I have seen just about every motor made bolted onto a go kart. But do take a good look at what you would end up with. A one off kart with no one to race against. Also I think the track record at IMI is with a 125 cc shifter. I have seen some pretty big contraptions go onto the race track and turn slower times than a race preped stock briggs.
    The twin honda or cloan will weigh in around 100 pounds and a traditional single cylinder less than 50 pounds. The stock industrial motors you mention are designed for low rpm use. Plan on spending the price of the motor again to get them working in a wider power band with more power than the factory label. The animal mod class running at IMI starts out as a 5.5 HP industrial OHV. with a recommended 3800 rpm once they have been built for racing they turn 8000–9000 rpm’s and make about 16-20 HP
    Keep in mind when racing a clutched kart with out gears to shift or even with gears to shift, the amount of rpm’s obtainable become rather important.
    If you want a good kart racing motor with 2 cylinders check out the Bilands. I would bet the amount of money spent on an industrial motor would be the same as a Biland after you figure track time,modifications, maintinance and repair.
    Of coarse thats not to say you couldn’t have some fun buying a clone motor, bolting on an old kart and race it around a track. Go to IMI or Bandimere and rent a honda and then the biland or leopard and see.


    Thanks for your insites, Freeze, I figured this was the case. I’m 6’6″, 260 lbs (270 after turkeyday) So I have no illusions of being competitive in class. I also figured with this being my first kart, that it wouldn’t be my LAST if I decided to stick with the hobby, kart #2 would be the one I’d spec for any kind of racing class.

    I’m also noting the difference, not only in different rental karts (Action karting and IMI) but the difference between a rental and a private owned kart is another big jump.

    Taylor Broekemeier

    I assume you’re planning on getting a clutch kart (non-shifter), which in your case is the right move. I wouldn’t recommend a shifter to start because they are so much point and shoot rather than say a TaG kart that teaches you how much more important driving is over the engine.
    I would recommend for you the TaG masters class. You have the choice of what engine to run, whether it be the torque monster of the Biland or any of I think 7 or 8 two stroke engines. Besides that, the guys that race that class are second to none when it comes to comradery and helpfulness. If you’re looking at running a 4 stroke such as the Briggs, then you must note that where you can race will be limited. First decide on what level you want to race, you can race just a club series at IMI or CRE or Grand Junction or the Colorado Sprint Championship (CSC).



    Thanks for recommending the Tag Master Class-we need more in our division.

    Rocketsled: no comparision between rentals and the real things. if you ask at IMI or Bandi they will rent ya a tag kart that is 27-30 hp or Shifter at 40+ hp. That is what you should do before buying one.



    If you are looking at a good buy on a used kart, Garett P has two CRG Rotax packages for sale with additional spares. You might attempt to meet him at a track and take one for a test spin. I’m not sure how you could stretch the kart to match your height. There are plenty of smart tall karters who will provide this info.

    If the Rotax engine has a “passport,” you could run the RMax challenge Master class at CRE (min weight is 400 pounds). If not, run IMI’s club Master’s class (min SKUSA weight was 395 pounds and no seal required). You should be close to the minimum weight without adding weight to the kart.

    Finally, if you just want to bang tires with your friends, the Rotax could let you do that. If you want a little more reliability, look at the Briggs and Stratton Animal or World Formula. It is a slower kart, but has plenty of torque to get off the turns.

    I hope you fulfill your racing dream!


    Thanks for the feedback, guys! I think what I’m looking for is just a bunch of cheap laps. I have no illusions of being competitive, nor do I have the time to make a commitment to running a season’s worth of races. (Twin 3 year old boys tend to suck up a LOT of time!) Could the kids eventually have a future in the sport? Wouldn’t be the WORST thing to happen! 😀

    So far, I’ve liked the 4 stroke motor at Bandimere for the torque out of the corners, but I can’t honestly say I gave the leopard a fair test (due to rain). The rentals at IMI were a hoot (IIRC, there were maybe thee corners where I had to lift off the throttle), but again, I’m still working with carts that I don’t fit very well in.

    Further, since I don’t plan on being competitive, I don’t plan on falling into the racing through pocketbook trap. Hey, if I’m turning better and better times against myself, and the kart is responding to my tuning, I’m happy.

    I’ve been shying away from the sealed motor as I like wrenching on stuff. I’v also heard that a motor’ll go 65-70 hours before a teardown, with headwork at half that interval, but I haven’t heard what those costs are…anybody got a ballpark?

    All this said, I’ve got a sizeable financial commitment or two I’ve gotta handle before taking the leap. Which means this is the fact-finding phase of the hobbby…but I’d much rather wear out a kart’s parts than my hotrods’!



    You are sounding more and more like a 4-stroker.

    I put 27 hrs on my new rotax motor took it in and all it needed was a ring total cost $100. I will be sending in my motor soon to get refreshed and I will ask for:

    new ring, piston, check the bottom end seals, reeds, etc and expect a cost of ~$300 That is after I put 30 hrs total on motor this yr.

    On my first rotax motor took it in after 20 hrs and all it needed was a ring. The next summer the crank went and it cost me $400.

    So it can vary. As to like wrenching on the motor, that is not for me. That just drives up the costs

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