There is more variation in top speed for 200cc karts than you might realize, and these are some of the most impressive go-karts you’ll see racing on the track. This may leave you wondering just how fast a 200cc go-kart can go.
A 200cc go-kart will reach a top speed of close to 120 mph (193 kph) if it’s a 2-stroke kart, and a 4-stroke 200cc go-kart will reach 75 mph (120 kph). The top speed of a 200cc go-kart depends greatly on whether its engine is a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke, as they displace power differently.
Below, we’ll take a look at some example top speeds of 200cc go-karts while also considering what makes them so fast. We’ll also discuss the differences between 2-stroke and 4-stroke go-karts, and then we’ll mention which 200cc karts we think are best.
4 Example Speeds Of 200cc Go-Karts
|CRG Road Rebel||Modified Lifan 200cc 5-Speed||115 mph / 185 kph|
|Tony-Kart Racer 401R||Honda GC2009||110 mph / 177 kph|
|Birel Art AM29-S11||World Series Briggs||71 mph / 114 kph|
|Top Kart SR30.1||World Series Briggs Engine||69 mph / 111 kph|
2-Stroke vs 4-Stroke
The variations between the speeds of the karts in the table above will make sense when I point out that the modified Lifan 200cc and Honda GC2009 engines are 2-stroke karts. And to accomplish the higher speeds, the karts need to be properly tweaked and tuned to allow for it. Otherwise, you’ll have constantly spinning tires as the torque proves to be too much for the kart to get traction and go!
This is why the 200cc 4-stroke engines are much preferred, even if their top speeds aren’t as racy as the 2-stroke varieties. Even 125cc 2-stroke engines have better top speeds than the World Series 200cc variety!
When too much speed will equal getting stuck on the starting line, it’s easy to see why lower displacement engines or 4-stroke 200cc engines are often chosen instead.
Not As Popular
Compared to other race series, such as the highly popular 125cc brackets, the 200cc classification in general is rather niche. This is due to the fact that, unless you make a base kart with the right weight, a 2-stroke 200cc engine will produce too much torque and make racing near-useless.
Because of this, you’ll find far more racing series within the 4-stroke category, specifically with the World Series engine made by Briggs & Stratton. It’s a popular one due to the cheap entry prices and overall affordable engine package. Maintenance costs are some of the lowest in the field of go-karting.
2-Stroke vs 4-Stroke Kart Engine: Why The Speed Difference?
Simply put, go-karts are too lightweight for a 2-stroke 200cc engine to be super effective. The weight-speed balance is drastically thrown off when you put an engine designed for small motorcycles or far heavier karts (think the buggy/off-road variety) onto a standardized sprint rig.
So, while 2-stroke engines with lower displacements, such as 100cc or 125cc are very popular, you’ll never see a 2-stroke 200cc category at any track except maybe for fun. As for why 2-strokes generate more raw power than their 4-stroke cousins, we have to look at the innards of the engines.
The Combustion Cycle
When comparing 2-stroke karts to 4-stroke karts, the main difference is in how the engine handles the combustion cycle. 4-stroke engines complete four up and down movements of the piston per combustion cycle (i.e. it takes 2 up strokes and 2 down strokes per ‘bang’ to produce power).
A 2-stroke engine produces power every two strokes (i.e. one up and one down stroke), meaning it produces power twice as fast (roughly) as a 4-stroke engine. This means they’re generally more powerful, but a bit too powerful for many karts. They’re also a bit less efficient and they wear faster.
4-Stroke Is More Common
With a 200cc engine displacement, one of the highest you’ll see for race karts, a 4-stroke is better at properly outputting that power for a kart’s lightweight composition.
If you want to take place in ranked kart racing, you’ll need to purchase a 4-stroke 200cc engine, such as the World Series made by Briggs, because there won’t be any 2-stroke race series out there.
It’s too finicky of a process to calculate the weight of the chassis and tune the engine for it to work. You can’t guarantee that every driver will do the same, nor are there standards to meet like there are in normal kart racing series. There are too many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’, plus no real interest in that engine category.
KEY POINTS• 200cc karts typically reach about 75 mph, although 2-stroke karts can go 120+ mph
• 2-strokes are incredible powerful and very quick
• You’ll generally only find 4-stroke racing series at the 200cc level
What To Look For In A 200cc Go-Kart
As I’ve talked about at length, a 2-stroke 200cc go-kart is basically a no-go except for your personal enjoyment. Because of this, I’ll look at what you should be searching for in a 4-stroke 200cc go-kart, and it’s much the same as when you’re buying any kart.
Chassis that are made for 200cc classifications are pretty rare, so make sure to speak with people at your local kart track to make sure there’s a scene for this kind of racing before trying to buy one. Most top kart manufacturers will design chassis that are good for 4-stroke racing series, so those would be the ones you should look at.
As well as checking to see if the 4-stroke World Series races are running in your area, you should also check to see what kart dealerships are nearby. You don’t want to order a special Birel Art 4-stroke chassis only to find out there’s nowhere you can rely on to have spare parts in your immediate vicinity!
I’d recommend picking out a kart with 32 mm moly tubing as opposed to 30 mm moly tubing, simply because the former will be stronger and sturdier than the latter. 4-stroke engines are pretty heavy pieces of kit, so you need a kart that can handle it!
Check The Wear Plate
If you’re buying second-hand, ask to look under the kart to check out its wear plate. Go-kart chassis are made out of tubing and not much else, so it’s very important to make sure the tubes aren’t being worn down.
If the chassis protector plate underneath looks good, you count on a structurally-sound kart. If the plate looks badly damaged, it might point to some hard wear on the tubes themselves.
What Kart Would I Purchase?
If I had to choose, I’d go for the Birel Art AM29-S11. This chassis is specifically designed to run with 4-stroke engines, with a mixture of moly tubing for both stability and speed. As a manufacturer, Birel Art is reputable and designed for racers, with many Formula 1 drivers being known to use these karts.
The kart itself will be easier to tune and tweak than many others, so you could even achieve some slightly better top speeds depending on the track you race on and how light you can make your kart.
The World Series is also one of the most affordable racing series out there. For my area, there’s quite the competitive following due to the low entry prices for kart chassis and the complete engine package, so it would be easy to get into races with this kart as well.
200cc go-karts usually have a top speed of around 75 mph (120 kph) if they’re using a 4-stroke engine, although 2-stroke 200cc go-karts can reach top speeds of closer to 120 mph (193 kph). 2-stroke 200cc karts are rare, and you’ll generally only see racing series at this level for 4-strokes.
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