Lower engine displacement categories are ideal for young kart drivers, and the 60cc bracket is one of the most exciting, competitive race series in the States! So, it’s pretty important to know the speeds of karts in this engine category.
What is the top speed of a 60cc go-kart? 60cc go-karts can reach between 50mph and 60mph. This depends heavily on track conditions, driver weight and engine type (Micro or Mini), plus a whole host of other variables.
Speed is exciting and important, but there’s more to karting that I think you’ll want to know! Like how the 60cc racing bracket fits between 50cc and 100cc, since this is quite a common question. Let me delve into my karting know-how to discuss everything in detail!
Example Speeds Of 60cc Go-Karts
Although they’re only ball-park figures, it’s very handy to be able to look at a concrete number when thinking about speed potential. As such, I’ve scoured the current racing kart market and picked out a number of chassis with engines to match that’ll give you some insight into how fast these karts can go:
- CRG Hero, Mini RoK Vortex Engine – 56mph
- Tony Kart Rookie USA, Rotax Mini Max Engine – 59mph
- Birel ART CL C28-S11, IAME Micro Swift Engine – 50mph
- Top Kart SR28.2, Micro RoK Vortex Engine – 51mph
- Margay Brava 60, IAME Mini Swift Engine – 54mph
It’s quite easy to see the variation between these karts, but otherwise, they all fall within the parameters for top speed as I outlined before. There is, however, quite a big reason as to why there’s a rather notable difference between something like the IAME Micro Swift and the Rotax Mini Max, for example.
It all comes down to a difference in word: Micro or Mini.
Within 60cc karting, there is quite a large age bracket. A change was introduced to accommodate for this by using different engines to keep competitions fairer across the board. 60cc engines are used most commonly for Cadet karting, the step-up after Kid karting, so they’ll be starting off aged 7.
Technically, Cadet karting includes all kids aged 7 to 12 (dependent on the area), and there are two sub-categories within this wide bracket: Micro (age 7-9) and Mini (age 9-12).
The Micro engines are still 60cc, but are slightly limited in their top speed as not to jump the gun too much for young drivers. The top speeds drivers would be used to in kid karting are in the realms of 40mph, after all, so jumping straight to 60mph would be quite the shock!
And when you reach the Mini engines, they have the slight limiters removed for full-power 60cc racing!
Top Speed Isn’t Everything!
It’s pretty easy to look at the list given above and choose the Tony Kart chassis paired with the Rotax engine, due to it boasting the highest top speed. But as with any motorsport, how fast you go isn’t the only important thing to worry about!
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For one, Rotax doesn’t fit within the realms of normal Cadet karting which is otherwise dominated by the IAME and RoK race series. Due to how technically advanced Rotax engines are, they fetch a high price tag and the racing bracket which includes these bits of kit are no joke when it comes to expenses.
Depending on where you live specifically, there might not even be Rotax race series that happen! And then you’ll be stuck with a Rotax engine kart that can’t compete in races.
By comparison, IAME and RoK engines are fan favorites within the world of karting due to how reliable they are and how much more mechanic-friendly each one is. No matter where you go in the United States, you’re bound to find a race following for these, and you’ll be able to find replacement parts with ease if things go wrong due to a high dealership presence.
And if you’re pretty handy with engines or you know somebody who is, you can squeeze more top speed out of these otherwise lower horsepower engines!
All it takes is a collection of tune-ups, all the while balancing your kart chassis against it and not going too far all at once. It’s a tricky balance between speed and too much engine torque, trust me.
As somebody who loves high speeds and the thrill of it, especially since I’ve been racing karts since my 5th birthday, I understand why the top speed list would draw you to the fastest rig. But especially since I’ve been racing and seen both sides of the coin, you should absolutely weigh up all of your options first before setting your heart on something!
Consider what your budget for buying a kart plus racing it will be. Look at which race series in the 60cc bracket are popular in your area and run consistently. Think about how much you could handle when it comes to engine fixes and maintenance.
All of that should come before the highest speed on the table, that’s for sure.
The 60cc Bracket: Where Does It Fit Between 50cc And 100cc?
I’ve already talked about how 60cc racing is primarily for Cadet racers, between the ages of 7 and 12, but I’m sure that you guys have some questions about its place specifically between kid karting and the first major adult karting bracket.
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As I previously mentioned, 50cc kart racing is for kids; aged 5 to 7. It’s the ideal level for an introduction into karting with competitive speeds once your kid gets more comfortable as a racer. A lot of rental karts also have 50cc engines, just unrestricted to hit slightly higher speeds than the 30-40mph average.
On the other hand, 100cc is considered to be a sort of beginner adult karting bracket. Kart chassis are typically more lightweight than normal Senior-level karts, and the engines have a slightly lower displacement that gives them a more approachable feel when compared to 125cc brackets.
It might seem like quite a jump in displacement between 60cc and 100cc, especially looking at how close 50cc and 60cc are comparatively, but this is simply down to how manufacturers make engines. Couple that with how higher displacement engines are made to properly power varying-sized karts, and it begins to make more sense.
With 100cc fitting into the adult category, or even experienced Cadets, you can expect that the drivers will be bigger than your average 7 to 12-year-olds. This means that the kart will be bigger and heavier to accommodate for that, and it’s why there’s a big jump in displacement compared to Kid and Cadet karts.
Think about it, how much do most kids grow between the ages of 5 and 7? Not astronomical amounts, and as such, Cadet karts are only marginally bigger to reflect this.
With there being various experience-level race series within the Cadet classification, the 60cc bracket is perfect for properly honing a young driver’s abilities. There’s a lot of racing to be had in this wide bracket, after all, and it’s considered to be key to their later success.
What To Look For In A 60cc Go-Kart
This is quite the tricky thing to offer advice on because picking your own rig is a highly personal process. Some people are looking for entirely lightweight chassis, others want some cutting-edge features that can give an edge in a race, and all sorts else.
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Specifically, when buying a 60cc go-kart, you should always make sure that it has the capacity to be fitted with both a Micro and a Mini engine, else you’ll be buying two karts as a Cadet racer progresses in age.
There aren’t many cases in which kart chassis designed for Cadets won’t be able to have both engines fitted, but you should always double-check!
More than anything, do some research on which kart manufacturers and dealers are located nearby. Look into the company’s background and what they focus on when making their karts for the general public.
It’s important to pick a chassis made by a manufacturer who has a location nearby, because getting spare parts will be far easier than always resorting to online guessing games! That, and you can get a rapport with people in your area to help fix issues or otherwise geek out about your kart, which is all part of the fun.
What Kart Would I Purchase?
Although my Cadet kart racing days are far behind me, looking at all of these chassis and engines have brought back those times and I can’t help but dream of having raced in one of them!
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I’d happily snap up any of the karts I outlined above, especially since I’ve previously raced in IAME, RoK and Rotax race series alike.
However, if I were to pick only one out of the selection, I’d go for the Birel ART CL C28-S11. Sure, it may have the lowest top speed of the bunch, but it’s a highly flexible chassis that can be fitted with Micro or Mini engines alike, which opens its top speed window much wider!
Birel ART have forged a lot of partnerships with famous racing drivers over the years, and the CL line was founded and designed alongside Charles Leclerc, the Formula One driver. He raced karts competitively throughout his early life, and was able to get up on the rungs of the motor racing ladder thanks to Birel ART’s young driver program, so he knows exactly what needs to go into a good kart.
It can be fitted with either IAME engines or RoK engines, too, so its true potential can be reached in more ways than one!
With sleek looks, powerful hydraulic brakes, and an entirely renewed chassis geometry for maximum aerodynamics, it’s a complete racing machine. If you round off all that with either an IAME or RoK engine, both renowned for reliability, the CL C28-S11 is a truly formidable bit of kit!
There we have it! A look at five different karts with different engines, checking out the variables of speed you can achieve within the 60cc bracket. But, as I mentioned before, speed isn’t the be-all-and-end-all, because you can always tune an old favorite to compete with even the best of the best!
I hope that this article was informative for you, and that you’re excited to pick out a 60cc kart for that Cadet racer in your life.