Choosing the best 100cc go-kart can seem like a daunting decision if you’re just getting started in karting or are ready to make the jump from 60cc cadet karts. That’s why we’ve put together a list of the best 100cc go-karts on the market.
The 3 best 100cc go-karts are:
- CRG Heron
- Sodi Sigma RS3
- Tony Kart 401R
Purchasing the most popular kart is a common decision, but karts behave differently depending on your driving style, and all karts offer different advantages on track. Below, we talk about what you should look for in a 100cc go-kart, before going into more detail about these 3 karts.
What To Look For In A 100cc Go-Kart
Type Of Use
The first and most important thing to decide when looking at karts is what you will be using it for. Will you just be driving it for fun, or will you be using it competitively? This can help you save a huge amount of money, both in terms of finding the right kart, and in your general maintenance of the kart.
When you’re looking at different kart manufacturers, it’s important to look at the ‘pedigree’ of the kart brand. What is their racing history? Do they have a history of winning championships, or are they a newer brand that’s looking to do things differently to everyone else? This can sway which kind of kart is best for you, as some are built to be ultra-competitive, while others may be aimed more at beginners.
Another key factor in what you need to look for in 100cc karts is what makes them different. Are they known for their top speed, braking power, or aerodynamics? This will help you to determine what you will be focusing on when you are driving the kart. This is your kart’s biggest strength and is what you’ll need to take advantage of out on track.
When buying second-hand, there are a whole lot more technicalities to look for. It is especially difficult buying a second-hand kart when you have no experience. You need to know what to look out for in terms of general wear and tear and things that could hinder your performance on track. I will dive deeper into the details of buying second-hand karts further later on.
The 3 Best 100cc Go-Karts
1. CRG Heron
The CRG Heron is my kart of choice. I have always preferred CRG karts over any other that I have driven, and my first kart was a CRG Kalifornia. The CRG suits my driving style, which is smooth rather than aggressive. CRG have been known to build fantastic karts, which is why many Formula 1 drivers start karting with them when they’re young.
This is usually also the cheapest of the three karts, which plays a huge factor in motorsport, because sticking to an often small budget is key if you want to keep racing for years to come!
CRG have heavily weighted braking systems. Most people will assume that a heavier kart is automatically slower, but that is not necessarily the case. They do have less straight-line speed, that is true. However, the heavy braking system installed on CRG chassis allows for much stronger braking power, which means later braking, faster lap times, and when it comes to it, more spectacular overtakes.
Chassis development is never ending, and with the 2020 update, CRG were still pioneering their chassis. They brought out a new version that allows for easier adjustment of the wheelbase, in terms of height and also forward and backward movement.
This is a feature that I personally find incredibly interesting. It adds an entirely new dynamic to the kart’s setup and allows for more personalization to suit your driving style. This is definitely a game-changing feature compared to the other karts in this list, and it just adds to the reasons I believe the CRG Heron to be the best 100cc go-kart on the market.
2. Sodi Sigma RS3
Sodi is a fantastic karting brand, and they have also won several karting championships with their kart designs. Sodi karts are slightly more expensive than CRG, but they offer much more expansive customer care. Sodi have recently invested hugely in more automation in their factories, which has considerably helped their design quality and output.
A huge benefit that Sodi have with their brand is that they are the leaders in rental karting. Rental karts are built to be durable and reliable. This also translates into their racing karts. Sodi karts are known to be much tougher than other brands of racing karts. This is one reason they are so popular when you go down to your local racetrack.
Simple Setup Adjustments
The Sigma RS3 has a brand-new chassis design that has drastically eased tire wear. This is great news if you want to enter endurance racing, or if you are simply karting for fun and need your tire to last longer. The new chassis also allows for much simpler setup adjustments, which is hugely beneficial for new drivers when going testing and trying to find which setup works best for them.
On top of their new chassis design, Sodi have also overhauled their braking system, which doesn’t quite rival the CRG system just yet, but is still much lighter than before. Sodi are improving their chassis rapidly and are worthy contenders for the top spot on this list. If you have a bigger budget, the Sodi Sigma RS3 could be a great purchase for you.
3. Tony Kart 401R
Tony Kart have a very competitive history, and they have a chassis that has won the World Championships 7 times. Tony Kart may not be as popular as the other two brands, and they’re certainly the most expensive of the three, but they’re still worth checking out. Tony Kart’s recent design focus has been on aerodynamics.
They have a very different approach in their aerodynamic design compared to other kart manufacturers. The nose cone and front bumper are much more round than those of other karts, adding to their aerodynamic grip through fast corners as well as straight-line speed.
In addition to the aero-focused front end, the floor of the 401R is also shaped in such a way as to direct the airflow underneath the kart much more efficiently, resulting in a huge reduction in drag. They have also improved the grip on their steering wheels, adding to the comfort factor of driving this kart.
Tony kart have also recently developed their BSD braking system, which is said to increase brake sensitivity and performance. As this is the most expensive kart on our list, the question that must be asked: is Tony Kart worth checking out over the other two?
For a beginner, I would say no, as the extra dollars can be spent elsewhere on your kart, on spare parts, or on your safety gear. For a serious competitor, I would say it depends on your driving style and if you are comfortable in the kart. You can have the most expensive kart and still not be comfortable or fast in it, so there’s a lot more to consider when choosing a 100cc rig.
How Much Maintenance Does A 100cc Go-kart Need?
Maintenance is always a crucial part of owning a kart, and it can become rather expensive. Of course, if you are racing with your kart, your maintenance will be much more thorough. It can also be a daunting task when you open the garage and you are responsible for ensuring your kart runs at optimal performance.
But it doesn’t have to be an intimidating process! Below, I will detail the major maintenance checks that you should regularly be doing on your 100cc go-kart.
The first item on your maintenance list should be to check your spark plugs. This is the quickest and easiest job to do. It is also a great indication to check if your fuel to air ratio is correct. If the mixture is too rich, you will find traces of oil on your spark plug. If it is too lean, the plug will be bone dry.
This is crucial to check regularly because your fuel mixture needs to be adjusted depending on the weather conditions, and it can have a drastic effect on your engine’s performance.
Next up on the list is the carburetor. Giving the carburetor a thorough clean before you start running your kart for the day will help keep it in good condition and keep your engine running at its best. Having already checked your spark plug, you will also know if you need to adjust the jetting in your carburetor to find those extra tenths on each lap.
The brakes are an important part of this list, but they can also be the most difficult part of your maintenance routine. However, if you keep your brakes well maintained, you can keep pulling off late braking overtakes like Daniel Ricciardo!
Firstly, you should always keep an eye on the wear levels on your brake discs and brake pads. It’s a good idea to have a spare set, because when they do wear out, there’s not much you can do.
You should bleed your brakes about once a month, although this depends on how often you race. If there is air in the system you will notice the lack of stopping power, most likely because you’ll be in the runoff area!
An easy way to test if you need to bleed your brakes is to lift the kart by the rear bumper and have someone hold down your brakes. Try to move your rear axle with the brakes being held in. If they move, your brakes will need to be bled immediately. You will also notice the resistance change in your brake pedal while you are driving if your brakes are losing their stopping power.
A quick check on your fuel line can never hurt. Fuel lines can be quite fragile, especially on second-hand karts, and can easily break, so just give them a once-over every now and then.
Check Heavy Wear Areas
Heavy wear areas always need to be checked. These areas are often overlooked, and when left unattended they can ruin a race and cost a tremendous amount of money to repair. The first heavy-wear area is the axle, which can take a lot of strain on circuits with a lot of elevation changes. Another heavy-wear element is the exhaust, which, when not checked regularly, could rust.
Oil changes need to be made on a relatively regular basis. The general timeframe is around 40 hours of engine running time. Depending on how often you use your kart, this could be either once every few weeks or once every 6 months. However, it is still advised not to leave oil in the engine for too long.
You need to check your tires very regularly, as they will lose grip after each session. Generally, they lose about three tenths to half a second per lap for every 45 minutes of hard driving.
An easy way to check the remaining tire life is using the wear indicators. These are small holes that run along the surface of the tire to show how much tread they have left. Generally, it’s wise to have an older set of tires to practice on and find your racing lines and braking points, and a new set to improve your personal best lap times.
You will then need to check your tire pressures, which are more of a performance-related element. You will see drivers constantly checking and adjusting their tire pressures to change the way the kart behaves on track, as there are definitely some performance advantages to be gained here.
Keep Your Kart Clean
Finally, keep it clean! Make sure you get all the oil and grease off the chassis and the engine. This will not only make your kart look better, but it will also help you to spot any damage that might be on the kart much easier.
How To Get A Good Deal On A 100cc Go-Kart
When buying a go-kart, you have two options, depending on what you want to do with the kart. You could buy a brand-new kart, or you could buy a second-hand kart. There are advantages and disadvantages to both.
Buying a new kart can be great because you are the first owner, and there won’t be any prior damage or accidents that you don’t know of. In other words, no surprises. However, this does come at quite a cost. If you are looking to buy a competitive kart, you will be spending around $4000 at least.
This excludes spare parts, extra tires, safety equipment, tools, and fuel. If you are investing that much money, you need to be 100% sure that you are ready for it and that you want to do it. Karting is expensive as a hobby, and even more so as a sport.
Getting a good deal on a new kart would be difficult. Your best bet would be to go to your local karting circuit and try to arrange a deal with the karting retail shops. Ordering a kart straight from the factory won’t be much cheaper either if you include the shipping costs. This might tempt you to buy second hand.
Buying Second Hand
If you are just starting out in karting or are aiming to take it up as a hobby, it is highly advisable to buy a second-hand kart. There are many used karts for sale that are in excellent condition. The benefit of buying a kart second-hand is that you will most likely be able to go and see the kart before you buy it, and if the seller is nice enough, they may even let you give it a test drive around the track.
But buying second-hand does come with risks. The kart could have a cracked chassis, which renders it practically useless. The seal on the engine could have been broken, which makes it illegal to race. Some smaller issues could be rust in the exhaust pipes, or a damaged seat, or many other things.
However, if you know what to look for, you could get a kart in good condition for a much lower price than a brand new one. In addition, you could negotiate the price down, or ask the seller to throw in a couple of extras, such as tools or cleaning equipment, or maybe even a couple of extra sets of tires, to make it an even more cost effective deal.
KEY POINTS• The best 100cc go-kart is the CRG Heron
• 100cc go-karts require fairly standard maintenance routines
• You may be able to pick up a cheap 100cc kart if you buy second-hand, but it’s not without risks
In my opinion the best 100cc go-kart to go for is the CRG Heron. They have a famous racing pedigree and are known to produce top-quality racing karts. Their karts are easy to setup and understand, spare parts are easy to find, and the karts are also more affordable than many other brands.
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