As time has moved ever onwards, karting has become more affordable and getting a rig for kids is far more cost-effective. Through the course of this article, I’ll go into a collection of karts that I’d personally recommend to buy; thereby taking a lot of the hassle out of the process!
So, what is the best go-kart for a 10-year-old? My personal choice for a 10-year-old racer would be the Tony Kart Neos chassis model, in no small part due to the manufacturer’s pedigree in the realms of karting.
No matter what you’re looking for, I’ll be including a collection of karts that will hopefully cover every base available to be thought about when buying a rig; whether it’s your first, or one of many. For that golden info, read on!
Before You Buy
What you’ll probably find while browsing for different karts is that there’s two distinct types of rig; shifter and automatic.
As it sounds, a shifter kart either has a clutch pedal and stick shift attached to the wheel, or a pair of paddles on the back of the wheel to shift up and down gears. The advantage of a shifter rig is the variety of speeds that can be selected, therefore giving the driver more control and better ability to make crucial overtakes by shifting down for more torque when needed.
However, in the Cadet class, you’ll rarely find any race tracks that offer shifter kart series. It’s recommended for very experienced racers; kids who have been racing competitively since they were first able to sit in a kart.
It adds another variable to think about while they’re racing and although it can easily be done with practice and repetition, automatic karts are just as fast and competitive without this extra element to worry about.
For that reason, I’ve picked out a number of karts that don’t have a shifter function. In my own personal experience, I didn’t even sit in a shifter kart until I was in the Senior categories of racing, even then, I preferred the lack of shifting because I had more focus on my raw driving abilities.
It’s all down to personal preference, of course, but unless your kids are born to race and want to be in high divisions racing for the big leagues, I think they’ll prefer the simplicity of automatic rigs.
The CRG Hero 950 Kart
I’ll start at the lower end of pricing to begin with and slowly build upwards, so we’ll start here with CRG’s Cadet kart chassis. They recommend this beauty for kids aged between 8 and 11 years-old, quite specifically across the two different sub-divisions within Cadet racing.
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Between the kart’s sleek looks and striking colors, it makes for something very appealing to look at, and is certainly very memorable to boot. Who’d forget a paintjob of orange and yellow blitzing past them on the track? All of that aside, CRG haven’t slacked on providing some nice innovations and features on this kart to make it competitive as well as striking.
Quite a nice feature when buying this kart brand new for a race-ready set-up is that the chassis is designed for any type of 60cc engine, meaning that it’s a very flexible process. You can choose whichever engine you prefer as opposed to being stuck with only one type.
Now, all of the 60cc engines will reach similar top speeds of 50mph, but the important thing to remember is that you’ll have to fix that engine if things go wrong. Hence why it’s nice to be able to choose whichever one you please, because you can tailor that dependent on which manufacturer has a dealership nearby.
If I were to choose, I’d go for either the IAME Mini Swift or Mini ROK. Both are TaG-ready engine choices and have brought success and reliability to many a racer in the past, and they’re both widely produced in the United States with plenty of material available online for you to make fixes at home.
In terms of what this chassis brings to the table, CRG have designed a very responsive braking system that they call the Ven Mini; ideal for the higher horsepower in Cadet kart racing. The kart is also made of very lightweight yet sturdy materials, making a great kart for somebody who’s just getting started to race but also those who have more experience.
For a price of $4,600, the CRG Hero will come race-ready with tires mounted and your engine of choice in place. All that remains is to add gas and get going! Although this kart is the most affordable on the list, the manufacturers haven’t cut any corners, and they’ve made a very solid rig for a price that isn’t outrageous by any means.
I deem this rig specifically to be best for those who are just getting into kart racing, because it strikes the perfect balance of being sturdy yet nimble. It’ll allow a child to learn the ropes without compromising on time and other important factors, and will allow them to max out their potential without needing a whole other rig.
The Tony Kart Neos Kart
Now for the kart that I’d recommend, no questions asked. Tony Kart have been innovating the sport for years, and since expanding their horizons to worldwide karting, they’ve become a favorite in the United States.
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They’re certainly considered to be on the more luxury side of things, especially when considering the standard prices for their rigs and looking at the gear they offer, but they’ve recently been shown to provide the same quality for a lesser price. The Neos chassis will differ slightly between whether you order the Micro Swift or the Mini Swift variants, but the overall look will stay the same.
Mostly white and highlighted by greens and reds, an homage to the Italian racing pedigree they came from, the Neos is the fully revamped version of their previously winning Rookie model. And by ‘revamped’ I mean you can barely recognize the Neos when compared to the Rookie!
As with all racing classes in which the participants are kids, Tony Kart has taken special care to create a highly competitive, sleek chassis and added a lot of essential safety features. This rig is very lightweight, and this is in large part due to the new one-piece braking system that they formulated for the Neos build.
Less parts means less weight, which might incite fear in the system not being strong enough if not for the innovative caliper system on the rear brakes. With the usage of two pistons, the driver will be able to feel every ounce of braking power in their rig when they put their foot on the pedal, allowing them to correctly apply brakes far more accurately than in other builds.
If you couple this with the fact that the steering wheel on this rig possesses their high-grip material, it’s clear that Tony Kart are really looking to give the driver every tool they can to ensure they have a fantastic drive.
When you can better feel the kart you’re driving and how it reacts to even small inputs, you’ll be able to react far quicker and have a better, smoother overall race. It was one of the best things I learnt while racing in my younger years.
Because of these nuances and innovations that give full control to the driver, I’d personally say that this rig is better suited to kids who’ve had prior racing experience. They’ll be able to make the full use of the driver-centric features to create phenomenal driving, after all!
This kart in a race-ready package fetches a $5,300 price tag, which is almost $1,000 more expensive than the CRG. This price difference covers the fact that Tony Kart make their karts differently depending on the age of the child who’ll be racing, whereas CRG have a middling age range of 8 to 11, and every piece of the Neos is tailored to kids who are serious about racing.
They’re both amazing rigs, but the differences between them are huge when you observe the race-centered Tony Kart compared to the CRG. There’s also something to be said for the Neos’s price tag when you look at the long, accomplished history of the manufacturer.
After all, Tony Kart rigs have previously won seven world titles and many, many more national and regional titles, meaning that you’ll absolutely get what you pay for if you’re seeking a lean, mean racing machine!
The Nitro Kart Cadet Kart
From international racing pedigree to a homegrown labor of love, Nitro Kart is a manufacturer started by somebody who loved and believed in the racing scene within the United States.
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Nick Tucker found success in karting from his youth and progressed into NASCAR racing as he got older, and founded Nitro Kart to produce every part you’ll need to build a great kart that’ll last.
Part of the allure of this manufacturer is the fact that all of the factory staff frequently attend the big karting leagues up and down the States, monitoring all of the competition and adjusting their builds to stay highly competitive in spite of how small they are as a company. I really wanted to include this kart because of its humble beginnings and the clear passion that the small business shows, and because of the very unique aspects of this kart rig!
The chassis is sold as a roller, so you’ll have to go elsewhere to buy your 60cc engine. However, Nitro Kart have stated that their rig will run perfectly with any of the typical 60cc contenders, so you can choose between the Mini Swift, Mini ROK, Comer 80 and HPV-1. Costs of these engines will vary, of course, but they’ll all provide the same horsepower and top speeds of 50mph.
The most alluring part of this rig, in spite of it not coming race ready like the previous two choices in this list, is the very unique aspect of a driver community that Nitro Kart offers. No matter how many people you make friends with at the track and race days, karting can often feel pretty darn lonely if nobody is running your exact set-up.
Even if you buy the most common chassis and engine combo on the market, there’ll always be differences between your kid’s kart and the next one. The minds at Nitro Kart understood that and set up an online community that you can access as soon as you buy their chassis.
Nick Tucker himself is often online to give tips and tricks specific to the chassis your kid is racing in, and the people who build the karts will also be on-hand to share their wisdom on various subjects; whether it be fixing things, or getting the right spare parts. If that isn’t cool, then I don’t know what is!
The Nitro Kart Cadet chassis will set you back by $3,200 and this comes as a roller; no engine or tires included. Prices will vary on the latter two components, but you can safely set aside between $1,500 and $1,800 to get yourself a solid engine and at least one pair of tires, making the total in the realms of $5,000. In short, it really isn’t that bad.
It’s just pretty inconvenient that you have to assemble everything for yourself. However, you do have the boon of the Nitro Kart community on-hand to provide full instructions for getting set-up and on the move! If you don’t mind that aspect, this kart is honestly a great one for kids of any skill level.
The rig is completely adjustable, which is part of why Nitro Kart only offer one chassis for all kids in the Cadet age ranges. It’s lightweight and possesses hydraulic, self-adjusting brakes for astounding, competitive stopping power.
And if your kid is keen to improve beyond just practicing in their kart? Nitro offer driving tuition packages that can really help give them that edge in improvement. Truly a great kart for kids who are keen to go all the way!
The Praga Monster EVO Kart
To wrap up, let’s look at the most expensive kart in this line-up. We’re going back to Italian racing pedigree with Praga, a manufacturer that I’ve admired for quite some time for their innovations and rad color schemes.
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They nickname this kart the ‘Piccolo’, and have included every amazing piece of technology in this build from their elite KZ models for adults, only scaled down for drivers aged 8-12. Their biggest MO when it comes to kid and cadet karting is to maximize safety and efficiency, making sure that the karts can run longer and stay in good shape even if they get into tussles on the track.
There are a couple of variations of the Monster kart for Cadet racers, and they differ in price due to the differences in cost between the two engines they provide as options.
The first variant is actually pretty affordable, and includes a race-ready package with the Briggs & Stratton LO206 engine for $4,900. Its other package includes the competitive TaG engine, the IAME Mini Swift, and it comes with a $6,000 price tag for the race-ready package.
Both engines offer the same horsepower and top speeds of 50mph, so the primary difference is the price and that’s up to you as the buyer to decide which you’d consider. As for its defining features, the biggest and most stand-out one is the insanely innovative braking system.
The brake discs are fully ventilated, and they come mounted in a ‘floating’ style, which means they’re on a special kind of bracket which separates them from the wheels directly. This will keep the brakes far cooler and performing at the top level consistently, without high degradation that you can often see from 2-stroke engine karts.
These brakes are standard on their KZ models for adults, so if that doesn’t speak volumes about how competitive they are, I don’t know what will!
Praga offers some amount of customization when you purchase the kart rig brand new, too; allowing you to pick the size of the seat. Under normal circumstances, a kart seat is simply that of a standard variety.
If your kid doesn’t fit in the one that comes as standard, you can go and find a new one or add a seat booster which is essentially a comfortable piece of foam to insert.
When buying the Monster EVO kart, you can choose between two distinctly different sizes, and these will remain on offer throughout your ownership. If your kid outgrows the seat due to a growth spurt, you can get the bigger size free of charge.
This rig is a little heavier when compared to the other rigs on this list, but with that weight comes extra protection and safety when your kid is involved in collisions. The tubing base of the chassis won’t cave with impact which is commonly what happens, and most kart bumpers are a little flimsy around the edges.
Between the ability to customize the kart for your kid with engine types and even the seat choice, this Praga will make for a very competitive kart that is built to last. It’s perfect for kids who are wanting to start racing, especially with the maintenance-friendly Briggs & Stratton engine, and actually makes for a very solid kart for those who want to be in race after race.
How To Choose
The four karts I outlined as great 60cc rigs for your kid all have their own unique benefits and price points, which I made certain to talk about in order to make the buying process that much easier for you.
Of the group, the CRG and Praga karts are easily the best for kids who are just getting started or have a smaller experience in go-karts, whereas the TonyKart and Nitro Kart are great for budding racers who already have a lot of experience at their backs.
CRG and Nitro are both manufacturers with bases in the United States, which makes finding parts for them that much easier, whereas TonyKart and Praga are international companies, so parts and the like will probably need to be shipped.
The latter two companies have a long history in the karting industry, whereas CRG and Nitro are newer companies who are just establishing their credentials in the racing world.
There are a lot of nuances to consider when buying any of the four karts listed above, and it comes with a lot of comparisons to be made.
The best starting kart of the group is definitely the CRG, whereas the best kart for developing race-craft is definitely Nitro Kart. TonyKart offers the best, most competitive rig of the bunch which is ideal for practiced young racers, and Praga is a bit of an all-rounder on safety for new karters, and innovation for racers.
Some other great companies to consider are Birel ART, an international kart company who have recently made loads of collaborations with F1 drivers who started their careers in karting; a fantastic choice for kids who are serious about motorsports.
The other company I’d recommend checking out is Top Kart, one of the biggest and most renowned manufacturers in the USA. Their parts are widely available and very affordable, making them a great brand to look at for kids who would like a more casual karting experience.
How To Save Money On Go-Kart Gear
Ah, kids. They grow like beansprouts! It can mean that buying gear for them while they kart is a nightmare at times. Really, the brand new OMP race suit you bought for them less than a year ago is already getting too short on the legs? And those Sparco boots are pinching at their toes already?
The best advice I have when it comes to gear is to do plenty of shopping around for second-hand items. Your local karting scene can help you out there, because kids will grow out of stuff all of the time. Other karting parents will probably be glad of shifting their kids’ old gear to somebody who needs it, and for a much more reasonable price than brand-new!
When I was younger and karting in the Cadet classes, my dad bought most of my gear from eBay, funnily enough. You can find some really great deals on websites such as this, and using the Facebook Marketplace feature for your local community. Sure, some of it might not match sometimes, but at least it’ll all fit!
That way, you can focus on spending money on the piece of equipment that really counts; the helmet. Getting a high-grade karting helmet should be your number one priority, and your kids will thank you for it above all else if they get into collisions on the track.
I really hope that my recommendations have helped narrow some choices down for you, parents out there! Sit down with your kid and discuss the options that you think will suit them best and get their opinion on stuff.
You’d be surprised how insightful they can be with things like this, and if you’re on the fence between two options, they’ll happily make a decision. Yeah, it might be based on a paintjob more than features of the kart or fancy brakes, but the ultimate part of buying the best kart for your 10-year-old is to make sure that they have a blast!