If you’re even a bit curious about go-karting as a motorsport, I’m sure you’ve asked yourself the question about how fast they can go. With so many different classes, chassis, and engines to choose from, you may be wondering what the top speed of a go-kart is.
The top speed of most go-karts is around 50-80 mph (80-130 kph). The top speed of a 250cc superkart might approach 150 mph (240 kph). However, karts possess different engines to compete in varied race categories. As such, the top speed of a kart is dependent on the race category.
There’s a lot of variation in go-kart top speeds, even between ones with the same or similar engines. It’s part of what makes the sport so exciting! Below, we cover the kinds of speeds a kart can reach in more detail.
5 Example Speeds Of Go-Karts By Engine Size
|Engine Size||Chassis||Engine||Top Speed|
|50cc||Coyote Kryptonite Cadet Kart||LO206 Engine||34 mph / 55 kph (limited), 60 mph / 97 kph (unlimited)|
|100cc||Top Kart SR30.1||IAME KA-100||73 mph / 117 kph|
|125cc||CRG Black Wheel||Vortex Rok GP||79 mph / 127 kph|
|200cc||Birel Art AM29-S11||World Series Briggs||71 mph / 114 kph|
|250cc||Anderson Racing Maverick 250 National Superkart||Yamaha TZ250||147 mph / 237 kph|
Why Are 200cc Karts Slower?
Probably the biggest thing you’ve likely noticed from this list is the fact that the 200cc kart is slower than both the 100cc and the 125cc karts I’ve taken top speeds from. Obviously these are just a few handpicked examples, but there is a reason for this difference in top speed.
This is due to the fact that 200cc karts cannot handle the torque that a 200cc 2-stroke engine puts out (without modifying them), and all racing karts in this displacement have to use 4-stroke engines. Top speeds for 4-strokes are lower by a fair amount, largely because they are less powerful than 2-strokes.
50cc Kart Speeds
Another interesting thing to look at is the 50cc go-kart, and how different the top speeds are between limited and unlimited settings.
This is because 50cc is a very common kid kart racing series, and you don’t want 5 or 6-year-old kids zipping around a track at 60 mph right off the bat. As such, their engines are limited for early racing series and have these limits removed when they become more experienced.
Top speeds are all well and good, don’t get me wrong. There’s not much better than hitting the limit of how fast your kart can go on a straight stretch of track! However, there’s a lot more to karting than constantly maxing out your speed.
What To Look For In A Kart Beyond Top Speed
You want to make sure that maintenance on the kart won’t be a living nightmare every time something goes wrong. 2-stroke engines are the fastest out there, but they encounter a lot more issues and wear and tear than 4-stroke engines do. This is because of the high torque and revs they reach on a constant basis.
They are, however, easier to fix and easier to find parts for. 4-stroke engines are more reliable and age better than their 2-stroke counterparts, but fixing or replacing parts for them is a bit trickier due to the extra components inside the engines.
This aspect of maintenance is also very important when finding replacement parts for the chassis or other components on the kart. If you’ve bought a Tony Kart and live outside of Italy, you’ll have to import almost everything, which can become expensive. But if you’ve chosen a Top Kart, you’ll find distributors here on US turf, making for a cheaper fix.
Consider Your Size
You also want to make sure you pick the right chassis for you on a personal level. Are you a taller person? Maybe a bit heavier than average? If so, you’ll want to pick out a chassis with 32 mm moly tubing as opposed to the common 30 mm variety, to give yourself more stability in the kart.
And remember to consider the smaller details too. Some kart manufacturers have implemented small features that can make a huge difference to your overall experience, such as Nitro Kart’s kart driving tuition/community that you become part of when you buy a chassis, or Tony Kart’s non-slip steering wheel as standard.
In short, you want a kart that’ll be reliable, is easy to repair when something goes wrong, a chassis that fits you best, and has little touches that truly make the kart your own. Sometimes, these aspects can mean the difference between a win and a loss on the track, so keep those in mind beyond how fast it can go!
KEY POINTS• Go-karts can reach top speeds of between 30-150 mph depending on the class
• Top speed isn’t all that’s important when choosing a kart
• You also need to consider how easy it is to maintain and repair, and how suited it is to you personally
Which Type Of Go-Kart Engine Should You Choose?
Each displacement is geared slightly differently for each kart racer and their levels of experience. You can probably guess that the lower displacements, such as 50cc and 100cc, are better for beginners, and higher ones, like 125cc and 200cc, are best for more advanced drivers.
Limited 50cc karts are designed for kid karting, and unlimited ones are also typically seen for the younger generations that are moving up the competitive ladder. However, unlimited 50cc engines are also seen on rental karts at most tracks for adults. 60 mph isn’t slow by any means!
100cc is the class that I’d place a lot of beginner adults in when they’re first getting started. Chassis are typically made of the lighter 30 mm moly tubing for this category, making it easier to nip through corners and overall being a bit more forgiving when you bump the barriers.
125cc is the most popular displacement across all of karting. As a result, it has the widest spread of expertise among drivers in the karting world. There are adult beginner categories, adult intermediate, adult advanced, cadet beginner, cadet intermediate – essentially everything except kid karting.
On the higher end of the spectrum, 200cc karting is primarily reserved for experienced adult drivers and very skilled cadet-level drivers. Sure, the 4-stroke engines aren’t the fastest around, but it’s a very competitive sector that requires a wealth of experience to compete in and get the best out of the somewhat slower kart.
250cc superkarts are reserved only for the brave. Maxing out at 150 mph is no easy feat, so I’d only consider this class if you’re a highly advanced adult driver who’s competed in many categories previously.
I’d personally choose 125cc every time due to the huge number of drivers who make this displacement their ‘home.’ You’ll always have races to attend, and you’ll have a lot of people to be rivals with in order to constantly improve.
Go-karts can usually reach top speeds of between 50 mph and 80 mph (80-130 kph), but some will go much faster. 250cc superkarts might go as fast as 150 mph (240 kph). The speed of a kart largely depends on the class of engine, and it’s not the only important variable to consider when buying a kart.