How Much Do Go-Karts Weigh? (Fully Explained)

There is a common misconception that karts are relatively slow. However, some karts are faster than production supercars such as Ferraris and Lamborghinis over a short stretch of track. This mainly comes down to their light weight, and you might be wondering how much a kart weighs.

The average weight of a kart is around 140 kilograms (300 lbs) including the driver. The driver is the heaviest part of the kart, with the frame and the engine weighing less than 50 kilograms (110 lbs) in most karts. This light weight is what allows karts to accelerate faster than supercars.

Different categories of karts have different weights based on the parts that are used on the kart. Some are heavier than others, but they often have more power which compensates for the added weight. This means that they are still rapidly off the line. 

6 racing go-karts going around a corner on an outdoor karting track, with red and white kerbs on the inside of the corner, How Much Do Go-Karts Weigh?

Go-Kart Weights Compared

There are several different types of go-karts that exist, and each of them are unique. The karts that most people think of when you mention “karting” are rental karts. These karts are the heaviest of the lot because of all the safety bodywork that is attached to them. These karts are also heavier because they use 2-stroke engines.

When it comes to racing karts there are several different divisions, also known as categories. The categories are divided based on the driver’s age. Since karting is a way for young drivers to get into the sport, it’s important for the karting series to have separation based on their ages. The older the drivers get, the faster the karts become.

Each category has a minimum weight limit which is enforced according to the championship’s rules. In the majority of cases, championships will use the FIA’s minimum weight guidelines. The minimum weight ensures that every driver is equal because in karting weight is critical. If a driver is under the weight limit, they will be significantly faster than their opponents, gaining an unfair advantage

With every driver having a different weight, it’s better to look at the total weight of the frame of the kart including engine and other parts on the rolling chassis (such as the seat, brakes, axle etc.). This means that you get a better idea of how much a kart weighs, rather than the total weight including fuel and the driver (the driver is the heaviest weight on the kart).

Karting Class ChassisWeight (without driver)
Rental Karts w/ Honda GX270 engine (10+ years)150 kg / 330 lbs
Rental Karts w/ Honda GX390 engine (10+ years)156 kg / 343 lbs
Bambino Kart (5-9 years)45 kg / 99 lbs
Micro Kart (7-11 years)45 kg / 99 lbs
Mini Kart (9-13 years)60 kg / 132 lbs
Junior Kart (12-15 years)80 kg / 176 lbs
Senior Kart (14+ years)80 kg / 176 lbs
DD2 Kart88 kg / 194 lbs
KZ Shifter Kart90 kg / 198 lbs
Electric Rental Kart (Lithium battery 32.5Ah)145 kg / 319 lbs
Electric Rental Kart (Lead Acid Batteries)170 kg / 375 lbs
Electric Racing Kart110 kg / 240 lbs

How Much Do Racing Go-Karts Weigh?

Racing karts are a different breed of “go-kart”. These karts are designed to be as fast as possible, and they are used for drivers to compete against one another in official events and championships. If you see one of these racing karts next to a normal rental kart, you can clearly tell the difference between the two.

One clear difference is that racing karts are noticeably “skinnier”. Racing karts have very little bodywork compared to rental karts, and this massively reduces their weight. The bodywork is mainly used for aerodynamics and some protection from side impacts. However, since they are made from a lightweight plastic, they offer significant reductions in the overall weight of the kart.

Another big difference between the two karts is in the engine and the parts used to power the kart. Racing karts have the most lightweight and efficient parts, which reduces their weight even further compared to standard rental go-karts. Parts such as the floor for example, weigh significantly less on a racing kart compared to a rental kart.

Racing karts weigh between 45 kilograms (99 lbs) and 145 kilograms (319 lbs) without the driver. The difference in weight comes from different classes and age groups. The older the driver is, the bigger the kart and the engine are, which means a heavier weight for the kart. The weight limit includes the driver, for example the weight limit for Senior class is 160 kilograms (352 lbs).

How Much Do Rental Go-Karts Weigh?

Rental karts are the “arrive and drive” karts that you can find at your local track. These karts are designed for everyday use, which means that they need to be strong enough to take a beating on the track every single day. There are drivers who are careful, drivers who are rough, and drivers who have some big accidents.

Therefore, rental karts are designed with durability, safety, and strength in mind. Top speed and fast acceleration is not the priority in these karts, which is why their weight is often irrelevant to manufacturers and drivers. However, because of all the safety parts and equipment fitted to them, they are significantly heavier than racing karts.

Rental karts also use heavier parts and engines because they are more affordable. Since these karts are designed for everyday use and they often go through a tough time, cheaper is better. When you drive both rental and racing karts, you can feel the difference between the two both in terms of power and weight. 

Rental karts can weigh around 150 kilograms (340 lbs) depending on the chassis and the engine that is fitted to them. These weights are taken from the Sodi RT8 chassis with a 4-stroke Honda engine, which is one of the most popular combinations for rental karts all around the world.

How Much Do Electric Go-Karts Weigh?

Electric karting is still relatively new to the scene. Grassroots motorsport is taking after some of the most popular motorsport series in the world such as Formula E. Electric karting is not yet challenging its gas counterpart, but it’s become ever more popular. Sodi have recently launched an electric rental kart to accompany their wide ranging fleet of petrol karts.

The most affordable version of this kart uses lead acid batteries, which brings the total weight of the kart up to a massive 170 kilograms (375 lbs). The alternative is lithium ion batteries that are smaller and lighter in weight, but pack the same punch. These karts weigh 145 kilograms (319 lbs), which is slightly lighter than the 4-stroke powered RT8 rental karts.

There is one electric racing kart that has become popular. The Blue Shock Race (BSR) electric kart is on par with the pace of a DD2 kart (which is extremely fast). This kart weighs 110 kilograms (240 lbs) without the driver, and without tires (according to the specifications). This is still a good 20 kilograms (44 lbs) heavier than a KZ shifter kart.

It’s unclear whether that additional weight comes from the battery used to power the kart or from the electric motor. However, aside from the electric motor, it appears as if the entire kart replicates a standard racing kart chassis. It’s safe to assume that the additional weight comes from one of the electric elements needed to generate the 44 horsepower.

How Are Go-Karts So Light?

Karts are extremely lightweight, which is part of the reason why they are so fast (racing karts specifically). Compared to the likes of cars, karts weigh significantly less. The average weight of a car’s engine is more than double the weight of a kart’s chassis and engine combined, which is an incredible thought.

Karts achieve this lightweight frame because they only have essential parts. There are no extra parts fitted to racing karts that would add weight to their frame. Racing karts don’t even have seatbelts or windshield wipers, even though these parts are extremely light. With the essentials fitted to the kart, it can remain as light, fast, and nimble as possible.

Karts also use the lightest possible parts. From thin metal sheeting for the floor to flimsy plastic for the bodywork, and a mixture of plastic and fiberglass for the seats, you won’t find any materials on a kart that are unnecessarily heavy. This ensures that weight is reduced as much as possible on a kart, meaning the heaviest part of the kart is the driver.

Karts also use smaller engines (even though they come with a smaller power output). Smaller engines might produce less horsepower, but because they weigh less (and the weight of the kart is significantly lower) the power to weight ratio of a kart is still similar to that of a production supercar, which means that they can accelerate just as fast.

Are 4-Stroke Go-Karts Heavier Than 2-Strokes?

4-stroke engines are heavier than 2-stroke engines. These 4-stroke engines are usually the more popular option on rental karts because they produce less power and they are more durable and less sensitive. This makes them ideal for daily use and very little maintenance at a more affordable price point.

2-stroke engines are faster, but they are also significantly lighter than 4-stroke engines. Generally speaking, 2-stroke engines are at least half the weight of 4-stroke engines, and they can produce nearly double the power. This means that 2-stroke engines are the obvious choice for any racing kart because they are more powerful and lighter, leading to a better power to weight ratio.

4-stroke engines are heavier because they have more internal parts and components, which ultimately increases their overall weight. The parts used in 4-stroke engines are also heavier, which makes them stronger, but it also means the engine needs to work harder to propel the weight forward. Overall, these parts weigh the engine down massively compared to a 2-stroke engine.

Does Weight Matter In Go-Karting?

Weight is crucial in karting specifically because the vehicles are so small and lightweight. With karts only weighing around 90 kilograms (200 lbs), every single kilogram of weight makes a massive difference in the overall speed that the driver can achieve both on the straight and through the corners.

The lighter the kart is, the faster it can go. With less weight to push forward, the engine can perform better and help the kart to accelerate faster and hit higher top speeds. With less weight holding the kart down, it can also corner faster, which will help benefit its overall lap time. Lighter karts will always be faster than heavier karts.

It’s for this exact reason that the FIA and other governing bodies impose minimum weight restrictions that every driver and kart needs to adhere to. If you are under the weight limit by so much as a gram, you will be disqualified because it is seen as an unfair advantage. In some championships there is even a minimum driver weight restriction. 

Most drivers need to add additional weights to their karts just to make sure they pass the weight restrictions by the end of the race. The minimum weight restriction takes into account the entire kart, the driver with their safety gear on, and the fuel left in the tank. Drivers often get caught out because their kart weighs less at the end of the race when all the fuel has been used up.

Weight Restrictions In Motorsport

It’s not just in karting where weight makes a big difference, it’s in all types of motorsport. If you watch Formula 1 you’ll notice the drivers weighing themselves whenever they get out of the car. This shows that minimum weight restrictions are applied all throughout motorsport, and not just at karting level.

Weight is one of the most important factors in motorsport, and it can make a huge difference in speed between one vehicle and another. If you take one kart with a tank full of fuel and one that’s running low on fuel, you could notice a big gap in the lap times (as much as a second or more) simply because of the difference in weight.

Final Thoughts

Go-karts are extremely light and this gives them a massive advantage in power to weight ratio. This allows them to accelerate from 0-60 miles per hour in under three seconds and corner much faster and nimbler than any car on the planet. To achieve this, karts only have parts that are essential with no extra or unnecessary parts attached to them. The lighter the kart is, the faster it will go.