If you’ve been involved in the world of karting in some way, you’ll have heard of the trusty IAME X30 as one of the favorite engines of racers around the globe. However, you may be wondering just how fast the IAME X30 engine will make your kart go.
The top speed of the X30 125cc unrestricted is 75 mph (121 kph), and restricted it will reach 65 mph (105 kph). However, the 175cc variant will reach up to 95 mph (153 kph). The top speed of the IAME X30 varies depending on numerous factors, including whether the engine is under Junior restriction.
I can’t stress enough how much there is to take into consideration about an engine aside from its raw top speed, not to mention how many variables can affect it. Due to how popular this engine is, I explore every aspect of it and why it’s so great below.
The IAME X30: An Overview
The most popular rendition of the IAME X30 that you’ve likely heard of and seen at the track is the 125cc displacement used in Senior racing divisions. But loads of different X30s have been produced with different displacements and purposes.
IAME as a company have been producing engines for karts since 1968, and their goal since the beginning was to deliver excellence in all forms for the fast-growing, exciting motorsport. Probably their biggest focus, even above providing fast engines, was designing and producing reliable equipment.
Early Go-Kart Engines
Until the company’s founding, kart racers would modify small engines otherwise used on lawnmowers and the like for their karting endeavors, and that sort of thing didn’t result in the longest-lasting product, especially when you consider how short-lived 2-stroke engines can be.
It was this aspect of karting that IAME most wanted to change, and they dedicated huge portions of their research to providing reliable engines that would last longer and deliver results every time.
The X30 is the culmination of that passion and drive for the sport coupled with the practicality of a long-lived product, and it’s for that reason that kart racers the world over truly fell in love with it.
Simple But Brilliant
IAME’s goal with this engine was to provide a great karting experience rolled together with ease of use and low maintenance. This is the same across all of the X30 iterations, and it’s achieved through exciting innovations like water cooling balanced with good old-fashioned features like a diaphragm carburetor.
The most popular karting division, TaG (Touch and Go), became a real hotspot for X30 engines. This was due to the electrical components being reliable enough for a full electric-start race series, and the mix of mechanical aspects that made it maintenance friendly. Even the 125cc race-ready variant was a fraction of the price of engines like the Rotax Max.
With options ranging from a complete starter kit all the way to part assembly, IAME also offered a whole host of flexibility and level of support for kart drivers. This plucky 2-stroke has a massive range of character and competitive edge, so it’s easy to see why kart owners the world over choose this for their rig!
IAME X30 Variations
Although the 125cc TaG IAME X30 is easily the most popular version of this 2-stroke powerhouse, it isn’t the only one available by far! The X30 can be found in the following displacements:
Due to how kart races are organized, you can’t use your 125cc engine in a 60cc division for obvious reasons. It’s then further separated by driver age and even skill level in some locations.
The 60cc Variant
Typically, you’ll find that 60cc is the prime displacement for Cadet-level racers, a span of years between the age 7 and 12 (further divided into Micro and Mini divisions). There is one X30 engine available, named the X30 Water Swift, that takes all aspects of the famous water-cooled engine and brings them to a lower-powered division.
The 125cc Variant
The 125cc displacement offers one of the widest varieties in terms of engine choice. You’ll find the popular unlimited X30 Senior (age 15+), and the limited X30 Junior (age 12 to 15). And then there’s the X30 Shifter variant, which comes with transmission capability and isn’t a direct drive like the others previously mentioned. It also has higher top speed potential.
Not only that, but the engines are made differently depending on your region. The USA, for example, has an engine specifically for their kart racing divisions, and Europe, Japan and Australia have one made for their respective divisions too. There is no superior power output and it simply seems to follow different price/tax guidelines.
The 175cc Variant
The 175cc displacement X30s are all designed for superkarts. These are high-powered machines recommended for Master-class racers (age 35+). There are direct drive engines and shifter engines available within this classification.
The Top Speed Of The IAME X30 Engine
|IAME X30 Displacement||Top Speed|
|60cc||60 mph / 97 kph|
|125cc (direct drive, restricted)||65 mph / 105 kph|
|125cc (direct drive, unrestricted)||75 mph / 121 kph|
|125cc (shifter)||80 mph / 129 kph|
|175cc (direct drive)||90 mph / 145 kph|
|175cc (shifter)||95 mph / 153 kph|
All the speeds above are estimates based on there being optimal track conditions and the perfectly-fitted go-kart chassis with a great power-to-weight ratio.
You Won’t Hit These Top Speeds That Often
When it comes to regular kart racing, it isn’t very often that you’ll be consistently at your top speed for great lengths of time. The very art of racecraft is messy and chaotic, and you won’t be able to maintain that high level of speed for long while overtaking or defending from other drivers on the track.
Realistically, you will be able to achieve those speeds while practicing and pushing your engine to its limits, or setting times for a race while there’s clean air all about you and no other distractions. The weather will also affect your top speed too.
Driving In The Wet
Karting in the wet is always slower than in the dry. You have to use a different, slower racing line in order to keep traction, and even then traction will be far lower anyway. It’ll take everything you can do to stay on the track, meaning reaching these top speeds is essentially impossible.
Choosing The Right Chassis
You should also consider the engine’s raw horsepower and various other specifications in order to pick the best chassis to attach it to. Most kart manufacturers will provide suggestions for the best engines to be used with a rolling setup, so that will help in your decision to know if an X30 at any given displacement will be enough to power your chosen rig.
Generally speaking, all chassis will be constructed to very similar weight ratios and sizes, so these sorts of choices will be like splitting hairs. Any given chassis made for your displacement of choice will generally be suitable for an X30, but it’s all about how much speed it will be able to carry.
As an example, you will probably want to choose a chassis with 30 mm moly tubing when picking a Junior restricted 125cc displacement X30 engine. Because it will be restricted off the bat, it won’t have the same immediate power levels as other 125cc engines, so it will benefit from running a lighter chassis than average.
Tuning Your IAME X30 Engine
One of the most exciting things about getting a new engine for your kart is the potential for improvement and personalization. Out of the box, all engines within a given displacement will be roughly the same. That is, until you start tuning and modifying it for your specific needs!
In terms of customization, the X30 offers a decent amount of room for tuning. As with any given engine straight out of the box, its immediate displacement is always slightly underneath the numbers that you’ll see. As an example, the 125cc X30s start off at 123cc.
Do Some Test Laps First
It’s always recommended that you take your engine in for tune-ups after you’ve done some test laps and gotten used to your kart. Tuning it straight away without driving the kart it’s affixed to can lead to some issues, such as putting immediate stress onto the component parts without first allowing it to run.
IAME allow a lot of modification and tuning potential, to the point where the engine’s manual actually outlines how best to tune your specific X30.
Plenty Of Tuning Potential
You’re able to tune the X30, much like any other kart engine out there, in a few different ways. These can range from upgrading overall performance, netting better fuel consumption, tweaking it for a higher top speed, and many other things. I’d recommend that you take it to a mechanic in the know before attempting the more finicky things for yourself.
An easier thing you can do is to sand down the crankcase’s intake duct within your X30, as this will get rid of CNC imperfections from manufacture to allow for better engine airflow and therefore better combustion.
Beyond that, you’ll definitely want to take your engine to a tuning specialist. They can draw out the extra displacement that is somewhat missing, further improve your crankcase, and much more besides to truly take your engine to the performance limit.
KEY POINTS• IAME X30 engines can reach different top speeds depending on their displacement
• These range from 60 mph to 95 mph
• You can tune your X30 in various ways to improve its performance
What Makes The X30 So Good?
The IAME X30 is so popular largely due to how easy it is to maintain and how inexpensive an X30 engine package can be brand-new, along with the lower running costs it has as standard.
Looking at the X30 as an inexperienced mechanic might be a bit daunting, but for anybody with even a basic idea about how engines work, it’s simply a dream to work with. You don’t need to be an expert to fix an X30, and because of that, kart racers have been saving a lot of money on mechanic fees when things go wrong.
A Reliable Choice
However, compared to regular 2-stroke engines that are usually very maintenance-heavy, the X30 is very reliable. Anything that goes wrong is easily fixed. Things like the power valve are non-existent in order to avoid a whole host of problems caused by inexperience. RPM is limited to 15,000, which is more than ample for power output, yet not running too high in order to increase overall engine longevity.
The X30, while not topping out horsepower or RPM charts, is a consistent and highly satisfying engine to drive. It combines simplicity with raw performance, ease of maintenance, and exciting modification potential.
The IAME X30 kart engine will reach a top speed of about 60-95 mph (97-153 kph) depending on the displacement. There are 60cc, 125cc and 175cc variants available, and while it’s not the most powerful karting engine on the market, it is a very reliable one.
I created and have been writing on this site since 2019, collaborating with drivers, coaches, engineers and manufacturers to provide you with the most reliable information about motorsport. Find out more about me here.