Go-Karting for Kids should be safe and one of the best ways to ensure safety is by limiting the speed of the go-kart.
The easiest and most practical way to slow down a Go-Kart is by changing the gear ratio of the go-kart. If a Go-Kart has low gearing, it will have lower top speed but more torque (high acceleration).
What is Gear Ratio? It is the ratio of angular speed of the Engine’s Shaft and Axle.
How to lower the Gearing (lower the top speed)?
There are 3 ways to lower the gearing:
- Installing an Axle sprocket with more number of teeth.
- Getting a Clutch with less number of teeth in Clutch sprocket.
- Installing a Jackshaft
The axle is the part to which the rear wheels are attached, it has a circular sprocket that has a chain in it. The sprocket has multiple teeth (usually 54, 60, and 72 teeth)
The easiest way to lower gearing (and lower the top speed) is to get an Axle sprocket with more teeth than your current axle sprocket.
Usually, the 54 teeth and 60 teeth axle sprockets are used on Go-Karts. Using a 72 teeth Sprocket will reduce the gearing.
Clutch sprocket with less teeth
Usually, clutches come with 10, 11, 12, or 14 teeth in the clutch sprocket.
The lower the teeth in the clutch sprocket, the lower the top speed will be.
The best way to lower the gearing and lower the speed is to install a Jackshaft.
It can be a lot of work but it is very useful, let me explain, If you get a bigger Axle sprocket, it might start to touch the ground and clutches don’t offer many options.
You can practically gear down a go-kart for very low speed with Jackshaft which isn’t very practical with Axle sprockets and Clutch.
Disadvantages of limiting Speeds by lowering Gears and Alternative Ways
When you lower the gearing, it will slow down the top speed but at the same time, it will increase the acceleration. The high acceleration can be scary for kids.
It’s best to not have big engines on your kid’s Go-karts.
High acceleration due to low gearing and big-block engines with high Torque can be dangerous. Check our list for the best Go-kart Engines.