Home Forums General Karting Discussion Kart Chassis Brand Selection-newbie

This topic contains 18 replies, has 14 voices, and was last updated by  Larry Andrews 10 months ago.

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  • #16252

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    I am seeking suggestions on chassis direction & brands. I have determined that I will in all likelihood race a Rotax Sr or Masters class and I am seeking some suggestions on the various chassis makes & models to choose from.

    My specs are:
    -6′ tall
    -200 lbs

    A 32mm or a hybrid 30/32 chassis has been suggested to me for longevity of consistency in the chassis. I am kicking around buying new but haven’t ruled out a good used chassis. I know various brands have different characteristics that effect handling, i.e. more built in caster but harder steering, more grip, less grip friendly, tune ability, various tuning adjustments etc.

    I am not looking to create havoc with a topic that can be controversial due to some individual agendas, just looking for objective advice & direction from those with far more experience than I have.

    I know a common answer is go with a brand that is well supported in the area in which I will race, and I agree with that premise. In the Northeast many brands are supported so that is not too much of an issue. Again, looking to get various feedback based upon various brands differing handling characteristics.

    All feedback is appreciated!!

    WW

    #16264

    Gary Osterholt
    Participant

    Wade,

    Honestly, as a newbie, Support is the key.

    It’s a personal prefences on 30/32 or 32 chassis.  I know one Master drive that swears by the 32.  Others says they like 30/32 or even all 30.

    Brand wise, OTK (Tony, etc), Birel, CRG, Top Kart, Merlin, Haase are all good brands.

    Gary

    #16272

    Rob Kozakowski
    Participant

    Gary’s absolutely right – listen to everyone when they say support is key for a beginner.

    Whether it’s 30, 30/32, 32, red, black, green, orange, blue, purple, etc., any newer chassis can win in the right hands – there really aren’t many “bad” karts.  It really won’t be until you get enough experience behind the seat that you MIGHT be able to tell what suits you better, and how to tune the chassis to work best for you.

    Everyone could chime in, and tell you their preference and why, but end of the day, you won’t be any further ahead because everyone will prefer something different for a different reason.  The only thing to really pay attention to is what will get you the best support as a beginner.

    It sounds to me like you have a lot of choices, which is fortunate.  My advice would be to talk to the different dealers, and see who you feel most comfortable with and go with them over going with a particular brand of kart.

    #16274

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Rob

    Thanks, yes I have spoke to a few dealers & most have been extremely helpful. Right now I’m trying to gather info from various sources and then I can disseminate the info gained and determine what is consistent info & then better make a good informed decision without regrets.

    WW

    #16288

    russ Jolly
    Participant

    Wade, I 100% agree with the other two guys above me. I got back in to karting a bit ago and bought a BRM because they were a leader before my brake in racing. Little did i know that BRMs all but disappeared from my area. So i couldn’t find some specific parts for the kart and not many knew where to get them.

    I would highly recommend you pick a chassis that your local track/shop carries. this way youll have a good support shop.

    #16289

    Brandon Ryan
    Participant

    Wade, you are lucky to have the support you have.

     

    I agree with everyone here with saying support is the biggest thing to look at when getting into racing. I am new like yourself, and I was more or less forced into going with OTK. I chose an FA Kart because I liked the colors the best. My decision factor came down to my local track that I will race at probably 97% of the time, only stocks and/or carries OTK. I would rather not have a race or race weekend end, because my shop can not get the part because they dont support the brand. If it is something like the part is an unusual break they don’t normally stock, or they are just out of stock, well that is my fault for not being prepared.

     

    I would say if you can find a low time used chassis you will always come out ahead. I got an 2012 FA chassis that had 5-6 hours on it for 2000 used, not a scratch on the underneath of the chassis. Deals are out there, may take more time to source them out, but they are out there. Also go to a race day, you would be surprised some of the absolute steals you will find on a race day.

     

    -Brandon

    #16316

    Rob Kozakowski
    Participant

    Wade, I’m also 6′ and 200 lbs, running Rotax Masters.  I run an Italkart Rapido V, all 30 mm frame.  Most of the guys at my club in our class run OTK (Tony, FA, Kosmic), CRG, or Energy karts because that’s what’s supported here by local dealers.  Within the OTK, CRG, and Energy crowd, there is a mix of 30 and 32.  I wouldn’t say any brand or frame size is better than or has an advantage over another.  It really comes down to driver and ability to tune.

    There is no local Italkart dealer in my area, but I’ve been around the sport long enough that I can survive without the at-the-track support. Honestly, the only reason I run the Italkart is I’ve got a history with IM dating back to the early-90’s – they treated me real well and I haven’t forgotten that.  If I had no history with IM, I’d probably be on a Tony or CRG too for the at-the-track support – like I say, they’re all good chassis.

    #16338

    Brian Degulis
    Participant

    Local support is nice but not essential as long as it’s a major brand you’ll be able to get whatever you need from the internet suppliers. I’ve found Tony Kart to be the most forgiving if your not familiar with chassis tuning. Works well with my 13 year old because it’s hard for him to figure out what the kart is doing and wihout good input tuning is tough. I like DR / CRG same chassis with diffrent clors and graphics but DR costs less. I like them because they’re common plenty of support no matter where you are and I like the sniper front end adjustments.

    If I were you I would definetly want a front porch extension. Your height and weight might make it difficult to move the seat forward enough to get good balance and enough leg room. A 32MM DR J90 with a front porch extension would be my choice.

    Brian

    #16396

    Walt Gifford
    Participant

    I have an excellent 2008 CRG Road Rebel I’ll sell you. It is tuned for a 200Lb man at NJMP It only has one season on it because I’ve been doing other hobbies. Originally I had a Rotax on it, right now it has a really good KT100 package on it but I’ll sell you just the rolling frame with new tires for $2500 firm. All hardware is cotter keyed, full length rear bumper, Ribtec carbon fiber seat too. Save you allot of head aches getting started and CRG is supported at that track although you won’t need it with this kart because I’m an aviation mechanic and I prep my karts like a fighter jet. PM me.

    Gif

    #17906

    jim molnar
    Participant

    first where will you be racing?

    second what are others who win running?

    i have never bought a new kart yet. always found a used setup gets you more bang for your buck. then we would  give the kart a good rebuild with a few choice parts ( better bearings, new steering components, new brake pads….etc)

    but most important is to find a good mentor or trusted expert to help guide you thru the newbie pitfalls. and read everything you can get your hands on about setting up a kart..the older books still apply and are very simple to understand. do A when the kart does x….etc.

     

    #18151

    Chris Jennings
    Participant

    Wade,

    As everyone mentioned above having support when you are new to karting is the most important factor.  Driving technique will be your biggest learning curve for a while.  As you get better and better at driving your chassis setup will start becoming more and more important.  The good news is it really shouldn’t matter what chassis you are on because karters are unique in that they are very eager to help new people into the sport.  Since the same general principals in setup apply to all chassis it shouldn’t matter which one you are on.  Making friends with the most knowledgeable and helpful people at your track is what you need to focus on.  Of course being able to get parts locally or at least quickly from a dealer is also very important.  You will inevitably end up bending/breaking parts as you learn so quick access to these parts on a race weekend will be important unless you buy up spares of the most frequently damaged parts (axles, bumpers, steering shafts, spindles, etc).  I’m 6’4″ so we are in similar boats when it comes to chassis setups.  I have been racing 10 years  and I have good news for you.  Even though you are taller than most you can still be fast!  You will just have to work on your setup a little harder.   As for my personal chassis preference I must say that DR Kart is the best kart I have driven that works for my height.  It responds very well to setup changes unlike many other brands that I have raced.   The good news is CRG parts are interchangeable so if you are anywhere that doesn’t have DR parts but sells CRG parts you are good to go.   The other good news?  The price tag is cheaper than CRG karts as well.  All around the best kart/deal out there.  The DR team and myself are always available to help out with any help you might need.  Even if you aren’t on a DR Kart.  Good luck!

    #18167

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Chris

    Thanks for your thoughts. For me, support will be driving the decision making process because I do not have years of experience to reference so support for everything from parts, to adjustments, driving recommendations etc etc is very much an important part of how I proceed. I have considered DR & spoke with a local dealer about one. I’ve also considered the new iKart, spoke with a few dealers who have been excellent, as well as the manufacturer of iKart. I will not make a decision right away, If I proceed I want to feel like I’ve made the best objective decision based upon my needs!

    WW

    #18183

    Joe Bowen
    Participant

    Me being a bigger guy as well (6′ 2″ and 220lbs) i’m new to karting and just recently purchased a used CRG Heron Plus chassis setup to run Rotax. After quite a bit of research i’m realizing i need to get a few upgrades. A bigger seat and reccomended to do the front porch extension on my chassis. My concern is with the cost and all these upgrades required and the chassis being an older model than i was told it was when I purchased the kart is it worth investing the money to make this kart work for my size?  I’m already thinking of upgrading to a newer chassis maybe after getting a race season under my belt and that is the next question. What chassis do you bigger guys like or dislike for reasons like its easy to add the extended porch or dislike cause no way a xxl seat will fit without cut and reweld of the seat struts, or the chassis will never handle right for bigger guys ETC, ETC

    Thanks in advance for any input just a newb trying to get advice :)

    #18210

    Jim Derrig
    Participant

    Joe, you don’t need the front porch extension.  I’m 6’2 and have run for years without one.  It’s nice for comfort, but it won’t make you faster.  Any CRG kart should be able to accommodate a xxl seat.  It definitely is worth the money to have a local shop install it for you.  Seriously, don’t try to save money on this by ordering on the internet and installing it yourself.

    As for the chassis’ age and whether a chassis “will handle right for a big guy,” don’t worry about it until you’ve run a few races and started to post competitive times.  Right now, it’s all about getting laps.  These are pretty basic machines and the subtle differences you read about won’t make a difference until you’re up at the pointy end of the stick and battling for hundredth’s of a second.  I started out in a 10-year-old dinosaur and regularly beat guys in “latest and greatest” karts while we all we’re running in the middle of the pack.  Could the chassis have been better?  Yes, but at our level of skill it still was competitive enough.

    Quite worrying and get out there and race.  :)

    #18213

    Chris Jennings
    Participant

    You should never should nor should you ever have to cut and reweld the seat stays for a bigger seat.  All you have to do is take a rubber mallet to the left one (opposite of motor side) and hammer it wider and wider until the seat fits.  Never widen the seat stay on the motor side.

    As for front porch I ran one for 9 years, and this year I chose not to run one for the first time.  It took some custom bending of the shifter and moving of the clutch lever but I made it fit.  I actually prefer not running the extended front porch and I’m 6’4″

    #18248

    Charles Kaneb
    Participant

    If you’re in the northeast, then OVRP/Hannen sells Birels, CRG America sells CRGs, CFMotorsports sells GPs, and Prospeed sells Arrows, Margays, and Tonykarts.

    #18251

    Walt Gifford
    Participant

    I’ve cut and re-welded many right side seat struts to optimize the left right balance on the scales. It depends on the engine package, your body weight ect but, don’t be afraid to cut and move things around if necessary just keep your welds aircraft quality.

    Gif

    #18266

    Mike Beeny
    Participant

    When it comes to some of the XL and XXL seats you will have problems mounting them.  If you are required to bend the left side seat upright 4 or 5 inches the likelihood of the weld cracking is very high.  At that point you will need to lay a weld down and you need someone to do it that is good so you don’t cause yourself future problems.

    As to whether or not you need an extended front porch ever driver requires different things.  I’m 6’1″ and have never used an extended porch and fit well in a kart.  I’m also only 160lbs with no ass which allows my legs to sit further back in the seat.  If you have a couple more inches of meat on your butt your legs will be pushed that much closer to the pedals.

    Another factor we deal with is former dirt bike guys who have had leg and knee injuries and are unable to bend their legs in the way I do to fit in the kart.  If someone falls into this category then you may need an extended porch which will require a fair amount of work to make fit correctly.

    As mentioned several times in this thread whether its buying a new kart, picking someone to buy parts from, or finding someone to fit you for your kart nothing beats local support.  If you are fortunate to have several shops to choose from go talk to all of them and filter the x,y,z brand jargon they may push.  Take time to look at the participation in different classes at the club you intend racing at and more importantly see what guys are running in the class you want to run.  Contact these drivers through the kart shop that supports them or Facebook.  Chances are they are going to be more than happy to have a new face at the track.

    This all seems like a bunch of work but in most cases it will save you a ton of money, frustration, and time.

     

    Hope this helps,

    Mike Beeny

    #18279

    Larry Andrews
    Participant

    Mike’s got great advice.

    I’m 6’2 and run an extended porch – without it I can’t get front weight above 40% and get severe understeer.   You can tune around some behaviors with hubs and stuff but past a certain point you’ve gotta start doing serious work to get things right.  JMO

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