Home Forums Shifter Karts SHIFTER ENGINE OPTIONS – A Guide for Noobs

This topic contains 7 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Donald Tran 2 weeks, 6 days ago.

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  • #74339

    Donald Tran
    Participant

    I just picked up a shifter kart, however, information is fairly scattered on what engine to purchase – or what engine actually works.

    Dozens of shifter karts are available on ebay & craigslist throughout the US, but as rollers. I’m new to the hobby so I have absolutely no clue on what will work as a bolt-on, what will work with minor modifications, or what won’t work at all. I’ve been all over the web looking for this sort of information, however, it seems that most information out there are for veterans rather than for someone who is absolutely clueless (me).

    I’m not interested in competing at this time, I just want to get my kart up and running so I can learn more about them as I go. Things I’m curious about is:

    – 2 stroke Motorcycle/dirt bike engines – are they an option? If so, what have people been using? I assume not as they don’t use liquid cooling, but karts use radiators.

    – Are there such things as direct injected 2-stroke shifter engines?

    – What are the top 3 go kart specific shifter engines people use? What are the reasons for using them?

    – What engines have the most aftermarket support and spare parts? This is very important as I don’t want to run into an issue where I can’t easily obtain a part.

    I appreciate all your support and information. Photos of my kart below. It’s a 2002 Birel Shifter Kart.

     

    #74350

    Matt Martin
    Participant

    – 2 stroke Motorcycle/dirt bike engines – are they an option? If so, what have people been using? I assume not as they don’t use liquid cooling, but karts use radiators.

    Karts have primarily used 2-stroke motorcycle engines. The most popular are the 1999 CR125 w/ a 1997 CR125 6-speed gearbox. The 2001 is probably the 2nd most popular engine.

    Most shifter karts use the same frame-rail spacing for the engine – get the mount that goes with your engine matched to your frame-rail diameter.

    I think mounts exist for YZ engines, KZ (kawasaki), and other motorcycle-based engines.

    – Are there such things as direct injected 2-stroke shifter engines?

    Maybe. None that are legal in anything but some sort of “unlimited” class. Do you have $10k?

    – What are the top 3 go kart specific shifter engines people use? What are the reasons for using them?

    These are often referred to as KZ, KZ2, and ICC engines (used somewhat interchangeably)

    TM (historically strong motor throughout global competition) K9, K9b, K9c, KZ10, KZ10b, KZ10C

    Maxter

    Pavesi

    Motori

    Derbei

    Modena

    Vortex

    – What engines have the most aftermarket support and spare parts? This is very important as I don’t want to run into an issue where I can’t easily obtain a part.

    Honda CR engines.

    Basically, pick your engine based on what club/group you plan to run with locally. Or, if you don’t care about placing, put whatever is cheapest, and reliable.

    I am sort of in the same boat as you – I do a few races a year at most. I have a 2008 kart with an early TM K9 engine (it’s what I found first). I would like a CR engine, but the initial buy in was twice what I’ve got in my TM even after a full rebuild.

    #74352

    Eric Riggs
    Participant

    If you’re just looking for something to use to have fun with and never plan on racing with it then there’s a lot of options.  Any older 125cc dirt bike engine would work with some slight modifications or you can use an older ICC engine which are engines built specifically for shifter karts.

    The 99 honda cr125 will probably have the most parts / support available with a close second would be TM KZ icc depending on where you live.

     

     

    Here’s a link to how to build a stock 99 honda cr125 for kart racing:

    http://www.metal-matrix.com/stockmoto/index2.html

     

    For reference here’s a link to an older ICC package on ebay:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/TM-K9-ICC-125-Shifter-Kart-Racing-Engines-Motors-2-complete-engines-/322329368720?hash=item4b0c53d890:g:CGkAAOSwA3dYKz1A&vxp=mtr

     

    Honestly your best bet just starting out is to find a local shop or track and pay them a visit to see if they can point you in the right direction.

     

    #74385

    FREDDY SANDOVAL
    Participant

    Why not just remove the front rotors and calipers, and turn it into a Yamaha KT100 ?

    Shifter karts are very complicated for a brand new karter, and will be a very difficult to learn how to tune, plus they are a handful to drive if you’re a new driver.

    The KT100 clutch engine will have enough power to get you excited, cheap to maintain, and will teach you how to become a good driver.

    But if what you really want is shifter karts then I will respect that.

    Just keep in mind that a huge amount of new karters that jump into shifter karts do get very frustrated, very quickly when stuff always goes wrong, unless you buy a fairly new and super expensive engine package and have someone helping you tune.

    #74392

    Donald Tran
    Participant

    Thanks for your responses, Martin, Eric and Freddy.

    Martin – I will definitely look into those engines you’ve recommended – I’ve been seeing a lot of info on the CR125 engines – strange to see that they’re made in ’97 – ’01 rather than in the last decade (or it’s all people talk about). I’ll be reading and reading. I appreciate your thorough reply.

    Eric – Great links man. I’ve been meaning to visit my local shop but seemingly everyone is at the Super Nationals race in Las Vegas. I figure I do as much studying and research on my own until they come back.

    Freddy – What would be the reason for removing the front brakes if I were to ditch the shifter? Couldn’t I just run both front and rear brakes and possibly adjust so the fronts don’t bite as hard?

    The reason I got the kart, beside being a killer deal, was to learn more about engines and driving fundamentals as well as selling my street/track car.

    I’m no expert when it comes to engines, but not mechanically illiterate. I love to tinker and motorsports – Karting seemed like the way to go since it seemed a lot more affordable than street cars. Now I’m learning I just opened up a money pit seeing that people rebuild their motors WAY more frequently than I ever expected…

    Here is my S2000 I occasionally run at the track:

    Maybe going with what you recommended is the best way to go. I don’t want to give up the shifter, but I’m not settling yet. Are there any brand new cheap engines sub $500-700 I can just swap or keep a couple for spare parts?

    Helpful links I’ve found for other noobs doing the same research:

    http://www.swedetechracing.com/techtips/Cost-Comparison-of-the-Honda-CR125-Stock-Moto-and-ICC–KZ-Engine-Packages—Part-1/60472

    http://www.wordracing.com/how-to-get-started-in-kart-racing.htm

    http://www.autoblog.com/2009/10/05/introduction-to-karting-part-1/

    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  Donald Tran.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  Donald Tran.
    • This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by  Donald Tran. Reason: Added links
    #74413

    FREDDY SANDOVAL
    Participant

    Don

    The reason I mentioned to remove the front brake system is because Yamaha KT100 or clutch karts do not run front brakes, at least most clubs don’t run them, and having no front brakes will really teach you how to drive karts, as they are not as forgiving as the shifter kart brakes. ( I understand you drive track cars) And you may be experience, it’s just that the reaction time is a lot faster on karts, and things happen a lot quicker.

    You don’t have to sell the front brake system, just save them for the day you’re ready for shifter karts, then you can put them back on.

    You can probably find a good used KT100, KPV,HPV, or even an older 125cc Rotax, or Leopard engine for about $700 to $900  complete.

    I would highly recommend to start out this way, still get the thrill of going fast, being able to craft your driving style, etc. Put a season or 2 and then jump into shifter karts, by then you will have all the info you need about shifter karts, what to buy and what to stay away from.

    Where are you located at? And What kart tracks do you have around you?

    #74414

    Morgan Schuler
    Participant

    Another option is 80cc engines. Honda CR80, Suzuki, and Yamaha’s were all popular. 80cc will be cheaper to buy and operate than the 125’s and be a good introduction to karting. If you’re NorCal call http://www.leadingedgemotorsports.com

    #74460

    Donald Tran
    Participant

    Freddy,

    Thanks for the recommendations on the KT100, KPV,HPV, & 125cc Rotax as well as single speed engines – I’ll be looking into these.

    I’m from Los Angeles – I have a few tracks near me. Grange, Adams, Buttonwillow, Streets of Willow & a few autocross style tracks.

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