Home Forums General Karting Discussion Some differences between Rotax and Leopard

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  TJ Koyen 3 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #24349

    Tahseen Ibrahim
    Participant

    I’m new to karting and thinking of getting a Rotax or a Leopard(My09 or earlier). I know there are many topics on this, and I have read them. I know about the differences in initial cost, rebuild times, overall performance, popularity, reliability, etc. My questions are more towards the ease of use for a beginner with limited knowledge of engines, differences in driving style needed, and tuning needed.

    I don’t have much technical knowledge or experience working with engines, so I was wondering which engine would be easier for a beginner to maintain and use? Which engine needs more attention during a day at the track? More maintenance after a day at the track?  I’ve heard the Rotax is a bit more complicated, but I do not know to what extent.

    I’ve also heard that the Leopard has more bottom-end torque and accelerates out of slow corners better. Does that mean there is difference in the way you have to drive both engines? Do you have to modulate/feather the throttle more on a Leopard because of the extra torque? Does one usually get more wheel spin than the other? I’ve heard the Rotax has a less responsive throttle. Is this true? I want more power to play with on slow corners. But I’m not sure if you apply throttle similarly on both engines, and one just has more kick.

    And lastly, I’ve read that the Rotax is much more difficult to tune because of the carb and having to adjust jetting. But if I plan on only running 3-4 tracks will this be an issue? Or will I still always need to be constantly fidgeting with it regardless?

    I don’t want to start an argument. Just looking for some additional knowledge from people who have run both engines to help me towards a decision.

    Thanks.

    #24351

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    The Leopard is easier to drive. It has better power on the bottom and top end with the Rotax being very strong in the mid-range. They require fairly different driving styles. Leopard is more point-and-shoot and Rotax is all about keeping momentum and rolling into the throttle smoothly to keep the engine from bogging down.

    The Rotax is a bit more bulletproof but requires little tweaks in between sessions to get the jetting correct whereas the Leopard carb can be adjusted on the track and is easier to get dialed in.

    The Leopard, though maybe slightly less reliable or durable than the Rotax, requires almost no attention during the day. Slight carb tweaks on the needles is about all you need to do. Personally, I’ve found it to be more enjoyable running a Leopard all day rather than a Rotax but that’s just my opinion. Rotax is obviously very successful so it does a lot of things right.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
    Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
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    #24356

    tony zambos
    Participant

    +1 on TJ’s comment.  With the Rotax, you will be setting the carb up in the pits rather than adjusting on the track. At the track, you might have to change the main jet a couple of times a race day. You didn’t mention how much racing experience you’ve had. Adjusting the carb on the fly might be a distraction for a newbie racer.  As far as maintenace, both engines are going to require pulling the clutch drum off to grease its bearing, expect if you’re running an eleven tooth driver on the Rotax.  The carbs on both will have to be maintained. For the Leopard, a new gasket set once in awhile, check the pop-off, fulcrum height and you’re good. On the Rotax, the carb will have to be dismantaled and cleaned, plus the fuel pump will need be rebuilt. Two more maint items on the Rotax will be checking the RAVE valve for smooth operation and replace the exhaust packing.  You could put a sticker on the pipe to let you know when it needs replacing.  The Leopard doesn’t have those maint items.  None of the maint items on either engine is difficult.

    Hoping you will enjoy your karting experience, so one suggestion.  Is there a less horse power engine you would concider.  If you’ve have no prior racing, you might be more comfortable with a slightly slower class. The engine wound be the big thing in the begining, learning how to drive and kart setup will.

    LAD Specialties / tony kart / rotax / kt100

    #24496

    Tahseen Ibrahim
    Participant

    I’ve been Sport Karting for the past few years so I have quite a lot of experience in the low horsepower stuff. I’ve been looking forward to move to TAG karting,

    Also what does exactly does point and shoot mean? Does that mean you can have a much more aggressive style with the leopard?

    #24502

    Jim Derrig
    Participant

    Agree with TJ and Tony, except that I honestly don’t think that from the point of view of a newbie, the driving styles will be all that different.  At least, its not like the difference between a TaG and a shifter or a TaG and a 100cc Yamaha.  I think at this point you are concerned about subtleties that won’t mean much at your level of experience and the more important question is whether you can find something in your price range that is supported at the track you will be racing at.  Try and find something that already is set up to be fast at that track so you don’t spend your first year scratching your head and wondering what to do to make it fast.  And that is supported by a kart shop you trust, because these are racing machines and they WILL break and you apparently won’t be able to fix it yourself.

    #24506

    TJ Koyen
    Moderator

    I’ve been Sport Karting for the past few years so I have quite a lot of experience in the low horsepower stuff. I’ve been looking forward to move to TAG karting, Also what does exactly does point and shoot mean? Does that mean you can have a much more aggressive style with the leopard?

    Yeah exactly. The Leopard can be a little more forgiving on the bottom-end because it has a lot more power off the corner. You can be a little more aggressive and not have to worry about rolling as much as you do with the Rotax. Obviously a smooth approach will be better across the board, but the Rotax does have a significant “bog” off the corners if you aren’t smooth or if you make a mistake mid-corner.

    Driver/Coach/Wrench : Innovative Performance/Exprit
    Owner : Oktane Visual - www.oktanevisual.com
    www.facebook.com/oktanevisual
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