Home Forums General Karting Discussion TAG vs. Rotax Decison-Newbie

This topic contains 39 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  Walt Gifford 2 years, 5 months ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 26 through 40 (of 40 total)
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  • #15898

    Dan Schlosser
    Participant

    In ballpark numbers the Yamaha Can is in the 14 horsepower range, Yamaha Pipe 17HP, Leopard 28HP.

    On a 3/4 mile size track (more or less) the difference is about 3-4 seconds with each jump.

    #15998

    Jeff Salak
    Participant

    Ive had a Sonik, Leopard, and now a Rotax. By far the most expensive to keep going was Sonik than the Leopard. Rotax is the most reliable affordable engine out of them all. 24 hours on engine and nothing has broken. Just basic maintenance.
    Will have new piston and crank and rod checked this off season. Its first time back to a Rotax service center. I could keep going finished 2nd in points 3 years in a row with this engine in CES Tag Masters.
    Enjoy blowing up a leopard if you get one…..

    #16001

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Thanks for the insight Jeff. I am leaning that way (Rotax). I am looking for reliability, if it takes a few more $$ to have reliability, then so be it. Went to NJMP and asked a few individuals, they really had positives for the Rotax and the counts appear to be decent.

    #16011

    Walt Gifford
    Participant

    Went to NJMP and asked a few individuals

    Good luck with that capt’n.

     

    Gif

    FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
    Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
    Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
    41 years karting experience

    #16016

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Gif

    Not sure I follow you with that reply?

    WW

    #16047

    Brian Degulis
    Participant

    Wade My kids and I got into karting and somehow we ended up with a bunch of karts. We have 2 moto shifters, 1 4 stroke shifter, 3 clones, 1 Briggs World Formula 1 Aixro Rotary. and 3 Rotax.

    I like to work on my own stuff but reliabilty is more important. I’ve found the Rotax to be the most reliable and overall the cheapest to run. Ours are in the 30-40 hour range and I’ve never done anything other than routine maintenance and that you can do yourself. You just can’t pull the head or split the case. I’m told that around 50 hours or so they need a top end and the bottom checked which seems to run $500 – $700. They’re so popular around here I’ve got lots of choices to get the work done plus parts are everywhere and the knowledge base is huge. They run a balance shaft so they’re smooth. They only require 93 octane we use non ethanol pump 93 @ $4.00 per gallon. The jetting can be a little tricky but no big deal. All and all they’re a good ride and IMO the best choice for a first kart.

    Good Luck!!!!!

    Brian

    #16071

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Brian

    Thanks for the insight. Question for you, how about the tune of the Rotax, IOW’s it has a main & pilot jet, as well as a needle (various needle tapers??) like a traditional motorcycle carb, is there like a tune sheet on the Rotax, if it were say 80 degrees, you would use XX main, xx pilot jet, & xx needle & clip settings etc and be real close to a proper tune? Or am I way off base on this? Again, my reference point is motorcycle motors etc.

    Thanks.

    WW

    #16072

    Rob Kozakowski
    Participant

    Wade, not sure where the carb regs are at today with the Rotax, but generally speaking it’s pretty much main jet and clip position that you’ll play with.  There are various free “cheat sheets” and websites where you input weather conditions, etc. that  you can use in order to get started with jetting, but ultimately, the best way is to get a weather station and do your own testing from there because every engine and carb WILL be a bit different.

    All the engines have +’s and -‘s. 

    The good about Rotax:

    • Very reliable engine
    • It’s a sealed package, so theoretically all engines should be close, and it really comes down to driver, chassis and carb tuning
    • It’s easy to be in the “ballpark” with jetting, which means you’re not likely to lean stick the thing
    • Rotax isn’t trying to develop the “latest and greatest engine package” to beat the Max, so the engine isn’t going anywhere and the rules aren’t likely to change “too much” over time

    The bad about Rotax:

    • It’s a sealed engine package so you can’t do your own rebuilds (but seriously, this only affects a VERY SMALL number of people who would tackle this)
    • It’s a sealed engine package, so you CAN CHOOSE to spend big money with the builder to have them pick and test for the “best” combo of sealed parts to gain an advantage (but again, anybody can test and match parts on any engine)
    • It’s a sealed engine package, so if it is torn apart in tech, you have to pay someone to re-apply a seal (seriously, this might be the only thing about the Rotax that truly sucks compared to any other engine)
    • It’s not always easy to maximize your jetting (ballpark is easy, but “dialed in” not so easy)
    • Rotax does come out with updates every so often, and they’re generally not cheap (on the other hand, other engines tend to get replaced completely) – generally at the club level, you get a grace period to update to current specs, so this applies most at the higher levels

    The other engines are good too.  The biggest differences are that they’re not sealed packages (several advantages or disadvantages, depending on your point of view) and you might give up a little in reliability mostly because with a carb that can be tuned on the go, it’s easier to keep pushing the limits and work the engine harder.  It can also be harder for an inexperienced driver to be in the “ballpark” on carb tuning.  That said, it’s easier for an experienced driver to get “dialed in”.  Just like the Rotax with it’s updates, the original Leopard is rarely seen anymore, as it’s MY09 Leopards, with talk that Parilla might be heading towards the X30 in the future.  The original ROK was “upgraded” with the ROK TT.  Etc.

    Karting isn’t always cheap, but none of these engine packages have to be expensive to run.

    Pick what has the best numbers and/or support locally and have fun.

    #16073

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Rob

    Great insight, this is the type of info I am truly looking for. It confirms some of my knowledge base as well as it adds to it. If I were to buy a new chassis (have a few in mind) but I wanted to get a good used Rotax package, what should I be looking for since I know upgrades/updates have been added to the Rotax through the years. I want to get something that is good from the get go, rather than buy a used Rotax package not realizing I might need some the updates.

    Much thanks.

    WW

    #16110

    Brian Degulis
    Participant

    The Clutch/side gear up grade was the biggest around $500 in parts. So try to find one that has the new style clutch and steel side gears.

    Brian

    #16115

    Brian Mead
    Participant

    Wade- I’m an old geezer and have a leopard, and have run a rotax. Running these things at a competitive speed is a chore and, if you get stuck to the track, absolutely brutal.  Neither is cheap, and as has been mentioned both have drawbacks.  If you go Rotax, make sure to bring a spare fully charged battery.  Its the only way to start them, as they can’t be started by an external starter (no mag). So if the battery is flat, you don’t start. I don’t think you have to keep the motor sealed if you don’t race rotax, and can do some of your own stuff.  You will find the tax has a flat spot in the middle that can be frustrating if you drop the rpm’s too much.  The leopard will shake you to pcs., and make sure you have an external starter, the brushes to tend to give out on the starter. I warm mine on the stand in the morning to get heat in the motor to help starting.  You sure you won’t look at a Yamaha?

    Easier on the wallet, last a long time, less to fall off, no $400 trick carbs, (tax) starters locking up and taking the crank off (leopard) and at the end of the day you can still walk around and load up your stuff. Regardless, have fun.

    #49761

    Craig Drabik
    Participant

    Do yourself a massive favor and don’t start in the deep end of the pool.  These engines cost a lot more to run, eat up consumables at a faster pace, and you will learn way more about how to go quick and have more fun starting with something less powerful.  Get a servicable used Yamaha package and go have some fun for a couple seasons.  Learn how the carb works and how to fix everything when it breaks.

    Then decide if you want to spend the big bucks to go faster.

    #49778

    Walt Gifford
    Participant

    So what happened, did you drink the 125 coolaide?

    Gif

    FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
    Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
    Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
    41 years karting experience

    #49796

    Wade Wishneski
    Participant

    Walt, I did go with a Tag set up last Fall, Leopard.  Counts in NJ PA NY region are good in those Leopard classes.  Low & High speed needles and your done, simple.  Fairly straight forward, still gotta go over the drivetrain parts though, clutch, clutch bearing, chain, sprockets etc.  enjoying it!

    so I guess I did drink the cool aid?

    #49808

    Walt Gifford
    Participant

    You drank the less deadly of the two coolaids now you may enjoy adjusting your carb without taking it apart and consulting the weather station. However, I can no longer help you my friend because, I am 100cc man.

    Gif

    FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
    Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
    Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
    41 years karting experience

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