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Jim Derrig

My very recent experience (2015 Italkart Rapido) is the same as TJ’s:  raising the spindle (lowering the frame closer to the ground) decreased front grip.  Raising the rear axle decreased rear grip.  Basically, if you have too much grip try lowering the ride height.

Why does it work this way?  The laws of physics apply, though the application is self-evident.  My personal theory is that the driver is like a big, inverted pendulum sitting on top of the frame.  The pendulum moves in the opposite direction of the turn (the pendulum has a velocity/vector that is not the same as the kart’s)  This movement transfers weight to the outside of the kart and creates grip.

This effect is particularly pronounced with 6’2″ me.  As you raise the driver relative to the tires, you cause more weight transfer as you turn.  More weight transfer = more grip at the outside tires, particularly the front on turn in and the then more to the rear by mid corner.  Lower the “pendulum’s” height relative to the tire, and the weight stays more centered in the vehicle during the turn and does not create as much grip.