Here is what I can tell you. Tim and TJ Koyen are right on the Money. All race teams sell their used karts after a couple of races because people like me always buy them because they are cheaper than a new one and they make money off of them which is why you see a lot of new two or three race karts for sale all the time.
I can tell you this. Skid plates make a big difference in how long the kart stays fresh. I had a two year old Kosmic Kart for my son and we sold it because I fell for the “Tony Kart Myth” and we bought a Two race old Tony Kart thinking it would be a rocket! Guess what it was the same as our two year Kosmic Kart. No difference in reaction to setup changes or speed or handling.
Now here is probably why. We always run “Kartlift skid plates on our karts” and the bottom of the kart doesn’t have any scrapes on it. On our new Tony Kart we put the Long Kartlift skid plates on and there are no marks or scrapes on the bottom and they float so it doesn’t bind up the kart.
Moral of the story. We take very good care of our OTK Karts and he does run in juniors and I would imagine it gets less abuse than running in adults and running it hard all the time.
So when you buy a kart know the history as much as you can and Check the bottom of the frame but personally I think all modern karts now days are going to the softer frames because the Tony Karts are so fast that it doesn’t matter which brand you buy the frames are pretty much the same as they are following the Tony Kart frames. Also the most important part is who drove it and where. I would never buy a kart that was in the Skusa nationals in Vegas but I would buy a kart that ran in the Route 66 class and was driven softer. Hopefully that makes sense. Again I always try to ask as much about the history and how the kart was taking care of. The kart I just bought was driven very easy and was a backup kart and had no scrapes on the bottom of it what so ever and I bought it from Mark Coats and I asked TJ about Him and if he takes care of his stuff before I bought it.. TJ said that Mark only sells top notch equipment and if there was something wrong with the frame he wouldn’t sell it. I also asked Mark when I bought the kart what races it was in, who drove the kart and if it ever was in any crashes or spins.
Again my moral of the story is know the history. If it was driven by an adult racer that ran it at the biggest races and ran it hard I probably wouldn’t have bought it. The good news is there are a ton of used OTK karts to choose from, you just need to do the homework on it
And like I said my personal experience is there was no difference between our two year old Kosmic Kart and our brand new Tony Kart we just bought this year. In fact to be honest our Two year old Kosmic Kart was faster by a just a little bit. It was about .2-.4 seconds faster when I compared lap times from last years data