Home Forums Tech Talk Kart chassis wear – Tony kart – myth or reality?

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    • #51326
      Samir Shah

      As we race more, I am noticing many used chassis available for sale, especially Tony Karts and OTK variants.

      One also hears rumors about Tony Karts wearing out and losing their ‘flex’.  (Maybe this is because there are so many of them out there but maybe it also applies to other 30mm chassis too).

      And then one also see’s the top racers selling off their karts after 1 or 2 days.

      So what is the reality? Do these newer softer kart chassis really ‘wear out’ and stop working as well? If so, how long do they last before they need to be replaced, if one expects to be competitive.

      Or is it due to karts improving with time, and thus being replaced? Is there any systematic way to test the chassis ‘flex’ for fatigue?

      Would love to hear of racers actual experiences with this issue.

      Thanks, Samir.


    • #51328
      Tim Koyen

      This is a complex subject that was covered recently in another thread…which I will look for.

      The “top teams” sell the karts after a weekend for a simple reason, that’s when used karts are worth the most.

      All karts wear out over time.  TonyKarts are no exception.  The part that wears the most is the waist of the kart, from grinding on the track.  While there is no real evidence that flat spotting of the frame adversely affects the kart handing, it can be prevented by running skid plates.  Tonykarts may be more susceptible to this problem than some makes, as the frames flex a lot, which is part of what makes them good.

      I’ll now hand this topic over to my son TJ, as he enjoys answering this one on a monthly basis.

      KartLift Kart Stands
      DeepSeat Kart Seats
      Don't bother PMing me, it doesn't work. Email is best: tim@kartlift.com.

    • #51330
      TJ Koyen

      Thank you Dad, I will now provide the several examples I always provide.

      – Tommy Andersen winning TaG Senior heat race and setting fast lap of the race at the SKUSA SuperNationals against world-class factory drivers. Kart was a Kosmic chassis with 2 seasons of national-level racing.

      – Ashley Rogero winning national TaG/Rotax races on a Tony Kart that was a couple seasons old, at least.

      – Stepanova Nekeel winning the Rotax Grand Nationals in Rotax Senior, running a used $900 Tony Kart frame he bought THAT weekend at the track, after his brand new whatever-it-was was off the pace.

      – I snapped my 2014 Exprit that had a year of racing national racing on it after crashing at SKUSA SummerNationals. Put together a new Exprit out of the box and ran within .1 of my lap times on the old kart.

      Moral of the story, as long as you care for your equipment, run skid plate etc., a kart should last you at least a season and still be competitive. If you let your frame rails get ground down by bashing over curbs or you crash the thing and have to straighten it a million times, ANY kart is going to wear out.

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

    • #51331
      Dan Brown

      This goes along with what Tim said. A few weeks ago at our local track one of the TaG guys showed up with a late model used TonyKart . Let me say first our local track is rough, real bad in spots. He went out for the first heat race, and about 6 laps in he spun around awkwardly for what appeared no reason at all.  When he picked up the kart to bring it to the pits the frame had bent in a V at the waist, right where the chassis wear was located. He is a big guy, probably 6’3″ and 240 or so, in great shape. It appears the chassis was flexing under his weight and rubbing, and just bent under the strain compounded by the thinner tubing due to wear and the extreme flexing when hitting the bumps. But to be fair, it probably could happen to any kart that flexes a lot. I watched an Ikart race a couple weeks back and its unbelievable how much they flex and twist. I can’t believe they would last long if they were experiencing flat spotting.


    • #51339
      Samir Shah

      Thanks guys. Very interesting. So flat spotting at least is a no go.

      Would it make a difference as to what age and size the previous driver was? A junior 13-15 yr old would race at 320-340 (larger kids) lbs, with much of the weight on the back of the seat, whereas a senior driver might be getting into 380lbs.  Or is it just bashing and griding?


    • #51342
      Brock Weiss

      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

    • #51347
      Gary Lawson

      The part to worry about is how easy the otk karts bend because they are so soft. Also, it Seems every used kart that is see in person has marks on either one or both sides where the bolt for the tie rod end hit the frame from a tie did end breaking. It’s not uncommon for a kart to bend 5mm from simply wheel hopping another kart. Unless the kart was put on a table and atraightened the odds of buying a used kart that is bent is much higher than 50% imo. On the bright side I have worked with numerous drivers that have had bent karts straightened and not noticed any drop on performance.

    • #51348
      TJ Koyen

      +1 to Gary’s post. OTK karts are soft, they bend. But like he said, they can be straightened pretty easily. We’ve done our fair share of tweaking frames back into shape without noticing a difference in performance.


      The type of racing and weight does have an effect on how long a kart will last. Something raced at a heavy weight, on softer tires will obviously go through a lot more flexing than a kart driven on harder tires or with a lighter driver.

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

    • #51404
      Samir Shah

      OK, based on this conversation, I ordered skid plates for my son’s iKart. Thanks.

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