February 9, 2016 at 6:36 pm #60837
I’m in the process of learning as much as I can about karting classes and chassis setup options before buying my first kart. TAG seems to be the only somewhat popular 2stroke option at my local track, so that’s the direction I’m leaning right now (IAME X30). My local track uses WKA rules, and I have a rulebook ordered but haven’t received it yet.
From what I’ve found online it seems front brakes are allowed in the WKA rules, but a lot of people chose not to run them. I will probably be around 220-225lbs in race gear, and I’m wondering if I should be looking at karts with front brakes? I’ve read that my local track is heavy on braking (103rd St, Jacksonville). My thought process is two-fold: 1.) More brake seems like it would be better for a bigger driver like myself. 2.) If I buy a kart with front brakes I can easily switch to a shifter setup later without changing karts.
I visited our closest kart retailer yesterday and they had DR karts on the sales floor. The M99 30/32 Shifter Chassis with Duralcan Brakes seemed like a nice quality setup for the price compared to a comparable CRG kart. Thoughts on using that for a TAG setup? Is it a complete waste of money to pay $1k extra for front brakes?
Second question. At my weight I will definitely be quite a bit over the min weight for TAG Seniors and probably TAG Masters too (assuming the Kart weighs around 200 lbs). At the club level will that be a big issue for being competitive once I learn to race? I understand I’ll be slow to being with, but I don’t really want to spend $10k without a prayer of ever being competitive.
Thanks a bunch for the insight.
February 10, 2016 at 6:22 am #60995
I’m about 220 with race gear and can make Masters weight but I am too heavy to run in the SR category competitively. I have run both with front brakes and without, I personally prefer the rear brake only. One thing that I considered when choosing a chassis with or without front brakes is the extra weight of the front brake setup.
The DR karts appear to be really nice quality and consistently run at the front in my area. I currently have a 2011 CRG and am very happy with it. I’ve run both a 30mm chassis and a 32mm chassis. I feel like the 30mm may be a tad faster for me but I like the 32mm better because I feel it lasts longer.
February 10, 2016 at 6:43 am #61001
Thanks for the reply. That’s good info about Senior vs Masters and the quality of DR karts. The extra weight of a front brake chassis is definitely a factor, which is why I was considering Duralcan. My unscientific observation while I was looking at the DR karts was that the front wheels with Duralcan brakes felt much easier/lighter to spin compared to a steel brake chassis. Of course that only accounts for the rotors, and not the extra brake lines, calipers, and master cylinder. As for chassis size, I am currently only considering 30/32 and 32 options. Like what you sad, the 30’s seem to be popular with the guys looking for the last 1/10th, but that’s not realistic for me, and I want a chassis that will last.
February 10, 2016 at 10:00 am #61015
I too weigh in around 225 with driver gear and just finished running the Tag Masters at my track. Like Fletcher, I couldn’t keep up with the Senior drivers, but ran competitively with the other Masters drivers, and occasional junior. I started with the front brakes on my kart. I had to remove the front brakes out of need (broke a rotor on one), and once I removed them, I went at least .5 seconds faster in the very next heat. Front brakes can help, but you have to get them dialed in correctly for your driving style. I found with me, I was getting the fronts to lock some, which hurt my turn in. With front brakes it is harder to trail brake into the corner and you need to have all of your braking completed before the turn.
Also, you can always take them off if you don’t like them, but adding them is much harder and costlier. Just my $.02.
February 10, 2016 at 12:23 pm #61029
Gonna disagree, but only partially. If the track has areas in which late/threshold brake maneuvers are important, you will be faster with front brakes. But learning to modulate correctly is a whole new skill. Also, most drivers put too much bias on the fronts thus inhibiting turn-in. Fronts are an assist to the rear brakes, not the primary source of stopping power.
I also think fronts are a good idea if you plan to transfer to cars–that heavy almost-all-the-way-though-the-turn trail braking that can be done with a rear-brake only kart doesn’t transfer well to other 4-wheel motorsports.
Finally, a good compromise is the front brake systems with a foot operated rear brake and a front handbrake on the steering wheel. It takes some practice but eventually it becomes almost second nature to add or subtract front brake depending on the needs of the particular turn. I find myself mostly disregarding the handbrake in most turns, but depending on it quite a bit in classic late brakes like a hairpin at the end of a fast straight.
Worth the $1000? Depends on the tracks you’ll be at, your skill level, and how badly you want to gain a few tenths.
March 9, 2016 at 12:32 pm #62617
I wouldn’t use front brakes unless the track was longer than a mile.
FAA certified jet engine and aircraft technician,
Nicholson Speedway class champion 2001,
Yamaha KT100 Service Center,
41 years karting experience
March 20, 2016 at 6:47 am #63032
I’ve driven TAG with front brakes for 1 season (32mm Swiss) and then 2 seasons with rear-only brakes (Tony 32mm). Front brakes had a 20 lb penalty, and was winning at AMP. TS decided to ban fronts mid-season just before their big money race, didn’t bother to go. Next season started with rear-only. Lap times were faster without the 20 lb penalty obviously, but we tested adding and removing weight with rears only, and was faster overall without rears. Just need to get used to it. Only downside is you change pads more often with rear-only.
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