Are Go-Karts RWD – Here’s The Best Answer!

  • By: Go Kart Picks
  • Time to read: 6 min.

Go-karting is an amazing experience. It’s a hobby that you can join with ease. Don’t forget that most of the F1 pilots started from go-karting. When searching for this great motorsport, you’ll hover over various types of karts. That’s why we often get asked: are go-karts RWD?

Almost all go-karts are rear-wheel drive because this type makes them simpler to build. Only in the latest years, we’ve seen more complex karts. Vehicles that offer front-wheel or even all-wheel drive. Also, electric karts made their debut in motorsport. These vehicles aren’t as simple as RWD and of course, they come with higher price tags.

There are good reasons why most go-karts remain rear-wheel drive. Also, go-karting is evolving and these vehicles are more advance nowadays. Keep reading this post and learn more about the drive systems available in go-karting.

What Drivetrain Do Go-Karts Have?

Go-karts designers build go-karts as small racing vehicles. Their construction is simple but it must have appropriate characteristics for competitive driving.

Geometry and lightweight are important in racing karting. Go-karts must be easy to drive, lightweight to speed up fast, and with a good grip for cornering ability.

Karts are little racing vehicles. Their construction must be simple. For many reasons, it’s better to have their engine behind the driver. To remain simple in their construction, they take the energy directly from the shaft to the rear axle.

Imagine how complex it should be to transfer the power to the front wheels. Or, how dangerous it could be to have the engine in front of the driver.

Rear-wheel drive gives the possibility of peak performance in racing. That’s why Formula-1 vehicles remain rear-wheel drive.

Also, all-wheel drive is very expensive for a go-kart and it would create much heavier vehicles. Remember, for go-karting we need lightweight vehicles to reach top speeds faster.

There are some go-kart builders that experiment with front-wheel and all-wheel. These vehicles are destined for other purposes than racing on the track.

Are Go-Karts RWD - Here's The Answer!

Off-road karts can have all-wheel drives and this would increase their off-road performance. Such vehicles don’t need speed or acceleration performance. Also, they come with larger engines so they can handle the extra weight.

Only in the latest years, we have seen a few front-wheel go-karts. These little vehicles have been built just to train young racers in FWD racing.  

But, we could say that the vast majority of racing go-karts come with RWD. The reasons are simplicity in contraction and better handling performance on the track.

Why Are RWD Go-Karts Better?

The weight distribution and geometry of a go-kart are far better when it has the engine at its rear. Also, it’s a lot more convenient for fitting the driver’s seat on the vehicle.

These alone are very good reasons why RWD karts are better than FWD. The compact dimensions of a kart make it difficult for an alternative driving system.

The main reason that go-karts are RWD is that their simpler to build and cost less. But this comes with some added advantages in racing.

Go-kart mechanics don’t have to figure out how to transfer the motion to the wheels. The engine creates the power that goes directly from the shaft to the axle. Imagine if mechanics had to transfer the motion to the other side of this little vehicle.

The extra weight of the engine is on top of the running wheels. This gives these racing vehicles improved traction on the track. Also, karts are affordable vehicles and they should be. These are hobby cars and if they were expensive, they wouldn’t be appealing.

A complex system of driving like FWD or AWD would make them more expensive. Their maintenance and running costs would be higher. This would make them less attractive to their audience. And it’s not even necessary to make them FWD. The driver wouldn’t get any advantage when competing on the racing track. 

The way that most go-karts are built with RWD systems is also more efficient for the driver’s position. The racer is seated at the center of the kart putting more weight at the right place for maximizing the grip. Also, they give the ability to place the driver’s seat as lower as possible.

Go-karts are little racing vehicles. RWD vehicles are faster when compared to FWD. At the acceleration, they have a better grip.  Because of the shifting of the dynamic load to the vehicle’s drive wheels.

Also, they have a better grip when braking. This happens because the static load in the back leads to a balanced weight on all 4 wheels of the kart. At long straights, RWD vehicles win all the time due to better grip in acceleration.

RWD is also better for cornering. The front tires steer without having a lot of weight on them and the driver turns them easier.

As mentioned, weight is important in go-kart racing. In a matter of fact, differentials are against the rules of CIK-FIA. A differential would add more weight to a kart and it would increase its center of gravity. Not to mention the extra costs for maintenance.

What About FWD & AWD Go-Karts?

There are some kart projects built with front-wheel drive and all-wheel-drive. But this isn’t the norm.

The reason that a few mechanics build such karts is that they experiment. You can find on Youtube front-wheel or all-wheel-drive go-karts. But these vehicles aren’t purposed for racing karting.

Stay with me, since I am about to discuss a little about FWD and AWD go-karts.

FWD – Front-Wheel-Drive Go-Karts

Building an FWD kart is more of a home project rather than a standard racing vehicle. This kart won’t have the ability of cornering and it could even be difficult to handle.

The mechanic must place one engine on top of each front wheel. This adds weight and doubles the cost for engines.  If you place one engine you need to figure out a complex system to link the power with the front wheels.

Handling such a vehicle is very hard. The only reason to build an FWD is to use it as a training vehicle for young drivers and to prepare them for normal cars.

FWD karts can’t compete in racing, they don’t have racing abilities and they cost more. The reasons are simple: they’re overweight and they don’t turn as RWD.

AWD – All-Wheel-Drive Go-Karts

There are very few AWD go-kart projects. I don’t see any other reason than fun to build one. If you attempt it, you should have in mind all the difficulties and extra costs of such a construction.

Most of them have 2 or 4 engines to provide motion to all the wheels of the vehicle. They’re much heavier than regular karts and they are difficult to handle.

To move the heavier kart you need more power and complex systems. This adds to the total cost of building and maintaining a vehicle.

If you don’t mind about cost and maneuverability, then you should try it just for a showcase.

Final Thoughts

Go-karts are RWD in most cases and for good reasons. They are easier to build and maintain, cost less, and perform better.

They are much lighter and they provide better grip to the driver. Some mechanics have built FWD and AWD for other purposed than racing.

You can build an RWD at your home if you know the basics of mechanics and follow some instructions. But, it would be more challenging for you to build FWD or AWD if you’re a beginner. Also if you decide to attempt such a project, you need to bear the extra costs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Can You Use Lawnmower Wheels on a Go-Kart

Previous Post

Can You Use Lawnmower Wheels on a Go-Kart?

Next Post

Why Do Go-Karts Feel Fast? Here’s What We Found!

Why Do Go-Karts Feel Fast