Do Go-Karts Have Gears? Learn What We Found!

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

Go-karts are no doubt pretty unique in their form. In a way, it’s like the lovechild of an automobile and a bike. 

So we couldn’t help but wonder, how exactly does it work considering its structure, size, and whatnot?

Do go karts have gears similar to cars? So here’s the thing. Go-karts have a set of gears, but it’s not the same as a regular car. These gears allow the rider to shift and apply more torque when necessary. Moreover, it has a simpler transmission system that enables go-karts to reach optimum performance without damaging the engine. 

In the next few lines, we’ll explore the importance of transmission, gears, and other common vehicular parts within go-karts. 

So, let’s ride right in. 

Do Go Karts Need Transmission? 

Yes, go-karts require transmission. Otherwise, it’s not going to fully function on the tracks.

Transmission is a critical component in any vehicle.

It’s responsible for directing and regulating the power produced by the engine allowing other parts like the wheels to operate. 

In go-karts, the transmission system lets you shift gears within the rev limit. Within this context, you can think of a go-kart’s transmission as a buffer or regulator preventing torque from exceeding. 

Now, you may wonder why this is necessary.

Do Go Karts Have Gears

So, here it goes. Without a functional transmission system, the engine can suffer from overheating due to unregulated rotational speed measured in revolutions per minute (RPM). This will lead to explosions and significant damages. 

Even though go-kart transmission takes inspiration from a regular car, its overall system hits a more basic form. 

Primarily, only a few gears are included, which pretty much focus on controlling the speed of the go-kart and preventing overheating when the transmission facilitates the gear switch.

Are Go-Karts Manual Or Automatic? 

A majority of go-karts have an automatic transmission system. This is probably why some riders fail to recognize the actual transmission system since the gears automatically change without much effort from the driver. 

When that happens, the speed is controlled internally within the rev limit. As a result, the RPM is sustained at an ideal level to avoid overheating to maintain this condition.  

With the automation embedded in the system, it’s pretty hard to notice the shift, especially if you’re having a lot of fun riding the go-kart. 

Now, how about go-karts with a manual transmission system? Do they exist?

Yes, a manual transmission system is also available in some go-karts. In fact, they have increasing appeal to many go-karting enthusiasts and professional riders. 

Among those who compete in the karting sport, a go-kart with a manual transmission system is highly preferable because you can have more control over your machine. 

You can control the transmission, which means you can speed up without being limited by the internal system. These types of go-karts are referred to as shifter karts. 

And to properly handle the manual transmission system, you will need to develop go-karting skills that are often overlooked when riding go-karts with an automatic transmission system.  

Do Go-Karts Have Shifters? 

Yes, as mentioned earlier, there is such a thing as shifter karts which are essentially run by a manual transmission system. So, it’s pretty common to find shifters, especially in professional go-karts. 

Shifter karts are pretty popular within the competitive sports of go-karting. Unlike an automatic transmission go-kart, you have more freedom and control over your speed and performance when you ride a shifter kart. Therefore, it manifests the skills necessary for a race. 

On the other hand, automatic transmission go-karts are often found in parks and recreational centers. They are mainly intended for hobbyists who just want to have fun and enjoy the go-karting experience. 

go kart gears

Are There Multiple Gears in Shifter Karts?

Yes, there are multiple gears found in shifter karts. However, by standard, you can expect to find six different gears. 

Professional riders shift gears from time to time to achieve the optimal engine performance they need to win the race. 

However, since it lacks the automated control found in an automatic transmission system, if you are not well-versed in shifting gears, you might end up with an overheating engine. That’s why it’s essential to master when to change from one gear to another when riding a shifter kart. 

So, if you have been driving go-karts or even regular cars with automatic transmission, you will have to practice more with the shifter karts. 

But, there’s a slight caveat. If you are driving a manual transmission car, you’ll find it easier to ride a shifter kart as you probably have developed the gear-changing skills necessary. 

Do Go-Karts Have a Clutch? 

Yes, go-karts have a clutch especially newer models today. Before, go-karts had no use for a clutch since they could be driven directly. But with modern go-karts that have 125-cc engines, a clutch becomes necessary. 

Nonetheless, the function of the clutch in go-karts is not the same as that of a car. In driving a car, the clutch allows you to shift gears. 

However, in go-karts, they do not necessarily influence gear change- at least not directly. Instead, a clutch is used to control the RPMs. 

When riding the go-kart, turning on the clutch increases the RPMs and, subsequently, the speed of the vehicle. 

Do Go Karts Have Gears? 

A gearbox is only common with shifter karts as they have multiple gears. There’s practically no need for a gearbox with other go-karts that employ an automatic transmission.

Just like how gearboxes are with dirt bikes and motorcycles, the gearbox of a shifter kart is arranged in sequence. This means when you’re shifting from gear two to four, you’ll need to change to third first. 

So, if you’ve been driving with a sequential gearbox for most of your life, you’ll probably find it easy to operate a shifter kart. 

go kart racing

How Do You Install a Reverse Gearbox on a Go-Kart? 

Sure, acceleration is crucial when you ride a go-kart. But going backward is also essential when you raise direction on the subject. So, how do you acquire the ability to move backward?

Simple. You install a reverse gearbox following these steps.

  1. Lay all the components of the gearbox. 
  2. Move the engine and torque converter to make room for the new gearbox leaving the axle in its existing place.
  3. Setup and check the parts of the reverse gearbox. 
  4. Install the reverse gearbox and its components in its new position.
  5. Test your new reverse gearbox. 

When you buy a particular brand and type of reverse gearbox, specific instructions are provided. However, as a rule of thumb, you should check its compatibility with the engine first, especially in terms of fitting. 

Read Also: How Much Do Go-Karts Cost (Complete Guide!)

Can You Find Gears on Professional Go-Karts? 

Yes, given the advantage of gears in go-karting competitions, it’s not uncommon to find shifter karts with gears among professional go-kart racers. 

Likewise, using multiple gears through manual transmission is considered a significant test of skills in professional go-karting. 

Read Also: The Best Go Kart For Kids

Final Thoughts

So, do go karts have gears? Whether it has an automatic or manual transmission, go-karts are equipped with gears. With an automatic transmission, they may go unnoticed, but they are a huge presence with shifter karts. 

Nevertheless, gears remain an essential part not just in the performance of the go-kart but in regulating the RPM and protecting the engine from overheating. 

If you want more control over your go-kart, you can go for a shifter kart with a manual transmission system. Just make sure you get plenty of practice with the gear shifts.

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