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“How the heck do I get a gokart?!”

Published By Davin Sturdivant     January 11, 2016    
Karting is one of the most enjoyable and pure forms of motorsports in existence. However, it’s challenging for most people to know how and where to get started.

This article talks about some of the high-level places to look when trying to purchase their first kart.


Karting is one of the most enjoyable and pure forms of motorsports in existence. However, it’s challenging for most people to know how and where to get started. Questions such as “Where do I go buy a kart?,” “What class should I pick?,” and “What tools do I need to get started?” are commonplace for a newcomer to the sport.

I’m going to work on a series of articles where I’ll do my best to help guide you through some of the basics on how to get started karting. In this article, we’ll talk about where to buy a kart . The articles will be aimed for the first-time karter. If more people knew how to practically get started, I think that more people would find themselves entering the sport.

Just a quick disclaimer: Rather than just telling you what to do, I’m going to provide you with enough insight on how to gather the proper information on making your next step. The final decisions you make will be up to your own preference and what’s accessible in your area.


Purchasing a race kart is much like purchasing a car. You can either go through a private sale or go through a dealer. Fortunately, there are several places that a racer can go to purchase a kart, like a dealer site or a public sale or a classified forum. However, if this is your first time purchasing a kart, you might not know what questions to ask to make sure that you’re getting the best deal.

How much should I put aside for my first kart?

I could spend an entire article just discussing what the appropriate karting budget should be. It’s highly dependent on what class of kart you get into, and how frequently you’re planning on racing. Depending on your class of kart, an average used kart can cost between $1500 - $6000. However, the performance envelope in what you’re purchasing is quite huge, between a 10hp LO206 to a 45hp+ six speed shifter kart.

So, I’m going keep this section brief with a piece of advice.

You can go as fast as you’re comfortable spending, so keep your budget in mind. You’re able to go as fast as you’re willing to spend. By keeping your available purchase budget in mind, it will help you keep specific decisions in mind. The aim is to purchase something in your budget, not something that you won’t be able to afford to run later in the season. 

For your first kart, I would highly recommend looking at used karts so that you can use more of your budget on consumption costs, rather than spending everything on a brand new kart.

Buying a kart through a dealer

I would recommend first going through a local kart dealer that sells chassis. There are a large number of different chassis that are available on the market. It is easy to get confused where to start for your first chassis. My first recommendation is to find out who sees some of the more well-known karting chassis on the market, such as Tony Kart, Ital-kart, Birel, CRG, etc.

A good look at EKarting News, Kart360, or CKN photo galleries will give you a good idea of some of the more well-known chassis to start looking at.  I know it seems obvious, but a popularly-seen chassis is a good brand to look for yourself, because a lot of people have them.

Once you identify a dealer, ask the owner or the sales person that you’re working with about their personal karting history. What model chassis do they prefer running? What classes do they race in? How long have they been racing, and what tracks do they prefer to go to?

Not only will it give you some basic ideas of some places to go once you have your kart, but it will also give you a sense of how savvy your dealer is in being able to answer some of the basic questions about the sport.

A good dealer will be a good contact about the sport of karting. If they are knowledgeable about kart setup and how the different parts affect the chassis handling, you’ll want to get to know them quite well. Let your dealer know what type of budget you have in mind, and if they are any good, they’ll help you find a kart that meets your needs. 

Here are some examples of some dealer sites online. Most of these places have brick and mortar locations as well, so you can pick your kart up directly from them. Click the bullets below to see links to the site pages.


Going through a private sale

On the private purchase side, you can go onto karting classified forums, or even go to events and see if anyone has a chassis that they want to sell. The great thing about purchasing a kart privately is that prices are normally more negotiable. However, you are getting what you pay for most of the time. 

Purchasing a kart privately requires a bit more savvy, because you need to know what to look for. I always recommend taking someone who has some karting experience with you on a private sale, just so that you have a set of experienced eyes with you. 

On any used purchase, pay close attention to how well-maintained the kart is. Are there any noticeable cracks in the frame, or deep scratches in the paint? Seeing if the kart looks well-kept will give you a good idea of how harshly the seller has used it before selling. Ask to see if the owner has kept a log-book of the engine hours. It’s rare, but it’s always a bonus if there happens to be one.

Ask to see if the kart comes with any spares. Spare wheels, tires, or other spare parts that you can pick up. Especially when you’re getting your first kart, every little bit helps, so see if you can get spares where you can.

Here are some good examples of some places where you can buy karts privately. There are many more places than these below. If you know someone who already races karts, be sure to ask if they know places locally where you can get a used kart. Click on the bullets below for some website examples.

Overall, purchasing a kart is not too hard. Just remember these three steps.
      1) Think about your budget,
      2) Go through a reputable source 
      3) Ask someone for help if you have any concerns.

The great thing about the karting community is that everyone is willing to provide information to get new drivers into the sport. It’s one of the things that makes the sport so awesome. 

Once you’ve purchased your chassis, you’re going to need a way to get it home. I’ve written another article on Build/Race/Party about the different ways that you can transport a kart, so give that a read and then get ready to go karting.


— Author’s Note: Davin Sturdivant (@relaxeddriver on Twitter) has over eight years of racing experience as a Solo II autocrosser and a competition kart racer. His personal work on motorsport and karting can be found on

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