We all know that the speed of your go-kart can affect your performance, just like your skills behind the wheel. But as I become more involved in local go-kart racing competitions, I’m learning that the number of horsepowers and the size of your go-kart engine are other important factors to consider. After realizing that, I dug deeper into research to find out how much horsepower does the 4-stroke go-kart I usually race with have.
A typical rental go-kart with a 4-stroke engine and a displacement of 150 – 250 cc will have 5 to 16 horsepower. However, the most powerful go-karts have a horsepower rating of 20 to 48 horsepower. I also learned that some professional racers install aftermarket go-kart engines to increase horsepower, but this is a good topic for another post.
If you’re a beginner like me, the last thing you want is to get into a go-kart with an engine that is too powerful than you can handle and get yourself hurt. I’ve had my fair share of injuries when I started out because I got too excited. I eventually figured out that go-karts with a horsepower of between 5 to 8 are easier to handle as a beginner, especially at tight corners.
Of course, after I gain more experience, I was able to rent go-karts with much more power. If you didn’t read my article on my first experience with a 2-stroke go-kart in Phuket Speedway, check it out.
Does Engine Size Matter?
As I dug deeper into the internet, I was curious to find out if a bigger engine size (displacement) means more horsepower.
Here is a table of different go-kart engine displacement sizes and average horsepower.
|Engine||Engine Size||Horsepower||Engine Type|
|Predator 212||212cc||6.5 hp||4 stroke|
|Honda GX200||196cc||6.5 hp||4 stroke|
|Honda GX390||389cc||13 hp||4 stroke|
|Briggs and Stratton 13R232||208cc||6.5 hp||4 stroke|
|Tillotson 225RS||225cc||15 hp||4 stroke|
|DuroMax XP18HPE||440cc||18 hp||4 stroke|
|Aixro XR-50||294cc||48 hp||4 stroke|
|Vortek RoK GP||125cc||36 hp||2 stroke|
|Rotax Max EVO||125cc||30 hp||2 stroke|
|IAME X30||125cc||28 hp||2 stroke|
|CRS Motori A1||125cc||30 hp||2 stroke|
From the above table, we can conclude that it’s possible to have a smaller engine displacement in your go-kart with more horsepower than your friend with a bigger engine. However, it depends on the design and type of your engine.
Does More Horsepower Mean More Speed?
To find out if more horsepower means more speed, I tried out different go-karts with different horsepower. Interestingly, the higher the horsepower of the go-kart I tested, the more I felt the adrenaline rush.
While I was on the race track trying to overtake my friend riding a go-kart with less horsepower, it dawned on me that more horsepower means more speed which gave me a huge advantage. Even better, more horsepower means that you will accelerate faster.
Here is a video of a 60-hp go-kart with a 2-stroke engine that is super-fast.