Are Go-Karts Street Legal In The US?

Go Kart Racing Wheels Sizes Guide + Size Charts

Since I started to race in a local league I started to understand that there are a lot of factors that affect the lap time, but one of the most important is tires which directly affect the handling and the corner speed. I wondered what kind of Go Kart wheels exist, so I set out to do some research and find the results.

Most racing go-kart wheel sizes are 4.50 x 10.0 – 5. There are different sizes of karting tires, and you can read the size simply by looking at the string of numbers printed on the sidewall of the tire. There are pros and cons to having smaller or bigger tires in karting, and it comes down to which ones you prefer and suit your driving style best.

After figuring out what is the common size, let’s make sure we know how to measure a go-kart wheel right, and understand the differences between smaller and bigger tires in karting.

How are go-kart wheels measured?

The tire sizes that are printed on the sidewalls of the tires seem like a collection of entirely random numbers, I thought the same at first. That is, until I started doing some research and found out that the numbers on the side of the tires are actually very important. These numbers are the measurements of the tire size.

Here’s how to read the tire sizes on a go kart. The first number, for example 4.50, is the tire height. The next number, for example 10.0 is the tire width, and the last number for example 5, is the rim size. So, the full equation looks like this: tire height x tire width – rim size.

With this information in mind, you can quickly and easily measure the size of any go kart tires that you come across.

What size tires do go-karts use?

It’s no secret that go karts use small wheels, you can clearly see that just by looking at them. In general, karting tires are between 4 and 6 inches in height. They are also between8 and 11 inches wide.

The rim size is usually 5 inches on average, although there are some karts that use smaller or larger rims, depending on the type of rims that are fitted to the kart. These wheels are incredibly small and lightweight, and we’ll cover the reasons behind these small wheels later on.

What wheel size is best for racing?

Different karting tire sizes will provide you with different performance aspects. This is crucial to keep in mind if you’re after getting the best performance out of your go kart. However, there’s no simple answer as to which size of tires is best when it comes to karting. It all depends on the track and your driving style!

Tire Height

Let’s start with height. The bigger the tires are, the heavier they will be. Larger tires will mean that you lose some straight line speed and top speed at the end of the straight. These tires are not only heavier, but they also produce more drag, which will slow you down even further on the straights.

However, bigger tires will give you more grip and better acceleration. This is why you always see drag racing cars with massive rear tires. If you’re driving on a tight and twisty track with short straights, bigger tires are better! However, you must keep in mind that the height of the tires makes a small performance difference, so it’s ideal to use shorter tires in this instance to save some weight.

Tire Width

The width of the tires will make the biggest difference, so this is the ideal area that you should focus on. Wider tires will offer you more grip because they have a larger contact patch. This means that there is more rubber touching the tarmac, providing you with better grip and traction. In Formula 1, they also use wider tires because they offer more grip, and allow the cars to corner much faster. The same effect works in karting too.

Wider tires will make you slower in a straight line though. There is much more rolling resistance when you are using wider tires. With more rubber touching the tarmac, it requires a lot more force and power from the engine to get the wheels moving, and to keep them moving!

Wider tires will also help your kart with braking. The wider your rear tires are, the more grip they will have, which allows you to slow the kart down much faster and more effectively. As we know, the later you brake, the faster you can go! Late braking is also effective for overtaking, so this is an important factor to keep in mind.

Rim Diameter

The rim diameter does not have an effect on the performance of the kart. This is simply to ensure that the tires will fit to the kart’s rims. You need to remember your rim size and make sure to order the relevant tire size that will fit your kart’s rims.

Why do go-karts have small wheels?

All go karts have tiny wheels (apart from off roading karts). Off roading karts need to have larger tires for ground clearance. This helps them to cover the undulating hills and bumps on gravel roads.

As for racing karts though, smaller wheels are better. First of all, they bring the kar closer to the ground, which reduces the ride height. The lower the ride height of the kart, the lower its centre of gravity will be. That means more stability and grip, especially when cornering. It also helps the aerodynamics of the kart which adds even more cornering speeds and helps with the straight line speed of the kart.

Go karts also have small wheels because the entire vehicle is small. Go karts are designed for just one person, and they are designed to be incredibly simplistic and inexpensive as the cheapest form of motorsport. Having smaller wheels helps karting to achieve those goals.


In general, karting has wheels with around a 5 inch rim size, a tire height of 4.50 inches, and a width of 10 inches. There are different sizes of karting tires, and you can find the size of the tires printed on the sidewalls. Larger tires provide karting with better grip, acceleration, and braking force, but smaller tires give karts more straight line speed at the end of a straight.

If you have any more questions that you’d like me to answer, be sure to contact me or leave a comment below.

Picture of Dor from GoKart36
Dor from GoKart36

Hi, I'm Dor and since my first lap on a go-kart in Italy, karting became my favorite hobby. I check tracks in many places around the world and am happy to share from my experience.
In my daily job, I am a programmer, and during the season, I race in my local league in the senior category.

More About Me
Phuket Go Kart 390cc 4T

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