The Best Go-Kart Engine in 2022


As exhilarating and fun-filled go-karting is, the importance of choosing the best engine cannot be overstated. Selecting the best go-kart engine increases your confidence while racing and promises to offer you an elating experience. 

Whether you drive professionally or like to get your hands on parts for a hobby, constructing your go-kart can be an enjoyable task. Many different engines can be used in a go-kart, and frequently, it can be challenging to decide what type of engine to choose.

So, how do you know what is the best go-kart engine?

The two main factors deciding which type of go-kart engine you choose to involve your riding style and specific engines’ performance capabilities. The chances are that you will want to find an engine that best fits your needs and desires, so choosing that engine can be quite a task.

Choosing an engine is overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Coming up, we’ll outline the right way to select an engine for your go-kart and hopefully make the process a little less stressful. Please keep reading our guide on choosing the best engine for your go-kart.

The Best Go-Kart Engine Review

What makes a go-kart engine great? Is it the power or the reliability? Or maybe, it’s a set of unique features and specifications that attracts you to a certain engine.

Whatever the reason, you must understand why some engines are more suitable for your go-kart than others, which may involve your riding style rather than performance ratios. So let’s summarize a few different engines and give you the necessary information to make an informed purchase decision.

1. Honda GX200 Gas Kart Engine

Honda GX160 Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: Air-cooled 4-stroke OHV engine with recoil start
  • Displacement: 196cc 
  • Power: 5.5 HP at 3600rpm, 9.1 ft/lb at 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 18″ x 15.5″ x 17.5″
  • Weight: 35 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.1L (0.81 gallons)

Honda is known for its great engines and reliability; Honda GX200 is no exception. It offers smooth performance, high output operations, and excellent fuel efficiency. It consumes about 0.27 gallons of unleaded 86 octane (or higher) per hour at 3600rpm.

It has a great build and comes with lightweight materials that are easier to maintain. Although it has a heavy-duty recoil starting system, it is user-friendly. The engine’s lightweight and noise-reducing components are also oiled, making it run smoothly and almost silently.

One of this engine’s best features is that it is CARB and EPA-certified; it meets the world’s most stringent environmental legislation, making it highly eco-friendly.

2. DuroMax XP7HPE Gas Kart Engine

DuroMax XP7HPE Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke OHV engine with electronic ignition
  • Displacement: 212cc 
  • Power: 7 HP at 3600rpm, 13.2 Nm / 9.7 ft/lb.
  • Dimensions: 17.3″ x 16.7″ x 17.1″
  • Weight: 46 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.78L (1 gallon)

DuroMax XP7HPE could be considered to be a perfect go-kart engine. It is powerful, fuel-efficient, and fully EPA and CARB-compliant; this allows it to be used in all 50 states.

This is a 4-stroke engine that comes with electronic ignition. It also has an E-Z pull recoil starter in case you need to start it manually. It produces a maximum output of 7hp at 3600 rpm and 9.7 pounds-feet of torque or 13.2 Nm.

The overhead valve on an engine is designed for better fuel management. Its fuel consumption is about 0.25 gallons per hour when running at half load. It can run up to 4 hours before refueling with 87 octane gasoline. This makes it suitable for the endurance racing category.

3. Predator 6.5 HP Horizontal Shaft Gas Engine

Predator Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke OHV engine with recoil start
  • Displacement: 212cc 
  • Power: 6.5 HP at 3600rpm, 8.1 ft/lb at 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 15.4″ x 12.6″ x 13.6″
  • Weight: 37.5 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.4L (0.90 gallons)

Predator 6.5 HP is perfect for beginner and intermediate karts due to its user-friendly controls and operations. Its overhead valve system is designed to reduce fuel consumption, thus making it an efficient engine. This engine is made of cast iron cylinders, making it durable and suitable for all weather conditions.

The Predator 6.5 HP engine produces 6.5 horsepower at 3600rpm and has a compression ratio of 8.5:1. It uses 87 or higher octane gas and has a tremendous auto-shutdown sensor feature to protect your kart during transport. It is also EPA and CARB compliant in 49 states (CA is an exception).

The ball-bearing support shaft is an excellent substitute for most standard engine setups. With its gas-saving feature, purchasing this engine helps you save more. 

4. Titan TX200 Powersport Engine

Titan TX200 Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke inline single-stroke engine with a recoil start
  • Displacement: 196cc
  • Power: 6.5 HP at 3600rpm, 10.9 Nm 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 12.6″ x 14.8″ x 13.6″
  • Weight: 37 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6L (0.95 gallons)

Titan TX200 is a reliable go-kart engine designed based on HondaGX160/200 series engines and is arguably a top contender for the best go-kart engine on this list.

The superior valve design helps reduce air intake and allows for more fuel into the 4-stroke cylinder. That extra air intake gives this 196cc 6.5 hp engine up to 10.9 Nm of torque at 2500rpm. These numbers are awe-inspiring for a machine of that size.

Unlike some other engines, Titan TX200 has additional features such as a throttle cable ready, a dual-element air cleaner, a splash lubrication system, and is fully compatible with GTC torque converters.

What is so great about this engine is that it is incredibly versatile. You can upgrade it up to an insane 26 horsepower.

5. Briggs and Stratton CR950 208cc Engine

Briggs and Stratton CR950 Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke B&S CR Series with magnetron electronic ignition
  • Displacement: 208cc
  • Power: 9.5 HP at 3600rpm, 9.5 ft/lb
  • Dimensions: 12.6″ x 14.8″ x 13.6″
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3L (0.8 gallons)

The Briggs and Stratton CR950 9.5 GT horizontal shaft engine’s design offers dependable power to work through any weather condition. It produces up to 208cc in displacement with a maximum output of 9.5 HP.

The cast-iron cylinder sleeve gives the engine an extended life and protects it from wear, tear, and harsh conditions. Its premium Dual Clean air filtration system and a foam pre-cleaner that prevents dust and dirt from getting trapped in the engine guarantee maintenance-free magnetron electronic ignition.

The controls are user-friendly, ensuring a smooth operation. The overhead valves are durable due to their unique design, which allows for cooler operation. With the excellent features installed into the CR950, you get better value for your money.

6. Lifan LF 168F-2BDQ Gas Kart Engine

Lifan LF 168F-2BDQ Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: Industrial grade 4 Stroke OHV single-cylinder with Non-transistorized ignition (TCI)
  • Displacement: 196cc
  • Power: 6.5 HP at 3600rpm, 11 Nm 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 17″ x 16″ x 17″
  • Weight: 33 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6L (0.95 gallons)

They are reliable and quiet, and they also have an excellent build. The engine has cast iron sleeves that extend its life. Lifan LF 168F-2BDQ is a better replacement for Honda, Briggs, and Kohler engines, including many other brands. 

It meets the EPA requirement and does not have a degrading environmental impact. The Lifan engine features an electric start ignition, which makes it easier to start the kart. It has a maximum output of about 6.5 HP and a displacement of 196cc while producing up to 11 pounds-feet of torque at 2500rpm.

7. Briggs and Stratton 250cc 1150 Series Kart Engine 

Briggs and Stratton 250cc Engine Specifications:

  • Engine Type: 4 Stroke OHV single-cylinder engine with electronic ignition
  • Displacement: 250cc
  • Power: 11.5 HP at 3800rpm, 11 Nm 2500rpm
  • Dimensions: 10.9″ x 15.3″ x 15.6″
  • Weight: 43 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.02L (0.8 gallons)

This 11.5 GT horizontal shaft engine is made of a cast-iron cylinder sleeve, which makes it durable and long-lasting. It has a compact overhead design, allowing for a cooler operation and low fuel consumption.

Adjustable throttle control allows for a constant speed operation while an automatic shutdown system alerts you if the oil level is low. Starting this engine is a breeze with a maintenance-free Magnetron electronic ignition system and is CARB Compliant in all 50 states.

8. XtremepowerUS 7HP Gas Kart Engine

XtremepowerUS 7HP Specifications:

  • Engine Type: Industrial grade OHV gasoline engine with E-Z Pull Recoil Starter
  • Displacement: 212cc
  • Power: 7 HP at 3600rpm
  • Dimensions: 12.5″ x 15″ x 14.25″
  • Weight: 44 lbs
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 3.6L (0.95 gallons)

The XtremepowerUS is a 212cc displacement engine that is durable and reliable, with an impressive design. It produces up to 7HP at 3600rpm. This engine features a horizontal keyway output shaft, splash oil system, pull recoil starter, and forced air cooling system.

It is EPA certified and a suitable replacement for old kart engines. Due to its superior design, it runs smoothly and quietly.

How To Choose The Best Go-Kart Engine

Before making a purchase, you must consider the engine that specifically accommodates your needs whether you are planning a fun-filled event for your family or want to transition into the professional world. Here are the factors to consider when selecting your engine.

  • Engine Performance
  • Shaft Orientation
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Fuel Capacity
  • Engine Features
  • Price

What is important is that you find a mix of advantages – and possible inevitable disadvantages – that will form your specific choice for an engine.

No matter your reason for utilizing your new go-kart engine, the following information will help you hone in on specific things to know before buying. Some characteristics will significantly improve the performance of your go-kart and its engine. 

Other times, additions will help in a particular field while preventing maximum performance in another.

Engine’s Performance

The engine’s performance should always be among the most important considerations when choosing an engine. Several factors influence the performance of an engine. These include:

Displacement – The cylinder’s size determines the airflow amount per revolution. A larger cylinder provides more airflow, allowing it to produce more horsepower.

Horsepower – The number of revolutions per second an engine turns over. The bigger the cylinder, the more horsepower it produces.

Torque – The force that drives the pistons back and forth. Higher torque allows the engine to spin up quickly.

Running Speed – How fast the engine runs. The faster the engine spins, the quicker it accelerates.

In addition to these factors, some general rules apply to engines. For example, engines with higher displacements tend to run slower, while smaller cylinders usually provide more horsepower.

Shaft Orientation

You don’t want to buy a kart with the wrong shaft orientation. It could mean trouble down the road. If you’re replacing an old engine with a new one, make sure to match the shaft orientation of both engines. Otherwise, you’ll end up having problems later on.

If you’re building a kart from scratch, there are no rules about shaft orientation. You can choose whatever works best for you. But keep in mind that horizontal and vertically oriented engines are different shapes. Horizontal shaft engines tend to be broader and shorter, while vertical shaft engines are narrower and more prolonged.

Fuel Efficiency

Fuel efficiency directly affects the performance of your go-kart. This is especially important if you’re racing competitively. But, if you’re using your go-kart just for recreation, it might not be something that’s on top of your list. 

Ideally, an efficient engine could be one with a fuel consumption rate of 0.25 gallons per hour at half load —generally, the lower the engine’s fuel consumption rate, the greater its efficiency.

Most go-kart engines run on a two-stroke or four-stroke engine. Both engines work better for different circumstances.

  • A two-stroke engine is lightweight and packs a punch over a short amount of time. It uses its fuel for high-speed, short-length runs.
  • A four-stroke engine is typically more massive and more fuel-efficient. It uses its fuel more sparingly but for a more extended amount of time. This is ideal for long, competitive go-kart races.
  • There are also electric engines in the go-kart industry; they are not as popular as you might see in cars and the like.

2-stroke engine

  • Lower efficiency.
  • Due to the pressure on its parts, it is more likely to wear out faster.
  • It provides more power due to quicker combustion.
  • It is lightweight
  • It is easier to maintain and fix.
  • Since the fuel is premixed with oil, burnt oil is released into the atmosphere after combustion.

4-stroke engine

  • Lesser fuel consumption, hence higher efficiency.
  • It is more durable.
  • It combusts less frequently, therefore, does not offer much power.
  • It is heavier due to the additional parts.
  • The presence of the additional components makes it difficult to maintain.
  • More eco-friendly as it does not require premixing.

Fuel Capacity

Again, this is more of a factor for those that race go-karts. Or for anyone that likes taking their go-kart on longer adventures.

  • You will want to find a go-kart engine with a larger fuel tank if competing in a longer race.
  • However, keep in mind that a larger fuel tank – while holding more gasoline – will also weigh your go-kart down more, which you may not want. 
  • Every addition to a go-kart often has an equal but opposite disadvantage. Sometimes you will have to give up one advantage to increase the effects of another.

Engine Features

New engines often have all the components intact: the cylinder, shaft, fuel tank, oil tank, etc. However, some kart engines have extra details and features that improve your karting experience. 

You might also consider some of these excellent features when scouting for a quality engine.

  • EPA & CARB certification (ensure the engine meets the emission standards, hence promoting a much sustainable environment)
  • Optimal fuel efficiency (save you from having to refuel frequently)
  • Overhead valve design (also helps with gas-saving and a more relaxed run)
  • Throttle-ready
  • Automatic shutdown sensor (alert you of a drop in oil level)
  • Electric starter (make it easier to start your kart)

Although these additional features are not compulsory, they improve your karting experience.

Price

Your budget is crucial in determining the kind of kart engine to purchase. New engines are quite pricey, so you have to be realistic when deciding to get one. However, a few inexpensive brands can keep you in line with your budget.

To avoid overspending on maintenance and get the best out of an engine, we advise you to purchase a new engine. The price range for a go-kart engine is determined by its features and the experience level it handles.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are several things to consider before and during buying a go-kart engine. There are so many options, from specific styles to personal preferences to overall quality. 

Remember that sticking to your preferences and any league requirements are the best things to keep in mind when choosing your go-kart engine. Reviews and reputation can also be beneficial. Hopefully, this article simplified what can frequently be a stressful process for fellow go-karters.

Go-karting is an exciting venture to immerse yourself in, and familiarizing yourself with all the parts involved can be just as fun. However, how to choose those parts is also equally important.

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