Do Go-Karts Have Gears – Fully Explained

Do Go-Karts Have Gears

If you have happened to have the pleasure of being in a go-kart just for fun or even at a competitive level, you may be wondering how these vehicles work. Cars are supposed to have gears that they can shift to depending on how fast they are going. But is it the same with go-karts? Do go-karts have gears?

Go-karts need gears to put torque under certain circumstances, as well as to shift into reverse. Some even have six-speed manual transmissions. However, most go-karts have a simple auto transmission system consisting of only a few gears.

The go-kart is supposed to be a straightforward vehicle used for fun and simple competitive races. However, transmission is still very much an important part of a go-kart. It allows you to switch gears to make sure that the engine is running at an optimal level.

Do Go-Karts Need a Transmission?

The transmission is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. That’s because this system allows the vehicle to stay within the rev limit so that it won’t end up exploding. The transmission system allows you to shift from one gear to another so that the gear ratio between the engine and the drive wheels alters as you keep the rev limit under the “red line” that you see on your tachometer.

So, in that case, go-karts do have transmissions because this allows them to function normally while keeping the RPM of their engine in the rev limit. Because go-karts have a transmission system, they also have gears that allow the transmission system to work. But the transmission system of a go-kart is pretty simple enough that it is only made of only a few gears.

The transmission system is relatively simple because of how it only uses a few gears that control the vehicle’s speed so that it stays at an optimum level in terms of how its engine is running. This prevents the engine from overheating as the transmission switches between gears.

Are Go-Karts Automatic or Manual?

Some people tend to ask whether or not go-karts have a transmission system or gears because they don’t notice them having to change gears whenever they are go-karting as a hobby.

In that sense, you don’t notice that the go-kart has an actual transmission system because most go-karts have an automatic transmission system. This transmission system automatically changes gears to control the speed and keep the RPM at an optimal level that doesn’t overheat the engine. That is why you hardly notice the go-kart changing gears as the transmission system automatically does that for you.

However, some go-karts are actually becoming quite popular in the US and the UK because they come with a manual transmission system. Of course, this is popular among professionals and competitive go-kart racers because the manual transmission system allows them to have greater control over their machines. 

This separates their skill levels in terms of how well they control the transmission and the engine of their go-karts, similar to how drag racers use manual transmission cars over automatic ones. These go-karts are often called shifter karts.

How Many Gears do Shifter Karts Have?

So, now that you know that shifter karts exist, you might be wondering how many gears these shifter karts have. To answer your queries, shifter karts are six-speed manual transmission go-karts that come with six different gears they can shift to so that the go-kart racers can get the most out of their engines.

With these manual transmission shifter karts, you need to learn to know when you should change gears because the go-kart will no longer do this for you. So, in that regard, if you don’t know when to shift gears, the go-kart might end up having an engine that is overheated as a result of the high RPMs. That’s why you need to get adjusted to shifter karts first before you actually drive one at a competitive level.

The transmission in these shifter karts is important in making sure that the engine gets the most RPM without overheating the engine. As such, getting used to changing gears should be a challenge for those who have been used to driving automatic go-karts and automatic cars. However, if you have driven a manual transmission car for a long time, driving a shifter kart won’t be too difficult for you as it is already second nature for you to know when to shift gears.

Do Go-Karts Have a Clutch?

Yes, go-karts do have a clutch, but only the more modern ones do. The earlier go-karts were direct drive. However, most of the newer ones today have a clutch because some karts are now using a 125-cc engine with a centrifugal clutch. This has made the clutch mandatory in most go-karts nowadays.

Do Professional Go-Karts Have Gears?

Professional go-karts are actually becoming quite popular because go-karting has become very popular among different speed enthusiasts. In that regard, you might be wondering whether or not go-karts used at the professional level have gears that will allow them to shift from one gear to another.

Well, of course, professional go-karts have gears. In fact, most professional go-kart racers prefer to use shifter karts because it allows them to have greater control over the engine to get the maximum RPM without overheating it. This allows them to go faster and provide more power to the go-kart while ensuring they are not overpowering the engine.

And even if some professional go-karts are not shifter karts, they are still making use of an automatic transmission system present in most go-karts. In that regard, it becomes easy to understand that go-karts, whether used professionally or for leisure, do have gears and a transmission system that controls the gears.


Hi, I'm Goran, a go-kart enthusiast with years of go-karting experience. I run and write most of the content on the blog. I love sharing my knowledge and passion for go-karts with others and aim to provide valuable insights, tips, and information for anyone interested in this exciting hobby. I'm grateful for the support from the go-kart community and am always looking for ways to improve and provide more value to my readers. Thank you for visiting!"

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