Do Go-Karts have a suspension?

In this brief article, we will discuss the tuning of a Go Kart suspension.

Do Go-Karts have a suspension?

Go-Karts have no Suspension. The axles are supported directly on the chassis with nothing in between. The main purpose behind go-kart racing is the fact that there is no suspension between the driver and the road. This sort of ‘direct’ Road feedback is the reason why go-karting came into existence. It is a unique opportunity to experience vehicle cornering in its rawest form.

What kind of Suspension do Go Karts have?

The Go-Kart Chassis is designed to be flexible enough to handle the road loads of a racetrack without a suspension. Yet, at the same time, the go-kart chassis is made stiff enough in twist so as to get the best cornering performance.

Unlike conventional race cars, where the suspension springs and dampers are tuned for handling, the Go Kart’s approach to suspension is to tune the chassis itself. Parts of the Chassis are tuned in order to achieve the right kind of balance between the front and rear roll stiffness and, consequently, an improved handling behaviour. 

Following are the chassis components tuned in a Go-Kart:

Axle and Spindles

The rigidity of Axle and Spindle make an impact on the amount of grip at the tire. The Axles and Spindles can be modified in

  • A Stiffer material Axle provides higher rear end grip in cornering. A Softer material of axle, on the other hand, offers more Flex and more weight transfer
  • Spindles, coupled to the wheel hubs, offer different levels of front grip depending on the length. A long spindle provides more front-end grip, whereas a shorter spindle results in lesser front-end grip.

Torsion Bar

The only type of suspension that go-karts use is Torsion bar that connects the left and right of the chassis. The kart chassis is designed such that the torsional stiffness of the front and rear of the chassis is deliberately lowered. There is a provision given to connect the left and right chassis rail at the front wheel position and the rear wheel position using a removable crossmember, also called Torsion Bar.

The Torsion bar can be of different materials and shapes in order to tune the lateral stiffness of the Kart’s Chassis. Nylon Torsion bars tend to offer lesser roll resistance as compared to an Aluminium Bar, which is much stiffer in comparison and offers  higher roll resistance.

Off Road Go-karting

Off-road Go Karting is a recreational sport. Unlike the conventional Go-karts, there is no official body for racing.

Off-road Go karts do have suspensions which are highly customized according to each driver’s preference. The most commonly seen is the double-wishbone coilover strut type at all 4 corners.

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have discussed the tuning of a Go Kart suspension.

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