Common Beginners Mistakes

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It seems to me there are a few things that people commonly do when building their first cartie which, with the benefit of hindsight, they probably wish they hadn't done. Here are a few of the common "learning opportunities" I've spotted;

  • Pringle Wheel Strikes AgainWheels too big. It may be that "bigger wheels roll better", but that's only true when they are circular. As soon as you've taken your first serious corner with those 26" wheels you nicked off a bike you found a the tip you'll find that their newly configured "pringle profile" will be a lot slower than you'd hoped. 20" BMX wheels work well.
  • Centre of gravity too high. Get as low as you possibly can, as it'll help with stability. Tall carties tend to be very top heavy and have a high risk of rolling over. Get your bum as close to the road as possible.
  • Too narrow. A similar problem to the high C of G (above). Wide carties are much less likely to roll over.
  • Wonky steering. I've you're going for conventional "kart style" steering (i.e. simple push rods), read up about king pin inclination, king pin camber and ackerman angle. Don't just make every joint a right angle, or it won't work very well.
  • Twitchy steering. You do not need anywhere near as much lock as you think you do. Keep the steering slow (i.e. big inputs and small outputs), otherwise it'll be very difficult to control at speed. Read up about steering ratios. Also - it is worth considering fitting a steering damper. these can be acquired second hand from eBay for around £20.
  • Chassis too soft. You don't want too much flex in your chassis. This, coupled with twitchy steering, is a recipe for the dreaded speed wobbles. Also make sure there is minimal flex inyour wheel mountings.
Can anyone think of any other common first time gotchas?
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One of the biggest mistakes

One of the biggest mistakes most a newbie can make, is not asking or looking for help. Its too easy to think you are doing the right thing and then realising, once the carrts built, its not as perfect as you thought it would be.

Seat position, make sure you are comfy and use the seat/position as your starting point for a build not an after thought

Another is seatbelt mounting points and position. Seatbelts for Cairngorm, (more accurately perhaps), harnesses, need to be able to do the job. Look at race cars/rally cars etc and see how they are fitted properly. If you are not sure, ask for help - thats what we are here for!

We might not give away our "trade secrets", but we will not hold back information which might make your cart a danger, not only to yourself, but other racer and spectators etc.

Happy building.


azuma | September 10, 2010 - 19:10

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