Anyone actually test aluminum vs. mag wheels?

i finally read up on wheels after 3 seasons of racing LO206 Sr. and Masters. I need to double check my last year’s kart (it’s at the track), but i’m pretty sure i’ve driven every season on aluminum rims. i’m wondering how much i may have been giving up on the track, if any, with my aluminum rims. anyone actually get out and try and test/verify any advantages or disadvantages? i’m giving mags a go this year, so i’m hoping i get some improvement, hoping to get up to at least LastPlaceLeadGroup this season.

It’s been tested thoroughly over many years.

Mag = stiffer and better heat dissipation
Alu = softer and more heat soak

Aluminum if you need to work the tire harder and generate heat (rain), magnesium if you need to keep the kart free and consistent (dry).

If you’re struggling with the tires falling off during a run, you might benefit from a magnesium wheel.

I was wondering wether aluminum is more viable as a daily rim on lower hp? Everyone in two stroke runs mags but is that the case in lo? I don’t even know what Maggie came with.

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I don’t even run aluminum in rain. After running temp sensors I found that the handling matched what I was doing more with a mags all the time.

Aluminum is cheaper and more durable.

It’s possible a 206 doesn’t generate the abuse on the tire that most karts do, and isn’t as prone to tire overheating. Maybe a 206 struggles generating tire temp, I’m not sure.

It is common for 206 guys to run aluminum all the time. I suppose it depends on your kart too. Seems like the Euro karts are always on mags.

I’m running an Arrow X2. I’m familiar with the pros and cons that are listed on the net, etc, I just haven’t seen any direct comparison. Mychron data, lap times, etc., stuff like that. supposedly the lower weight might help a little with acceleration. I’m hoping I hop in and knock a second off my lap times, lol, with a full set of mags. That and a fuel pump riser.

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Wheels are tuning tool, so different wheels are going to be suitable for different conditions. It isn’t a matter of bolting one set on and going faster or slower.

I’ve never heard anyone talk about wheel weight with regards to acceleration. I imagine the difference is negligible. I bet I could visit the porta-potty pre-race and make more meaningful gains in the weight department than you’d see swapping wheels.

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I had some pals in high school that wrested and did very strange things to weigh in light. Poop, I am sure is only stage 2 of rapid weight loss.

Please correct me, since I don’t know anything about 206 but from what I’ve gleaned from Kartpulse is there are two ways to setup a 206. One is the traditional hike the Inside Rear to turn the kart and the other is to slide the kart around, like rental karts. Wouldn’t either setup dictate different approaches to wheels?

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I would love to do a back-to-back magnesium v. aluminum comparison on a 206 kart and publish the results for all to see. Possibly @Muskabeatz can do the test at the CKNA race at New Castle this year.

I will bring my

Waiting to get aluminum wheels (disclaimer: AMV wheel importer) to test.


Don’t feel bad, all we ran at our club track was aluminum. At least that’s all our track vendor stocked and I (running shifter kart) didn’t know any better and just managed tires with air pressure changes. Although our track is pretty rough so I’m not sure how well mag wheels would hold up.

Hey Bubba, you’re primarily racing at G&J with OVKA correct? The reason aluminum may be working for you is that G&J is a lower grip track (except the turn 1 mess the last couple seasons), and OVKA runs shorter races without a full warmup lap before. The aluminum wheels would allow for you to get the tires up to temp and operating range quicker without as much fear of overheating like there’d be in a long race.

As others have mentioned it’s quite possible the mag wheels could change the balance of the kart and free it up more if that would be desirable for you. Some things you should think through to see if the change to mags might help:

Are your tires regularly falling off at the end of races?
How do you feel your tires and pressures have behaved differently between colder months vs warmer?

You may find yourself choosing mag vs aluminum depending on the weather too. It can be cold and low grip in the spring and fall in Ohio, yet pretty sweltering during the summer. You could try aluminum for cold, mag for hot.

Actually I raced at JRP in Tusla with a Honda shifter. Rough aggregate bituminous surface with quite a number of patches. 15 laps for the final. I would say the 206 group also all runs Al.

I never found grip to change much after warmup, or really be lacking running MG reds except below about 40F. I could see them helping for the rears over 85F though for a long Ironman race.

For a mid packer 206 racer, you honestly probably will not even be able to tell a difference.


I think when you look at class weights and importance of mid corner speeds to maintain momentum, given everything else equal, a 206 works tires just as hard as a Yamaha or KA (except for maybe braking, but does that matter for tire wear?). Now, put a higher hp class on softer tires and it changes everything.


I tend to agree, that the mid-corner speeds are the same. The speed at which you take the corner is determined by the grip limit of the tire (duh), so two classes at the same weight with the same tire will have the same ideal apex speed, or close to it. The difference probably comes in how that power is applied on throttle application, because an X30 is going to twist the tire more trying to put power down than a 206 would. And the braking being more aggressive will affect the tire as well.

I’m not sure how much of a difference it would make, but my opinion has always been that the pros and cons of different material wheels are going to be universal, the physical properties of the metals don’t change regardless of what class you’re running. An aluminum wheel is going to be softer and heat up quicker, regardless of if you’re in 206 or X30, I guess it’s just a matter of whether or not that is an actual concern in 206.

I agree that it is a subtle (but definite) difference between wheel materials, and most drivers won’t be able to distinguish the handling effects between the two.


If you have to ask, you’d probably not notice a difference on the track. If you find lap times falling off at the end of a session then try mags. And not just the cast mags from Douglas or something like that. Use good mags from OTK, AMV or Swift. No spokes. In just about all cases you’ll use alumimum on a 206 kart so they build and retain heat better.


What I’ve been told is aluminum wheels for rain tires because of how the dissipate heat. Magnesium for everything else. Spun vs. Cast has me scratching my head as of lately, as my initial mindset (for better or worse) is who cares for rain tires since they are not run that frequently . . . :man_shrugging:

I am no expert, so if aluminum has other advantages, there may be, and I’m just not aware of them.

A cold day and track can also benefit from ali instead of mag in order to favor warmup time over long run consistency. No point having long run consistency if the tires don’t come in till the final couple of laps.

For heat retention Cast aluminums will retain the most, which is the favored wheel for rain it seems, or super cold conditions.