Bearing cassette pinch bolts

Looking for advice on how tight the cassette pinch bolts should be.

“Tight”. If your bearings are aligned properly then it won’t cause any bind in the axle after tightening them. If you’re running a third bearing then I would remove that pinch bolt as well as the grub screws.

What’s the downside of not running them at all?

Bought a used kart last winter that didn’t have them installed - have run all season to date without them. At this point haven’t seen any issues but perhaps I’m overlooking something.

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I have run karts with them tight and loose. Loose seemed to free spin better, the down side was the extra movement caused some wear on the carrier.

Bob is right. The risk of running none or too loose is slop in the carrier causing tuning issues and eventually loose fit/wear issues.

So, is it better to not run with them at all?

Run the pinch bolts just tight enough to stop any up and down or in and out movement.