Hey guys, I’m a total newb to legit club competition racing. I have ran rentals for years and loved it, so I’ve decided it’s finally time to buy my own kart. After much research I’ve decided the LO206 series is for me. I’m considering a VLR Emerald, does anyone know of any other strong competitors in the Midwest I should really be considering? Thanks guys.
There are a lot of good choices for the LO206 chassis. Some of it depends upon support of the chassis and even personal preference. The VLR is a good chassis for 206, my personal kart is the CompKart 4r with a Briggs 206 but it is also more than the VLR, you really can’t beat the VLR for entry price point and it has plenty of tuning options. The only thing you need to factor in on VLR Kart is it doesn’t come with caster/camber adjusters, heel stops, or an ergonomic steering wheel so when you add that those it brings it up to a closer price point of other chassis. Depending upon where you race some areas have a spec VLR class which is cool and let’s you focus more on just driving.
And your research is correct the 206 engine is the absolute best class to start in because it’ll allow you to learn what a kart is doing since you are not going as fast and the least expensive to race. There are a lot of us who have been involved in karting for a long time and we choose to race LO206.
Every kart made today can be competitive. The only thing that really separates them, as @KartingConcepts pointed out, are the hardware and accessories packages that come “stock”.
Where are you located and what track will you be racing at @LO206Newbie?
If you’ve never kart raced before I would go with something affordable that’s supported by a local shop. If you have fun and want to keep going then invest in a more expensive chassis. But as you’ll see every time someone posts this question, try to buy a chassis that is supported locally. Otherwise it’s a lot of buying parts o line and getting a lot of “i’m not sure about that chassis” when you ask for set up help or if you need a part at the track.
I did have a nice chat with Blake Wankowski from Milrock Motorsports who reps Compkart in our area (Wisconsin). It’s definitely a chassis i would consider along with Merlin which is repped well by Franklin Motorsports.
Thank you for the great info, I’m out of St. Charles IL, which I’ve found to be the home of CKT Racing; they are pushing the VLR with a few parts developed for it and seem very confident in the kart. I’m planning to start off racing at Norway, aka Concept Haulers Motor Speedway.
In the midwest Margay is big into the LO206. But just about any chassis can be made fast.
If CKT is going to be at the track helping with the setup and possible spare parts then I would go that route. The extra you pay for the kart will be worth it when they can help teach you vs saying “Im not sure what you need to do on XXXXXX chassis” I would still look for a nice used kart if it is your first one as you likely will tear up a few parts learning.
^This bolded for emphasis. A lot of front runners run used (some very) chassis. Take the money that you might spend on a new chassis and put it towards training/coaching/books combined with quality seat time to develop your craft.
Also, to add:
“best chassis” does not matter.
What matters? The best chassis FOR YOU.
Best for you depends on your location, support for brands (either dealer or community, your racing goals, budget, deals available to you etc.
It will usually be a range of different chassis.
A four cycle specific chassis is preferable, but by no means required.
If you haven’t had a chance already, checkout these other topics for chassis + 206 or 4Stroke:
I will look into all of this guys, thank you! I’ve already gotten half way through one of Doves’ books, awesome read. One last thing, the closest I’ve come to running a race kart is a twin engine made by bizkart. Does anyone have an idea of how the speed of a twin might compare to an LO206 race kart? Perhaps this is a question for a different thread. Sorry.
Did you drive the Bizkart in the U.K.
The twin GX’s (Im guessing that’s what it is) are faster of course, but the 206 is lighter and more nimble handling wise.
Actually these twins are from Unser Karting at Centennial Raceway in CO. They aren’t the typical arrive n drive stuff. You have to average a relatively quick lap time for a few races in Saudi’s before they allow you to attempt to drive the twin’s. I just wish there was a way to test drive a real race kart; I’m curious to see if any of the techniques that made me quick in rentals is even applicable to the top line karts discussed here. I guess I’ll find out once I’ve saved enough for my kart!
Give the tracks around you a call and see if they know of (or offer themselves) arrive and drive 206 offerings. They are out there, but not always well advertised. Margay’s ignite series is another option too.
Are you down in CO much? There’s a couple of arrive and drive 206 options down that way too, paging @Eric_Gunderson
There are 3 out there that always seem to be at the top in 206 Cup/Cup Karts North America. Though, I can tell you that those also tend to be the chassis that has a driver, tuner and/or manufacturer that is putting in the work to be there.
In no particular order, Ionic Edge few different models have all proven fast. With the late 2016 into 17 redesigned front end being the best. MGM, the newest design by Paul Rice seems to be a rocket. Everyone on it is fast. Coyote, pretty much any of the models have been up front. There is also a newer offering by Haase that has showed a bit of promise for the limited time it’s been on track. The VLR is hit or miss. I think some of that is due to the limited adjustment in the front end. DR is spotty, with a top caliber driver I’ve seen them fast but not consistently. Many, many more to go through…
Ultimately, I think just about any brand can be fast. It’s about learning what the kart wants and what you can give to the kart and vice versa. I’ve seen people running up front with 15 year old karts and I’ve seen karts up there that just hit the track.
Long story short, find one that fits your $$, that has local or good support over the phone, fits your driving style and have some fun.
***EDIT — Also to add, the MGM, Ionic and Coyote are all just a comfortable and fast on the harder club tire as well as the softer regional/national tire.
Yep Jim @ CKT is great and will help with whatever you need. The VLR from him is a great choice.
Another resource is Brian Jacobsen at Viking Kart Products in Carol Stream.
Go talk to Chad at Norway…he probably knows of some used karts in the area if you want to go that direction. He can probably get you in a rental 206 from someone.
Margay, VLR, Coyote, Ionic, MGM, Comet Eagle are all solid choices.
He said he’s in Illinois though. I think AZ might be a trek.
To answer the question of “best” chassis, I would say the Coyotes seem to be some of the most consistent front runners at CHMS. Could also be a coincidence that some of the fastest drivers just so happen to have a Coyote chassis. With that being said there a number of other chassis that are very competitive. I am in my first season of 206 Sr. at Concept Haulers and race a Ricciardo DR-AM29. It’s a Birel-Art with the cooler Ricciardo stickers. The AM-29 is a 206/4-Cylcle purpose built chassis. I have been on the podium a few times and the kart is not the reason I am not finishing where I want more often. I just need to work on consistently putting together a fast lap and am confident the kart can run up front. With the hard MGIR tires that CHMS runs the chassis does not play as large a role as most would think. If you want to go fast budget for the season practice pass, get your money’s worth out of it, and then spend whatever is left on a kart. PSL has a decent deal on a Ricciardo like the one I bought. Happy to share setup notes on the kart.
What class will you be racing in?
206 Sr. will be the class I will be running in as well actually, also at CHMS. I was just there yesterday talking to Les about storage and their racing series’. I took their rentals out for a spin and had a blast on the track layout. That is one incredibly rough track tho! I just don’t fully understand their steadfast beliefs in the MG blue tires. I ran those on the rentals and swear I couldn’t tell a difference between cold tires and tires that had run 6 laps. Any thoughts?
it comes down to $$$$$$$. They have a contract with MG and the 206 is a budget class so you want a hard tire so it’ll last all season. We’re a few hours north of you and run MG’s. We run the orange though.
Most modern kart chassis are tuneable and can be fast. It’s pretty hard these days, if the manufacturer has the ambition, to build a truly awful kart. You could simply buy a Tonykart or another top brand, and reverse engineer it, and while you may not be 100% on pace, that new manufacturer could be more in the ballpark than not.
With that said, the ‘best’ chassis for you likely is the one with the best local or regional support. Who cares how many races the kart wins at X big national race if no one in your area stocks any parts? Go with what a lot of others in the area run and have good customer service with, and proceed from there once you get your feet wet.
I was skeptical of the Blues at first. Now that I am halfway through my first season, it is the right move. 206 doesn’t have the power or speed of some other classes so the blues make things more interesting. They are great for the 206 class because of the durability. They will last at least a full season. Your wallet will thank you. Another advantage is the fact that theoretically it can help limit spending on always having to have the best and newest chassis. These tires level the chassis playing field fairly well. As far as the heat, you will certainly notice a difference in your own kart. Having your own kart and not being in a rental you can change the tire pressures to ensure they are heating up and providing optimal grip.