Chain differences 35 and 219

Why do some people run a #35 chain and some run #219?

219 gives more granular gearing adjustments but is a little more expensive.

35 is a little less expensive, but each tooth makes a slightly larger difference in gearing compared to 219.

I like the beefiness of the #35, but yes, each tooth is a larger adjustment, like .7/.8ish vs .4/.5ish

Swear I’ve heard guys talk about rolling resistance with the 2 chain pitches. But I’ve ran 219 for years most guys at our club do with a few outliers.

(I use 20 and 21 driver mostly)

My gear ratio adjustments on 219 are the same because I’m still on a 15, 16, & 17 driver and the same rear range or lower than guys run on 35. :man_shrugging:t2:

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The 4 cycle racing world was 100% dirt for a while. Over there, the chain of choice is 35. As Briggs 206 grew and 4 cycle sprint karting grew, guys who were used to 219 on their 2 cycles, started using it on their 4 cycle sprint karts. New guys and folks seeing the pricing/popularity of 35 used it because “thats what everyone has”.

Eventually, there grew a perception that 219 chain was “better” (either because it was more expensive or some guy somewhere won with it). It was sold as having less resistance, better acceleration, and a bunch of other things. Now, in a fit of irony. On most of the big momentum high speed tracks (Charlotte, IMS, NCMP, etc), I see most of the big teams reverting back to 35.

We run 219 for the 1 piece gears. We have 35 for our kid kart 206s because thats what the rules require. There is no difference. There is no benefits. You will not win or lose a race depending on which chain you run. Pick one, and go with it.

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It’s a pretty nuanced thing. Probably the main thing to consider is what’s more available at the tracks you run. In my case, my local track shop stocks 96% 219. So for that reason I moved to 219.

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So to summarize:

“Driving is worth seconds
Tuning is worth tenths
Engine is worth hundredths
Chain is worth nothing (as long as you have one)
Kart Pulse is worth all of the above combined.”

Ok, I think I’ve got it!:rofl:


Chain fell off… instructions unclear.

Chain fell off = Nothing Else Matters
Please refer to “The Black Album” for clarification. :grin:


As with most things, I dont always agree with Derek. Sure, 219 isnt going to make you run at the front but like all things optimization over many items does add up. While, real world testing might be hard to confirm or deny it by itself. Laboratory testing has proven 219 will make more power and be more efficient then 35 in sprint racing. (Tighter Pitch, Lighter, Less Deflection)

There is plenty of informative text on the subject while none are kart specific there are some good lessons to be learned. Also, I am with Burpo on Gearing for 219 its the most efficient.

Also, I have read some really dumb things about how big gears are good for X or Y but a Ratio is a Ratio the only thing that will change is efficiency between one gearset and another of the same ratio.

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Thank you very much for the response, what would be a good starting point be for a sprocket with 219 chain and red slide for Whiteland?

Or you can take all the energy Ron put in that and do one extra practice session and gain twice as much speed :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Ironically, Ron and I disagree on most theories but end up running together nose to tail. Who knows what the heck is going on?!!! :smile::smile:


LOL I just appreciate the help, I’m just trying to learn as much as I can so we don’t look like total dumb asses when we get to start practicing!

The best advice give here is to buy whatever is supported in your area. Where we it’s 100% 219. Even when you think you have 2 of every gear you will still find yourself in a panic for one you don’t have. In those cases you don’t want to running around trying to find a replacement.

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I learned a lot from that paper. Thanks!

Unfortunately, there is still alot more to understand then this single article. Like driver loss under 14 tooth, mass differences between the article and your karting chain, etc… etc…

I personally, like to be around a 16 driver on 219.

Wait till you start researching chain lubrication, I will save you the time Mspeedwax>All.

Then bearing lubrication!

Didn’t realize the website had more information sorry! found what I was looking for. Interesting though!

Only have experience with Xeramic and Bel-Ray

35 chain was made for conveyor belts and can be bought in 10’ lengths for a few dollars per foot. Just feeling 219 vs 35 in your hands and you can feel what junk most 35 chain is. And it comes with a master link. Don’t run a master link on your race kart…

219 isn’t more expensive because it came from the 2-cycle world, it’s more expensive because it’s just flat out a better tool for the job.

We stock nothing but 219 and most of our customers have followed suit.

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To be fair, 35 in karting is almost exclusively 35 space chain. Which, in a dirt application makes sense, on a sprint kart it does not. I run a master link in my 219 chain because of 4 cycle + Wax. I have onky broken a master once but it wasnt a suprise the clutch was hammering it very very badly for a number laps (15) and it was 3 seasons old. On a 2 cycle I would never run a master link.