Getting started in Karting with our son. Engine and helmet question

  1. What are your aspirations: To have fun, do some local races and track days. The local club is small, about 4-7 racers his age each race.
  2. What is your budget? $2500-$3000
  3. Where do you plan to race in the world? Staying local for now.
  4. Do you have ANY prior experience racing anything? Have you participated in any driving schools? What is your general knowledge of 2cycle/4cycle engines? None, brand new. A little knowledge about small engine maintenance.
  5. Are you going to need anything beyond a kart/engine (i.e. Trailer, car, tools, safety equipment such as helmet or gloves)? We will need everything. Bonus helmet question. Are Zamp helmets worth the savings compared to Bell?

My son and I visited the local track and watched the club race last weekend. We are going back this weekend to watch the final race of the season. We have met with a couple families who are looking to sell their karts since their children have outgrown the kart and the class they are in. Each of the kids in the class were running TAG mini swift engines, the two for sale are a Comet and Woltjer 60cc.

I was a bit shocked about the cost of rebuilds needed for these engines and the recommended frequency of the rebuilds. After some research I noticed the LO206 was far more inexpensive to purchase, run, and maintain. How come these young racers are not running LO206’s? Is that an engine we could purchase and run with a slider in the same class as the TAG’s?

I want something affordable but if nobody locally is running the LO206 for juniors then maybe we don’t have a choice.

This is the only local club around. Thoughts and suggestions? Thanks.


Where in the USA are you? And, welcome to KP.


We are close to Kansas City.

This might help. Looks like you are in clay Oval country which, if I am not mistaken, is largely 4-stroke.

The 206 is cheaper and easier to maintain, but is largely focused toward club and regional racers. The Mini Swift demographic is more of a regional/national-level racer looking for something faster. 206 is a great entry point into the sport if it’s available in your area. I doubt you could race it against the other TaG karts there, but you would have to check with your local club to see what their specific rule set is. Typically those engines don’t compete with each other.

I would double-check around on rebuild times/costs on the Swift. A lot of people pour money into engine work unnecessarily, just because they have some extra cash to burn. It might not be as expensive as you think.

Regarding your helmet question… The Zamp helmet is also a good helmet, equal if not better than Bell’s quality, so a good buy.


Hi Jacob,

We run at kcka, but in the kid kart and senior 206 classes.

The big push for the minis is the majority of used stuff around here comes from Jim Russell jr running them nationally for a hand full of kids over the past few years and selling them off after the series is over. Oliver also ran Route 66 now using the mini.

I would love to see the 206 cadets take off here as my son will move up next year at some point and it is much cheaper to run. Good news is I believe Olivers motor has 17-18 hours on his mini last time Chris and I talked about it. So they can go much longer.

Feel free to stop and say hi to us this weekend. We have a silver f150 and grey trailer usually parked right up front.

Ethan runs a zamp helmet and I like it a lot.


You can go a whole season in your case on the same swift without rebuilding it. The only thing you may end up needing is a clutch if your kid burns one up, but even that is not too common. You’ll find way more payoff in developing your driver over the first couple of years than pouring money into an engine.

Do they have Rotax’s there? It is the 206 of the 2 cycle world, and hardly ever needs to be rebuilt.

Jim Russell is as honest as they come, I’d just call him and see what he has for you, and what he recommends for you. If you buy the wrong kart/engine it can often cost you 2 or 3 times more than the right kart/engine that may cost a little more upfront.

No the cadets are all micro/mini swifts.

Today we had 2 micros and 6 minis show up.

To help with your googling you’ll want to use the term “cadet” instead of “junior”. Juniors are full sized karts with KA100 or X30 engines. Cadets are smaller with 60cc engines. Juniors start around age 13