Opinions on lesser known chassis?

So, OTK is probably the biggest name in karting around me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the biggest name in the country right now. However, what is the opinion on some of the other brands? There are shops supporting Haase, Ricciardo, Merlin which has dropped out in the past couple years. A couple of these, Haase especially, are priced very well for what they give you, but I’m not sure whether it would be a good choice to make or not.

The way I see it, I’ll never finish a race and say “I lost that race because that guy is on a _______ chassis and I’m not.” There’s always other reasons, typically driver related, that I would be beaten in a race. Any kart can be tuned to be fast. With the amount of support we would have at my local track, it’s a tempting idea to get these cheaper chassis and work with them. What does everyone else think of going with a lesser known chassis brand for racing?

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My theory has always been unless you are within 3-5 tenths, don’t worry about the chassis because thats all its will ever find you.

I think I’d be right in saying that most people who go karting just want to put the chassis down and go and don’t worry about setup and that most don’t “feel” enough to be able to do setup anyway.

So as long as you stay with a “known” brand you are pretty safe in my opinion. Haase has been around a long time (at one point being manufactured by OTK). Merlin is very successful in the US (although I have never heard of them outside of the US), Riccardo is just BirelART so you should be safe. It is seemingly a little known fact that most karts are made by 5 or 6 factories (OTK, BirelART, CRG, Topkart, Parolin, Emme). Then you have Margay and IKart if you are feeling patriotic.

But as you say, it is best to keep to a brand represented at your local track.

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I think Haase has split onto their own at this point, although they haven’t had any American efforts in a while which is why we tried staying away from them, even though the price was very tempting. The knowledge the our chassis wouldn’t be the limiting factor for us meant we could focus more on improving my driving. We’re not looking at any chassis right now but I wanted to know opinions on them for the next time we’re in the market

I agree with Nik. Almost any kart will get you within 3-5 tenths. The best drivers can win on any kart.

I’ve driven just about all of them over the years. Some work/tune a little differently but almost all of them are fast if you know what you’re doing.

What’s important is knowing how to actually tune the kart you’re on. If you understand how to tune a kart, you can pretty much make any kart work. Getting that support or that tuning advice will make or break your experience on any chassis, so at the track support is the most important part of it all.

I did the Haase thing when I first started, switched to Merlin, ran for Exprit, then ART, then Tony Kart, back to Exprit. In between that I drove Arrow, Margay, Birel etc. on one-offs or whatever. Some have a different feeling to them but they all will lift the inside rear wheel if you do the right combo of adjustments.

My most valuable experience was going from OTK to the ART and then back to the OTK. The ART was an amazing chassis before they were taken over by Birel. We barely changed anything on the kart, but it tuned very differently from the OTK chassis. For example, we never put the front bar in on the ART and with the OTK we never run without it. The ART drives differently by being slightly less aggressive on turn-in without that added stiffness in the front, but it rolled off the corner so unbelievably well. The OTK made up all it’s ground on entry and apex with lots of caster and front end. Two ways to skin a cat. I learned quite a bit about tuning from those few years.

And as Nik said, keep in mind that most karts are made by a handful of factories and just either painted a different color or branded differently. OTK makes 5 “brands”. Parolin is like the Walmart of karting, where almost anyone can walk in there and say “make me a kart in this color with my name on it” and they’ll do it. Merlin used to be made by Parolin but now are their own setup. Formula K was made by Parolin at first as well before being made by IPK (Intrepid, Praga, Orange Kart, FK). Haase was made by OTK at one point but they are independent now.

Your best bet is to buy something that a team is winning on regionally or nationally. Then you at least know the shop knows what they are doing and you can get proper setup help from actual experts.


Formula K was more complex then that, at one point they had chassis homologated by Parolin and CRG at the same time.

Then they went IPK and its been downhill ever since.

I think that TJ really hit the nail on the head though.

It really comes down to how much seat time you’re willing to put into your kart, and test the needed changes to make the kart faster.

I think that selecting a kart that successful local teams can be useful to reduce the learning curve for the driver, only if you have a good relationship with those teams or someone who has the experience to share that information with you. Otherwise, you’ll still doing the tuning on your own anyway regardless of how ‘successful’ the chassis is.

There are some chassis that are known to be very good out of the box. However, at the end of the day, it’s down to each individual driver to put the seat time in.

I feel like I should also add that just because a shop sells a chassis and is local and has been karting for many years. It does not mean they have any idea what they are doing.

There are more kart teams then i care to mention that start to fund a drivers season or because any other job seems too hard. It helps to get to know them a little bit first and heighten your BS filter. Your BS filter is probably the most heavily used filter in karting, that and all the pinches of salt you have to take.

That’s definitely true, and why we’re sticking with OTK right now. When half the field is running it, they’ve got to be doing something right. I had posted this since one of my friends told me that there were some good deals on a Haase kart. I’d think they’re trying to get back out there again, but I’m not entirely sure.

I think so much goes around about all the different brands that it’s very specific to what track you race at. In everything I’ve seen recently, OTK is the way to go right now. There’s so much support for the make that a new driver (me) can be helped a lot, although the inner hipster in me says go with something different and unique

This as well :wink: What I found when I started karting was that trying to just rely on a shop to help get me up to speed wasn’t always the most straight-forward approach. Some are very good, while others are just guessing, but not documenting any of their findings. So it’s really the blind leading the blind.

But like Nik said, having a strong BS filter is a good help. Also start taking your own setup notes, so that you can notice consistencies will help you too. What works for one driver with a particular driving style, may not always work for you.

However, if you have some trends on your own setup preferences, that will also help you as well when trying to work with someone else.

Agree 100%. I was kind of trying to say this without throwing anyone under the bus. But I definitely raced for some people who tried to help us tune the kart but nothing would work. I later found out were clueless and years later were asking me “what caster did” at the track in the middle of a race weekend as we were thrashing them every session.


I think though too, we have to make sure that we balance out the difference between a “Good tuneable chassis” compared to a “knowledge shop who knows how to tune.”

When it comes to ‘if a chassis is good or not’, it really comes down to how willing you are to learn to understand it.

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Chassis plays a big role and will get you close. Tuning and ability to drive gets you the rest of the way. The brand we were on in Club & 206 Cup from 2012-2015 was a struggle. Moved to an Ionic Edge by Luttrell Racing and immediately moved to the front of the pack from the mid to back. Picking up 1 second plus at each track we went to from the previous year on the soft tire.

We get a ton of support from Kyle Luttrell. I was blown away with the time he spent on the phone with me person to person and via text through out the season. I would bet that his chassis would work really well with a Yamaha on it. I’ve been tempted to mount one up and give it a whirl at Badger. Just need CIK and the engine, No big task, right LOL.

Like mentioned above. Having support is huge. Trying to find the “sweet spot” is tough and even tougher if you are using a chassis that you are not able to get any help with.

I would agree that it comes down to time testing and the driver more than the chassis itself, this is if you are in the correct chassis for your class and weight. I just switched over to a Righeti Ridolfi World Formula chassis for our local F100 series. Only two others were running the chassis and one switched to OTK because he thought it was the Kart that was keeping him out of the front runners.

I keep a data spreadsheet with all of my testing adjustments, temps, times, and locations. I spent the first month with lots of test days to learn the chassis. I now run consistently towards the front if not at the front in a chassis that everyone said would not be a front runner.

It all comes down to Seat Time, Fundamentals of Kart Setup, and knowing how your Kart reacts each adjustment.

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Robert, I’ve got a total sidebar question for you.
We have another thread here on the forums where we talk about how we’re recording our setup information. Would you mind sharing a blank template of your setup methods, so we could all learn a bit more?

Sorry for jacking the thread. Back to chassis discussions!

As far as Briggs LO206 racing goes …the lesser known Built for Briggs K&K Cobra

I gotta say, with my admin hat on, that this thread is really about determining how people discover good chassis, not a promotional board to sell stuff. Let’s try to keep stuff like this on the minimum, and stay focused on the topic at hand of helping the karting community. :slight_smile:

Otherwise, just DM someone if you want to provide some promotion.

removes admin hat lol

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If you found a second there was something very wrong with your previous chassis or you just improved a bunch.

Well Nik,
I wouldn’t assume that because it says “Out of the Box” that it means that no tuning or setup is required to make it work.

It’s just like any other go-kart in that way, just with a fancy label, basically.

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I would think the fact that they feel the need to advertise it is what got him. I noticed that too but wasn’t going to mention it since I didn’t know how to word it without being rude. The way they’re saying it is that the kart will win races right away, which any chassis can do. This whole post has been coming to the conclusion that a chassis isn’t the determining factor in a drivers performance, while the OTB moniker is trying to go against that.

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Bang on correct, Aaron. :wink:

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