Start Over?

Back in January I bought a Razor RS4 kart, that was supposed to be built for a bigger guy like me. I’m 5’10, 260. Not small, but not the biggest guy I see at the track either. The original seat was too small for me and I basically was sitting on, rather than in, the kart. After some advice from the forums here I bought a Ribtect… and it does not work for me, at all.
Don’t get me wrong, I sincerely appreciate all the advice, it’s just not the seat for me.
The guy who installed my seat (not the original constructor) showed me that my kart was in no way, shape or form set up for me or anyone built like me. It took this guy four hours to adjust the chassis to accept a seat that was sized for me.

It’s my first kart, and it was not cheap. I’ve put less than 45 minutes on it, and even though an NEK seat might fix it for me, I still… hate it. I hate that I paid a premium for a semi-bespoke build and didn’t get it. I hate that it sits in my garage, mocking me, saying “I cost more than anything else in your house, but the lawn mower sees more action than me.” I hate that it represents my being excited and getting suckered into overpaying for something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid (I’m 40 in two weeks.)

Am I wrong to want to sell it and start over?

Seats can take some time to get right, I found that the ribtect didn’t work well for me either as it always seemed to catch the area under my armpits. I did really appreciate the way it grabbed my torso by the chest under heavy braking in the shifter though.

Have you talked to Razor about the chassis yet?

Hi James, I have not talked to them since the last time I had it at the track. Just to give you a little background, the first seat did not cradle me at all, so in every turn I was getting tossed out of the seat. Every corner I had to steer out of the turn so I wouldn’t tip out of the kart, and it made me so slow that I got lapped by the entire field twice… in a five minute practice session. I never expected to be fast, but that was just embarrassing.
I told the people that built my kart the issue I was having and their response was to “not grip the wheel so tight.” They did not believe when I told them what was going on, so I lost trust in them.

I think part of my not wanting to talk to them is knowing how much money I gave them for an unknown brand. I feel like a sucker.

Bryan I feel bad for your situation, partially because I recommend a deeper seat such as the Ribtech.

A few thoughts…What is the issue with the seat? It can be modified a bit. I went with a DeepSeat that basically cut into my armpits as I am only 5’6". Did some trimming with a cut-off wheel and made it comfortable. The other issue is the depth does make getting in and out tricky so again trimming a little bit made it better without losing the depth. I am at a bit of a loss on the 4 hours. What took that long? The reality is karts are not built for larger framed drivers, so bending / expanding the seat opening is necessary.

As for the kart, can you expand on what “not built for me” means?

Most of the Razor’s I’ve seen is a copy or derivative of an old Bandit Y2K. I’ve seen them fast, but it’s not a popular widely used kart, so the support network is probably small.

I’ve never not had to move a seat strut to install a seat.

Anyone your size, I will always recommend a Beasly high back from Comet. But I also will always recommend sitting in seats to try them before you buy them… Comfort goes a long way in a having a good experience.

I really don’t want to knock the guy who installed the seat, but I also wouldn’t put a ton of stock into what someone who takes 4 hours to install a seat says about chassis construction. A seat install is less than an hour job for an experienced chassis guy and that includes breaking and welding the strut in the process.

If you want to sell your chassis and start over, it’s your call. If you do, get an MGM or an Eagle. Maybe an OTK brand from a local dealer.

have you tried sitting in or driving any other bigger dude’s karts at your club/track? i know some folks at my club will let you take a spin in their kart on a practice day or something, and also, you could probably let a bigger guy who’s been racing a while take a look at your kart. i have driven a kart where you feel like you’re not deep enough in the seat, and it’s definitely a scary feeling, so i understand your struggle.

if you did start over, there is at least one brand, coyote (probably more brands), where you can get a chassis with bolt on seat supports, which may help for fitting in a larger seat. actually, i just looked at the razor website, and it looks like the razor chassis’ come with bolt on seat supports (unless they don’t have all chassis on their website). if that’s the case, you should be able to fit a big seat in that thing with less issue then a kart with welded seat supports, so just find a comfortable seat, and you should be good to go.

Robert, the last thing you should feel is bad. The Ribtect does everything that I said I needed a new seat to do: you delivered. The issue with is getting in and out. I hadn’t thought about trimming the seat to make it easier, and to be honest, I’m afraid to.
What I mean by “it not being built for me” ties into installing it being a four hour job. The clutch assembly had to be swapped with sprocket to make enough room for the seat, but the engine was still too close so my tech had to mill the slots on the engine mount to get enough clearance.
Then the rear seat stay had to be bent to accept the new seat. The bottom seat stay had to be bent, but they were too short, and the angle between the seat bottom and the stays wasn’t ideal, so it was back to the mill to angle them.
I’m probably forgetting something, but if it took that much labor to fit a seat that was big enough for me, then why would the guy who built my kart, and met me before he built it, just give me something that wasn’t going to work?

Hi Bubba, truth is I don’t know anyone where I tried to race. I don’t have any friends that do this, no one in my family does it. I just bought a kart, showed up, and ended up being a moving chicane because I was so slow. I’m not entirely sure people in my class were that happy to have me on the track. The track where I planned on racing exclusively uses the Razor chassis, and I’m not sure I want to keep driving to that track when I have Atlanta Motorsports Park a lot closer to me.

Banish this thought. It’s easy to feel that way when you feel slow and incompetent but I assure you, everyone is worrying about how slow they are going and aren’t thinking about you negatively. Once you get yourself sorted and feeling more “aha, I got this” it will pass.

not sure what class you’re driving, but probably a masters class of some sort. so you’re dealing with older adults that i’ve found aren’t too judgemental when it comes to racing. if you make sure to get to the grid early, and wait with all the other folks, someone’s going to talk to you. i know if i see a new driver struggling on the track, i’ll make a point to at least say hello, introduce myself, etc., make sure they feel welcome. before you know it, you’ll have some friends at the track. there will also always be a guy who’s been racing for 30 years looking for people to help. so don’t worry too much about the speed right now. it never hurts to come up on a practice day, too, and pit next to whoever’s there.

and i don’t know the particulars regarding your kart purchase, but it definitely sounds like there were some errors made with the seat. if it was supposed to be delivered with a functioning/fitting seat for you, it doesn’t sound like it was. once you get comfortable, and don’t have to worry about getting tossed out, you’ll definitely pick up the speed.

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Can you post a picture of how the new seat is mounted? There’s no way you should be that unstable, IMO

I’m not familiar with the Razor chassis, but the photos in the site seem to depict it with a laydown style seat. If it was mounted with a sprint style seat (Ribtect included) then it could definitely cause significant instability.

Ultimately, if I were in your shoes I would continue to seek out local support on whatever you’ll be racing, even if that means getting a different kart. If AMP is closer to you than this other track then I would just go there and race, as I’m sure there are shops/teams that could help steer you in the right direction.

There’s no shame in feeling like you’ve gone down the wrong path. Shopping for karting equipment can be a complex process, sometimes overly so, but it will be worth it once you find the right equipment and can move forward without worrying about that aspect. I second the idea of seeking out another kart to test drive that is set up for someone of a similar build. That will help give you an idea of what sorted equipment should feel like.

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Man your frustration is the exact reason we wanted to get into the business end of karts. Not sure where you are located but I am a bigger guy and share your frustration. Would be happy to try and help by taking in what you have on trade or trying to fix what you have. Pm me if you have any interest. Thanks and good luck.

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Assume the best of people until they prove otherwise. Far and away the karting community is hungry to help you rather than see you dip your toes in and quit! People I did not know have loaned tires, helmets, engines, parts, etc just to help keep another kart on the track and i do the same in return. We all want our local tracks to thrive.

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i have a race this saturday, i’ll check around on what seats the bigger dudes are running. i know i see a lot of big tillet seats, and i run one, although i’m in the 190lb range. i’ll take a few pics. by the way, i did go back and see the pics you posted with you in the kart, and it really looks like you’re scrunched up, to me. i have a better idea of what you’re talking about, now.

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Tillett T11 in XL or XXL. I had a simular problem at 5’11 230 lbs and the Tillett T11 in XL did wonders for me.

See if your local track and/or kart builder has one lying around. That’s what I did and I found a builder that had a new one that was mounted to kart, but it didn’t fit the owner, so he pulled it off and had it lying around the shop. So I got a new Tillett T11 that was previously mounted (but not used) for $100 bucks.

Bryan,

I can relate. You spent probably about $400 for seat and here I am telling you to go at it with a grinder. However, from what you are saying you will want to trim it some to allow easier entry and exit. Take off a little and try it out. I would think maybe 1-2" would make a noticeable difference. You can also try dropping in vs sliding into the seat. The other “elephant in the room” is what is your physical condition? Karting forces many of us especially if we are older and not as fit as we could be to consider some new habits. Having decent core muscles is almost required to make the act of getting in and out of a kart seat possible.

I also sense that you may be a little unsure mechanically and that’s okay. I have helped guys that weren’t sure which way to turn the wrench. This is definitely a learn-by-doing activity. Yes, there are shops that will perform services but don’t be afraid to try it yourself. There is lots of help here, youtube as well as other sites that have information to help racers work on their own equipment.

As for the kart and the mods they had to do, adult racing karts are basically 1 size and they usually are built for the smaller end of the spectrum. Fitting a bigger driver does require modifications and compromise, maybe even different parts (maybe a motor mount that is more offset for example) but once its done it should be good to go. If you were to buy another kart you will likely have to do this same process again. It sounds like your Ribtech seat fitter tried to make modifications with what you had so I can see why this may have taken a while.

As for racing…Its a tough way to learn. If any track near you has open track days that should be your priority. Find out what the class you are running is doing for lap times and use that as a gauge of how you’re doing. When you are 2-3 seconds or less off the fastest laps then maybe consider racing. You will get more track time this way and won’t have the feeling of being in the way as much. As others have said, typically karting is a limited participation sport, most people should and usually are overly welcoming to new racers, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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I would echo this. When I was a kid, this is basically what my dad made me do. We did a half season of open practice before I was allowed to race. It helped me to not get discouraged right away and made sure I was really ready to be around other karts and not in the way.

This sounds like it’s been a rough experience, and it doesn’t sound like the shop helping you has been 100% accommodating. If you’ve lost trust in them, that doesn’t bode well for the relationship. I don’t know anything about the Razor chassis, but it sounds like maybe you do in fact need to start over and get something that’s more widely supported. If that’s what the locals use at your track, it should be easy to off-load it.

I’d see what AMP has locally for supported karts and take some time to see if the investment would be well worth it there, to start over.

As others have said (and most of us lifers have struggled with for years), this sport can be complex to get into and there are a ton of opportunities and forks in the road to take the wrong path unfortunately.

Hey also, consider that it might not be “you”. I have a similar situation with a margay I bought that makes me feel like I have forgotten how to kart, it’s that off.

If your equipment is messed up, and you are new so have no context, it’s gotta be really frustrating. Maybe try something else and see if it resonates differently. Have you been round the track in a rental kart or anything else for comparison purposes?

Do you have a baseline of what feels “right” from any prior experience?

I used to use a Ribtect seat.

The secret - stand behind your kart and step into the seat from behind, preferably by stepping on the bolts at the front of the seat.