The cost of getting started in karting is sad

After paying $4500 for a chassis that did not come with front brakes, I set out to build a kart that is both awesome and ready for the best. With almost $20,000 invested into my childhood dream and no real plan of racing, I ask myself what the hell was I thinking and then one look at my kart I realize I built something that’s pretty awesome and can’t stop now.

It certainly should not cost $20,000 to get started in karting, what did you build? $20,000 is a decent budget national program cost, it definitely shouldn’t be that much just to get started.

For reference, I got a used setup for about $2,000 ready to go and started racing club races at my local track after a few practice days. It took multiple years for us to eclipse the $20,000 mark in total for racing

Holy moly. I paid $6k for a new KT2 with a free X30 race engine if I bought into the team at $7.6k for a year’s national series racing.

20k+ to build a kart dayummmm what did you build? :sweat_smile:

I think the main problem is that newbies THINK the cost of karting is sad. You can save a TON of money buying a used, race-ready kart instead of diving into something new that isn’t even usable at your local track.

No doubt it’s expensive, but yeah as Aaron and Richard said, you can easily find a nice used setup that will get you started for 2-5k all-in. Sure that’s not peanuts, but definitely isn’t $20k… Curious to see what you bought. A brand new Tony Kart roller is $5k-ish and a new X30 engine package is $4k-ish. I suppose if you’re including buying a trailer and all the safety gear, that could get you to that number. But again, used stuff is the key here.

But glad you’re happy with it now.

Least expensive brand new rolling chassis that’s any good: Praga Dark Evo, $2500.

Brand New Iame KA100: $2800.

Kart Stand $300.

Open trailer from Home Despot or Lows: $900.

Tarps and straps $100.

Craftsman toolbox $300.

Big Mechanic’s tool set (250+ pieces 1/4 and 3/8 drive with loads of pliers and wrenches) $250.

Beta T-handle Allen wrench set and Gearwrench ratcheting wrench set $200.

Turbo Tire Changer $250.

Eagle gas can $50.

Suit $200.

Helmet $150.

Gloves $70.

Bengio Bumper $200.

Neck donut $5.

Big hat $20.

Chains $100.

Sprockets $100.

Chain lube, HTX 976 oil, grease $50.

Spare axle, spindle, tie rods, steering column $500.

Trailer hitch for your car $500.

That’s all brand new good stuff (I use almost everything on this list) with no discounts and it’s ten grand. Where’d the other ten grand go?

I know a top KZ goes for about $10k, so pairing that with a new OTK/KR/CRG/whatever would run $15k+

The key here is, someone just getting started in the sport shouldn’t be buying a top-level KZ engine. :wink:

Karting always has struggled with this kind of messaging.


Yeah, and you know I’m not advocating that he should be in a KZ, much less buying a World Championship level one, but that’s the only way I can think of getting even into the 5 figures on a kart setup

he said he got a chassis without a front brake, so I assume he want a shifter kart and KZ R1 red probably which is like $7000+ motor. Electric kart lift is like $1000 ready for the best.

I start with my 206 race with totally $1500 I though that was expensive, LOL, I am too cheap.

I like all kinds of racing and going fast so I considered all of the options. I couldn’t come up with a more affordable way to get on a race track than karting.

Also, you probably chose a very expensive path, by looking at your build. E.g. putting a shifter into a non-shifter chassis (new), means buying the entire front braking system as a separate unit to retrofit it, which is not cheap to begin with. A top level KZ, all in, should run you about 13K from a shop, and it’s not needed at all as a start. Half of that budget gets you a 1yr old or so setup, very fresh that will be plenty to handle and competitive. Something a little older (2/4 years) and you cut another half off and it’s still super fast, so I’m not really seeing this big ticket to entry. We all need a reality check sometimes, are we really talking basics to get on track or are we chasing something else?

“Driving a sports car is expensive” - guy who bought a brand new McLaren to start with.

“Huhwha?” Me, driving my first $2800 Miata that I bought with my first SolidWorks paycheck in 2007

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Hmm… Bell Challenger helmet budget but minus273 glove budget?

(But those are really nice gloves).

Curious what you got as well! 20k is a big spend for a single kart. I got two partially new x30 compkart for around 12k, (pre-pandemic pricing so Lord knows how much now).

I’m curious to know more about what your setup is too.

I’ve always maintained that karting is excellent VALUE, but it’s by no mean inexpensive. I think it’s easy get caught up in the name “gokart” and bu doing so it can diminish the perceived value of what you are actually getting.

As racing specific single seater vehicles go… karts are excellent value when compared with their larger peers in similar performance brackets.

But it’s still not “cheap”. The cost of racing hasn’t changed since the outset of the sport. In the beginning, racing cost everything you’re willing to put into it. It’s the same now.

Individual results may vary, but in general I believe karting offers great value for that cost and rivals practically anything when comparing like for like when it comes to speed or competition level in wheel-to-wheel racing.


Am I the only one thinking a chassis that’s not designed for KZ but made into KZ by retrofit installing front brakes isn’t going to hold up tube wise? Tube material/chassis stiffness is different for example comparing a KT2 (TAG) to a Road Rebel (KZ). You wouldn’t put a KZ engine into a KT2 chassis.

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Many brands use the same chassis for KZ and single-speed.

OTK uses 30mm karts for both. I think it’s the same kart, just with front brakes for KZ.


There are enough companies that sell a good $150 motorcycle helmet that you’ll find one that fits.

Gloves, on the other hand, need to be at least off the middle shelf at the motorcycle dealer.

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Just depends on the brand. CRG has used frames other than the Road Rebel for shifter stuff for quite some time now. BirelArt on the other hand has a slightly different design for the shifter frame, even though it’s still all 30mm. It may work, it may not. Probably the same likelihood of success as going the other direction and slapping a KA100 on a shifter frame.

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I’m scared to do the math, but $20K doesn’t seem to far out of the ball park with me. But again, I have three LO206’s:

3 Lo206 Motors: $2,700
2 Cadet Chassis (NOS): $3,000
My used chassis: $2,400
Kart Stands/ Stackers: $1,500
Cargo Trailer: $7,000

Those are the bigger purchases, if I really went down the rabit hole and started adding up the smalls, I’m sure I’d hit $20K.

But you also have to consider alot of my purchases were optional/ upgrades. i.e. started with foldable kart lift, graduated to an electric kart stand, etc. . . .

Its not cheap getting into karting, but I bankroll everything using cash so I don’t rack up credit card debt. So I just save my money, and make select purchases accordingly. But I also jump on deals (people getting out) on FB Marketplace. You can pick some really good deals on there if you have cash and you can move quickly.