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Best Brakes For a Go Kart

Karting racer in action, go kart competition

The braking system of a high-performance car is essential. Karts may be small and maneuverable, but they still rely heavily on their braking capabilities. The brakes on a go-kart see a lot more action than those on a regular car, so getting some good ones is essential. The brakes that work best with your go-kart will vary depending on their make and model.

For this reason, measuring your kart before purchasing new brakes is essential, as some models may call for a specific size. Better quality brakes are always worth the extra money in the long run. There is a lot of pressure on the brakes in a kart.

 As a result, they frequently become worn out rapidly. Of course, if you want to maximize your brakes’ effectiveness, you’ll need to research the various options available. Save your money and stay away from the shipping area if possible.

What Role Do Brakes Play On A Go Kart?

Reliable brakes are a necessity for any vehicle. Still, they matter even more on go-karts. Safety is the driving force behind this decision. The need for quick movement is one of the driving forces behind the creation of the kart. They are, after all, optimized for velocity. Robust braking systems are a necessity for rapid stopping power.

You’re in for a terrible day if your brakes fail while barreling down the longest straightaway. Failed brakes are expected in karting, especially if the drivers make do with subpar stopping power. Kart racers have the same problem with their brakes. 

There’s More to Safety than Meets the Eye

Brakes have more than one purpose in karting and are crucial to success. One hand is usually on the gas or brake pedal. By using fewer brakes and more throttle, you’ll gain speed. If you have good breaks, your lap times will improve.

To reduce stopping distance and time, use powerful, efficient brakes. This will speed up laps. Having reliable, powerful brakes can improve race craft and speed per lap. You can pass slower drivers by delaying your brakes. But late braking requires courage. To be fearless, in turn, your brakes must be reliable.

The Brakes on Every Kart Are Not Created Equal

You should inspect your kart before we discuss what kind of brakes it needs. The majority of go-karts come with a list of recommended accessories. However, this does not guarantee that no other components will work with your kart. Manufacturers have varying approaches to chassis construction. That’s because they’re all different in their unique ways.

A CRG chassis, for instance, is excellent for stopping, while a Tony Kart chassis is great for maintaining speed in the middle of a turn. If the manufacturer recommends a particular brake, it’s because it works best with their chassis design. There is a connection between dimensions, quality of build, and the maker. Make sure always to read and adhere to the manual.

You may not think there are significant variations between brakes, but there are. Brakes may be constructed from various materials and come in multiple sizes and shapes depending on the application. The functionality of your kart’s brakes depends on all of these factors.

What Sort of Brakes Should You Use?

A kart’s brakes are mechanically identical to a car’s. A go-kart’s single brake pedal distinguishes it from a vehicle. The braking mechanism comprises three main parts: discs, calipers, and the master cylinder for the brakes.

If you press down on the kart’s brake pedal, fluid from the master cylinder will flow to the brake calipers. Calipers are a pair of piston-powered steel components, and the brake pads reside in the calipers. Friction is necessary for a complete stop. Pistons, operated by the master cylinder, compress the brake pads. By reducing the axle’s speed due to conflict, a vehicle can come to a stop.

Karting brakes are subjected to extreme friction and can quickly wear out. Moreover, the heat generated by friction reduces braking efficiency and shortens the brakes’ useful life. Ensure your go-kart is equipped with reliable brakes to avoid accidents.

Brake Calipers

The most frequently replaced components of a kart are the brake calipers. The calipers consist of two pads mounted on steel blocks. The force required to stop is produced by friction between the brake disc and the pad. Go-kart brake pads come in different styles that can be switched out as needed. Each class has its pros and cons.

Similar to how there are numerous tire compounds, numerous brake pad compounds exist. Compounds are essentially a matter of personal taste and driving style. Each is one-of-a-kind, but most people use standard brake pads in the industry.

Soft Compound – Blue

The brakes will bite more initially with the soft compound pad. When you first apply the brakes, they will be more effective. With these pads, you can get your brakes up to operating temperature much more quickly because they heat up so fast. They are, however, prone to overheating.

With the increased bite, less time is spent on the brakes, and a more challenging, quicker pedal push is sufficient to steer the kart into the corner quickly. Using these brake pads in longer, more rigorous zones can be difficult.

This is because these brakes have a more complex bite point, which makes locking up more likely. It’s easy to go for a spin in a go kart if the brakes fail. The soft compound of these pads makes them prone to overheating and can also accelerate brake wear over long distances. As a result, their useful life is much shorter than that of other brake pad materials.

Standard Compound – Red

When it comes to brake pads, standard pads are about mid-range. These are commonly colored red. Neither their bite strength nor their lifespan is particularly noteworthy. They can make it through a long race without overheating in normal conditions, but that’s not always the case.

Hard Compound – Black

The brake pads made of the more complex compound bite more gently at first, and that’s why the kart won’t wiggle and lock up when you hit the brakes. Drivers who frequently apply heavy brake pressure for extended periods will benefit greatly. These brake pads provide the kart with much more stability when braking, making them ideal for wet and slick conditions.

Another time you could use them is at a track with long straights and tight turns. Since they can function in higher temperatures, the complex compound brake pads last for a more extended period. Sometimes they take longer to heat up, so you’ll need to spend more time pre-race getting the brakes ready.

Brake Discs

The disc on the rotating hub is the brake disc, which is slowed by the brake calipers closing around it. To be sure, not every brake disc is created equal. There’s a different style for each one. There are disc brakes available with a variety of hole patterns. They’re not just for looks here. Since more holes have been drilled into them (and the brake disc has been reduced in size), they weigh considerably less.

A lighter brake disc can significantly affect karting, where every gram counts. These lighter brake discs may not be the best choice if you regularly race on circuits with significant curbs or other forms of extreme road irregularity.

It is advised that you use stronger ones. Additionally, brake discs can vary in terms of their composition. Brake discs can be made of either ceramic or steel. Using ceramic discs is more expensive. However, the quality is above average. They will last longer because they are more heat resistant.

Brake Fluids

Multiple varieties of brake fluids are available. If you don’t use the right one for your kart’s brake system, you risk the brakes completely failing. The brakes and master cylinder could be ruined if the wrong fluid is used. It is essential to differentiate between brake fluids based on their silicone content and brake fluids based on their glycol content.

Similar to conventional automobiles, kart brake fluids are composed of glycol. These are the most prevalent brake fluid types in the automotive industry. Brake fluid’s flashpoint, or point at which it boils, is another consideration. The brakes on a kart must withstand more heat because of their hard work.

The brakes’ effectiveness will degrade if the fluid temperature rises above its boiling point. The type of brake fluid your kart requires is again brand specific. In any case, it will never be higher than DOT 5.1 and never lower than DOT 4. The majority of go-karts require brake fluid with a DOT 5.1 rating.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Kart’s Braking System?

Karting’s high speed means brakes wear out quickly. Brakes need regular maintenance to last long and perform well. By reducing their use, standard road vehicles can extend the life of their brakes, which is not allowed in karting. To be competitive, we must apply the brakes.

Be Sure To Check On Them Every Month!

Monthly brake inspections are advised. You should check on them often if you want to ensure they don’t lapse at the wrong time. During the weekend of a race, they will be useless. The lifespan of brake pads is six to twelve months, depending on brake pad composition and frequency of use. More driving decreases their lifespan.

Brake fluid can easily leak or become contaminated. Check and replenish brake fluid every month. Regular brake bleeds are required to eliminate the contaminant because it prolongs the life of the brakes.