How to Determine the Chain Size for a Go Kart

Your go-kart chain is an essential component for top performance. It’s what connects the power train to the wheels. It’s vital to the operation of your go-kart, and its absence would render it inoperable; ‌the improper installation might cause costly damage and diminished performance. You must always know the tightness of your go-kart chain

The rotational action from the crankshaft must be delivered smoothly to the rear axle; therefore, getting the chain size perfect is crucial for a go-kart. 

Understanding the fundamentals can help you choose the chain size for your go-kart. Before you purchase one, learn about roller chains and tweak or change one. I made a handy sizing guide for go-kart chains so you can get a feel for the range of options. It will also aid in your comprehension of how to interpret the size charts correctly.

In What Ways Does The Chain Impact Your Go Kart?

Your go-kart chain is an important part. Mostly, it’s responsible for linking the powertrain to the wheels. To put it simply, the wheels wouldn’t spin without the chain. Therefore, proper maintenance of the chain and its proper installation is essential.

A Crucial Piece

In a bicycle, if it jumps the gears, you may keep pedaling forever producing no forward motion since the back wheel will be unpowered. Like a bicycle chain, a karting chain must be attached to the gears for the vehicle to move. However, a karting chain takes more hammering since it operates at incredible speeds and experiences more bumps and knocks.

Enough Tension

Equally important is ensuring that your chain is appropriately taut. Too much slack, and it will fly right off the sprocket. Your chain may come loose if you took a curb too quickly, for instance, or if another kart bumped into you from the side or the back.

Too much stress on the chain may cause the chain and the gears to break or wear out prematurely, and it can also reduce the speed of your go-kart. It will be challenging to turn the rear axle if the chain is too tightly wound around the sprocket.

How to Measure a Go Kart Chain

Many factors may determine the length of a go-kart chain. We’ll start with the all-important pitch. The distance between the rivets may be used as a pitch gauge. These prongs connect individual links in a chain. Take the distance between the centers of the first and second rivets.

Each pitch will be measured in eighths of an inch regardless of the original size. Racetrack kart franchise IDs use the pitch’s first letter. The final number or two of the roller’s breadth. A 520 chain’s pitch is 5/8 inches, whereas a 420 chain is 4/8 inches. To determine the correct chain length, you must first measure the sprocket. Hold the teeth of the sprocket using a 5/8-inch wrench.

Find out whether it has a 5/8-inch pitch by looking at the width of the teeth. Rollers with a greater diameter are better suited for sprockets with tiny teeth and vice versa. Use a measuring tape instead of a wrench if you don’t have one. If you need a visual aid, watch the video down below. Go-kart chains often come in sizes 35, 40, 41, 420, 428, and 50.

It’s as easy as following these directions:

  1. Locate a wrench with a 5/8-inch opening.
  2. Please place them in a straight line across the teeth of the sprocket.
  3. Find the Right Size.
  4. The most common are chain lengths of 35, 40, 41, 428, and 50.
  5. Use a wrench to verify the chain’s pitch.

What Size Chain Do I Need for My Go Kart?

To begin, realize that the size of your chain is irrelevant to whether or not you need to change your sprocket, axle, or engine location. Getting a chain that works with your current sprocket arrangement would be best. Eventually, I’ll show you how to calculate this value.

Go-kart sprockets may be purchased as a set if you are constructing your vehicle or don’t already have any. If you buy a sprocket and a go-kart chain together, installation is simplified since you can trim the chain to the correct length.

Let’s get right down to business. First, you’ll need to measure your go-kart, and then you may use the appropriate chain size table to select the proper chain for your machine. In the next paragraph, I’ll describe the process for determining the proper length of your go-kart chain.

How Tight Should a Go Kart Chain Be?

Your go-kart chain should be neither too tight nor too loose. A go-art chain that is either too short or too small may put undue strain on the sprockets, leading to premature wear and tear. Too much physical force on the chain might cause it to snap if placed too tightly.

When the chain is too big or loose, it might come away from the sprockets and cause damage. In such a situation, the chain may get entangled in the back wheel, leading you to lose control of the go-kart. The worst-case scenario is the go-kart chain flying out and hurting someone.

So, how taut should the chain be on a go-kart? About a quarter to a third of an inch of giving is ideal for a go-kart chain. In other words, when the chain is finally fitted into the sprockets, it should feel snug but not too so. Pinch the chain at the sprocket and pull to determine the elasticity. The level of its bendability may then be quantified.

How To Maintain Go Kart Chain 

A go-kart chain is vulnerable to grime because of its location. Therefore, it is crucial that you clean and maintains the chain on your kart regularly. It is of utmost importance if your go-kart does not have a chain guard.

Maintain a Routine Cleaning Schedule

Doing weekly chain maintenance cleanings should keep these problems at bay. Of course, the time spent on the track also plays a role, but you can monitor the state of your chain as you do regular cleaning and maintenance before and after each run.

Pull the chain off the go-kart and soak it in gasoline or brake cleaner. In addition, highly alcoholic beverages may have the same effect. To clean your chain, soak it for half an hour in your chosen liquid. The liquid will loosen all the grime and grease on the chain. After you remove the chain, you may pick off what’s left by hand, but there shouldn’t be much.


Keep the chain well-lubricated by applying it periodically. If you want to see the best results, use it regularly, preferably before hitting the track. The chain and sprocket will experience less drag as a result. A lack of chains lubricant will show up as sprocket tooth wear (these are hit the hardest with chain wear and tear). Paint is flaking off the teeth, revealing the shiny silver tint below.

Oil & Dirt

Engine oil and dirt churned up by the tires may also damage the chain (especially if you take a trip through the grass). Both kinds of grime may become wedged between the cogs of the chain and diminish your kart’s performance.

Your chain will have to work harder to turn the sprocket if it is clogged with oil because the oil will solidify into blocks. As with dirt, getting dirt lodged in the oil may exacerbate the issue.


In conclusion, the success and enjoyment of your go-kart experience depend on having the proper chain. To maintain it in excellent working order, you must ensure you get the ideal one for your purposes and perform regular maintenance. Find the correct chain for your go-kart, and you’ll be set for hours of enjoyment.