-Do not buy a used sprint racing kart until you read this-
This article is written for the newbie, those who have never owned or raced a kart but are looking to get into the sport.
During this Corona Virus crazy time, we here at Kartspeed have been getting more and more calls regarding used karts. Not just karts we have for sale, but karts customers have bought from private parties such as eBay, Craig's List, Facebook Classifieds etc.
We would not be writing this blog if it were not for the amount of problems people are having with used sprint racing kart purchases. Going forward, we use Sprint Kart Racing as a term describing karts such as those on our website. These Karts are designed, manufactured and assembled to race on dedicated Sprint Kart Racing Circuits around the world. We are not talking about recreational karts…. karts meant for driveways, parking lots, dirt roads etc. Often built with fun as the main goal and running very low horsepower 4 cycle engines, these are not what we are referring to in the following article. I am sure those are great, but we don’t deal with those types of karts here at Kartspeed.
While there is nothing wrong with any of the private party marketplaces, what is wrong are the decisions being made by customers new to the sprint kart racing world. What problems you ask? Customer are receiving extremely poor information on their purchases from the previous owners, and then buying low cost karts (that unfortunately are no longer worth much of anything), with the idea of trying to repair them for some fun times.
Usually this would not be a bad thing. We all are used to buying used cars, motorcycles, ATVs and the like, right? So, what is the problem with purchasing used sprint racing karts?
First off, you really have to know what you are doing. Think of sprint racing karts like small Formula One Cars. This is said not to ‘overrate’ the image of a sprint racing kart, but rather to put the customer into the correct mindset. What am I talking about? You purchase a 2005 Formula One Car. If it runs and drives correctly, are there any problem with that purchase? Uh, yes there are! For one, NO PARTS! Just like a Formula One Car, sprint racing karts are built for the here and now…. the TODAY! Technology marches forward and what raced in 2005 was great…. for 2005. Not today. Rules change, technology changes, just like in F1. Thus, the manufactures only build enough spares for their Formula One car with the idea that the car will soon be replaced by a newer version. So why make a bunch of spare parts for a car that will only be used for a relatively short time? See…there is the problem. That is the same way Sprint Racing Karts are built. While the manufacturers build more spare parts than an F1 Team, we see the parts supply lasting no more than two or three homologation cycles (6-9 years). Sometimes parts last longer, sometimes less, but the point here is that customers need to be aware that any kart that is 10 years old or more, will most certainly be without parts support from any kart shop dealer. You say, “Who cares if I can’t buy parts from a dealer?” Remember if the manufacturers no longer make the parts, dealers can no longer buy them and sell to you the customer! That means if you purchase one of these relics, you are on your own…so yes, back to the private party ads hoping to find someone that has the identical kart you have. Then hope the parts on that identical kart are all in good working order…. just so you can pick and pull spare replacement parts from that kart. Oh, and yes, you had to buy ANOTHER kart just to get spare parts for your first purchase. Now see how much you saved on that old kart “deal.” See the problem…
As I have to say, far too often, to customers bringing in their ‘eBay/Craigs List special’ to our shop; There are no Kragen, Autozone, Napa Auto Parts or PepBoys in the sprint kart racing world. While there are a very limited number of what you might call ‘aftermarket parts suppliers’, there are not many choices, relatively few things available and the parts cost are relatively high compared to the purchase price of most used karts. Example- “I bought the kart for $1200 and the dealer wants $600 for an aftermarket brake system because I can’t get parts for the one on my old kart.” Yep, that is a mess, and one we find is repeated weekly around the country.
We sell old karts here at Kartspeed. Often, they come to us as trade-ins for brand new kart purchases. The difference is we explain all the challenges to the customer before they purchase. Then they understand why the kart is so inexpensive compared to our race ready brand new or very low time used karts.
So PLEASE, if you are new to karting, before you purchase ANY used sprint racing kart, please get informed. Unfortunately, I find sprint kart racing is one of the few things Google is still unable to help with. We recommend a call to a certified kart dealer, find a friend that currently races or go to the local sprint racing track and ask them for help. Please do this BEFORE you buy anything from anyone!
We focused this message on the used kart market as customers that purchase brand new karts are beginning by calling a dealer…someone who knows the karts and has the information you need. Often when customers buy used, they are bypassing the dealer and trying to figure it out on their own. This article was written for them.
While old karts can offer a great price savings compared to late model or brand new karts, they do have some challenges. As long as new buyers are aware of the potential problem areas, the purchase will better match the needs of the buyer and should result in a much happier customer.
Best of luck in your future karting!