Go Kart FAQ’s
J&J Amusements manufactures and distributes concession-style go karts for use in amusements parks, fun centers, and other commercial-use facilities.
No. Our go karts are made for concession use only and are not made to drive around the yard or a personal-use track.
A concession go kart is a go kart designed for use as a rental vehicle at an amusement park or fun center. This type of go kart is meant to generate revenue and is built to withstand the rigors of constant daily use. An amusement ride or device meets all of the following specifications: the device is a single vehicle, unattached to other vehicles or a common frame system, is powered without connection to a common energy source, is driver-controlled with respect to acceleration, speed, braking, and steering, operates within the containment system of a defined track, simulates competitive motor sports, and is used by members of the general public for a fee. A concession go kart has a maximum capacity of two persons and no cargo capacity.
The recommended length is 800-1,200 linear feet. The most popular track length is 1,000 linear feet. The number of karts that you run is related directly to track length, with one kart per forty feet of track being the present rule of thumb. Keep in mind that go karts are the most fun to ride when you are turning right or left, or going up or down. Avoid long, flat, straight sections, as they quickly make for a boring ride. (Uphill grades can be confusing when you work with degrees on one hand and percentages on the other. The problem is that mechanical engineers like to work with degrees and civil engineers and construction folks like to work with percentages. Percent is based on so many feet rise or fall in 100 feet. Degrees, on the other hand, is a trigonometric function. We recommend a 5 degree limit on track slope, which is the same as 8.75 percent rise.)
A 700-ft track can be built in about 30,000 sq. feet. A 1,000-ft track will require about 45,000 sq. feet.
The recommended width is 24-30 feet. Keep in mind that about 5 to 6 feet of the track will be taken up by the safety rail system. Uphill grades can be confusing when you work with degrees on one hand and percentages on the other. The problem is that mechanical engineers like to work with degrees and civil engineers and construction folks like to work with percentages. Percent is based on so many feet of rise or fall in 100 feet. Degrees, on the other hand, is a trigonometric function. We recommend a 5 degree limit on track slope, which is the same as 8.75 percent rise. There is no need to make turns wider, as the karts will be driven as close to the inside rail as possible to obtain the “fast“ line. Banked turns are coming into more use, as they add more interest and provide better drainage. The maximum degree of banking being used is in the one inch per foot of width range. Beware of making the turns too tight, as this can cause spinouts and safety problems -- especially with one-wheel-drive karts turning to the left. The minimum inside radius of turns should be no less than ten feet. If property shape is a problem, you could use two-wheel-drive karts with caster adjustment (as J&J karts offer) to go smaller on the radius. These will turn sharper and hold a tighter “line“. The caster adjustment allows the kart to get a “bite“ and turn sharper, but it also requires more effort on the part of the driver to turn the wheel. NOTE: All J&J karts can be configured with two wheel or one wheel drive systems.
Rail systems have been built using more various setups than any other area of the track: everything from truck tires laid on the ground, car tires full of sand or concrete, steel rails ranging from thin to thick, shock-absorbers ranging from telescoping springs to old car front-end springs. The list is about as diverse as the human imagination. This appears to be the area that most often feels budget cuts, and that people tend to get inventive with. Beware: cutting corners on rail systems is dangerous! To avoid horrendous maintenance problems on the karts and possible customer injury, go with the best system. The best rail system at this time uses a 5/8
Market size, population base, competition, land costs and climate all factor into your investment decision. J&J can provide you with realistic projections as to cost of operation and potential revenues, but you must concentrate on the questions and parameters that you cannot change: money, space and market. In order to maximize profitability, try to include your plans for future expansion so your track could accommodate more karts if needed.
This depends on local conditions particular to your area, but generally it will run in the $225.00 to $275.00 per linear foot range, including rail system, but not including pit area, queue lines, lighting, maintenance building, covered pit, bridges or tunnels.
At first glance, asphalt would appear to be the best surface, but the years have proven concrete to be the surface of choice. Concrete lasts longer, will not break up in the turns, and is 40 degrees cooler in the sun due to its lighter color. The extra heat and rough surface of asphalt can wear out a set of tires in 2 weeks during the peak of the season. Also, consider that asphalt must be laid in two “pulls“. It must be laid in 25-foot widths and the base gravel must be at least 6 inches thick. The surface must be sealed to protect it from damage by gasoline and oil. In addition, the safety rail shoe tends to sink into the asphalt and it becomes impossible to maintain a consistent rail height. The consensus: asphalt is not cost effective over the long term. The concrete track should be finished as smoothly as possible with as few cold joints as possible, and no fiber expansion joints. One of our consultants recommends the use of air-entrained concrete with a fiber mesh. Keep in mind that it is easy to acid-etch a smooth surface to make it rougher, but it is very hard to make a rough surface smoother.
The ultimate speed is not the purpose: it's not how fast it goes, it is how fast it feels. In the interest of safety and reduced maintenance costs, we generally recommend a maximum track speed of 18 mph. Design the track so that 18mph is exciting, with plenty of twists and turns, and you will save on repair and expense headaches.
In general it will take two to five depending on the number of karts, how busy you are, and if there are “blind“ spots on the track.
Yes. The usage of remote shut-off systems has increased to the point that very few fleets of karts are shipped without them. We install the Kartrol system. This system uses a main control console that can control karts with a simple radio signal to a receiver on the kart. The receiver is integrated into the ignition system and “dithers” with it to allow the track operator to control the ride. Some states are now requiring concession go karts to be equipped with remote shut-off systems, so check with your state regulatory bodies.
Bumper Boats FAQ’s
J&J manufactures concession-style bumper boats for use in commercial applications such as amusements parks and fun centers.
J&J builds both gas and electric-powered bumper boats.
Typically, bumper boat ponds range from 2,400-sq. ft. (223 sq. meters) to 8,000-sq. ft. (743 sq. meters). The rule of thumb is 250-sq. ft. (23 sq. meters) per boat.
The shapes are as varied as the imagination, but it’s best to avoid long and narrow ponds or dead-end inlets. Islands can be a nice touch, but beware of “pockets” where boats can be “trapped”, or places in the pond that are difficult for young riders to negotiate when the ride is over. Fountains and waterfalls add to the attraction, but here again, there are things to avoid. Gas-powered bumper boats can be “drowned” out by too much water spray. This causes difficult retrieval problems and high maintenance. You should avoid direct spray from fountains or waterfalls on gas-powered boats.
Ponds are usually built using one of three basic construction techniques. The wood frame and deck with a vinyl liner is the least expensive, can be done above or below ground, and is a simple method. Well-done pond-liner-type bumper boat ponds have been operating for years with only normal maintenance. Liner-type ponds are also used in “portable” set-ups for traveling shows. Fiberglass wall ponds are a recent favorite. These utilize a concrete “floor” and fiberglass panel side walls that are interlocking and have “pouches” on the back side that are poured full of mixed concrete. These panels can curve, be used in many shapes and have a smooth, easy-to-clean surface for the sidewall. Gunnite-style ponds or concrete walls treated with epoxy coatings are the most popular. Whichever type is used, make certain the sidewall of the pond from the water level (3 feet / 914 mm) to the dock height (4 feet / 1219 mm) is very smooth to avoid damage to the bumper boat tubes.
Any design for gas-powered bumper boats should include twice the number of skimmers and double the filtration capacity of a normal swimming pool. Sand filters are used in a redundant configuration to provide the best method of dealing with the oil residue that is inherent with gasoline-powered boats. Enzyme compounds such as “Deskum” are used to break down the oil and alleviate some of the problem. Electric bumper boats can be operated with normal “swimming pool” filtration systems.
Gas-powered boats are by far the most prevalent because they were the first and small trolling motors adapt easily to the application. Gas boats are simple and easy to deal with in terms of service and warranty worldwide. Gas-powered boats perform well with a good power-to-weight ratio. The drawbacks to gas-powered boats include the handling of gasoline and oil, maintenance of motors, frequent oil changes, pull-starter ropes that are sometimes difficult to start, the necessary replacement of spark plugs, choke levers, throttle cables and/or levers, etc. Electric-powered boats are heavy (due to 240 lbs. of batteries) and do not accelerate as well as gas boats, with the most noticeable difference being in starting from a complete stop. Once underway, the difference is minimal. The list of cons includes dealing with batteries, chargers and wiring connections. On the pro side, there is no oil mess in the pond water, less filtration and chemicals, no gas or oil to deal with, no starter ropes, spark plugs etc. Overall operational costs are less, but the initial cost is higher by about $800 per boat. A neat option that is available only on electric boats is on-board squirt pumps.
Most docks are concrete and have two entry and exit handrails or “dock rails” per boat. These are spaced so as to allow the attendant to use one to steady themselves while helping the customer who can use the other dock rail, as well as the assistance of the attendant, to exit the boat. Avoid using swimming pool handrails, as they are too low and, if not carefully installed, can overhang the water too far and damage the hull of the boat. Use a dock rail recommended by the boat manufacturer and remember that mounting hardware for concrete docks should be installed when the concrete is poured. Wooden docking can also be used for the dock surface. Keep in mind that mounting hardware of the dock rail is different on wooden docks and can be installed at any time.
Dependent upon your area, you can expect costs to be $25-$40 per square foot.