J&J News & Events

Manufacturing fun since 1975.


Go-Kart 101

by Kevin Derrickson

A go-kart is just a go kart right? Wrong….. There are many different types of karts ranging from racing to backyard-fun-style. Here is breakdown of the different styles and what you need to know when you are looking for one.

Fun Kart: These are the backyard-style and can be found for sale typically at motorcycle shops or even online. They have a bit of ground clearance so they can be driven on dirt or taller grass. The come in one or two seats and have normally a 5 or 6.5hp motor. Not many rules govern the manufacturers of these karts, so they often come with little as far as safety features. They are fun and designed to run around the backyard or vacant lot for a few hours or until the kid driving it gets bored.

Racing karts: Actually, there are two types of racing karts, so I will break this down into two sections.

  1. Personal use racing karts: These are purchased by an individual for competitive racing use. They range in speeds based on the class that the kart is designed for use in. These are sold by specialty shops locally. They are very light and, in most cases, quite fast.
  2. Concession racing-style karts: I say “style” because they are a bit of a hybrid, not really full racing, and not full concession. They are owned by an operator and used as rental equipment to race in sessions. The have more safety equipment than the fun kart or personal use racing karts. Typically, the drivers of these karts are a bit older and experienced in driving, since the speeds are faster than a strictly fun or concession kart (next section).

Concession Karts: These are karts seen at family fun centers, amusement parks and other entertainment facilities. These are the karts J&J Amusements makes. There are many rules governing the manufacturing of this style of kart to ensure the proper usage. We build the karts to be the safest, most durable concession karts in the industry. The full-sized concession-style kart can accommodate guests that may have never driven a kart before, so it must be able to withstand abuse and keep the driver safe. The speeds will be directly related to the track layout, but the emphasis is on the feeling of speed rather than reaching fast speeds. Designing the track with many turns and banks, as well as flat turns, adds to the guest excitement. The flat turns allow the kart to slide a little, making the guest feel like they are traveling much faster than they are actually going.  The concession kart is designed to run all day, every day in harsh environments, so they are the heaviest karts of the group and also quite low to the ground.