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Do Go Karts Have Suspension? Which Models Do

Do Go Karts Have Suspension? Which Models Do

Go-karts function like small racing cars and SUVs. The similarities even extend under the hood with most go-karts featuring gas engines with automatic transmissions. These similarities may make you wonder how far it goes. For instance, you might be wondering if your go-kart has a suspension system as well.

Generally, go-karts have no suspension system. Their wheels are directly connected to the chassis to improve their performance while making them lighter. The only go-karts that will have a dedicated suspension system are the off-road models which need it for better clearance on rough terrain.

Because they lack suspension, go-karts are prone to flipping over. Therefore, by reading further, you will how to reduce your risks from flipping your kart as you race around the track.

Mid-Size Offroad Go Karts Usually Have Suspension

Vehicle suspension systems protect the driver and passengers, along with any vulnerable components, from bumps and imperfections in the road. They do this by absorbing some of the jerking motions into their springs. However, most go-karts have no suspension.

Because of this, there is nothing between you and the road while you race around in your kart. This is done for several reasons for this. Although, some are more practical than others.

For instance, most professional kart drivers prefer “direct” feedback, letting them know the track conditions in real-time. The style also makes go-karts cheap and easy to manufacture.

Go-karts rely on the flexibility of their chassis instead. A go-kart chassis can handle a lot of vibrations. Manufacturers pre-tune them to achieve the perfect balance of the front and rear rolling stiffness. This pre-tuning allows for much better cornering and maneuvering performance. 

This is where we got our Offroad Go Kart Buggy for the kids off Amazon. We went with the Trailmaster buggy but they also have smaller karts and all electric options with great reviews.

Off Road Go-karting

That does not mean that no go-karts have a suspension. However, they all fall under the off-road category.

Off-road karting is a recreational sport. As a result, they are much bigger with chassis that is designed for comfort rather than performance. Most off-road karts even sport much larger wheels than their racing counterparts. Because of this, they also come with highly customizable suspension systems to help them with ground clearance.

These suspension systems work much like the suspension in your car.

  • Front suspension – A double-wishbone coil-over design with struts at all 4 corners
  • Rear suspension – optional swing arm design with dampening shocks at the wheels

The Tires are Also a Part of the Suspension

Regardless of if they have a dedicated suspension or not, all go-karts rely on their tires to handle some of the suspension for them. Go-kart tires are rather large for the size of the vehicles. This extra size allows them to handle much of the shock, creating a more comfortable ride. You can even adjust their air pressure to reduce any bumpiness you may feel behind the wheel.

You Can Add Suspension to Any Go-Kart

If the suspension of your go-kart is not perfect for your needs, you can switch it out at any time. You can even add a suspension system to go-karts that came with none. It will be difficult and expensive, but you can do it if you have the budget and time for it.

You can do the job yourself or have a mechanic do it. Just remember that you must weld together and fabricate all the parts. As such, you may want to just have a professional do it for you to reduce any damage you may cause to your go-kart.

Although, most people should just consider buying a kart with a built-in suspension instead. It would be much cheaper and less of a hassle.

Do Go-Karts Flip Easily?

Since most go-karts have no suspension, they are vulnerable to flipping over, but the lack of suspension is not the only reason for this. They are built for speed and agility with manufacturers taking every opportunity to reduce their weight.

As such, even go-karts with suspensions can roll over unexpectedly as well.

Therefore, you want to develop a robust safety plan to reduce your risk for serious injuries while driving your kart. Sure, some go-karts may come equipped with safety features to help remedy these risks.

Some of these features may even be better than others. Just remember that there is no such thing as an “unflippable” go-kart.

Potential Flipping Risks

Go-karts flip over for numerous reasons, but they all revolve around a kart’s center of gravity. All go-karts have a low center of gravity to keep them on the ground.

However, certain scenarios can upset this balance, causing the kart to roll over. Some of these scenarios are easy to understand such as driving too fast or steering too abruptly. Others may appear to come out of nowhere.

The following are a few of the more common ways a go-kart may flip over:

  • Uneven contact with loose dirt, rocks, or other surface conditions
  • Abrupt and sharp turns
  • Bumping into other go-karts or their wheels
  • Turning on a surface with a high center of gravity such as hilly terrain
  • Shifting your center of gravity too abruptly or too high

Precautions You Can Take to Protect Yourself

Because any go-kart can flip over, you must take a few precautions before you get behind the wheel. Just remember that these precautions will limit your risks for life-threatening injuries, but they will not eliminate them.

  • Properly maintain the go-kart – Check your kart for potential issues before every race. Make all repairs as soon as possible.
  • Wear appropriate safety equipment – A proper helmet and tight clothes that will not tangle or get stuck in the wheels.
  • Avoid long hair – Hair can get tangled in the wheels as much as your clothes. Tie your hair up if necessary.
  • Keep your distance from other karts – give yourself enough space when overtaking people.
  • Keep the center of gravity as low as possible – Stay low and centered. Use your body as a counterweight.
  • Wear seatbelts – If your kart has them, use them. They will prevent you from being thrown from your kart.
  • Use karts with tire bumpers or frames – Especially if you are a beginner.
  • Keep your head down when flipping – Become as small as possible to protect your neck and back.
  • Properly train before each race– Understand how your kart will handle the track.

This is where we got our Offroad Go Kart Buggy for the kids off Amazon. We went with the Trailmaster buggy but they also have smaller karts and all electric options with great reviews.


To maintain their lightweight design and performance, most go-karts have no suspension. Instead, they rely on the flexibility of their chassis to remain on the ground. However, some off-road models do come with full suspension systems out o the box.

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