How old is truely to old....opinionated?


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I know I'll probably get some eye rolls here but I'm kind of curious on opinions. I get that setup is everything and can make the difference between winning with a 10+ year old chassis and a brand new one......but at what point would you consider a kart to be just plain "to old to compete" in modern racing. I understand you can make anything competitive but without custom fabrication and the knowledge of a very very well seasoned racer who understands everything about setup.....where would you put the line not to cross when it comes to a karts age.

Hoping not to get the "I know a guy who races this" responses...
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Ted Hamilton

Helmet Painter / Racer
If your laptimes are consistently .1 within each other, you need a new (<2 yr. old.) chassis to win. If your individual variance is more than .3, a new chassis can't gain you more than you're already giving away and it's not worth it to spend the extra $$. Seat time rules all (with a proper setup.)

alvin l nunley

Site Supporter
In LTO karts, in the last 10 years, there have been a few significant improvements in kart design. In Sprint karts, much fewer improvements.
To me it appears the improvement in LTO karts is in their adjustability.
All things made of metal have a cycle life. How many times they can be deflected, stressed, and returned to their original state. It's a subtle thing that you might not even be aware that it's happening. Frequency of use, I would think, would be a large factor in assessing an older karts suitability for continued use. Older karts, on average, might have less adjustability.


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It really comes down to your level of competition.

If you are running your local bullring, I would say you can win on any modern era (2001+) chassis. Of course, if you're running Liberty NC every weekend for example, that wont cut it. Exceptions to every rule.

For the most part, I believe there is a 3 year window of speed before evolution takes over....ex. a 2016 could still win today, but in a year or two, the likely hood goes down


I sold a 2003 blaze octane to a rookie driver in the 340 clone class he won 3 or 4 features with it and track championship this year


The level of competition does some what dictate the need for a newer chassis. But also the guys that are good know what to do to the new or old chassis to make it win. Most of these guys keep a chassis that is less then 3 years old so it appears that a newer chassis is what is needed to compete.
Number of laps will play a roll in how a chassis will respond to adjustments and setups. Best thing to do is to keep the spindles, tie rods, heim joints, and rear axle replaced on the regular.
The Phenom is a great example of how an older chassis will still win on many different levels of racing. It just take the right setup and tires.
I don't think the new chassis are more adjustable. I believe they have a smaller sweet spot. But they may be faster when you hit the sweet spot.
Competition dictates the question of how old, when it comes to dirt racing. Next is type of kart and whether that was a great kart in its day.
Phenom, the design, can still win on concrete, at the highest level. However on dirt, it wont win at the highest level. Triton was a very successful kart, and can still win at the highest level as long as its not been ridden to death.
Some manufacturers previous kart struggled before their new kart came out, therefore 1-2 yrs old is too old. Others could be 4-5.
Competition, type of kart are huge factors in picking a kart for your need.


Im on a 2013 model kart. The last couple.of chassis that this manufacturer has came out with they have not only changed tube diameter from 11/4 to 11/8. Yes I've raced " small tube " chassis back in late 90s, but the big difference between a part from them and now is the wall thickness. This has a lot do with how the kart flexes, which why you see a lot of top, mostly one , their chassis up for sale after 6 or 7 weekends of racing.
I talked to one chassis builder about this and he actually showed me difference between his and another brand.
So when I'm ready to update I'll look at tube size in a couple of different places on the kart and ask what the wall thickness is.
as far as how old is too old I just don't know. It depends on how hard it's been raved and maintained.


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I knew this would be a difficult question to be answered and I really do appreciate all the feedback on it.
I understand that big money chasers of course want something that is new(ish) so that's an easy one to narrow down.
Think more on the path of your local club racer that may go to a money race 1 or 2 times a year and not even for that much of a purse.
Maybe a dad wants to get their son involved. Maybe a new racer wants to get into the mix and still be competitive.
Put aside wear and tear and all the other concerns about the chassis in general....if I was to ask someone to help with finding a chassis my first immediate question would be "give me a year of age that you'd consider the bare minimum when looking for a kart" for local club racing.
Hoping maybe that'll narrow it down? 🤷‍♂️


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As mentioned before it really depends on the level of competition where you're running. I've got a 2005 Octane Blasé that's still fast in stock appearing racing, a 2006 Twister Super Storm that if just flat worn out that's winning in small block open races, and a 2016 Chase that's probably faster than both but is way more sensitive to tires and track conditions. A lot of newer karts are pretty tire dependent. Older karts, to me, are more forgiving.