Chains & Sprockets

Chains and sprockets are probably the most consumable items on any kart and it is essential to keep them properly lubricated and ensure correct chain tension to get the longest life from them.

A loose chain will stretch very quickly because it is able to'whip'. A tight chain will also wear because it is constantly being stretched between the 2 sprockets; it will also wear out the main bearings in the engine as well as taking away performance through friction.

It is important to use the right length of chain.

As a rough guide when using 219 pitch chains add the number of teeth of the engine sprocket and the number of teeth of the rear sprocket plus 10 to give you the required length of the chain eg: engine sprocket 12 + rear sprocket 82 +10 = 104 links.

O-ring chains will last longer than conventional ones because they have tiny seals to retain internal lubrication and keep out dirt. There is however a downside to these as they cause more mechanical drag; they are essential for endurance racing but may sap valuable power that could make a difference in sprint racing.

Chain lubricants also play their role in performance; it's important to keep your chain well oiled to prevent drag and to reduce chain wear. As the chain wears it will stretch and therefore not mesh properly with the sprockets - if your sprockets become 'hooked' it's because the chain is stretched and this in turn reduces power. Chain lubes come in different types; thick lubes will stay on the chain for longer but will also slow it down, thin ones are much better in allowing the chain to run freely and wax types stay on the chain but do not penetrate the links.

Beware of using motorcycle chain lubes as they are not designed for such high speed drives - most bikes have much larger wheels meaning that they rotate at much lower speed and require less lubrication.