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Observations from turn 2.

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CornerMarshallBill Bill Marshall
San Diego, California (CA), USA   USA
So, I noticed something recently.

As an avid follower of these forums, and an enthusiast of the CycleKart community, I feel like some current builds are straying far from the origins of what this hobby is supposed to be about. Some of you may not agree, but CycleKarting is supposed to be about utilizing sourced parts and what you have lying around to make a kart. And what I've seen in discussions on here is a trend to compare part numbers of parts bought from companies that specialize in gokarts and CycleKarts. Everyone has started to use the same parts, bought from the same places. I even saw someone post about the part number of an engine mount. AN ENGINE MOUNT!!

Guys. CycleKarts are made from motorcycle parts, angle, box tubing, a gokart engine, and whatever you have lying around. There is also the budget to be mindful of. Going to a website and pressing the buy-it button and then assembling your pre-manufactured parts is not in the spirit of the hobby.

I understand that buying the engine, the rear axle, the wheels, sprockets, and various other small manufactured parts is necessary. But standardizing the bulk of the parts you use seems to take all the fun out of the build and the uniqueness of each kart.

Get creative.
Get in the hardware store and buy yourself some angle, box tubing, ac ventilation, duct tape, bolts and screws, plumbing parts, and build a kart.
Build a unique kart.

Showing a blanket in your garage full of parts that are straight out of the VintageKart catalog with their boxes in the background is not CycleKarting.
Ordering everything from Northern Tool's azusa section and then assembling is not CycleKarting.
CycleKarting is not the buy-it-now button.

It's about custom fabrication. It's about scraped knuckles, lost hours of sleep, endless youtube searches for ideas, and angry neighbors who are tired of hearing you bang and grind every weekend in your garage. It's about the rush of knowing that your crappy welds could let go at any moment while you're trying to press the accelerator past the stop you built on the pedal assembly. It's about not knowing if your custom fabricated tie rods are going to survive the Orchard. It's about greasy fingernails and ruined jeans.

Come on guys. Get a buddy. Share some beers. Come up with some ideas. And build the kart that your inner kid wants you to build.


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Denny Graham Silver Member Dennis Graham
Sandwich, IL, USA   USA
1950 Chevrolet 3600 "Old Blue"
1954 Chevrolet 3600
Well......that's one opinion!
There are in this world......more than one opinion though.
Denny G

LVW Avatar
LVW Larry Wlliams
Erlanger, KY, USA   USA
Couldn't agree more! The natural extension is that there will be incremental upgrades in engines because everyone else has a kart very similar to yours and you need something to make yours stand out. One guy out does the other until it gets to be a money game and the grass-roots appeal fades and so does the whole hobby. Seems like it's inevitable. Let's try to keep it simple!

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Notso-Chinsee Avatar
Notso-Chinsee Gold Member Albert Lies
Spokane Valley, Washington (WA), USA   USA
1927 CycleKart American
1938 CycleKart American "Burd Piston Ring Special"
The question is where do you need to draw a line and if one should be? I am one that choses to fab as much as I could within my knowledge, ability and tools. Not to say I don’t stretch myself to make many thing s I’ve never attempted before. Front axles, spindles, wheel flanges are items that will receive a great deal of stress and should be purchased if you don’t have the knowledge to make them. The smart move would be to purchase them form suppliers who are in that busness. There are many new skill sets that will need to learn welding is the first that comes to my mind. I believe one should purchase items that are beyond their skill level to fabricate and put the effort into those skills they have at least for the first CK.
For what it's worth

Al Lies
The "Not-So Chinsee" guy

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-07-03 04:35 PM by Notso-Chinsee.

CmdBentaxle Avatar
CmdBentaxle Dave D
Federal Way, WA, USA   USA
1950 CycleKart Italian "1950 Ferrari 166 F2"
Hi Bill.
Before this discussion gets too much further along I'd like to say that in principle, I agree with you.
The possibility of things going that way certainly exists, and would be a trend to resist.
However, the use of factory go-kart components; steering shafts,spindles,bearings and carriers,brakes,axles,hubs, pedals,cables along with carriage springs all traces back directly to the way Pete and Mike Stevenson originally brought us the cyclekart. I have seen no embrace of any pre-made chassis or suspension in the community, thankfully. I haven't seen two frames exactly alike. Or engine mount arrangement, nor bodywork. I shouldn't be too concerned if someone shares the part number of an engine mount plate, if it saves a guy cutting his own slotted holes. It's not as if there is any great dereliction of creativity there. If you have built one of these, you know that the great heap of toil is not in cutting out your own 5x9" steel plate. It's in laying out a chassis of your own imagination and dimensions and cutting the raw metal or wood. It's in drawing and re-drawing your own rendition of an inspiration car until it not only looks right, but you can get in and out of the thing. And then sculpting the aluminum or fiberglass or foam or plywood or whatever to bring it to life. I am not a huge fan of the use of pre-made front axles as I do fee like it's one subassembly too far. Other than that, I see the the spirit
alive and well.

Ps If you think your welds are crappy enough to worry about, please stay out of that orchard until they've
been put right.


DoinItWrong Avatar
DoinItWrong Anthony Gurganious
Oak Harbor, Washington (WA), USA   USA
1929 CycleKart Italian "Fiat Gipsy"
Wait, if welding up your front axle is out of the question, how did your frame get welded up?

El Diablo (Anthony Gurganious)
1/2 Owner
1/2 Builder
1/2 Driver
1929 Fiat Gipsy
Team Captain: Team Doin' It Wrong

Woodysrods Brian Woods
Westbank B.C., Canada   CAN
Hi Bill
We marshalled corner # 3.....and a don't remember meeting you???
What was the car # you drove at Tieton?
What was your team #?
Sorry I missed you! But.......I completely agree with Albert and Dave with their comments above.
Don't start to criticize the guys that have realized that building a cyclekart is "Not" about re inventing the wheel.
If the parts are available for use, and they have been engineered and fabricated at a better level than a builders skill level or at half of the price once the smoke clears, you would have to be a complete idiot not to use them and save your money for another aspect of your build.
This way you "Can:" stay within the budget restraints, and "NOT" make it a game of "the guy with the most money wins" , as it is in MOST racing oriented sports or hobbies.
In my opinion, your comments and this post are way off base ! And do nothing to promote the cyclekart hobby and its safety!
I am a builder and make almost everything from scratch myself, but I have the shop, tools, equipment and 50 years of car building experience and skills.
Good Roads
Team # 22, Cart # 63 2017 Tieton Grand Prix

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2017-07-04 10:18 AM by Woodysrods.

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JTremain Avatar
JTremain Justin Tremain
Oak HArbor, WA, USA   USA
Ciao all,
I can see both sides of the discussion here and there's valid points be brought up, however I've always been of the mindset of built not bought. Not just relating to cyclekart, but all projects wether it's remodeling my kitchen, repairing my car, or building a shed. 10/10 times it was cheaper to get materials and do the work myself; I've always thought that if someone else has the skill to do it so can I.

Talking specifically about the engine mount, in my opinion the issue lies with thinking the you have to spend the money on the 5x9 piece of metal with slots on it. I saw it and thought i don't need to buy that when I've got some angle and 1x1 box tube, so I cut it up, drilled some holes and welded it. Now I've got an engine mount that I learned to build and is stronger than the one be sold.

If you can't weld, buy the harbor freight flux core welder for like $90 and some metal and start practicing before welding up your kart. People will nay say, but it's more than capable of doing to job! (Just get the good spoon of wire, not the cheap stuff) take your time until you're confident your welds will hold up, the building process isn't a race haha

There are definitely things that wouldn't be worth to figure out nor do I have the tools necessary. Like the rack and pinion steering we run, the gears, the axel, or front spindles. However, we did modify them to be stronger.

I hope that we can stay civilized during this discussion and make it productive because I think it's good to bring up.

"Magic Man"
"Cole Trickle"
Team Doin It Wrong

1927 Nash Modified: Legion Special

1929 Fiat Gypsy
"The terror of Tieton"
"The 1965 911 of cyclekarts"

Notso-Chinsee Avatar
Notso-Chinsee Gold Member Albert Lies
Spokane Valley, Washington (WA), USA   USA
1927 CycleKart American
1938 CycleKart American "Burd Piston Ring Special"
The last thing we need to do is make this a battle of purchase or build we all lose. For me the CK intent is to enjoy the build and the people. I also believe there are many builders that have some insane skills from concept to completion including driving ability that I will never achieve. Being the best or spending the most money to win is not what turns my crank or get me up in the morning it’s what can do or make today.

Al Lies
The "Not-So Chinsee" guy

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CmdBentaxle Avatar
CmdBentaxle Dave D
Federal Way, WA, USA   USA
1950 CycleKart Italian "1950 Ferrari 166 F2"
Bill posted that he observed an unhealthy trend of builders
purchasing more ready made components as opposed to creatIng their own.
I agree that if taken too far, this would be out of the spirit.
Other than the availability of VKco. wheels, which I see as a good development,
I have seen no significant change in the store-bought /self-made ratio.
What are these prefab parts guys are buying now that are corrupting the process?
All but a very few have been used in builds from the outset. It appears to me to
be false alarm. Some people will always fabricate as much of their own stuff
as possible. But to pretend that this used to be the tradition, and is now under
threat is a fantasy. I will reiterate; The creators of the cyclekart used almost, and
in some cases, exactly the same off the shelf parts most of us use. If anything,
I see MORE guys abandoning the inexpensive gokart stuff, and making their own
for quality's sake! MORE innovation, if anything.

Those are my observations from turns 1&2 in the Grand Prix, the final turn at the Gordon Benett,
on the grid at the Campbell Cup, down Gasoline Alley, or on these pages.
Am I missing something? Am I blind to the corruption going on around me?


1908Rick Avatar
1908Rick Rick Eggers
Cape Coral, FL, USA   USA
In my building experience, I look at something like the spindles most people use and think to myself - I can build that or better for next to no money. So that's how I go about it.
My kart will have more fabricated parts than store bought. I plan to make spindles that are camber-adjustable and have the proper KPI. I even plan to make my own axle, and wait until you see the banjo steering wheel I'm building. It helps to have a lathe/mill in the shop.
That being said, I realize not everybody has the tools or skills or confidence to make some of this stuff but they have the desire to build something and be a part of this hobby. So I say build what you can and buy the rest. It will still be a masterpiece of your own creation when it's done.

I do have a question though. How do you go about buying wheels from this Vintage Kart Co.? I've looked at their website and I don't see parts anywhere, just pricey complete karts.


dBlast Avatar
dBlast Vince De Blasi
Maple, ON, Canada   CAN
In reply to # 25080 by 1908Rick
I do have a question though. How do you go about buying wheels from this Vintage Kart Co.? I've looked at their website and I don't see parts anywhere, just pricey complete karts.


Find the "Contact Us" section of their website and tell them that you are building a cyclekart and request cyclekart parts price list. Jack will email the list.

I have purchased a number of items from them. I too like to build things from scratch but I already have a full woodworking shop filled with machines and I don't think my wife would approve of building another metal working shop filled with machines for this cyclekart project.


1908Rick Avatar
1908Rick Rick Eggers
Cape Coral, FL, USA   USA
Thanks, Vince. I'll do that.


carChips Avatar
carChips Victor Harnish
Kelowna, BC, Canada   CAN
1933 MG Magnette
1973 Triumph Spitfire 1500 "Chip"
1989 GMC Sierra 1500 "Bush Truck"
There are guys that need ready made parts, or otherwise a big pot full of money to equip a shop to make their own. For most guys it's a matter of economics and the availability of time, so big deal if a guy has to buy a couple of spindles to get the job done. Some things are better off left for the pros. I agree, front axles and spindles can be made at home with nothing but an angle grinder and drill press. But, if you don't buy a few things off the shelf and it takes years to make everything, in the mean time you loose interest and end up with a failed project. We're not all retired yet!

classical-gas Scot Laughlin
Bellingham, WA, USA   USA
Buying parts goes way further back than our version of cyclecarts. The cars we build to imitate/evoke were often built by small firms that purchased many of their parts from specialized suppliers. In some cases, bodies and frames were the only thing built in house. Heck, Lotus used milsurp fire pump engines in some cars, into the sixties.

Are you going to hand build brakes? Friction shocks/dampers? Axle bearings? Steering wheel?Road wheels? Where is the line? Should guys run bronze axle bushings instead of roller bearings? (just because they can be home fabricated)

Boys in the thirties built gravity racers and velocars in their dad's barns (if you believe the publications of the time) with none of those thing readily available, they made do...with bad results in many cases, I'm sure.

Sure, be creative in your search for appropriate parts, but a $90 MIG machine in an amateur's hands is a recipe for trouble and frustration.

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