Go karts have to transfer power from the crankshaft to the wheels. The simplest setups use a centrifugal clutch and a single drive gear. But most go karts are set up more like a motorcycle, with transmission gears, a clutch sprocket and the final drive sprocket. In complex applications, like Formula One, transmission gears are changed to match every racetrack. Go karts are more likely to change only the clutch sprocket or final drive sprocket.
Engine RPM to Wheel RPM to Speed
Before you consider your go kart’s gearing, it’s important to understand the simplest ratios of gearing. Internal combustion engines all have a crankshaft. When the engine is running, its speed is measured in revolutions per minute. So, 3,000 RPM means the crankshaft turns 3,000 revolutions per minute. Knowing your gear ratios tells you how many times your wheels turn for every turn of the engine in any gear.