# Designing Go-Kart: Horsepower, RPM & Steering Push Rods

• tower
In summary, when designing a go kart for a college project, it is important to consider the horsepower needed for acceleration, taking into account factors such as center of gravity, weight, and transmission ratios. It is also important to understand how a motor's horsepower is rated and to properly match an engine to a transmission.
tower
I am designing a go kart for my college project. I am stuck with finding out how much horsepower I need. I know the centre of gravity and the total weight. Say I set a criteria that the gokart has to accelerate at some m/s^2 from there on how can I find the horsepower. I know the tyre radius and the ratio in the chain and sprocket, so I can find out the rpm I need at maximum speed. I am going to use an electric motor.

Another thing is when you talk about a motor rated at for example 5 horsepower 1500 rpm does that mean that it has that hp at all rpm and 1500 is the maximum rpm?

And I am totally lost on calculating the lengths of the push rods for the steering.

Welcome to PF, Tower.
To start with, there are no push-rods involved in steering. Those are the connecting links between the lifters and the rocker arms. You might be thinking of tie-rods, which connect the two steering wheels to each other.
I have no idea about this 5-hp stuff. The only go-cart that I ever saw had two 750 Kawasaki engines—one driving each rear wheel. It topped out at about 150 mph.

Then there was Fred Goeske's cart...
Normal itty-bitty go-cart, with itty-bitty wheels and tires, and an itty-bitty seat... with a 10,000 hp peroxide rocket on the back. On the quarter-mile track, he gave one second of thrust on the line, 1/2 second at mid-track, and went through the traps at over 250 mph.

Last edited:
Danger said:
Welcome to PF, Tower.
Then there was Fred Goeske's cart...
Normal itty-bitty go-cart, with itty-bitty wheels and tires, and an itty-bitty seat... with a 10,000 hp peroxide rocket on the back. On the quarter-mile track, he gave one second of thrust on the line, 1/2 second at mid-track, and went through the traps at over 250 mph.

So that's why they call you 'Danger'.

Jeez, no! I didn't drive the thing.
I like speed, but in something a bit more controllable. Fred went sideways through the traps one time and broke his back. He was back racing the next season, but stuck with the dragster and funny car.

Another thing is when you talk about a motor rated at for example 5 horsepower 1500 rpm does that mean that it has that hp at all rpm and 1500 is the maximum rpm?

That means that at 1500 rpm you will be outputing 5hp. ICEs have terrible power curves and don't generate much power at all when at lower rpms.

The total amount of power you will need is the equal to the power required to accelerate the cart (perhaps uphill), plus rolling resistance, air resistance, and losses in the drive train. The parameters of your engine depend highly on your transmission. Matching and engine to a transmission is not a trivial task and can be rather complicated. It is a lot easier to first find your engine, then your buck, and from that determine your transmission ratios.

## What is the role of horsepower in designing a go-kart?

Horsepower is a measure of an engine's power output, and it plays a crucial role in designing a go-kart. The higher the horsepower of the engine, the faster the go-kart will be able to go. However, it is important to balance the horsepower with other factors such as weight and control to ensure a safe and efficient go-kart.

## What is the importance of RPM in go-kart design?

RPM, or revolutions per minute, refers to the speed at which the engine's crankshaft rotates. In go-kart design, RPM is important because it affects the power and torque of the engine. A higher RPM can result in a faster acceleration, but it also puts more strain on the engine. It is important to find the right balance of RPM and horsepower to achieve optimal performance.

## How do steering push rods affect the handling of a go-kart?

Steering push rods are components that connect the steering wheel to the front wheels of a go-kart, allowing the driver to control the direction of the vehicle. The length and angle of the push rods can greatly impact the handling of the go-kart. Longer push rods provide more stability, while shorter push rods offer quicker steering response. It is important to consider the type of track and driving style when designing the push rod system.

## What are some key factors to consider when designing the chassis of a go-kart?

The chassis is the frame of the go-kart, and it is crucial to its overall performance. Some key factors to consider when designing the chassis include weight distribution, rigidity, and aerodynamics. The placement of the engine, driver, and other components can greatly affect the balance and handling of the go-kart. A rigid chassis can improve handling and reduce vibrations, while a streamlined design can improve speed and reduce drag.

## How do you ensure safety in go-kart design?

Safety should always be a top priority when designing a go-kart. Some key measures to ensure safety include using high-quality materials, performing regular maintenance, and following safety guidelines and regulations. It is also important to consider the driver's safety by including features such as seat belts, roll bars, and proper padding. A well-designed go-kart should not only be fast and efficient, but also safe for the driver and others on the track.

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