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TKART magazine Expert Advice | The effects of adjusting height on a kart's set-up
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THE EFFECTS OF
ADJUSTING HEIGHT
ON A KART'S
SET-UP

TKART Staff
08 January 2017
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FRONT AND BACK END HEIGHTS ADJUST SEPARATELY. HOWEVER, THEY AFFECT EACH OTHER
Front and rear end height
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Front end height
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Rear end height

Kart height can be adjusted both at the front and rear ends. The effects of a modification act laterally on the kart’s handling on bends, as well as longitudinally under braking and traction. By taking advantage of the vast experience of Rickard Kaell, a former driver, mechanic and now Sporting Director of Birel ART’s Factory Teams, we can see the exact effects of height adjustments on a kart’s set-up.

1 How does height affect grip?

Perhaps the most interesting aspect and one of the key factors is that, in principle, the front and rear heights affect grip in opposing ways. Increasing front end height, which means raising the chassis (placing C section washers above the stub axle), increases front end grip, because the momentum acting on the kart, i.e. load transfer to the supporting outer wheel, will be greater.
On the contrary, raising the chassis at the rear end, i.e. lowering the axle, produces decreased rear end grip because it means the inside rear wheel experiences greater lift on bends. Indeed, we need to remember that rear end grip, like traction itself, is marginal when the inner rear wheel lifts up, because only a single tyre is left to provide any grip. Conversely, a lower set-up at the rear end results in greater traction.

Modifying front end height
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2 What is the effect during throttle-off braking?

A higher set-up at the rear end, with respect to the height at the front end, tends to place a greater load on the front wheels during braking, due to weight transfer. Therefore, a lighter rear end means that the kart is more nervous and unstable. The same effect occurs both on non-shifter and shifter karts. However, it has also been observed on Mini karts.
Naturally, if we take the opposite action, raising the kart at the front end, braking improves and the front end is more stable.

3 In terms of driveability, what are the effects of a high or low chassis at the rear end?

A lower chassis at the rear end is more stable and easy to drive. The chassis may slide a bit, but it does so more uniformly than a set-up that is higher at the rear end. In contrast, as mentioned, this makes the kart more nervous, mainly due to the fact that the inside rear wheel lifts up more, but also because, in general, the tubes of the bodyshell and the various components experience greater flexing due to the lateral torque created. This obviously means the kart responds in a less predictable and stable manner, which in turn negatively affects driveability.

Modifying front rear height
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