Driving a Shifter kart (those who own one know this well), requires significant skills behind the wheel and physical preparation. In fact, one only has to watch any on-board video on YouTube to realize that the driver, most of the time, drives with only one hand on the steering wheel because the other one is practically always engaged in shifting gears, which certainly makes it somewhat difficult. There is, however, a solution that accommodates a less physically trained kart driver, as it enables the driver to operate the Shifter kart with both hands on the steering wheel: the paddle gearshift. It is a type of product that tends to be an aftermarket purchase, in the form of a kit (this does not apply to those who buy a Rotax DD2 engine, which includes the paddle gearshift in its acquisition price), which can be installed on any Shifter kart. In karting, steering wheel paddle gearshifts have struggled to establish themselves in the market. The reasons for this are diverse, but often related to the characteristics of the first products of this type launched into the market place. One primary problem is the difficulty in the initial installation, also the additional weight they add to the kart itself and the fact that they often proved to be slower than the shifting speed of the classic manual lever method. Furthermore, in the social imaginary, steering wheel paddle gear shifters are prohibited by the technical regulations imposed by FIA Karting (the international federation which regulates much of the competitions throughout the world). In reality, FIA Karting allows only mechanically operated steering wheel gearshifts to be installed on the chassis, while it prohibits electronically operated ones. The latter – if we always think of races, in particular, FIA Karting regulated races – it can only be used in KZ (that is, the queen category of FIA Karting approved Shifter Karts, in which experimentation is also allowed). However, it must be said that the entire world of amateur drivers (who only drive practice laps or participate in non-FIA Karting-regulated races), can safely overlook these regulatory limitations and, if they wish, consider purchasing a steering wheel gearshift, either mechanical or electronic. To help drivers orient themselves in this world (which, over the years, has been able to reduce the installation time and product weight), we have selected five models (from 500 to 2,000 euros in cost), demonstrating them based on the information stated (hence, we have not physically tested them) by various manufacturers.
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