6 quizzes on kart’s hubs. which is better, aluminum or magnesium?
15 May 2023
Hubs are a crucial component in a kart. In fact, they are the connection between the wheel’s rims and the rear axle rather than the front stub axles. In addition to this functional aspect, hubs also have a significant impact on the behavior of the vehicle as a whole. Subject to extensive development work implemented by technicians and drivers over the years, these accessories are among the main variables to be evaluated when configuring a kart’s set-up. Among the countless parameters that distinguish the various types of hubs, the most obvious certainly concerns their construction material: aluminum or magnesium. We therefore turned to Cash van Belle, historic team manager of the IPKarting Group as well as an excellent chassis expert to ask him a few questions on the most significant differences between the two “families” of materials and shed some light on a series of doubts surrounding them. Here are the topics you will have to contend with:
1. ON SHIFTER KARTS, ALUMINUM HUBS ARE ALWAYS PREFERABLE TO MAGNESIUM HUBS
2. MAGNESIUM HUBS ARE PREFERABLE TO ALUMINUM HUBS WHEN USING SOFT COMPOUND TIRES
3. ALUMINUM HUBS ARE “SOFTER” THAN MAGNESIUM HUBS AND THE DIFFERENCE, IN TERMS OF IMPACT, ON THE KART’S SET-UP AND BEHAVIOR IS COMPARABLE TO THAT BETWEEN SOFT AND HARD AXLES
4. MAGNESIUM HUBS ARE NEVER RECOMMENDED ON WET TRACK CONDITIONS
5. IT IS ALWAYS RECOMMENDED TO FIT FRONT AND REAR HUBS MADE OF THE SAME MATERIAL
6. THE MATERIAL OF THE HUBS SHOULD ALWAYS MATCH THE MATERIAL OF THE RIMS
ON SHIFTER KARTS, ALUMINUM HUBS ARE ALWAYS PREFERABLE TO MAGNESIUM HUBS
Answering Cash Van Belle
Team manager IPK
It would be an exaggeration to say that aluminum hubs are always preferable to magnesium hubs for shifter karts. I also really like magnesium hubs because they offer an excellent grip when entering turns and, at the same time, a lot of control when exiting. Aluminum hubs, on the other hand, generate more grip overall. Even though Shifter karts do not drive around turns with smooth, round lines like Direct Drive karts do, because they have the advantage of the gearbox power to use a much more direct and sharper line through the cornering and “shorten the distances”, they too can benefit from the effects of magnesium hubs, especially when it is necessary to “free up” the chassis. Although the differences in the two driving styles can often lead to different set-ups, the discriminating factor in the choice of hubs concerns the conditions of the track rather than the type of vehicle. At the beginning of a race weekend, such as on Thursday morning when the first practice sessions of an international competition begin, there is not much grip on the track, so we at IPK always start with aluminum hubs. Then, gradually, as the asphalt develops layers of rubber from the tires, we start using magnesium hubs and often mount them for qualifying sessions, when the chassis needs to be freed up so that it does not get too “stuck” with new tires. Lastly, after four or five heats are completed, it is common to go back to aluminum hubs to get a little more grip on the used tires. Regardless of the differences between vehicles, this is a practice that applies both to Shifter and Direct Drive karts.
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