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TKART magazine Under Review | ME-K and ME-KJ: the Modena Engines direct drive engines (FIA Karting approved)
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Giacomo Mantovani
06 September 2023 • 10 min. read
125 cc

The Modena Engines ME-K and ME-KJ engines have a bore of 53.93 mm and a stroke of 54.40 mm for a cylinder volume of 124.20 cm³.


The ME-K and ME-KJ are 2-stroke engines, like the vast majority of engines for racing karts.


They do not have an electric starter: to start the engine it is necessary to push the kart (or manually rotate the axle when the kart does not touch the ground). All this is facilitated by the presence, in accordance with the regulation, of a decompression valve on the engine head that makes it easier to push the kart.


There are two "big groups" of kart engines: Direct Drive and Shifter. ME-K and ME-KJ are Direct Drive engines, and therefore single-speed, and without a clutch, therefore direct drive: when the kart stops, it does not remain in motion but switches off.

032-ES-17 & 032-EJ-62

The engines were designed and manufactured by Modena Engines for the Direct Drive FIA Karting, OK and OKJ classes. Their international approval (which you can find here) is valid for 3 years and guarantees that owners can participate in all types of events that adopt the CIK-FIA regulations (to learn more, read "Dossier |  FIA approvals: what they are, what they are for, how long they last... the ultimate guide!").

2023 was a year of renewal for the Modena Engines range of engines: in fact, there were several innovations introduced by the Italian brand to supply the public with engines suitable for every need, both in the Shifter and Direct Drive markets. In the article "Under Examination |  KK3 Shifter, the flagship engine (2023 approval) of the Modena Engines range"  we analysed the main protagonist of the Modena Engines range, while in  the "Under Examination |  ME-KN, the first Modena Engines engine for the Direct Drive OK-N and OKJ-N classes" we put the first engine dedicated to the established classes under the magnifying glass, in 2022, by FIA Karting, to relaunch the Multi-brand championships at national level. In this "Under examination" we instead analyse the updates introduced by Modena Engines for the ME-K and ME-KJ models, launched on the market in 2019 (marking the entry of the Italian company into the Direct Drive engine market) and further evolved on the occasion of the 2023 FIA Karting  approval. These are changes in the name of continuity: contained and aimed at optimising performance as well as facilitating engine operation. To find out all the news about these Direct Drive engines (designed mainly for the FIA-Karting OK and OKJ classes), we went to the headquarters of the Italian brand, about 100 km from Rome. Here's what we found out.
One of the most obvious differences is found in the supply of ignition coils: the PVL ones have been replaced with the new Selettra brand, which for the ME-K is green with a speed limiter set at 16,000 rpm. For the ME-KJ, however, it is blue with the limiter set to 14,000 rpm.
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