Homemade Off-Road Go Karts

Written by tim brugger
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Homemade Off-Road Go Karts
Go karts come in all shapes and sizes. (Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Many of us, at one time or another, have dreamed about making a go kart out of an old lawnmower engine and a basic frame. Like many such ambitions, accomplishing this type of project is not necessarily as easy as it may seem. With that said, understanding the options available for building a homemade off-road go kart will go along way toward helping to make the right decision for you. A go kart with off-road capabilities requires a bit more work and consideration than one designed for "tooling" around the neighbourhood.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Deciding on the type of off-road go kart based on your needs will help to narrow your options. There are one-seaters, two-seaters, child and adult off-road go kart kits and plans, each with unique part and building requirements. Considering the expected use of the go kart will help ensure making the right decision now and into the future. For example, if this is for a child of 10, it is safe to assume they will need an off-road go kart that they can "grow into," otherwise its use will be limited.

  2. 2

    Building an off-road go kart yourself from plans provides a number of options. However, determining if there is the time and inclination needed to complete a project of this magnitude is crucial. Making a homemade go kart using a kit can shorten the time spent collecting the parts, plans and tools needed as the kit will make all of this information readily available. Some kits come with virtually everything needed (other than tools; though they indicate what is required) including engine, frame material, suspension and tires. While other kits provide only some of the needed components.

  3. 3

    Budget appropriately for the building of your off-road go kart. Depending on the amount of work and searching for parts and components a person wants to assume will determine the final costs. For basic plans that will require purchasing all of the parts and completing "from scratch," these can start from as little as £13. A complete kit that includes the engine and everything else needed to build a homemade go kart can range from £1,137 to nearly £3,250.

  4. 4

    Use of your new off-road go kart will help determine the appropriate design or kit. There can be a big difference in stability, power and strength requirements when using a go kart for riding dunes and trails that are well off the beaten track versus spending most of your riding time on established go kart or ATV trails with relatively few major concerns. At the same time, there is no need spending the time and money required for a 400cc two-seater with more power and suspension than is likely to ever be used.

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