Go Kart Braking System – A Brief Guide

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Brakes are a significant part of a vehicle and are more important for go-karts, which are used for racing and off-roading. Several owners don’t take care of the importance of the go-kart braking system. It is necessary to understand the complete go-kart braking system before purchasing a new one or repairing the existing one. So, in this article, we will discuss the complete braking system of a go-kart.

Go Kart Braking System - A Brief Guide

There are several types of go-kart brakes, which we will discuss below;

  • Hydraulic System 
  • Scrub Brakes
  • Band Brakes
  • Drum Brakes
  • Disc Brakes
  • Hand brake system

Go-Kart Hydraulic Brake Setup.

It works based on Pascal’s principle that a fluid can transmit pressure in a confined space in every direction without any pressure reduction. The hydraulic brake system has the same braking effort for every wheel and operates smoothly.

When the brakes are applied, the piston force causes the liquid to flow onto the wheel cylinders and into the pipelines from the master cylinder. The liquid force pushes the wheel cylinder in the outward direction, which ultimately pushes the brake shoe outward. With this, the lining is rubbed on the drum, and the brakes are applied.

After releasing the go-kart hydraulic brake pedal, the master cylinder piston will return to its initial position. The fluid will flow through a check valve to the master cylinder from the wheel cylinder. This brake system is most commonly used in go-karts because it reduces the complexity and is effective. Moreover, it reduces the overall go-kart weight.

Scrub Brakes for Go-Karts

Scrub braking is a traditional braking system used when go-karts were introduced. The scrub brakes consist of metal pedals that you should press against the rear tires. You can apply these brakes by pulling up on the brake bar with your hands rather than pressing the actual brake.

This braking system uses the simple mechanical friction phenomenon to leverage their point. It causes the parts to rub together.

In addition to advantages, the scrub braking system also has some downsides. When it becomes wet because of the damp surface or rain, it dries out in rare cases. The braking cover is the same as the surface that touches the wet ground when the kart continuously moves forward, and it constantly makes the rubber surface slippery and wet and doesn’t generate much friction to make the kart slow. Moreover, due to the scrub braking system, the tires of the go-kart wore quickly because of the complex hand-activated brakes.

Go-kart Band Brakes – A Simple Go-Kart Brake System

Talking about the go-kart band brakes, when the brake is applied, a metal band with a simpler design pressures the exterior of a brake drum, and this simple and affordable braking system works without any additional parts.

However, the issue emerges when driving on wet surfaces or in rainy weather since they perform poorly in these conditions and also because most people only use one brake at the steering wheel. However, I believe that two would offer a superior braking sensation.

In addition, in go-karts, there are two different kinds of band brakes:

  • For simple band brakes, the lever’s fulcrum is at one end.
  • Differential band brakes include self-locking when the fulcrum is between the two ends of the lever.

Like a hydraulic press, band brakes are small, distinctive, and easy to design, and they can generate a lot of force when just a little effort is applied. As a result of this phenomenon, a small band brake can function just as effectively as a brake of a different type that is more substantial.

Band brakes, however, can also have negative effects. For instance, light rust on the drum can make the brake chatter. Water can also make the brake slip. Last, a rising temperature during braking can decrease the friction coefficient slightly while still having a multiplier effect on the braking system.

But not to forget that band brakes are excellent for to-go karting on flat terrain, but they should never be utilized on the front wheels when going downhill.

Go-Kart Drum Brakes

Drum brakes on go-karts expand from the inside rather than the outside, making them more sophisticated and likely to perform better in slippery conditions. Additionally, it consists of brake shoes and may last longer than band brakes.

One thing I must add here is that one drum brake must typically be put at the back wheel. Overall, band brakes also have the extra benefit of being less prone to getting wet due to their enclosed drum design, which increases stopping power.

In go-karting, drum brakes are a common and reliable braking mechanism.

Go Kart Disc Brakes.

A disc braking system is a high-tech breakthrough in go-karting and one of the best braking solutions in recent times. Even in wet conditions, they offer a better braking feel, although some karts may find it disadvantageous. But you should choose disc brakes if you want the greatest braking system possible.

Recently, I learned that some people use driving sprockets instead of having a dedicated brake disc. Out of curiosity and to know about it in real I gave it a try, and while it does work, it isn’t always the best option because you have to keep the sprocket oil clean, and as a result, it’s not the disc brake setup that is most trouble-free.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best brake system for a go-kart?

The hydraulic disc brake is the best braking system for go-karts. Compared to other braking types, it will provide much-stopping power and is the most reliable.

What are the major parts of go-karts’ braking system?

The major parts of the braking system consist of brake pads, master cylinders, callipers (go-kart mechanical brake calliper), and brake lines.

What are the common issues with go-kart braking systems?

Common issues with go-kart braking systems can be:

  • The brakes are not working appropriately
  • The brakes don’t stop the go-kart
  • And, the brakes are not usable properly.


The braking in karting has different types, which are discussed above. The brakes can be a small part of a go-kart but are most important. Before using any kart braking technique, you must know all the braking systems. Hopefully, this article will enable you to choose the best go-kart braking system. Good Luck!

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