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Why Go Kart Camber Angle Matters | Speed Secrets

On Par with Caster, Camber is one of the most important front-end adjustments we can make on our go kart.

Camber is the inward or outward lean of the front tire. This angle is viewed from the front or rear of the go kart.

Camber is an essential adjustment when trying to tune your go kart to peak performance.

What is Go Kart Camber Angle?

Negative Camber – Viewing the tire from the front of the go kart you would see the top of the tire leaned inward for Negative camber.

Positive Camber – Viewing the tire from the front of the go kart you would see the top of the tire leaned outward for Positive camber

Go kart camber angle

The tire on the Left is in a Negative Camber position. The Tire on the right is in a Positive Camber position.

Camber is an essential adjustment to utilize the full width or partial width of the tire on the track surface.

Making a camber adjustment not only changes the grip of the tire but the contact patch as well. We will discuss how, why, when, and what you need to make camber adjustments on your go kart.

How do I adjust Camber on my Go Kart?

Chassis manufactures have come up with some clever ways of adjusting camber.

Leaning the kingpin bolt toward the center or away from the center of the go kart will adjust camber.

Leaning the kingpin bolt in toward the center of the go kart will increase the negative amount of camber

I bet you can guess what the opposite is…

Leaning the kingpin bolt away from the center of the go kart will increase your positive camber

Why Should I Adjust Camber?

Go to a local go kart track preferably one of those family fun go kart tracks. Look at the front tires.

Feel across the tire perpendicularly so your fingers are pointing at the spindle.

What you may feel is the tire extremely worn on the inside edge. Or maybe the tire worn on the outer edge.

These tire wear patterns are from extreme camber angles. This is a sign that you are not utilizing the tire tread width and need to make a camber adjustment.

If the inside edge is worn take negative camber out and lean the top of the tire away from the center of the go kart

If the outside edge is worn take positive camber out and lean the top of the tire toward the center of the go kart.

Generally speaking, we can associate positive camber with increased front grip and negative camber with decreased front grip.

Decreasing front grip may sound contrary to my statements earlier about maximum grip for speed and performance.

Racing has so many variables that come into play. Tire temp, track temperature, tire compound, air pressure, ambient air temperature, and the list goes on. Increasing in negative camber may be the right choice so the front tire is not producing too much grip or binding the go kart from freely rolling.

Too much grip will slow you down an we will discuss that below.

When Should I adjust Camber on my Go Kart?

The most obvious sign that a camber adjustment is needed is the wear pattern of the front tires. A very worn inside edge will warrant a positive camber addition. A very worn outer edge will warrant a negative camber increase.

Using the tire for the maximum grip potential is the key. If you are only using the outer or inner edge performance may be lost on the track.

On the flip side in a go kart too much grip will create a different issue.

A go kart only has so much horsepower. A four stroke go kart engine may range from 8-15 HP. The live rear axle, sticky tires, and your big but sitting in the seat creates some challenges for the little engine.

What I am getting at is that the engine needs as little resistance as possible.

For example, let’s say we are turning left. As we start to turn into the corner the go kart is slowing down and steering to the left. The weight is transferred from the rear and the left side of the go kart to the front and the right side of the go kart.

This causes the tires to be pushed into the track. This weight causes changes to the tire affecting the grip of the tire.

Front tires with too much or too little grip dynamically will cause oversteer or understeer issues.

First – Use your eyes and hands to identify how the tire is wearing and match what the driver is expressing to make a possible adjustment.

Second – Ask the driver how the go kart steers throughout the corner starting with entry. Do they need more or less front-end grip?

Third – Test and tune. See how a camber adjustment affects your chassis and driving style. No two go karts are like. Even truer now two drivers are alike. An adjustment that works for one driver may not work so well for the other.

Generally speaking, we can associate positive camber with increased front grip and negative camber with decreased front grip.

Tools for Adjusting Camber

There are a couple tools you can use. Check those out here.

Go Kart Camber angle Concluded

Camber angle is a vital adjustment for many reasons. Do not undersell the importance. A go karts speed starts with the front wheels.

Camber has a direct effect on front wheel grip and performance. Find the balance between speed and grip.

Caster angle is very important as well. Read my article on caster angles to see if you need an adjustment there as well.

Return home to BetterKarting.com for more helpful tips on go karting.

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