Stopping on a Dime
Go Kart Brake Choices
Surprisingly to some, there are quite a few choices for brakes on go karts these days. You can use anything from the traditional scrub brake to the high-tech disc brake.
Click the photos for specific product information from Northern Tool.
A scrub brake uses metal paddles to press against both rear tires when the brake is pressed. Sometimes these are hand activated by pulling up on a braking bar instead of running an actual brake pedal. This provides adequate braking in most scenarios, but is hard on your tires.
A band brake uses a metal band to constrict around the outside of a brake drum when the brake is pressed. These brakes are simple to install and inexpensive. They won't perform great when wet. Most people run one brake on the drive wheel, but two would provide better braking.
Rather than constricting around the outside of the drum, a drum brake expands inside a brake drum. They have real brake shoes, and may last longer than the band brake. They provide very good stopping ability, and are less likely to get wet since they are more enclosed inside the drum. You usually only need one drum brake.
The best of the braking solutions, a disc brake is a high tech advancement in go karting. They provide superior stopping power, even when wet. A little bit of overkill on some karts, but it you want the best, this is it.
We recently heard that some people are using the drive sprocket as the brake disc instead of having a dedicated brake disc. We first tried this system on our mini chopper, and it does work. You do need to be concerned about keeping the sprocket clean of oil, though, and therefore it's not the most trouble-free disc brake setup.