go kart plans

DIY Go Karts

Simplified Building Plans For Go Karts and Mini Bikes

Click Photos For Info From Northern Tools

2 Piece Rim

Single Flange Hub

Slick Tires

Low Speed Bearings

Burning Rubber

Go Kart Wheels and Tires

Traditional go karts used whatever wheels and tires were available. This probably resulted in the premature end of many a wheel barrow tire!

Today, there are a variety of wheels and tires available. Commercial karts use very large rear tires, ATV-style. Racing karts use a F1-type slick. But the traditional tire has always been a 4.10x3.50x5, as far as we're concerned.

Standard Go Kart Wheels

Major parts suppliers carry 4", 5", and 6" wheels that fit the 4.10x3.50 pattern.

The traditional standby wheel has been the 2 piece split steel wheel. It comes in a 4 bolt pattern generally at 2 13/16" bolt hole circle. The bolt hole measurement is the distance between two opposite holes (the two farthest apart).

When buying a split wheel, you'll need a separate hub that bolts to the wheel and holds the bearings. For all non-drive wheels, you'll need a single flange hub as shown in the photo. For the drive wheel, you'll need a double flange. One flange mounts to the wheel, the other to the sprocket.

Another choice in rims are the integral hub rim. The rims shown in the photo are cast aluminum and retail at around $30, though some are far more pricey. The Azusa brand also makes a nylon plastic wheel that is pretty cool and less prone to cracking when wrecking.


Slicks are definitely the coolest for karts, but wheels come in a ribbed pattern and the traditional knobby. You know the drill by now; consider your use. Ribbed is the best compromise between traction and long-wear. Knobby wear out quickly.

Some tires, such as those at Northern, are sold as "tubeless". This is only is you also have tubeless rims, which most are not. Make sure that you get the tubes.


The standard bearing sizes are 5/8" or 3/4". Both are common, and it's a personal choice which to use. We use 5/8" just because we always have, and the axle bolts fit nicely on the 1" tubing. Some bearings are high-speed and high-priced, but will last longer than standard bearings.

A "low speed' bearing will generally handle up to 25 MPH, which is often well within the range of a kart. There are other, very cheap bearings for hand trucks and such that are very cheap, these are near worthless for go karts.

Cheap Solutions

Lately, looking around for cheaper wheels, we found 4.10x3.50x4" hand truck wheels at Harbor Freight on sale for $4 each! They came with a steel 4 bolt 2 13/16" pattern, tires, tube, and bearings. The tire is acceptable, though isn't a long-wear. The bearings are unacceptable and must be replaced.

You'll save a little using these little wheels, but the clearance is very tight using a 60 tooth # 35 sprocket. For # 40 the wheels would be far too small.