The world of go-karts has changed considerably over the years, as many companies have struggled to stay in business, while those that have stayed have thrived. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find parts for many of the extinct brands, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of other options out there. This industry as a whole is struggling a bit, though countless highways can still be found across the country. Learning as much as possible about the various brands of go-karts is essential for anyone looking to purchase a go-kart in the future.
American Sportsworks is a major brand in this industry that is still around today. This company not only makes go karts, but also imports them from China to sell in the United States. This means they have a variety of different styles for you to choose from and should stay in business for the foreseeable future due to this connection to the Chinese market. Brister’s was a major go-kart brand in the past, having been started by the Brister family in 1959. It was eventually bought by Manco, and subsequently bought by American Sportworks, adding further shine to the Sportworks brand.
Carter Brothers was a major go-kart brand for a long time, though some people have complained that their parts are hard to find. This is because most parts are custom, so you have to go to a Carter dealer to find them. Unfortunately, the Carter brothers’ plant burned down in July 2010, so it remains to be seen if this company will survive or simply close after this setback.
Formerly called Twister, Hammerhead Offroad is one of the leaders in this industry today, mainly because their parts are so easy to find, making them extremely popular with highway operators. The fact that you can get your go kart repaired in a matter of hours when you choose Hammerhead is important because it means you won’t have to search like you would with other brands. Most customers agree that you will get your money’s worth by stopping by Hammerhead as they produce a high quality go kart and give you access to high quality replacement parts. Please note that some parts may take time to ship, especially when customs is involved, but overall Hammerhead is one of the best brands out there. This is a Chinese company, so items must be shipped from abroad.
Kinroad is another Chinese company that offers great go kart products as the parts are of high quality and they have pretty good customer service. The only problem with this company, however, is that it takes some time to order parts, so if you can’t find the parts somewhere in the United States, you may have to wait a few weeks. Kinroad and Hammerhead Offroad compete directly with each other for the US market, so take a look at these two manufacturers and see how they can serve you.
One of the more controversial kart companies, no longer in business, was Murray. Once upon a time, Murray was a popular go-kart company that produced go-karts and parts. When the company filed for bankruptcy in 2004, things began to change dramatically. Eventually, a company called Briggs and Stratton Corporation bought Murray out of bankruptcy protection. Almost immediately, the Briggs and Stratton Corporation decided that it did not want to be involved in the go-kart industry and stopped selling and manufacturing this equipment. In addition, they stopped providing warranty coverage, replacement parts, and customer support for the product Murray had sold, and are believed to have even destroyed all surplus parts. As a result, most buyers stay away from Murray karts as they are very difficult to repair.
Other companies have gone bankrupt over the years as the market is not as strong as it once was. Many of these problems are associated with KINT, which bought several different manufacturers over the years, but ran into problems of its own. KINT bought Thunder Karts, USA Karts, and Straight Line in an attempt to expand their business. They then changed their name to Nitros Go-Karts and stopped producing karts for all the companies they bought. Eventually, however, this company went out of business as well, taking all the acquisitions with it and creating a significant hole in the US market. Other examples of go-kart companies that have recently closed include Kartco, which was a very good manufacturer, Ken-bar, which closed in July 2010, and Yerf-Dog.
As you can see, some holes have been created in this market due to the recent economic downturn, as many of the Go Karts now being sold in the United States come from China. That being said, newer companies like Nor-Am Go Karts, Electra Motorsports, Formula K Raceways and Johnson Kart are trying to stay relevant to the US market this time around. While these companies are certainly not as large as those that come from China, they do produce high-quality go-karts and will ship replacement parts to you fairly quickly. Keep in mind that it’s always better to go with a company with a long history, as their parts are more readily available and less likely to suddenly disappear and leave you without proper technical support.