The world of go karts has changed considerably over the years, as many companies have had trouble staying in business, while those that have stuck around have flourished. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find parts for many of the extinct brands, but that does not mean that plenty of other options do not exist. This industry as a whole is struggling somewhat, although countless speedways can still be found all over the country. Learning as much as possible about the various go kart brands is essential for anyone who wants to make a go kart purchase in the future.
American Sportworks is a major brand in this industry that still exists today. This company not only manufactures go karts, but also important them from China for sale in the United States. This means that they have a variety of different styles for you to choose from and should remain in business for the foreseeable future because of this connection to the Chinese market. Brister’s was a major go kart brand in the past, as it was started by the Brister family in 1959. It was eventually bought by Manco, which was subsequently bought out by American Sportworks, which adds further luster to the Sportworks brand.
Carter Brothers was a major go kart brand for a long time, although some people have complained that their parts are difficult to find. This is because most of the parts are custom, so you have to go through 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 will simply fold after this setback.
Formerly called Twister, Hammerhead Offroad is one of the leaders in this industry at the current time, mostly because their parts are so easy to find, which makes them extremely popular with speedway operators. The fact that you can have your go kart repaired in a matter of hours when you choose Hammerhead is important because it means that you will not have to search around like you would with some other brands. Most customers agree that you will receive your money’s worth when going through Hammerhead, as they produce a high quality go kart and will give you access to high quality replacement parts. Keep in mind that some parts might take some time to ship, especially when customs gets involved, but overall Hammerhead is one of the top brand names out there. This is a Chinese company, which is why items must be shipped from overseas.
Kinroad is another Chinese company that offers great go kart products, as the parts are high quality and they feature pretty good customer service. The one issue with this company, however, is that it does take some time to order parts so if you cannot find the parts somewhere in the United States, you will likely have to wait a few weeks. Kinroad and Hammerhead Offroad are in direct competition with one another for the American market, so take a look at both of these manufacturers and see how they can serve you.
One of the more controversial go kart companies, which is 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 protection in 2004, things began to change drastically. Eventually, Murray was purchased out of bankruptcy protection by a company called Briggs and Stratton Corporation. Almost immediately, Briggs and Stratton Corporation decided that they did not want to be involved with the go kart industry and stopped selling and manufacturing this equipment. In addition, they stopped providing warranty coverage, replacement parts, and customer support for product that Murray had sold and are even believed to have destroyed all of the leftover parts. As a result, most buyers stay away from Murray go karts, as they are very difficult to repair.
Other companies have gone out of business over the years, as the market is not as strong as it once was. Many of these problems are associated with KINT, which bought out a number of different manufacturers over the years, but ran into their own problems. KINT bought out Thunder Karts, USA Karts, and Straight Line in an attempt to expand their business. They then changed their name to Nitrous Go-Karts and stopped producing karts for all of the companies that they bought out. Eventually, however, this company went out of business as well, taking all of the acquisitions with them and creating a significant hole in the American market. Other examples of go kart companies that have gone out of business recently 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 because of the recent economic downturn, as many of the Go Karts that are now being sold in the United States come from China. With that being said, newer companies like Nor-Am Go Karts, Electra Motorsports, Formula K Raceways, and Johnson Kart are attempting to keep the American market relevant as this time. While these companies certainly are not as large as the ones coming from China, they do produce high quality karts and will send you replacement parts quite quickly. Keep in mind that it is always best to go with a company with a long track record, since their parts are more readily available and they are less likely to disappear all of a sudden and leave you without proper tech support.