If the driver can steer easily and consistently you will find more speed. If they over steer the kart it will slow down or spin out. If they don’t steer enough it will just slide off track or push and they will need to lift off the gas. With an ideal steering system the driver should be able to turn in one movement and let the kart come smoothly off the corner with very little input.
Link to this Testing VIDEO: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SbF8HD7bkx0
We like to first start by upgrading the steering wheel to full size. This makes the kart easier to turn and less sensitive to hand movements. Driving smooth is the key to speed and this will help a lot. You can also add an angled steering block to tilt the wheel more straight up and down but this is just a driver personal preference.
PICTURES: Full Size Wheel vs small wheel, AND picture of angled steering mount
Next you need to make sure you have a robust and properly setup steering system. Check for any bent components and replace them as needed. It is common for the stock tie rods to bend as the ones that come with the kid karts are often small round cross section. We offer stronger hexagonal cross section tie rods we can custom cut to length. Also check the tie rods ends that also bend easily.
PICTURES: Bent tie rod and picture of hexagonal tie rods
Once you make sure everything is in good condition and straight you need to check the kart alignment. A common system for this is called “Sniper Laser Alignment Tool” and it will help you ensure proper toe and camber. If the toe is just a little out on a kid kart it will scrub a lot of top speed. On a track with a long straight section we have seen a moderately bent tie rod add 2 seconds to a lap time so this is critical. If you see the driver hit a curb or go off track check all steering parts right away.
PICTURE: Sniper (maybe on the kart) AND picture of what Toe is
After toe you need to check the camber which is the lean in our out of the tire. We like to run -2 to -4 degrees of camber on our kid kart but most importantly they should be the same reading on each wheel. We offer a camber adjuster kit to make this adjustment easy.
PICTURE: Camber picture (what is it), Picture and link to Camber/Caster product.