Every engine covered – TKM column

TKM offers a world leading choice for every driver – direct drive, clutch or TAG. Grahame Butterworth examines which might be best for you…

In TKM you really can have whatever you want – all you have to do is decide.  But it’s a question that needs careful consideration.

For a Junior stepping into a more powerful kart after a Cadet, then for my money a TAG (touch and go) motor is the way to go. That simple button to start and get the kart going makes it so much easier for Dad and youngster. And it is NOT slow as many have proved including pole position at the Maxxis TKM Festival.

Yes it costs £400 + vat more compared to a basic direct drive but you gain a lot of convenience. And if weight is no problem then it’s great for Extreme too. But there are two important points to bear in mind.

Al Paterson_0679

First a TAG set-up weighs about 4 kg more than a simple direct drive which is no problem if the driver is light but could be a problem if close to the class weight.

Second remember the TAG kart requires careful attention to preparation and service to ensure that the wiring is kept in good condition and that the battery is well looked after. It costs virtually nothing but fail to do that and you could have a techy problem.

Whether Junior or Senior if you want convenience but weight is an issue then go for the V clutch option with outboard starter. Costs less than TAG and weighs less but has the advantage of an engine which should still be running if you have a spin and gets you going again rapidly. And there’s less to go wrong. The long life V clutch is the same as used on the TAG and the hand held remote battery starter unit is very reliable.

Especially in Extreme there are many experienced drivers who like the simplicity of a direct drive. Less to go wrong, light and it can be run with a 9 tooth engine sprocket enabling smaller rear axle sprockets for short twisty tracks, whereas the other two models can only run with 10 tooth because of the clutch fitment.

The downside is getting the technique to get it started and starting yourself if you come off. That’s where the latest option – the EeziStart de-compression valve makes life so much easier.

EeziStart valve set in cylinder head

For around £29 + vat as an option on a new engine, it makes the kart so much easier to start yet adds virtually nothing to the weight. You can fit a new EeziStart head to an existing engine but it will cost about £178 + vat.

The valve is operated with one finger and takes the compression away so you can get the engine turning over easily. It then automatically snaps shut the moment the engine fires and away you go.

The EeziStart valve can be used on direct drive and clutch engines (but not TAG). Regardless of which engine you choose it makes perfect sense to pay the very few pounds extra to buy one with the EeziStart valve. Whatever format it will always makes the engine that much easier to start with no downsides.


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