A Beginners Guide to Go-Karts and Dune Buggies for Kids
- on June 29, 2023
- Categories: Articles
Off-road vehicles are fun for the whole family. You can purchase go-karts and dune buggies for kids as young as 5 years old, but they cannot race until they are at least 8. At Motobuys, we offer a wide selection of the best off-road vehicles for both children and adults who love to play outdoors
Are Go-Karts and Dune Buggies for Kids?
Many F1 drivers started with go-karts and dune buggies when they were kids! Plenty of children start driving go-karts and off-road vehicles like dirt bikes and dune buggies on roads and driveways while they are young and gradually grow into off-roading.
It is important to purchase go-karts and dune buggies for kids with a smaller design to accommodate smaller bodies. Many off-road vehicles come with adjustable seating, so the vehicle grows as they grow.
If your child wishes to race go-karts or dune buggies, they should start on a track and gradually move up to off-road driving.
What Is the Difference Between a Go-Kart and a Dune Buggy?
Telling them apart can get confusing with so many recreational vehicles on the market today. There are a few differences between a go-kart and a dune buggy:
- Dune buggies are usually street-legal and licensed.
- Dune buggies have large wide tires for off-road gravel and soft sand.
- Dune buggies sit on a chassis similar to cars and are higher than go-karts.
- Go-karts are not street-legal or licensed.
- Go-karts have small smoother, or studded tires.
These differences are less noticeable in mini go-karts and dune buggies for kids because of the smaller size.
Although people do race dune buggies, they are more often used for tours as well as off-road and endurance competitions. Even when not racing, starting slowly and moving to harsher off-road driving is still important. Since these vehicles have a higher wheelbase, they are more prone to flipping. Because of this, they usually have a roll cage, seatbelts and netting to prevent injury.
What Safety Gear Is Necessary?
Your child's safety is one of our primary goals, and though we carry quality dune buggies and go-karts for kids with built-in safety features, you will still need to provide them with safety gear as well. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission investigated common injuries in dune buggies for kids. They concluded that children were at risk for injuries without proper safety gear.
The right gear and proper training greatly reduce the risk of injuries. Fortunately, this gear is readily available. At the very least, for a go-kart, your child will need a:
- Karting suit if they intend on racing on a track
- Pair of karting gloves
- Rib protector
- Neck brace
There are more safety gear options, but these are the basics for both on-track and off-track go-kart racing as well as driving go-karts off-road.
Most dune buggies have safety harnesses that go-karts may not, but gear is still important. When riding dune buggies, keep these pointers in mind:
- If you are not racing, it is recommended to wear comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting dirty or wet.
- Wear a bandana to block dust and grime if you are not wearing a helmet, though we always recommend wearing a helmet and neck collar to keep your child safe when riding.
- Depending on where you are riding, you might want to wear goggles to keep debris out of your eyes.
What Clothing Should Kids Wear?
When driving a dune buggy or off-roading on a go-kart, we recommend kids wear fitted clothing with nothing loose that can get tangled. They should have on proper closed-toe shoes or boots. The shoes should fit the terrain that you plan to be on.
If they have long hair, they should always tie it back from their face so their hair won't obstruct their vision.
Which Dune Buggies and Go-Karts Are for Kids?
We carry several solid brands of go-karts and dune buggies for kids.
Trailmaster has a complete line of off-road vehicles. This includes the Trailmaster Mini XRX/R+. The Mini XRX/R+ is considered one of the most popular go-karts for kids on the market. Its specifications are:
- Designed for 6- to 12-year-olds
- 6.5 horsepower GX-200 Honda clone engine
- Fully automatic CVT transmission system
- Electronic starter
- Adjustable speed for experience level, down to 8 miles per hour
- Reverse gear for maneuverability
It has a top speed of around 30 miles per hour, depending on the weight of passengers and driver.
Ice Bear go-cart jeeps are also great for off-road adventures. For example, the Willys off-road series one original mini-jeep (Paz125-1) is child-size. Its specifications are:
- Single-cylinder 4-stroke air-cooled 125 cc engine
- Honda clone-designed engine
- Chain drive system
- 3-speed transmission with reverse
- Front and rear disk brakes
- Electronic starter
It has a top speed of around 37 miles per hour, depending on the passenger's and driver's weight and size.
RPS offers a wide variety of off-road vehicles, including go-kart/dune buggy hybrids, mini bikes and ATVs. We have the RPS Viking 125CC mid-size kids go-kart dune buggy hybrid with these specifications:
- 125cc 4-stroke air-cooled engine
- Semi-automatic, clutchless 3-speed transmission
- Heavy-duty dune buggy design with rear net for safety
- Spare tire
- Front and rear disc brakes
- Chain-driven rear-wheel drive
Although the company does not list the top speed, it is comparable to other 125cc engines, depending on passenger and driver weight. This go-kart/dune buggy can easily handle all types of terrain.
Most dune buggies and go-karts for kids have speed limiters so you can control the vehicle's top speed. This safety feature is specifically designed for young or inexperienced drivers.