With Christmas fast approaching, many of you will be starting to think about next season already. Maybe you are thinking of a set of gloves, proper race boots or maybe even your first helmet. But then you turn to google and decide it's too expensive. For RapiKart, there is no need to invest in top quality gear if you don't want too. There are a few ways to bring the budget down and still get your own unique equipment. This time of year is perfect as many suppliers have end of line sales as the manufacturers release the new range for next season.
There are four main elements that make up a basic kartwear package. Helmet, suit, gloves and boots. All RapiKart venues provide these (except boots) but those who use them will know they do vary in quality. If you want to start building your own gear, start with the thing that matters most, the Helmet!
There is nothing worse than other people's sweat! Some venues provide balaclavas to help combat this but they still don't help you stand out on track. Maybe it's time to look at a helmet. Find your budget, you will quickly discover that race helmets are not cheap, over £250 minimum. These are designed for karting so fit nicely, they also mostly come in white allowing you to splash out on a custom paint job. The best way to keep the budget down is by looking towards motorbike helmets. They still do the job and come in a vast range of ready painted colours, allowing you to choose a design from the shelf that goes best with your look. If you have a shop around, these can be found at really good prices, from £80! Brands to look out for in this price range are Vemar, Vcan, Lazer and MT helmets are really worth a look. If you can stretch a little more budget, up to £200 will get you a really decent, branded helmet, Bell, AGV, HJC and more. My personal favourite is Scorpion which will give a lot of helmet for a good price. The choice is yours ultimately, go with your gut! *some of these recommendations would not be CIK approved but would be fine for RapiKart or similar Rental style events*
After a decent helmet, the next step is a good set of gloves. It's hard to get decent gloves on a budget but generally they are not too bad. You are looking at £30 to £60 for a decent pair, available from the main motorsport suppliers such as Demon Tweeks, GP Racewear or even a few internet budget suppliers like Merlin Motorsport, or even ebay. Sparco, Alpine Stars and OMP are the main brands but others are out there. Get a pair that fit snugly.
A good kart suit can easily set you back over £150, with Sparco, OMP and Alpine Stars leading the way. There are cheaper alternatives but these normally omit the CIK approval. Having said this, most venue provided kart suits are not CIK approved. If budget is tight, it may be worth looking at Cordura, normally found on ebay, as a decent budget offering. These can be picked up from as little as £40! Speaking of ebay, there are some decent second hand options available, which could also be worth a look.
The final piece to your kit. Footwear is the only part you don't borrow, so at least you are wearing your own trainers! But purpose made kart boots will not only complete the look but also help with grip and feel of the pedals, not to mention up your safety protection. The usual suspects will still be your main brands but budget versions are available.
There are lots of other pieces of equipment that you could look at. A rain suit may be worth adding to your list as we are based in Britain! Safety equipment is optional but it's worth noting that a neck brace and rib protectors are considered a must have for serious karters.
Whatever you decide, remember you normally get what you pay for. I've never owned a Cordura suit so can not vouch for its quality but I bet it is a lot better than most provided options. If you are interested in progressing up the karting ladder then looking at the CIK approval may be more important.
If you need any advice, feel free to get in touch!