Go Kart Scrub Brakes

Simple in design and cheap to manufacture, a scrub brake system uses metal paddles that press against a kart's rear tires when the brake is applied.

go kart with scrub brakes

Scrub brakes were fitted to many vintage go karts, such as my old Bird Engineering kart.

Pressing down on the left foot-pedal activates a long rod, which activates the rear cross-rod, which has two pucks of U-shaped metal pivoting on a bolt in front of the rear tires.

go kart brakes

The efficiency of scrub brakes is dependent on the type of tires they are being used with.

Sawtooth tread tires, like the ones on the Bird kart, work pretty well with scrub brakes. But, it's powered by a 3-1/2 horsepower Tecumseh, so the kart's not going very fast to begin with.

vintage go kart with scrub brakes

With slicks they may work better, at least in theory, because there would be more rubber for the metal pucks to press against.

Scrub Brake Disadvantages

Aside from extra pedal pressure, continual use of scrub brakes will wear tires out faster. The more you brake, the more you decrease the life of your tires.

Another downside of scrub brakes is that, if it's wet out, the tire surface used for braking is also wet. So, in the rain, they're ineffective.

go kart with scrub brakes

For comparisons sake, think about driving a classic car with manual drum brakes. They'll stop you, but with considerable foot pressure.

If you consider what scrub brakes were originally installed on, which were yard karts with 5hp or less engines, they served their intended purpose.

vintage Bird go kart

You Can't Beat Fun!


Related Articles:

Best Motor for Go Kart Project
Best Tires for Go Kart
Best Torque Converter For Go Kart
Best Fuel For Small Engines
Restore an Old Go Kart
go kart projects

Read: Vintage Go Kart Build