Go Kart Clutch VS Torque Converter: What’s the Difference?

  • By: Kevinsmak
  • Date: January 12, 2023
  • Time to read: 5 min.
Affiliate Disclaimer

As an affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases. We get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

The way in which a clutch or torque converter transfers power from the engine to the wheels is where they mostly diverge. A clutch transfers power via a chain, while a torque converter employs a belt and pulley system. Compared to torque converters, clutches are more affordable but require more upkeep. The cost of a torque converter is more, but it is simpler to use.

One of the most significant choices you’ll have when shopping for a go-kart is whether or not to install a clutch or torque converter. Choosing between the two can be challenging because each has benefits and drawbacks.

This article compares and contrasts clutches and torque converters to help you pick the right one for your vehicle.

Go-Kart Transmission Explained

The sort of transmission a go-kart has is one of the most crucial considerations when choosing which one to purchase. Power from the engine is sent to the wheels through the transmission.

For go-karts, torque converters and clutches are the two basic gearbox types.


Among manual transmissions, clutches are one. Because of this, changing speeds will need manual gearshifting.

Go-kart transmissions most frequently use clutches. In general, they cost less than torque converters and are easier to use and maintain.

You have more control over the go-kart thanks to a clutch, which is its main benefit. The ability to choose when to change gears is useful in some circumstances.

For instance, you might want to change to a lower gear to keep control if you’re climbing a hill.

A clutch’s major flaw is that, especially for beginners, it can be challenging to use. Changing gears requires some practice, and if you’re not careful, it’s simple to stall the go-kart.

Torque Converters

One kind of automatic transmission is the torque converter. As you speed up or slow down, the go-kart will automatically change gears for you.

Compared to clutches, torque converters are less frequent, but they have recently gained popularity.

Being considerably simpler to use than a clutch is a torque converter’s primary advantage. Inexperienced drivers or those who don’t want to cope with the inconvenience don’t have to worry about changing gears.

Torque converters can be less responsive than clutches, which is its major drawback. It’s possible that you can’t downshift as quickly as you could with a clutch because the go-kart automatically changes gears.

This may provide a problem if you need to make quick stops or maneuver around sharp turns.

Go Kart Clutch VS Torque Converter: What’s the Difference?

Here we will compare these two types of transmissions, giving the key differences in the main features:

  • System

In order to transform torque, a belt system is used. So, one pulley is attached to the engine and the other is attached to the wheels.

A belt connects the engine to the wheels so that movement can be generated.

A clutch employs a chain drive. A chain links the powerplant to the wheels in this configuration. The chain transmits mechanical energy from the engine to the wheels.

  • Speed

Generally speaking, a torque converter will enable you to go at a higher speed. This is so that you can maintain a faster speed thanks to the automatic gear shifting.

Although shifting gears fast and reaching high speeds can be more challenging when using a clutch, it is still doable with experience.

  • Ease of Use

Usually, a clutch is more difficult to use than a torque converter. This is due to the fact that gear shifting, which can be challenging for beginners, is not an issue.

However, a clutch gives you greater control over the go-kart despite being more challenging to use. Utilizing a clutch effectively may be learned with enough practice.

  • Gear Ratio

A torque converter’s gear ratio can change. This implies that the ratio may alter according to the go-kart’s speed.

So you can change the gear ratio to travel quicker or have greater torque when using a torque converter.

A clutch has a set gear ratio. The ratio will therefore remain constant regardless of your pace.

Therefore, using a clutch forces you to decide between having higher speed and more torque.

  • Torque

Low-end torque is the outcome of using a torque converter. As a result, the car has decent acceleration but a low top speed.

Using a clutch will allow you to access maximum torque. This suggests that the vehicle’s design prioritizes top speed over acceleration.

A torque converter transmission is a way to go if you desire ease of use and increased speed. If you want more precision and top speeds, a clutch is a transmission for you.

Having a low-end torque will benefit the go-kart more when used in off-road environments, thus, that’s what I’d recommend if that’s where you plan to use it most often. However, a high-end torque would maximize the go-capabilities of karts if you plan to use it on a track or for racing.

  • Efficiency

The efficiency of a torque converter is typically lower than a clutch. This means that there is some power loss as the power is transferred from the engine to the wheels.

In general, a torque converter will have an efficiency of about 80% while a clutch will have an efficiency of about 90%-99%.

  • Size and Weight

Torque converters are mechanical devices used in transmission systems; they are typically larger and heavier than clutches. Other parts of a torque converter are the pulleys and the belt that goes around them.

This could be a plus or a minus, depending on how you plan to use go-karts. If your go-kart has to be ultra-light, a clutch is the way to go.

Nonetheless, if you need a go-kart that can haul more, a torque converter is the better option.

  • Price

The cost of a torque converter is often higher than that of a clutch. There are more moving components in a torque converter, so it is assumed that it must be a superior transmission.

While clutches are less expensive, they may not hold up as well as torque converters over time. If you need something more affordable, then a clutch is your best bet.

A torque converter transmission, however, is the superior choice if durability is a priority.

  • Noise

A clutch is quieter than a normal torque converter. That’s because a torque converter employs belts instead of chains and has more moving parts overall.

A clutch is the way to go if you want your go-kart to be less noisy. A torque converter, however, is the superior choice if the noise is acceptable.


There are pros and cons to both a clutch and a torque converter. It really depends on your go-karting needs as to which transmission is the best for you. 

But in general, a torque converter is going to be less expensive, easier to use, and give you more speed. A clutch requires more skill to operate, but it grants greater precision and speeds up to twice as fast as without one.

Choose the right gear and you’ll be ready to hit the track in your go-kart.

Please be careful and use at your own risk
None of the authors, contributors, administrators, or anyone else connected with RCRideOnCars.com, in any way whatsoever, can be responsible for your use of the information contained in or linked to these web pages.