Frequent Questions

Frequent Questions

GoKart FAQs

BumperBoat FAQs


Q: What type of go-karts does J&J Amusements sell?

A: J&J Amusements manufactures and distributes concession style go-karts for use in amusements parks, fun centers, and other commercial use facilities.

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Q: Does J&J sell go-karts for home use?

A: No, our go-karts are made for concession use only and are not made to drive around the yard.

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Q: What is a concession go-kart?

A: A concession go-kart is a go-kart designed for use as a rental vehicle at an amusement park or fun center. This type of go-kart is meant to generate revenue and is built to withstand the rigors of constant daily use.

An amusement ride or device, which meets all of the following specifications: the device is a single vehicle, unattached to other vehicles or a common frame system, which is powered without connection to a common energy source, which is driver controlled with respect to acceleration, speed, braking, and steering, which operates within the containment system of a defined track, and which simulates competitive motor sports, which is used by members of the general public for a fee. A concession go-kart has a maximum capacity of two persons and no cargo capacity.

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Q: How long should a go-kart track be?

A: The recommended length is 800-1,200 linear feet. Keep in mind that Go-Karts are the most fun to ride when you are turning right or left or going up and down. Avoid long, flat, straight sections as they quickly make a boring ride. The most popular track length is 1,000 linear feet. The number of karts that you run is related directly to track length with one kart per forty feet of track being the present rule of thumb.

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Q: How much area will be needed for a go-kart track?

A: A 700-ft track can be built in about 30,000 sq. feet. A 1,000-ft track will require about 45,000 sq. feet.

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Q: How wide should the track be?

A: The recommended width is 24-30 feet. Keep in mind that about 5 to 6 feet of the track will be taken up by the safety rail system. Uphill grades can be confusing when you work with degrees on one hand and percentages on the other. The problem is that mechanical engineers like to work with degrees and civil engineers and construction folks like to work with percentages. Percent is based on so many feet rise or fall in 100 feet. Degrees, on the other hand, is a trigonometric function. We recommend a 5 degree limit on track slope, which is the same as 8.75 percent rise. There is no need to make turns wider as the karts will be driven as close to the inside rail as possible to obtain the "fast" line. Banked turns are coming into more use as they add more interest and provide better drainage. The maximum degree of banking being used is in the one inch per foot of width range. Beware of making the turns too tight, this can cause spinouts and safety problems -- especially with one wheel drive karts turning to the left. The minimum inside radius of turns should be no less than ten feet. If property shape is a problem, you could use two wheel drive karts with caster adjustment (as J&J karts offer) to go smaller on the radius. These will turn sharper and hold a tighter "line". The caster adjustment allows the kart to get a "bite" and turn sharper but it also requires more effort on the part of the driver to turn the wheel. NOTE: All J&J karts can be configured with two wheel or one wheel drive systems.

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Q: What is the rail system?

A: Rail systems have been built using more various setups than any has other area of the track. Truck tires laid on the ground, car tires full of sand or concrete, steel rails from thin to thick, shock absorbers from telescoping springs to old car front end springs. The list is about as diverse as the human imagination. This appears to be the area that most often gets budget cuts and people tend to get inventive with. Beware: This is a trap. To avoid horrendous maintenance problems on the karts and possible customer injury -- go with the best system.

The best rail system at this time uses a 5/8" thick hot rolled flat steel bar in a five or six inch width and 20 foot length. This flat bar is bolted to old passenger car tires so the center of the rail lines up with the center of your karts' bumper rails.

"Why old tires? Those things are ugly!" True. Unfortunately, they are the most effective shock absorber available and the most cost effective. Plastic pipe rail systems may look better, but they offer very little in the way of energy absorption. A 500-pound kart traveling at 20 mph can develop over 12,000 pounds of force. This is the result of simple applied physics. The energy must be absorbed; if not by the rail system, then it must be by your kart and the driver. A properly designed tire rail system can provide 14-18 inches of movement to help dissipate the energy involved. Never place the tires tightly against each other, as this allows no room for the tires to flex and move during impact. They actually become a solid unit! When tires are placed tightly together, the rail system has no way to move and Newton's laws again take over. The energy has to go somewhere, the rail generally lifts and the karts go under the rail, causing extensive body damage and creating a unsafe conditions for your drivers. Concept rail construction plans are available from J&J. Please call us before you build.

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Q: What are the demographics?

A: Market size, population base, competition, land costs and climate all factor into your investment decision. J&J can provide you with realistic projections as to cost of operation and potential revenues. You must concentrate on the questions and parameters that you cannot change: money, space and market. Try to include your plans for future expansion so your track could accommodate more karts if needed.

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Q: How much does it cost to build a good track?

A: This depends on local conditions peculiar to your area, but generally it will run in the $225.00 to $275.00 per linear foot range including rail system but not including pit area, que lines, lighting, maintenance building, covered pit, bridges or tunnels.

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Q: Should I build the track with concrete or asphault?

A: At first glance, asphalt would appear to be the best surface, but again the years have proven concrete to be the surface of choice. "Why?" Concrete lasts longer, will not break up in the turns and is white instead of black -- making it 40 degrees cooler in the sun. The extra heat and rough surface of asphalt can wear out a set of tires in 2 weeks during the peak of the season. Also, to be considered is that asphalt must be laid in two "pulls". It must be laid in 25-foot width and the base gravel must be at least 6 inches thick. The surface must be sealed to protect it from damage by gasoline and oil. In addition, the safety rail shoe tends to sink into the asphalt and it becomes impossible to maintain a consistent rail height. The consensus: Asphalt is not cost effective over the long term.

The concrete track should be finished as smoothly as possible with as few cold joints as possible and no fiber expansion joints. One of our consultants recommends the use of air-entrained concrete with a fiber mesh. Keep in mind it is easy to acid etch a smooth surface to make it rougher, but it is very hard to make it smoother.

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Q: How fast should the go-karts travel?

A: The ultimate speed is not the purpose. It isn't how fast it goes, it is how fast it “feels”. In the interest of safety and reduced maintenance costs, we generally recommend a maximum track speed of 18 mph. Design the track so that 18mph is exciting and you will save on repair and expense headaches.

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Q: How many track attendants are required?

A: In general it will take two to five depending on the number of karts, how busy you are and if there are "blind" spots on the track.

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Q: Is there a way to remotely shut down or slowdown a gokart or all the gokarts on the track?

A: Yes. The usage of remote shut-off systems has increased to the point that very few fleets of karts are shipped without them. Here a J&J we install the Kartrol system. This system uses a main control console that can control karts with a simple radio signal to a receiver on the kart. The receiver is integrated into the ignition system and “dithers” with it to allow the track operator to “control” the ride. Some states are now requiring concession go-karts to be equipped with remote shut-off systems, so check with your state regulatory bodies.

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Q: What type of bumperboats does J&J sell?

A: J&J manufactures concession style bumperboats for use in commercial applications such as amusements parks and fun centers.

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Q: Are J&J bumperboats gas or electric powered?

A: J&J builds both gas and electric powered bumperboats.

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Q: How large should the bumperboat pond be?

A: Typically, bumper boat ponds range from 2,400-sq. ft. (223 Sq. meters) to 8,000-sq. ft. (743 sq. meters). The rule of thumb is 250-sq. ft. (23 sq. meters) per boat.

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Q: What shape should the pond be?

A: The shapes are as varied as the imagination, but avoid long and narrow ponds or dead end inlets. Islands can be a nice touch but beware of “pockets” where boats can be “trapped” or it places in the pond that are difficult for young riders to negotiate when the ride is over. Fountains and waterfalls add to the attraction, but here again there are things to avoid. Gas powered bumper boats can be “drowned” out by too much water spray. This causes difficult retrieval problems and high maintenance. You should avoid direct spray from fountains or waterfalls on gas powered boats.

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Q: What type of construction is required?

A: Ponds are usually built using one of three basic construction techniques. The wood frame and deck with a vinyl liner is the least expensive, can be done above or below ground and is a simple method. Well-done pond liner type bumper boat ponds have been operating for years with only normal maintenance. Liner type ponds are also used in “portable” set-ups for traveling shows.

Fiberglass wall ponds are a recent favorite. These utilize a concrete “floor” and fiberglass panel side walls that are interlocking and have “pouches” on the back side that are poured full of mixed concrete. These panels can curve, be used in many shapes and have a smooth, easy to clean surface for the sidewall.

Gunite style ponds or concrete walls treated with epoxy coatings are the most popular. Whichever type is used, make certain the sidewall of the pond at water level (3 feet / 914 mm) to the dock height (4 feet / 1219 mm) is very smooth to avoid damage to the bumper boat tubes.

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Q: How do you filter the water?

A: Any design for gas powered bumper boats should include twice the number of skimmers and double the filtration capacity of a normal swimming pool. Sand filters are used in a redundant configuration to provide the best method of dealing with the oil residue that is inherent with gasoline powered boats. Enzyme compounds such as “Deskum” are used to break down the oil and alleviate some of the problem. Electric bumper boats can be operated with normal “swimming pool” filtration systems.

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Q: How do I decide which is better for me, Gas or electric?

A: Gas powered boats are by far the most prevalent because they were the first and small trolling motors adapt easily to the application. Gas boats are simple and easy to deal with in terms of service and warranty worldwide. Gas powered boats perform well with a good power to weight ratio. The cons on gas powered boats: Handling of gasoline and oil, maintenance of motors such as frequent oil changes, pull starter ropes - sometimes difficult to start, spark plugs, choke levers, throttle cables and/or levers, etc.

Electric powered boats are heavy (due to 240 lbs. of batteries) and do not perform as well as gas boats – the noticeable difference being in starting from a complete stop. Once underway, the difference is minimal. The list of cons includes dealing with batteries, chargers and wiring connections. On the pro side: no oil mess in the pond water, less filtration and chemicals, no gas or oil to deal with, no starter ropes, spark plugs etc. Overall operational costs are less but initial cost is higher by about $800 per boat. A neat option that is available only to electric boats is squirt pumps.

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Q: How is the dock constructed?

A: Most docks are concrete and have two entry and exit handrails or “dockrails” per boat. These are spaced so as to allow the attendant to use one to steady themselves while helping the customer who can use the other dockrail as well as the assistance of the attendant. Avoid using swimming pool handrails, as they are too low and if not carefully installed, can overhang the water too far and damage the hull of the boat. Use a dock rail recommended by the boat manufacturer and remember that mounting hardware for concrete docks should be installed when the concrete is poured. Wooden docking can also be used for the dock surface. Keep in mind that mounting hardware of the dock rail is different and can be done at any time.

Bumper boats are always fun and appeal to all ages. With a minimum rider height of only 44 inches, they enjoy a large customer base. A nice pond equipped with ten boats can be had for as little as $50,000 -- not bad when expected first year revenue is normally three times that much.

Q: How much does it cost to build a bumperboat pond?

A: Dependent upon your area, you can expect costs to be $25-$40 per square foot.


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