Wow! These things are a blast!
These karts from NINCO bring back the best of out childhood memories combined with the competitive fun of slotcars.
I know many of you have seen these modern, high powered karts, that could whip the pants off the go-carts we either had, or rode in. Some of you may even have one that you or your kids actively race. For most of us, these super karts are stuff that our childhood dreams were made of every time we drove down the street just hoping we didn't get hit...or better yet caught by our parents because we weren't supposed to be in the street with the go-cart!
OK...time to clear your mind completely of all those other slotcars that you own, the karts are nothing like any of your other slot racers.
Time for a closeup look!
The karts are cool looking and inspire an instantaneous notion of fun.
They are 1:18th scale and are just slightly wider than the NINCO JGTC cars at 71mm at the rear tires, and can easily run side by side on 1/32 scale track (yes, even on that UK brand track).
The Tony Kart is 105mm long (nose to exhaust) with only 72mm wheelbase (including the tires)
You can get an idea in looking at the 3 photos above that NINCO did an excellent job in concealing the drivetrain, wiring and guideblade in this little car, considering the fact that theres not much to cover stuff up with.
Under the Covers
Looking under the covers (what of them there are with these karts...
You get an idea of what there is to these karts. Yes, it only takes 1 screw to get to the vital pieces of the kart. There are 2 screws, but only one needs to be removed to get to the drive train. The other screw is in the front of the car and holds down the "gas tank" that is situated between the driver's legs and also doubles as a steering column support. The only thing under there is a dual set of mini-magnets, so its not necessary to remove that screw to get the kart apart.
Now then, removing the driver takes a little finesse to get the driver out, because his hand and knees try to hang on the steering wheel.
The driver lifts out, the seat lifts out, then there are 2 pins on the black motor cover that go into recessed holes in the chassis, and one pin on the chromed rear bumper that inserts into a hole in the black motor cover. Jiggle it loose and the whole cover will lift up and rotate back.
Notice the black, arched piece that is still attached to the car and the motor cover, no need to undo it, as it just rotates out of the way on a pin itself.
Now you have access to the 7/33 black gear set (if I counted all them little points right) mated to the NINCO NK-1 motor in an anglewinder configuration. No, not an NC-1, and NK-1 thats made just for the karts.
Thats all there is to the drivetrain on this slotkart...now lets put it back together to see how well they hid the drivetrain from behind. You can see where that arched piece actually forms a nice cover over the gearset.
The measure of any slotcar (unless you are buying a shelf queen) is how does it run and perform on the track.
Gotta say I absolutely LOVED these things!
The Tony Kart was smooth as silk and quiet on the track. You could barely hear it running around the track.
In the beginning of this article, I said to forget all those other slotcars you had and here's why. These karts are slower than your NC-5/6 powered beasts. That however is NOT a bad thing!
The karts have a perfect combination of speed and scale size. 1:18th scale size coupled with a track time of 12.95sec around a 122' track, gives you an approximate scale speed around 130mph. In reality, these karts top around 150mph.
They actually put the FUN back into rug racing on the home track, because you actually have time to nail the throttle, enjoy a little straight time, then an ever so slight drift in the corner, then back on the gas coming out of the corner.
While I love all the new cars that are coming out, most of them are blindingly fast, that on a normal boxed home trackset you don't get to really enjoy the full throttle before having to slow down before your car goes flying off the end of the layout.
The karts however, you get a good balance all the way around! I also validated this with my 3 kids at the house, when I put 2 karts on my son's trackset that was setup in the 2004 double flyover layout. They had a blast!
Now then having said that, if the track that layout that you run regularly is a larger commercial venue, then the karts will seem slow to you.
I dropped the NINCO Tony Kart on the HSARC 122' road course to see how it performed there. The results were interesting.
For some competition, I ran the 2002 release NINCO 50285 Super Kart F1 "HP" and the new NINCO 50421 Super Kart "Birel".
The performance of the Tony Kart and the Birel were identical.
In lane 2, the Tony Kart out of the box turned lap times of 12.96 and after running about 15 laps, I managed to get the lap times down to 12.90.
In lane 2, the HP Kart out of the box turned a first lap time of 12.11 and stayed between 12.11 and 12.17 consistently. Yes, a release from 4 years ago is faster than the new ones!
How much faster you say? Well, I killed the power to the track, dropped the Tony Kart in lane 2, dropped the HP kart in lane 3. Hooked up a couple of controllers with the triggers rubberbanded in the WOT position and hit the power to the track.
The Tony Kart jumped off the line and had the lead for about 2 feet, then the HP kart took off. At the end of the 23 foot main straight, the HP kart had a commanding lead of 21.5" (7 kart lengths). The difference in the HP kart is that while they share the NK-1 motor, the HP kart has a set of red gears in it, that I unfortunately forgot to count to see what the gear ratio was.
The Finish Line
Final Rank: : 5 Controllers.
Livery: Nicely done paint and tampo (what there is of it to paint).
Performance: A refreshing drive that puts the fun and close competition back into any rug racing environment!
Price: 55.98 MSRP
Comments: NINCO delivers fun back into the home with these little stars of the slot track. The kids loved them and the competition was close at all times!
Special thanks to NINCO and Bob at MRC for sending the car down for a review.
Special thanks to Scale Auto Racing, Inc. for providing off hours access to the Cypress Point Raceway and the NINCO test track.