Twister Hammerhead


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Twister Hammerhead Off Road Go Kart

The Twister Hammerhead kart is distributed within the United States by TJ Powersports which is headquartered in Irving, Texas.  These off road go karts are manufactured in the Tong Jian factory in China.  Hence the name TJ (Tong Jian) Powersports.  The Twister Hammerhead is probably one of the better built off road go karts coming out of China at the time this is being written.  There are many copies of these made at other factories within China, but the quality does not seem to match that of the TJ Powersports Hammerhead.  The Chinese are very skilled at copying things, but unfortunately they are not always so good at duplicating the quality.  If you are looking for a Twister Hammerhead kart, then make sure you are getting an official TJ Powersports manufactured Hammerhead. 

TJ Powersports Twister Hammerhead 150

Twister Hammerhead 150

The Hammerhead 150 comes equipped with: large ATV type tires, reverse gear, electric start 150cc motorcycle type engine, fully automatic CVT transmission (similar in design to a snowmobile transmission), a nice suspension with real hydraulic shocks, 4 wheel hydraulic disc brakes, padded seats, parking brake, and enough power on the newer Hammerhead 150 to go nearly 40mph.  There are other little details like rear view mirror, horn, turn signals, headlights, brake light, fenders, 4 pt harnesses/seat belts, and a nice rear storage rack.  The newest 2005 150cc models even come with an oil cooler and a spin on oil filter to help promote engine longevity.  The Twister Hammerhead is almost like a little car with all it's features, and it's off road abilities make it perform like an ATV.

Tong Jian Twister Hammerhead 250

Twister Hammerhead 250

TJ Powersports has also released a 250cc liquid cooled version of their popular Hammerhead kart.  The 250 model shares many of the same great features as the 150 version.  In addition to the larger liquid cooled engine, the Twister Hammerhead 250 also features an independent rear suspension that is designed to improve the ride quality and handling over rough terrain.  Top speed of the newer Twister 250 model is claimed to be over 50mph!  The Twister Hammerhead off road go karts are NOT like a kid's go kart.  The 150cc or 250cc motorcycle style engines can scream at speeds of up to 8,000-9,000 RPM!  The typical kid's go kart engine will have a junky lawnmower type engine (in terms of technology) that can only spin up to around 3,600 RPM.  The Hammerhead 150 and 250 karts are off road machines capable of moving a full sized adult.  No one will be breaking any land speed records with one, but around 30-40mph on the 150 model feels fast in one of these fun machines.  Speeds approaching 50mph on the 250 will also feel fast enough for most people!  Being out in the open with wind blowing in your face, engine screaming behind you, and flying over bumpy terrain can make even 40mph feel VERY FAST!  These karts are also able to climb hills surprisingly well especially considering the size of the engines.  And the nice suspension design soaks up the bumps surprisingly well too.  Some people even take these buggies out to the dunes for fun in the sand.  Now, you won't be climbing any of the big dunes with one of these, and you won't be going anywhere very fast, but they can be extremely fun to drive around the flatter areas of the dunes.  Overall, the Twister Hammerhead off road go karts made by TJ Powersports are impressive machines offered at reasonable prices! 

Below is some more information based on my own personal experience with a Twister Hammerhead 150 go kart.

Twister Hammerhead 150cc Kart        
My Own Twister Hammerhead 150 Off Road Go Kart

Let it also be known that there are a lot of junk quality Chinese go karts being sold.  Unfortunately, the old saying "You get what you pay for" seems to often be true.  China is dumping a lot of junk quality go karts into the US, and unsuspecting buyers are dazzled by their pretty paint and relatively low prices.  Only problem is that many of these low priced go karts are also LOW QUALITY.  Many can quickly become scrap for the junk heap, because when some of these go karts break down (even minor things), you often can not get parts.  Customer service or warranty support are non-existent on many of these machines.  They are not such a low price or good deal when you look at it that way.  The Twister Hammerhead off road go karts are towards the top of the Chinese go kart ladder in terms of quality.   

The Twister Hammerhead comes with a 150cc engine that seems to be rated somewhere around 12-14HP.  The engine is based on the Honda GY6 design.  There are many parts available for this engine, including high performance parts.  My particular Twister Hammerhead came with an oil cooler and spin on oil filter.  This was a nice touch.  These small engines are fan forced air cooled and they have a big job of moving around these go karts and passengers, so the addition of an oil cooler is not a bad idea.  The Twister Hammerhead has independent suspension in front and back that is actually OK.  Shocks are not so great, but the suspension design itself is fine for a fun kart.  Not what you'd want for a high performance off road machine, but fine for most casual recreational fun use.   

Twister HH 150cc

Twister Hammerhead GY6 150cc Engine

Even thought these Twister Hammerhead machines are some of the better made Chinese go karts, that does not mean that they are perfect.  In my case, it was far from "perfect".  Almost immediately, my stock muffler fell apart.  TJ Powersports was very good to honor the warranty and send me a new exhaust system.  That one also began to rattle apart, but after several attempts to get something to hold together, I finally modified the exhaust and came up with something that held together.  Airbox design was poor and dirt was getting past the air filter, so I replaced the stock airbox assembly with a UNI filter and an Outerwears sock.  I modified the carburetor and removed the electric choke that had a tendency to get stuck ON and kill performance.  For easier starts, I added a primer pump to inject fuel into the intake for cold starts.  Rubber boots and other rubber pieces disintegrated quickly - typical cheap Chinese materials.  Electrical harness shorted out (poorly routed across a sharp edge) and killed the machine until I could find out why it died.  Front shocks eventually went bad and became "pogo sticks" causing the front end to bounce badly on bumps.  A used set of motorcycle shocks off eBay helped fix that.  The front suspension bushings also wore out quickly, and needed to be replaced.  There were many things that wore out or broke, but thankfully many of them were relatively small issues.  I know how to work on my own equipment, so it was not that bad for me.  To give this Twister Hammerhead kart some credit, it is still running and it has had a hard life around here.  It has racked a LOT of hours of abuse (around 200 hours), and keeps running strong.  I've done quite a few mods to it and the kids really enjoy driving it.

Keep in mind that even with all the problems I had with mine, this Twister Hammerhead is one of the better made Chinese off road go karts.  I pity the person who is not mechanically inclined (or motivated to learn) that buys one of the cheap junk brands of Chinese go karts!  My advice is to save your money so you can buy something that is better quality from a brand that has a good reputation.  In the past, I spent a lot of time tinkering on my Twister Hammerhead go kart to try to make it better and it's one of the better ones.  Not everyone will want (or have the tools and ability) to work on their own machines as much.