New for 2016, and looking like it means business….
…meet the LEGO Technic 42048 Race Kart in all its orange-and-purple glory.
First impressions are very positive – this is, by a long way, the most realistic and best looking Go-Kart style set there’s been in the Technic line. Price is pretty reasonable too, at £25 for 345 pieces.
Being a smaller set, it has an instruction book for the B-model as well, which is always a plus.
Building it is not too taxing but there’s some interesting stuff here. For the first time in a long time, there’s a proper gearbox, doing what a gearbox is supposed to do; bringing the noise! (a bit). It’s usefully compact as well; the input shaft being the rear axle itself. This does mean there’s no diff and the rear wheels are locked together though. Elsewhere, those new curved panels do a great job of styling it and, in a highly radical change from the norm, it’s got a proper floor. Whatever next!
Lots of those newish ‘pin with pin hole’ connectors, that’s what’s next. The designer is clearly very fond of these. Can’t say I blame him; whatever did we do way back in 2014 without them?
Moving forward from the superbly detailed single cylinder engine atop its 2-speed gearbox, we have a brilliantly designed seat, nice chunky steering wheel, a novel steering system that you actually operate with the actual steering wheel(!), all riding on four well chosen wheels with the lowest profile tyres I’ve seen in LEGO.
Clearly, unlike last year’s 42022 Hot Rod, the designer has seen a real Go-Kart rather than having it described to him over the ‘phone…
This set is looking more and more like a winner….
And then you steer it. On full lock, the front wheels will deviate a maximum of 11 degrees from the straight ahead. 11 degrees. The mechanism is compact, quick-acting, strong and precise, but seriously…. 11 degrees. Most cars will turn around in about 2 times their own length. A little thing like this; maybe 3 or so. Or in this case, 7. It needs 7 times it’s own length to turn around. Sheesh. With that and the solid axle, oversteer is right off the menu. Understeer is all you’ll get; something this can ill afford…
It’s not all bad news. There’s that gearbox; the lower gear of which allows the engine to spin at 2x wheel speed, the styling is superb, but if there is ONE thing you want a Go-Kart to do, it’s to steer properly. And this just doesn’t. For comparison purposes, I measured the angle of the ancient 854’s front wheels on full lock – a realistic 35 degrees. In every other respect 42048 is a better model, but because of this one flaw 854 is still a better Go-Kart.
Maybe we’ll have better luck with the B-model :
Eurgh! Maybe not. It’s a ‘track car’ apparently. Perhaps the designer had a KTM X-Bow described to him over the ‘phone… It does steer better than the main model, though. Slightly.
There are many good things about this set. The styling. The engine detailing. A proper gearbox. That seat. The fact that it looks good with or without the stickers. Everything in its rightful place and looking all Go-Karty. It’s good value for money. It’s a superb looking model. If it steered like 854 it would get a 10. It barely steers at all. 7/10