(This post originally appeared on GeekDad here.)
Here’s another one to file under “I wish they had these when I was a kid.” Razor, the company perhaps best known for revitalizing the “scooter industry” and making kick scooters cool again, has branched out in some surprising ways.
One of those ways? The Crazy Cart. The second I saw a Crazy Cart, I knew I had to have one. What is it? It’s essentially a drifting go-kart. OK, what does that mean? In a nutshell, it’s a battery-powered go-kart that has the ability to drift sideways, go backwards, and make complete 360s.
Have you ever wished ‘Mario Kart’ were real? Of course you have. We all have. Well, it’s time to set up the Chain Chomps and prepare the turtle shells and banana peels; Razor is bringing real-life ‘Mario Kart’ to your nearest empty parking lot. Boo-yah.
Let’s take a closer look.
First things first: power. The center console has a simple on/off switch. Switch it on and you’re ready to go. There’s a nice safety feature that, if the accelerator pedal is depressed at all when you switch the cart on, the motor is disabled. This prevents the cart from taking off unexpectedly and throwing you for a loop (literally). If this happens, take your foot off the pedal, turn the cart off, and turn it back on. You should be good to go.
Beneath the power switch is a charger port. The Crazy Cart comes with a battery charger, so all you need to do it plug it in and wait. (That might be the hardest part.) Razor claims the battery will support up to 40 minutes of continuous run time on a single charge, but I haven’t put that to the test yet.
This is actually a second version of the Crazy Cart, which has some design differences from the first model. The two biggest differences are that they moved the battery and motor up front, under the steering wheel, and they replaced forward caster wheels with stabilization posts.
The former change increases legroom for the rider since the battery used to be behind the seat. It also makes the whole thing a bit more aesthetically pleasing since the battery and motor are now hidden under the red hood.
The latter change was made to prevent the vehicle from tipping over when getting on and off or when turning too hard. In either of these cases, as the cart starts to tip, one of the stabilizing posts touches the ground and helps limit the tipping.
Another change made from the first model is the removal of seat belts. This is also my biggest complaint. The Crazy Cart can reach speeds up to 12 mph, which may not sound like much, but if you pull up on the drift bar at full speed and start spinning, you may wish you (or, more likely, your kids) were more securely strapped in place. We’ll come back to that.
So how does it work?
A variable speed accelerator controls a single front wheel and allows the cart to move at a range of speeds (again, up to 12 mph).
Direction is controlled by the steering wheel, obviously, but an arrow on the wheel indicates the direction the cart will move, regardless of how the rest of the cart is oriented. The steering wheel also rotates slightly more than 180 degrees, which not only allows the cart to move in reverse but also greatly increases maneuverability while in motion.
In “go-kart mode” (i.e., with the drift bar resting in a horizontal position), the vehicle drives relatively normally. Turn the steering wheel, and the cart turns. However, my 6-year-old daughter quickly learned that if she turned the steering wheel quickly and sharply, she could get the cart to spin. Not quite drifting, but still a thrill for little ones.
The drift bar is what activates “crazy cart mode.” Lifting the bar raises up the rear caster wheels, allowing them to spin freely in all directions and sending the cart drifting.
But enough talk, take a look at the Crazy Cart in action…
Yeah, tell me you don’t want one.
Some things to keep in mind:
– The recommended maximum weight is 140 lbs. That means this is really geared toward kids (and skinny adults). I admit that I’m over that limit by about 30 lbs but still took the Crazy Cart for a spin. It works fine, but, with my added weight, the stabilization posts up front have a tendency to scrape along the ground.
– Beware the stabilizers. Those same stabilization posts also scrape if the ground is sloped at all. It’s best to use the Crazy Cart on flat, level pavement. If you can find a big, empty parking lot or tennis court, that’s where the Crazy Cart really shines.
– There are no brakes on the Crazy Cart. This is very important to remember. So how do you stop? Let go of the accelerator pedal, and the cart will slow to a stop. Need to stop quickly? Let go of the accelerator pedal, lift up the drift bar, and spin. It takes some getting used to, and your natural instinct to stop quickly is to drag your feet along the ground. Do not do this.
– There is no seat belt on the Crazy Cart. Remember that natural instinct to use your feet as brakes? Yeah, kids have that instinct too. And when they do that, it throws everything off balance. To be fair, we’ve never come close to flipping (or even tipping) the Crazy Cart, but the absence of a seat belt seems like a major oversight. I asked Razor about this, though, and here’s their rationale for omitting a seat belt:
The first edition of the Crazy Cart had a lap/shoulder strap. However, when developing the second version, we had concluded that especially when the Crazy Cart is used improperly (i.e., under the recommended age), the lap/shoulder strap might actually do more harm than good. . . . Sometimes it’s better to be able to fall off than possibly fall under. While the product isn’t really very fast, it is faster when spinning and if used improperly and the product tilts excessively, it could cause more harm to be attached to the product with the lap/shoulder strap than to roll out of the product.
I get that, but I’m a parent. A seat belt exhibits at least a modicum of safety. Obviously, helmets are a necessity, but you might also want to think about knee and elbow pads. Razor recommends a minimum age of 9 to operate the Crazy Cart. It’s certainly possible for younger kids to drive it (as long as they can reach the accelerator pedal), but you know your kids best.
– Adults deserve some fun, too. And they shall have it! The adult-sized Crazy Cart XL (with a maximum weight of 240 lbs) is currently available directly from Razor and through Toys “R” Us.
But can you really put a price on real-life ‘Mario Kart?’ I don’t think so.
(Disclosure: Razor provided me with a Crazy Cart for review purposes.)