The current issue of MAKE Magazine (a personal favorite) has a feature article on home-built go-karts and backyard racers (Roll Your Own). Fun-packed home made creativity and fun with tools, many of us had these as a kid, either motor or pedal powered. Deep back in the dark dank crevices of my memory I can recall some kind of wooden gravity car that me and my dad worked on and I test-piloted down the hill in front of my house as a young boy. Whether it was the fact that it probably had no brakes, or possibly that the moving mammoth American cars of the 70's that I had to dodge in the middle of the street had no brakes, the cart didn't last long and I quickly moved on to safer activities, like skateboarding.
MAKE covers some great ideas, gives some detailed build-plans and parts lists for making some awesome motorized fun. Making the stuff was half the fun. Riding and crashing it was the other half of the fun. And of course, back then, no one wore helmets while doing this kind of stuff and I nodded my head reading Mark Frauenfelder's commentary "It probably goes without saying, but I'm going to say it anyway: Wear a helmet! When I was a kid, no body wore helmets when they rode bikes, skateboards, go-karts, or minibikes. Please don't make that mistake today".
Being in the business of selling protective motorcycle gear, a motorcycle store is often the single place a professional neighborhood go-kart racer can turn to for a decent helmet and some gloves. And, we've served a lot of suburban asphalt racers over the years. Dads reviving old contraptions that have been stored in the attic at grandpas for years, new fab models with the latest in power-drill motors and light weight frame constructions.
These home-made racers tend to go for inexpensive DOT helmet models, that serve the need well. Brands like our Z1R and AFX helmets, or whatever sub-$200 helmet model that might be on clearance in our showroom. Any kind of graphic will do. It just has to fit and be cheap. It won't be well cared for and it will be used by multiple divers over the years.