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The Pipe Frame (also formerly known simply as the Go-Kart, also called Racing Kart in Super Smash Bros. Melee) is the original form of Kart that appears in the first three installments of the Mario Kart series and is the predecessor to the Standard Kart. Throughout the games it appears in, the kart has different colors depending on the driver. In their original appearances, the Pipe Frame acts as the one and only vehicle available. The abilities of the kart depend on the driver so the kart itself has no strong or weak points.
After a 10-year absence, the Pipe Frame returns in Mario Kart 7, Mario Kart 8, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, as an unlockable kart body in all three and generally gives a boost in acceleration and handling while decreasing the weight and traction.
Unlike the Standard Kart, the Pipe Frame does not appear to resemble a real go-kart, though its appearance is somewhat similar to a micro kart, a type of racing kart known for its small size, but powerful engines.
This vehicle was simply referred to as a "go-kart" in its earlier appearances, and the name "Pipe Frame" was not yet implemented prior to its reappearance in Mario Kart 7.
Super Mario Kart
The kart makes its first appearance in Super Mario Kart, designed as simple, small go-karts with different colors for each character and various performance traits depending on the driver, and an ability to boost by drifting.
Each character's kart has different engines; some uses four-stroke and few others uses two-stroke, based on its sounds.
Mario Kart 64
The Pipe Frame is redesigned in Mario Kart 64, featuring realistic-looking wheels, new colors for every character and a cubical engine with dual exhaust pipes. It also has a different handling compared to its predecessor.
This time, all karts uses two-stroke engines, with the exception of Toad's kart, which use a softer sounding four-stroke instead.
Mario Kart: Super Circuit
The kart's design and colors for this game remain unchanged from Mario Kart 64 aside from its handling, which reverted to that of Super Mario Kart to fit the game's two-dimensional environment.
Unlike in Mario Kart 64, all the karts now uses four-stroke engines.
Mario Kart 7
After being absent in subsequent games after Mario Kart: Super Circuit, the Pipe Frame returns in Mario Kart 7 as an unlockable kart body, using its same design from Mario Kart 64 to Mario Kart: Super Circuit. The character's emblem is shown underneath the engine. It is one of the three kart parts to have a different color for each character; the eight characters from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit retain the same color schemes, except for Peach, which has a slightly lighter pink color. Like in Super Circuit, it has a four-stroke engine with powerful-sounding exhausts.
In terms of stats, the Pipe Frame slightly boosts acceleration and off-road, but slightly hinders top speed and weight, which makes it the polar opposite of the Gold Standard in a way. It terms of its hidden stats, it gives a heavy boost in sea and air speeds, a good boost in mini-turbo and a slight boost in drift, while not hindering any other stat.
Mario Kart 8 / Mario Kart 8 Deluxe
The Pipe Frame reappears in Mario Kart 8 and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe again as an unlockable kart body. This time, it now resembles the kart's original design from Super Mario Kart, featuring only one exhaust pipe instead of two as seen in Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart: Super Circuit and Mario Kart 7. Additionally, the character emblem is now located in the front. Unlike its predecessor, it is now has a two-stroke engine and its sound is shared with the Standard Kart, Teddy Buggy, Wild Wiggler, and the Sneeker, only having a softer exhaust noise.
Unlike past installments, the colors of the Pipe Frame are now shared with multiple characters, featuring 23 unique colors used among the 36 characters (and of those, thirteen of the colors are exclusive to one character, counting alternate colors for Yoshi and Shy Guy, but excluding Miis). The eight characters from Mario Kart 64 and Mario Kart: Super Circuit once again retain the same color as they were in the original games, while Koopa Troopa now has a yellow color, reminiscent of in Super Mario Kart. In addition, all the Koopalings (except for Morton) have unique colored steering wheels for their karts, as opposed to the standard black for the secondary color. Also, all the Koopalings have unique colored exhaust pipes, as opposed to the standard yellow for the tertiary color, and their wheel hinges are uniquely colored, instead of being colored gray.
Like the Standard Kart, Standard Bike, and Standard ATV, the Pipe Frame body is occasionally used by all the CPU-controlled characters. Most CPU racers will always pair the Pipe Frame with the Standard tires, but Donkey Kong, Koopa, Dry Bones and Ludwig usually may use the Monster tires instead.
In Mario Kart 8, the Pipe Frame gives a good boost in handling and a slight one in acceleration, but it hinders traction and slightly hinders weight. In terms of its hidden stats, it offers a good boost in sea and air handling, and slight boosts in sea and air speeds, anti-gravity handling and mini-turbo, while only slightly hindering anti-gravity speed. It shares its stats with the Wild Wiggler, Standard Bike, Flame Rider, Varmint, W 25 Silver Arrow, and City Tripper. Overall, the Pipe Frame has the second highest stat total of any kart body, and the third highest among all vehicles.
In Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, the Pipe Frame's stats have been altered: it now hinders speed, but gives a higher boost in aceleration and now slightly boosts traction. In terms of its hidden stats, it no longer increases water speed and now hinders air speed and air handling, while hindering anti-gravity speed further, with no compensation. It now only shares stats with the Varmint and City Tripper.
An early version of the Pipe Frame's body featured the same design it had from Mario Kart 64 to Mario Kart: Super Circuit, with the only exception being that the character's emblem was located at the front, like in the body's final version.
Stat values are out of 6.
Mario Kart 7
Mario Kart 8
"Die Jagd nach dem Nintendo 64: Krawall im All"
In the Club Nintendo comic "Die Jagd nach dem Nintendo 64: Krawall im All", Mario and Luigi are seen driving karts in their mission to find a spaceship shaped like the Nintendo 64. They compete against Wario and Bowser and make another reference to the Mario Kart games by dropping Banana Peels and making them crash. The karts seen in this comic resemble those seen in Mario Kart 64. Unlike their video game equivalents, though, they can also be turned into jet skis by pushing a button on their steering-wheels.
Mario Kirby Meisaku Video
A Pipe Frame makes an apperance resembling the one in Super Mario Kart in the Mario segment of the Mario Kirby Meisaku Video where Mario drives it during his pursuit of the mysterious thief W. Eventually, after being attacked by some monsters, he spins out near a vegetable garden.
Super Smash Bros. series
Super Smash Bros. Melee Trophy
Names in other languages