2 Strokes Hold The True Spirit Of The Sport

by Collin Wilkinson
(Boise, Idaho)

Adrenaline. Competition. Excitement. Being a man. Isn't that why we all got into this sport?

A few main points to the sport of off road motorcycling. Whether it's race or trails, these are the words I think of. And they all relate to each other so I apologize if I repeat myself, because I don't believe this debate should be that complicated.

Now this section is subjective to me personally and my own opinion but I must also state that I can't see how any of these ideas come into play when riding a 4 stroke. A four stroke dirt bike to me is purely a novelty item. As simple as 'yeah that's my four stroke, but it's only worth riding on the street otherwise it can sit and collect dust.


A 4 stroke is an antonym of the word. Those who own 4's say that they enjoy the smoothness of the "power" and being easier to ride, which defeats this idea instantly. I personally have never felt any adrenaline while riding one because of this. It just feels like I'm driving my VW Golf down to the gas station to get a pack of smokes - no matter the terrain. I simply can't get aroused by the way the power is provided, because it is not dangerous or challenging to control. Smooth and obeying power is for the street.


The word is not limited to the man vs. man struggle in the sport. It's the man vs. terrain and man vs. machine as well. An experienced rider vs. a four stroke dirt bike - the rider almost always wins. (Personally I always win, I'm just adding almost to be fair.) It's near impossible to lose control because of the power provided by the machine. The only loss of control comes from man vs. nature or man built terrain, which defeats a big element that should be in the sport. (The 4 stroke machine can only beat you by being a pain to kick start at very inconvenient times, but now "man" has beaten it with electric starts.)


Kind of a simile to adrenaline but I will briefly speak anyways. The four stroke has no powerband - period. Nothing to get excited about if you are an experienced rider. I remember being a kid and being excited while riding my xr100 but once I stepped to a 2 stroke 125 I looked back and thought about how much more fun I could have been having if I started on a 2. As far as I can tell, only the terrain can really excite the 4 stroke rider (which will still be twice as fun on a two).

This is a very subjective topic, not so black and white but it's my post so of course I'm going to implement my bias.

That rush achieved when the power band hits and your front wheel comes off the ground when riding a 2 is orgasmic every time and can hurt you very easily if you don't know what you're doing. That's the point of excitement, the point of adrenaline, and a part of the sport.


So continuing where I left off in the excitement section. The kinds of 4 stroke riding men I can think of in the sport are..

- Ones who owned a 2 stroke and hurt themselves badly (broken limbs concussions etc.) because of the powerband. I don't mean to speak ill but they became afraid of them so they switched to something that would be easier to ride and not as dangerous (thumbs up for still riding, seriously).

- Young people who have been persuaded by what's around them whether that be the media or the person I previously stated. They either don't know any better or they have heard horror stories about 2 strokes and would rather play it safer.

- Older people. Guys who have had their fair share of the extreme excitement of 2 strokes and either had enough or can't handle as much as they could when they were younger (imagine that?). Happens. Again, thumbs up to you for still riding. Anyways I'll be so arrogant to say this; real men ride 2 strokes.

So... my main point being here is if you are really serious about the sport, grasp ALL the elements of the sport. The 2 stroke is the only bike that can do this. It is the real off road performance machine. If you are young there is no reason why you should be getting a lazy bike. Us youngins' have so much energy and stamina and we have to embrace that while we can. I want my bike to ride me like I ride it. CHALLENGE.

If easy and comfortable are what you are looking for, then this is the wrong activity for you. Four strokes have their place and it isn't in sport, it's just leisure and transportation. I don't care what you decide on in the end, but please don't let the basis of your experience be only on a four stroke. But seriously, if a four stroke is all you can handle then stick to putting around on four wheeler trails, or just get a four wheeler.


One other thing, the maintenance. Most four stroke riders I know can't work on their own bikes (and I'm not saying I'm any better, because they are a pain). Mechanics are expensive and you may have to see them multiple times a year if you don't know how to work on it or don't have time.

More moving parts means more maintenance. A four stroke head has valves and a camshaft and everything that holds that together. And then there is timing... fun! While a 2 strokes head just caps the top of the cylinder. "Oh but 2 strokes can blow top ends" yadda yadda... I've heard it, seems to scare a lot of 4 strokers. But to avoid this it's as simple as mixing your gas right, with quality oil (have to say redline), letting it warm up before you thrash on her and jetting it properly to outside temps and elevation (which if you ride in similar areas you don't really have to worry about it). Anyone can easily do it without their mechanic. And a monkey can replace a top end in an hour and usually for less than $250 which should last you a year or more (depending on how much and how hard you ride and if you mix and jet right).

A simpler machine that also produces way more power per cc, what a concept. The engine goes through half the work for twice the power. The only maintenance I hate about 2 strokes is fixing (or replacing) expansion chambers after I smash it on a rock.

- Phew! And bring on the comments..

Hayden -

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