4-Stroke For Control
I used to compete with 125 2-strokes in MX 20 years ago. And when I decided to ride again, for fun, I thought a 500 2-stroke would be the way to go.
It had incredible torque capabilities and reminded me of a 4-stroke. You could even feel every piston stroke while pulling from the lows, and the bike would eventually flip over backwards even on the highest gear if you were too persistent on the throttle.
But on the track the powerband was too short and abrupt, and like the other 2-strokes it had a slingshot like power which was hard to control on slippery surfaces, even on moderate throttle.
It's a shame why you have to shift that much with an engine that strong, but I rode the 500 faster than my 125 on the MX track and in the woods, at least for a couple of laps. A brand new 250 2-stroke I tried seemed perfect as it had enough low-end power and revved higher.
When I recently bought a new bike I wanted to try a thumper that I would use for every type of riding including cross-country riding and occasional tarmac adventures, so I went for a Husaberg 650FE. Although it's a handful in tight forest it has the powerband I had been missing and dreaming about. It absolutely rips, and it seems to like high gears on the MX track where it easily wheelies with incredible control over the bumps in large turns, often without having to shift gears as it lifts the front end again when going down the straights with an exhilarating speed. It sure is a more fun bike for me and I seem to keep that pace for at least a couple of laps more than the 500 2-stroke.
I had the opportunity to try out a new 300 2-stroke 2012 of another brand on a demo day in the woods, but the powerband and the power reminded me of the 125 I was racing before. So I tried the 450 4-stroke in the woods and that thing ripped so hard from the very lows of the powerband and pulled steady to the top revs with the control I was looking for, and it was snappy too I might add.
I might be too used to the controllable powerband of the 4-strokes to see the benefit of the weight in a 2-stroke. I did try my friends KX450 2012 on the MX track which I liked a lot, though I thought it lacked some power compared to mine.
But until I get the chance to try a 2-stroke again on the MX track my choice is clear as far as performance goes.