Four Strokes Are Awesome But Expensive To Own

by Joel
(Calgary, Alberta)

I'm 15. When I was 13, I was the first one out of my group of friends to upgrade from the 85's to the big bikes. I purchased a 2005 Yamaha yz125, and I loved it. As soon as I got it, one of my friends decided to step up and also bought a 125. When that happened, a couple more of my buddies got bigger bikes, but 2 of them got 250f's instead of the 125 smokers.

We all went riding and I asked one of my friends if I could give the 2002 kx250f thumper a try. I didn't really know what to expect from the four stroke as I had never been on a race bike version of one before. It wasn't the speed that surprised me because I knew they were quick. What surprised me was the smooth, snappy response of the throttle in the bottom and mid end. It was a whole different dimension from my 125. There was no unnecessary wait for the power band in the low gears. It was there at all times.

A few days after that me and my buddy with the 250f went to our local motocross track for a day. I had a lot more racing experience than my friend and I was beating him in every part of the track, but he was keeping good speed on the straits. I thought that since this was happening, maybe the four strokes aren't so good on the track. This mindset completely changed when I took his bike for a couple of laps. That constant power was a really nice edition to cornering. The power was just so smooth and I found it so much easier to ride, and at the same time it was improving my lap times.

At that moment I knew I had to sell the ol' 2 stroke. Within a week I was the proud owner of a 2004 yz250f that I bought from a kid that couldn't have been any more than 3 years older than me that lived on his own and needed the money. I was 14 at the time.

The bike sure did look nice with the brand new ufo plastics and the factory effects decal kit along with the brand new Dubach Racing Development (DRD) exhaust system and brand new kenda milville tires front and back. I thought that I was getting a smokin deal at $2,900. Ha, did that ever come and bite me in the ass!

The bike was fine in the test ride that my extremely mechanically inclined dad took. And the bike continued to perform like a beauty for the next 3 months of well maintained riding. There was always the thought of the kid that had it before me not maintaining it that well in the back of my mind though.

And sure enough, I was just riding along one day and it got stuck in fifth gear. I thought that I might have bent the shifter, or at the very worst, bent a shift fork or something. Turns out that the 4th gear had broken off, and all those little metal fragments got into the tranny oil, which is also the engine oil because it is all one system in the four strokes. So sure enough all of that metal got into my crank case and just screwed everything right up, so that was about 2 grand out of my pocket.

Today, almost a year later, I have finally saved up the money and we are going to start the rebuilding process within the next week or 2. That is the ONLY downside to four strokes. They are expensive to own unless you maintain them on a daily basis, which is what I'm going to do when I get mine back.

Whatever you choose to buy, they are both good decisions. I have ridden every bike known to the motocross world and the bigger 2 strokes such as the 250's have great power, same with the 125's. The 500cc 2 strokes are a bit too much for a lot of people to handle. I love power and I can definitely handle it but the cr500 that I rode was a bit over the top.

The 450 and 250 4 strokes will always be my first choice though. They just have such cool power and I love it. But that's my opinion. 2 strokes are great, but they just seem to be missing that spark.

- Thanks for sharing your experience with us Joel. You must've been gutted to be off the bike for over a year!

You're absolutely right about the 4 strokes being nice handling bikes, but unfortunately expensive engine repairs like yours are all too common.

Hayden -

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