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For dirt bike riders, the debate between the 2-stroke and 4-stroke dirt bikes is a debate that seems never to die. Whether in the clubs, or paddocks across the globe, proponents of each camp argue passionately: each convinced they`re right.
But what is the real truth?
It has been more than two decades since Doug Henry catapulted the Yamaha YZ400F four-stroke dirt bike onto the forefront in the final supercross in Las Vegas, and yet the 2 strokes vs. 4 stroke debate still rages on.
So, between the two which is better?
We took it up the challenge to compare the 2-strokes and the 4-strokes. In this article, we shall explore the similarities, differences and compare the benefits and drawbacks of each bike type.
- 1 Similarities Between 2-Stroke and 4-Stroke Bikes
- 2 Differences Between 2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Dirt Bike
- 3 Why Should I Choose a 4 stroke Bike?
- 4 Conclusion: Which One Should I Go for?
Similarities Between 2-Stroke and 4-Stroke Bikes
For a start, both are engines.
Secondly, like any other engine, they need gasoline, spark, and air to run.
They will also need oil for lubrication purposes.
Finally, the engines will produce combustion, which results in energy, heat and exhaust fumes.
Differences Between 2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Dirt Bike
Compression and Combustion
Intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust
Relatively lower kick
Hard to control
Easy to control
Before we look at the comprehensive differences between these two bikes, let`s first have a rudimentary understanding of each model and how it works.
2-Stroke Dirt Bike
The 2-stroke bike has 2 main and primary functions, which are compression and combustion. To put it in a layman`s language, it means that the engine on this bike will blaze and set fire to the spark plug present for every revolution of a crankshaft.
With such a modest operation, it makes the 2-strokes bike a lot lighter than the 4-stroke. Ironically, this simple engine will require more maintenance, and if you`re not a DIY enthusiast or love maintenance, it may not be an ideal choice for you.
Budget-wise, the 2-strokes are relatively affordable compared to the 4-strokes, and will not require high-maintenance costs.
Lightness in any bike usually translates in greater speeds, and it`ll be fun riding the 2-strokes, thanks to their adrenaline rush. What`s more? The 2-strokes have an intense kick on the motor, and this will allow easy throwing of the bike with a faster punch per cc.
However, the greater speed, greater punch, more throw, and lightness means that the bike is difficult to control.
A typical 2-stroke will require you to engage in frequent shifting. The good thing is that you can easily top the speed with greater power.
Aptly named the 4-stroke, this bike has primarily four functions, which include; intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust.
Unlike the 2-strokes, the 4-strokes are more complex and usually fire two revolutions of the crankshaft. In effect, the two revolutions make the 4-stroke bike steadier and with unsurprising more power delivery.
When it comes to ease of use, the 4-stroke is easy to handle, thanks to the smoother powerband. The controlled power on this bike makes it convenient and will require less effort to ride.
The ease of use and convenience of the 4-strokes makes this bike a popular option among beginners, and I would recommend that you go for one if you`re starting.
With more controlled power, a cyclist will not have to spend most of their time worrying about braking, clutching and shifting, but instead, will concentrate on the riding experience.
While a 4-stroke bike has many moving parts compared to the 2-strokes, regular maintenance is not needed, making this bike an awesome choice for trail riding.
However, the inclusion of more parts will translate to more cost, and most importantly the addition of more weight.
In the modern era, the 4 strokes have the upper hand in providing a powerful performance. Some of the reasons behind this are the fact that the 4-strokes have sole interest for the rider and the 4-stroke has undergone a lot of advancement and refinement compared to the 2-stroke.
While we`re not insinuating that the 2-strokes provide lesser performance, it cannot match that of the 4-stroke.
But with greater power, the more challenging is to control a bike.
Fortunately, with the advanced technology, any rider would prefer a 4-stroke, thanks to the excellent power management.
4 strokes are heavy, and this might make handling a tad challenging. This is opposed to the fairly light and nimble 2-stroke bikes.
Nonetheless, handling should not be a big deal as you can easily fix it by using good suspension kits alongside a plethora of other aftermarkets parts.
Repair and Maintenance
Two stroke bikes have lesser moving parts compared to the stroke bikes, and this means you`ll have to worry less about maintenance and repair.
On the other end, 4 strokes have many moving parts and are therefore more expensive to maintain and repair.
Why Should I Choose a 2 Stroke Bike?
If you`re a hands-free rider who doesn`t love getting dirty, then the 2-stroke will provide a maintenance-free experience.
Beyond maintenance, the 2-stroke is extremely light with faster top speed and more power for the motor size.
The Great Compromise with 2 Stroke Bikes
The lack of advanced power management on the 2-stroke bike makes handling at a lot challenging, especially for the beginners.
Why Should I Choose a 4 stroke Bike?
Traditionally, 4 strokes were synonymous with rugged trails, but now, they can compete with the 2 strokes in the motocross.
Powerful, fast and efficient, the 4 strokes are the ultimate beasts that will take you to place you`ve never explored.
With excellent power management systems, the 4 strokes are easy to handle, s easy to ride, control and maneuver and will provide you with optimum power.
The Great Compromise with 4 Stroke Bikes
Inundated with plenty of moving parts, the 4 stroke bikes are extremely heavy, not to mention they`re heavy, and not as fast as the 2 strokes.
Conclusion: Which One Should I Go for?
In the end, there`s no “best” choice since comparing the two is unique to every rider, and both of this model offers benefits over one another. Moreover, choosing a 2-stroke or 4-stroke will ultimately depend on your personal preferences and riding style.
But when we come down to the nitty-gritty of these bikes, we can all agree that every rider is looking for a high-performance engine with enough power and exceptional handling.