2 stroke dirt bikes and 4 stroke dirt bikes both come with their own pros and cons. 2 stroke bikes don’t have the bells and whistles of the modern 4 stroke, but they are easier to maintain. With a decent level of skills, you can get a 2-stroke bike running for less than $500 whereas it would be around $2000 for a new 4-stroke bike. The main disadvantages of 2-strokes are that they are harder to ride, heavier, slower, produce less torque, require more maintenance due to frequent engine rebuilds. The primary advantage is lower costs combined with easier maintenance.
On the other hand, 4-strokes are faster, more powerful, easier to maintain and extremely expensive. The 4-stroke engine itself is complex. It’s easy to see why a new bike with all the bells and whistles would be such a fully equipped wonder. You can ride smooth and fast without having to worry about your bike breaking down on you anytime soon. Another huge advantage is the broad selection of parts available for any powertrain configuration you can dream up.
However, if it’s just a basic dirt bike that you want for your garage that gives you some fun and gets you around safely and cheaply then there is nothing wrong with getting a 2 stroke dirt bike over a 4 stroke one.
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What Does 2-Stroke Mean?
Two-stroke engines generate power with every exhaust stroke of the piston. Engine valves must be opened and closed as needed as the piston goes up and down. Fuel is mixed with air and ignited by a spark plug, which is why they are so loud. The crankshaft turns only once for every two revolutions of the wheels, which is why they are so slow. Carburetors control the air and fuel mixture.
What Does 4-Stroke Mean?
Four-stroke engines use separate intake and exhaust strokes to complete each power cycle. The crankcase holds oil that lubricates the cylinder walls and transfers heat away from moving parts during compression and combustion phases. Fuel air mixture is mixed in the cylinder so that there are no problems with fouled spark plugs. The valves are always open, allowing air and fuel to be alternately injected into the cylinders. Pistons turn inside the cylinders over a 360 degrees crankshaft rotation.
2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Dirt Bikes – Where They Excel
You’d have to ask someone who knows what they’re talking about how much better 2-stroke dirt bikes are than 4 stroke dirt bikes because it’s hard to compare one type based on its merits alone. It’s based more on personal preference for looks, handling, handling/performance characteristics, reliability, etc..
If you want a safe and reliable dirt bike that is inexpensive and can be taken to the woods and trails than the 2 stroke will definitely save you money in repairs. It also helps to have a bike with less moving parts because it’s easier to keep running. The obvious disadvantage is that they require more maintenance..
Basically you can get a 2-stroke dirt bike for $500 or less whereas if you want a new 4-stroke dirt bike it’ll cost you around $2000, but I’m sure there are used 4-stroke bikes below $3000.
Are Two Strokes Street Legal?
The majority of states have either banned 2-stroke engines outright or limited them to 50cc. In other words, a 50cc 2-stroke is not legal in most states. However, plenty of riders have been able to get away with it and ride 2 stroke dirt bikes legally without any problems. It should be noted that the lack of a catalytic converter will make registering your bike a bit more difficult, but you can always register for a street legal dirt bike first and then go retrofitting a catalytic converter later on should you decide to do it at all.
Are Two-Strokes Good For Trail Riding?
The perfect 2 stroke dirt bike for trail riding would be a standard, mid-sized bike like a Yamaha YZ 80 or Honda CRF 230. You can’t really go wrong with either of those, but something like a KTM 50, which is also a two-stroke, would also make an excellent trail bike. The KTM could be used as a pit bike because it’s faster and more powerful than the other two bikes mentioned above.
Are Two-Strokes Reliable?
The best way to tell if a 2 stroke is reliable is to buy one that has been used for some time. If it’s running well then it should be reliable, but that depends on the individual motor. There are some real junkers out there, but more often than not you can get a nice one for around $500-$600. When buying a used motorcycle, make sure the previous owner has taken good care of it or they will have issues down the road.
Can You Be Successful With A 2-Stroke Dirt Bike?
You can absolutely be successful with a 2-stroke dirt bike if you are making good use of money on maintenance and parts. That doesn’t mean that you have to buy a pile of parts just because they’re cheap. Generally, when buying used dirt bikes it’s best to buy a few good used parts and a couple of good new ones to make a good bike all together.
A used low-end dirt bike is going to be cheaper and will last longer if the previous owner took care of it. But if you want certain accessories like a new exhaust, fork, or headlight you will have to spend more money for them specifically because they are 2-stroke specific items.