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2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke Dirt Bike - How They Measure Up On The Track

If you're on the fence about the differences between 2 stroke vs 4 stroke dirt bikes, hopefully today's blog will shed light on some of the pros and cons folks have shared when it comes to choosing the right dirt bike engine.

The same basics apply to a dirt bike engine as any other type of high-performance engine - it's all about the power and handling capabilities. Comparing 2 stroke vs 4 stroke dirt bikes is like comparing apples to oranges on several levels. Let's talk about it.

Power

Let's face it, in the eyes of the modern day motocross racer, 2 strokes are a thing of the past. But don’t let anyone fool you into thinking that a camshaft equipped bike is superior to the modern day 2 stroke though. The 4 stroke equipped dirt bikes have the upper hand thanks to race rules regarding engine displacement. To help make them competitive they literally doubled the displacement for what is allowed for a 2 stroke. As the 4 stroke evolved and progressed over a few short years it was clear they were an advantage and sales went through the roof while pre-mix stayed on the shelf. If you rule out the stone-age discrimination and ran a 250cc two stroke against a 250cc 4 stroke that is where things start to get interesting though. Suddenly the 2 stroke doesn't seem so slow and its strengths far outweigh any weaknesses. Let's break down their differences when it's an even playing field.

Starting in the early 2000's, 4 strokes have dominated the track.

Power delivery is hands down the biggest difference between the respected engine types. 2 strokes hit hard and fast, leaving an explosive impression on the rider. 4 strokes are definitely less intense with the way the power is put to the ground and gives the rider a choice of how they want to ride the bike.

Since the 4 stroke's power is a little more user friendly, hard pack conditions or situations where traction is necessary gives it a clear advantage. Inside ruts, hard pack dirt, and throttle finesse make a 4 stroke rider grin ear to ear. This is because of the 4 stroke's engine cycle when producing power. Since a 4 stroke makes power on every other stroke of the piston, it allows the power to be much more manageable. Without power to the wheel on every stroke, the milliseconds in difference keep wheel spin to a minimum. The opposite can be said about the way power is delivered on the two stroke. Sandy, loamy, loose dirt is where the 2 stroke shines and with the right rider can be the ultimate track weapon.

Since the 4 stroke’s power is a little more user friendly, hard pack conditions or situations where traction is necessary gives it a clear advantage.

Handling

Many of the issues related to handling can be resolved with a good suspension set up and various aftermarket parts. Naturally the 4 stroke bike is heavier than it's counterpart in stock form. With the added weight and tractor type power the 4 stroke makes any 2 stroke feel very light and nimble.

Repair

When it comes to repairs, the 2 stroke has the advantage simply because the 4 stroke has more components that require more frequent scheduled maintenance. The cost of rebuilding a 4 stroke engine is more expensive than rebuilding a 2 stroke. Although the 2 stroke has a simple design and costs far less for top end maintenance, you will be rebuilding your 2 stroke more often.

When it comes to repairs, the 2 stroke has the advantage.

Personal preference

Choosing 2 stroke vs 4 stroke dirt bikes comes down to a personal preference. The pros of a 2 stroke vs a 4 stroke, according to some riders, include: quicker acceleration, weighs less than a 4 stroke, lower cost of maintenance and repair, power to get the job down and overall confidence in the bike's performance. Cons include: the cost of oil, tendency to foul spark plugs, less torque than the 4 stroke and the bike is harder to handle on a tight course.

Choosing 2 stroke vs 4 stroke dirt bikes comes down to a personal preference.

I hope these tips and insights help anyone who is on the fence about which bike to choose. Consider all the info and choose the bike that will give you the best ride on the course with winning results!

2 Stroke Performance Setup Ideas

VForce Reed Cages

FMF 2-stroke Exhaust

Wiseco 2-stroke Top End Kits

4 Stroke Performance Setup Ideas

Pro Circuit 4-stroke Exhaust

Boyesen Accelerator Pump Covers

Wiseco Dirt Bike Valve Train & Accessories

Written By: AndrewT

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