Motorcycles

Ten motorcycles that remind us why we miss two-strokes

Ten motorcycles that remind us...
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Custom pinstriping on the aluminum tail of the Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
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Custom pinstriping on the aluminum tail of the Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
The carbon vintage fairing reads 2 Stroke Attack in Japanese
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The carbon vintage fairing reads 2 Stroke Attack in Japanese
Just a tachometer is all the 2 Stroke Attack needs
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Just a tachometer is all the 2 Stroke Attack needs
This dry clutch is one rare item, made specially for the 2 Stroke Attack
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This dry clutch is one rare item, made specially for the 2 Stroke Attack
The 2 Stroke Attack looks like a factory GP bike stripped of its fairings
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The 2 Stroke Attack looks like a factory GP bike stripped of its fairings
The coarse look of the expansion chambers adds to the racy feel of the 2 Stroke Attack
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The coarse look of the expansion chambers adds to the racy feel of the 2 Stroke Attack
Meticulously drilled cylinder heads, a typical weight saving antic
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Meticulously drilled cylinder heads, a typical weight saving antic
The leather belt holding the petrol tank is a wonderful vintage touch
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The leather belt holding the petrol tank is a wonderful vintage touch
Roland Sands Design custom made this exhaust system
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Roland Sands Design custom made this exhaust system
Ohlins TTX is the popular weapon of choice for race teams
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Ohlins TTX is the popular weapon of choice for race teams
Just a metal mesh for the free-breathing 2 Stroke Attack
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Just a metal mesh for the free-breathing 2 Stroke Attack
Even the kickstarter is drilled on the 2 Stroke Attack
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Even the kickstarter is drilled on the 2 Stroke Attack
TYGA Performance NSR250R
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TYGA Performance NSR250R
TYGA Performance NSR250R
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TYGA Performance NSR250R
TYGA Performance NSR250R
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TYGA Performance NSR250R
TYGA Performance NSR250R
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TYGA Performance NSR250R
The TYGA Performance NSR250R next to an original 1994 Rothmans SP replica
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The TYGA Performance NSR250R next to an original 1994 Rothmans SP replica
The TYGA Performance NSR250R looks like it came out of a 250GP pitbox of the 1990s
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The TYGA Performance NSR250R looks like it came out of a 250GP pitbox of the 1990s
This V2 enjoys a 75 percent horsepower boost
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This V2 enjoys a 75 percent horsepower boost
Behind the carbon cover lurks a dry clutch
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Behind the carbon cover lurks a dry clutch
The hazard lights switch (lower left) seem completely out of place in this carbon/aluminum cockpit
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The hazard lights switch (lower left) seem completely out of place in this carbon/aluminum cockpit
Air filters are for commuters, not for this beefed up NSR250R
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Air filters are for commuters, not for this beefed up NSR250R
It'd be a sacrilege to fit a license plate on this NSR250R
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It'd be a sacrilege to fit a license plate on this NSR250R
Carbon exhaust cans for the TYGA NSR250R
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Carbon exhaust cans for the TYGA NSR250R
Beautiful design, almost invisible when you first see this NSR250R
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Beautiful design, almost invisible when you first see this NSR250R
The HRC sticker has every right to be here
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The HRC sticker has every right to be here
This NSR rolls on Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa tires, but the Michelin sticker is a must for a complete Rothmans look
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This NSR rolls on Pirelli Diablo Super Corsa tires, but the Michelin sticker is a must for a complete Rothmans look
Ronax 500
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Ronax 500
Ronax 500
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Ronax 500
Ronax 500
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Ronax 500
Ronax 500
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Ronax 500
Ronax 500
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Ronax 500
The Ronax 500 sports an abundance of aluminum and carbon firer
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The Ronax 500 sports an abundance of aluminum and carbon firer
The steering head of the Ronax is fully adjustable
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The steering head of the Ronax is fully adjustable
Probably not a suitable seat for long distance riding
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Probably not a suitable seat for long distance riding
Aluminum frame, engine cases and radiator for the Ronax 500
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Aluminum frame, engine cases and radiator for the Ronax 500
This Ohlins front system probably comes from the FGRT family
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This Ohlins front system probably comes from the FGRT family
That number will be a 46 on only one Ronax 500
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That number will be a 46 on only one Ronax 500
Mirrors with integrated indicators
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Mirrors with integrated indicators
Rhapsody in carbon - and those mirrors
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Rhapsody in carbon - and those mirrors
Ronax 500
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Ronax 500
Ronax 500
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Ronax 500
Exactly what you'd expect to see in a Grand Prix race track during the 1990s - minus the license plate
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Exactly what you'd expect to see in a Grand Prix race track during the 1990s - minus the license plate
The exhaust system looks like it was designed to spray oil on the license plate
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The exhaust system looks like it was designed to spray oil on the license plate
The aluminum engine cases house two counter-rotating crankshafts
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The aluminum engine cases house two counter-rotating crankshafts
The Ronax 500 uses aluminum cast wheels. Magnesium or carbon wheels don't really like potholes
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The Ronax 500 uses aluminum cast wheels. Magnesium or carbon wheels don't really like potholes
The Ronax 500 in action
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The Ronax 500 in action
The Ronax 500 in action
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The Ronax 500 in action
The Ronax 500 in action
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The Ronax 500 in action
The Ronax 500 in action
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The Ronax 500 in action
The Ronax 500 in action
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The Ronax 500 in action
The Ronax 500 in action
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The Ronax 500 in action
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
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Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
The Bimota V-Due Evoluzione is a proper two-stroke racer for the street
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The Bimota V-Due Evoluzione is a proper two-stroke racer for the street
The blue side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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The blue side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
The red side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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The red side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Lorenzo Buratti managed to pump 65 hp (48.5 kW) out of this Husqvarna WR360 engine
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Lorenzo Buratti managed to pump 65 hp (48.5 kW) out of this Husqvarna WR360 engine
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
R6 forks, lowered top yoke, Ohlins steering stabilizer, no front brake. The Husqvarna WR360 is ready for Bonneville
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R6 forks, lowered top yoke, Ohlins steering stabilizer, no front brake. The Husqvarna WR360 is ready for Bonneville
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
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Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
The Motogadget clock with the LCD screen looks completely out of place on the Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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The Motogadget clock with the LCD screen looks completely out of place on the Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
The visual fuel level indication is a nice vintage racing touch
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The visual fuel level indication is a nice vintage racing touch
The front drum brake has arms on both sides, so this simple splitter mechanism connects them both to the brake lever
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The front drum brake has arms on both sides, so this simple splitter mechanism connects them both to the brake lever
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Dual arms on both sides of the drum brake and ventilation ports at the front to prevent overheating of the shoes
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Dual arms on both sides of the drum brake and ventilation ports at the front to prevent overheating of the shoes
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
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Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
The 500AF can be fully customized at the customer's request. Here is a beautiful Elsinore relpica
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The 500AF can be fully customized at the customer's request. Here is a beautiful Elsinore relpica
Customization work on the 500AF can go as far as the color of the engine cases
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Customization work on the 500AF can go as far as the color of the engine cases
Service Honda 500AF
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Service Honda 500AF
A shinnier example of a custom 500AF
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A shinnier example of a custom 500AF
The 500AF with a polished engine and exhaust chamber
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The 500AF with a polished engine and exhaust chamber
Service Kawasaki KX500AF
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Service Kawasaki KX500AF
Maico 685 Enduro
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Maico 685 Enduro
Maico 685 Supermoto Racing
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Maico 685 Supermoto Racing
Maico 320 Motocross
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Maico 320 Motocross
Two-stroke in a can
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Two-stroke in a can
Giacomo Agostini's Yamaha YZR500 OW23
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Giacomo Agostini's Yamaha YZR500 OW23
Yamaha is the only Japanese factory to produce a 2015 two-stroke motocross YZ250
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Yamaha is the only Japanese factory to produce a 2015 two-stroke motocross YZ250

During thelast 20 years two-stroke motorcycles have practically vanished from the streets, substitutedby cleaner, safer and more reliable four-strokes. Their demise is unquestionably a good thing when it comes to air quality in big cities, but despite this many people still miss them, seekingsolace in restorations and custom builds. For those who understand this nostalgia, here are ten modern motorcycles thatkeep the oil-burning spirit alive. Some are available to buy, although most ofthem can hardly be considered cheap, easy to find or environmentally-friendly. The dilemma, of course, is that they're all likely to deliver a delicious ride.

In 1975 acertain Mr. Giacomo Agostini won the 500 cc class of the Grand Prix WorldChampionship on a two-stroke Yamaha. After the historic triumph these machines whitewashedthe field until 2001, when Valentino Rossi conquered his first 500GP title on aHonda NSR500; the last ever by a two-stroke smoker.

In off roadracing the two-strokes had already made their mark by the mid-1950s, going onto dominate the scene in the early 1960s.

Giacomo Agostini's Yamaha YZR500 OW23
Giacomo Agostini's Yamaha YZR500 OW23

Two-strokeshave an outright advantage over any four-stroke; more power from equaldisplacement, less weight and easier servicing due to less moving parts in theengine. On the other hand, their disadvantages include shorter service life, increased fuelconsumption, terrible emissions and a nasty disposition because of their narrow powerband.

Thingsstarted changing as the world grew more environmentally conscious and by the1990s it was becoming obvious that the two-stroke era was coming to an end.

Honda presented the revolutionary EXP-2 two-stroke Activated Radical Combustion engine in 1995, raced it in a few Rally Raids to prove that it could be clean and efficient and then proceeded to kill its own project – despite successfully vindicating its own claims.

In 1998Yamaha introduced the YZ400F, a revolutionary four-stroke motocross racer that producedincredible power at higher rpm than any four-stroke had ever achieved before. Itwas a game changer, and in just a few years the off-road racing world was turnedupside down. By the early 2000s the two-strokeshad been confined to a handful of competitors in every class – more of a nichethan actually competitive motorcycles.

People havealways been attracted to race replicas. "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" is an old adage of the motorsport world that has yet to be proven wrong. A new generation of hi-tech four-stroke machines dominated the globalmotorcycle market, a trend still holding strong today.

Thefactories are happy; four-strokes are more expensive, they need more parts andtheir service is equally costlier. The environment should be in a better place,having rid itself from those oil-burning smokers. Four-strokes are safer toride, with a linear power delivery, engine braking and no unexpected outburstsfrom engines that suddenly hit a mountain of torque. But who really knows what kindof two-strokes we’d have if modern technology was applied to them? (We may yet find out if this recent Honda patent for a direct fuel injection, cleaner burning two-stroke is any indication).

Yamaha is the only Japanese factory to produce a 2015 two-stroke motocross YZ250
Yamaha is the only Japanese factory to produce a 2015 two-stroke motocross YZ250

But peoplestill want them. They are cheaper, lighter and morepowerful, but despite some recent signs that the two-stroke might not have fallen completely off the agenda like this cleaner burning Honda patent design, the two-stroke doesn't look likely to make a comeback anytime soon.

Today theonly available two-strokes are off-road models. Road-going bikes have practicallydisappeared, with the exception of the 50 cc Aprilia RS4. The only choice for adie-hard two-stroke fan is to go for a used old model, or do something along thelines of the following ten motorcycles.

RDTZ 2-StrokeAttack by Roland Sands Design

Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack

Beforeemerging as a famous custom builder, Roland Sands was a motorcycle racer. Whenhe accepted an invitation to the Born Free Motorcycle Show that took place inlate June at Silverado, USA, he dove into his two-stroke racing past inorder to draw inspiration for the custom he’d build for the show.

A fewframes Sands had designed back in the day for racing Yamaha TZ250s werestill laying around in his warehouse. Claiming they are the best frames ever designedfor these motorcycles, he soon found a Yamaha RD400 engine to wedge on one ofthem – the RDTZ is named after these two donor bikes.

Sands selected a fine collection of race gear, the majorityof which comes from his own stock pile of TZ parts and from Team Roberts’ shelves.These include a vintage triple clamp set, a rare dry clutch setup made up fromparts gathered from all over the world and Performance Machine magnesium wheels from Sands’ own 1998 250GP championship-winning bike.

The enginewas tuned by Ed Erlenbacher, an engineer with ample experience in two-stroketuning, mated to a custom-made twin exhaust system.

In case youwere wondering, the silver leafed inscription on the sides of the carbon fiberfairing reads "2-Stroke Attack" in Kanji.

"Fast,incredibly light and good handling, the RDTZ is a blast from the past and a lookinto the future of what custom bikes can be," Sands says.

If you feltcupid’s arrow piercing your heart, you should know that this is a one-off build. Maybe you could convince him to make another – after all, he must still have some TZ frames sitting around in his shop.

Source: Roland Sands Design

NSR250R by TYGAPerformance

TYGA Performance NSR250R
TYGA Performance NSR250R

If you likethe good old 250GP race replicas of the 1980s and 1990s, Tyga Performance maybe the specialists you need. Its English owners, Paul Pearmain and MattPatterson, make no effort to hide their love for two-stroke racebikes and theirThailand-based company has a very long list of special parts to cater for everyneed.

Their latestcreation is a tribute to Honda’s 1994 NSR250R MC28 and serves as a rolling showcase of their products. The parts’ list is too long to mention here, so we’lljust stick to the basics: VHM cylinder heads, Wiseco pistons, handmade Tygaexhausts, revalved CBR600RR forks, Ohlins shock and steering damper, RC45triple tees, Brembo M4 monobloc calipers with CBR1000RR master cylinder,Marchesini magnesium rear wheel.

Add tothese a collection of highly coveted HRC race parts, among manyothers including a magnesium front wheel, close ratio gearbox, Keihin 30 mm carburetors, swingarm, radiator, water pump and ignition system.

Believe it or not, theframe is a stock piece.

The engineis bored out to 300 cc and ported, reaching up to 70 hp (52.2 kW) for a ready toride weight of 115 kg (253.5 ld). Compare that to the 40 hp (29.8 kW), 157 kg(346 lb) of the stock model and you get an idea of the two-stroke advantage.

Althoughthe complete bike is not for sale, most of the parts on it are – minus somediscontinued HRC items. Pearmain tells us that the carbon fairing will be available soon.

Surprisinglyenough, this motorcycle is still registered in Thailand as a 1994 NSR and hasall the equipment required to be ridden legally on the road by whoever daresto take this V2 two-stroke maniac for a stroll downtown.

Source: TYGA Performance

Ronax 500

The Ronax 500 sports an abundance of aluminum and carbon firer
The Ronax 500 sports an abundance of aluminum and carbon firer

Anyone fancya road-legal 500GP racebike? Ronax makes one and it may well be the only one ofits kind in the world. Based in Dresden Germany, Ronax pays homage to thefire-breathing 500s that ruled the queen Grand Prix class for many years untilValentino Rossi’s championship on a Honda NSR500 in 2001.

The Ronaxis powered by a bespoke fuel injected 80-degree V4 with two counter-rotatingcrankshafts, putting out 160 hp (119.3 kW) at 11,500 rpm. Combined with a wet weight of 145 kg (319.7 lb)this fiery two-stroke probably has more than enough to put modern superbikes to shame ... at least before you factor in reliability.

Equippedwith the typical gear, Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes, the Ronax 500 isadorned with a black paint scheme and graphics reminiscent of Rossi’sNSR.

Production of the Ronax 500 is limited to 46 units. Brace yourself for the price though – €100,000 (US$111,000), with 30 percent advancepayment and a 6-month waiting period. Every customer gets to choose the number he wants on his motorcycle, provided of course it hasn't been already taken. For some reason we suspect number 46 will be the most sought after.

Source: Ronax

TZ Racer byDeus Ex Machina

Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer

The YamahaTZ250 is a prime example of the motorcycles that Yamaha raced in the 250GPduring the 1970s. This TZ is probably an example from the 1976-1980era, before the power valve engine was introduced in 1981 to lift the TZ from strong competitor to all-conquering machine.

The TZRacer was restored in California, USA, at the Deus Ex Machina workshop as a personalproject by Motorcycle Design Director Michael Woolaway, with a lot of attentionto detail and every intention of taking it racing.

The high-revving air-cooled engine is fed by two MicuniZC carbs and produces 50 hp (37.3 kW) at 10,500 rpm, more than enough to makethis lightweight racebike a real cracker on a race track.

Source: Deus Ex Machina

BimotaV-Due

The Bimota V-Due Evoluzione is a proper two-stroke racer for the street
The Bimota V-Due Evoluzione is a proper two-stroke racer for the street

The newsthat Bimota was designing a two-stroke 500 cc road legal motorcycleto take on the superbikes was initially met with great enthusiasm in Italy. In1997 the V-Due was introduced to the world, a 90-degree V2 that promised to solvethe two main problems that plagued the two-strokes, emissions and service life,by means of advanced fuel injection system and forced lubrication for thebottom end of the engine.

Unfortunatelyfor Bimota, the V-Due turned out to be an unrideable beast, with a horrifyinglyunpredictable power delivery and, to top this, several reliability issues. Manyof the 1997-1998 models were returned to the factory and in 1999 Bimota wentbankrupt. The first motorcycle with an engine made by the Italian company was the one thatkilled it.

Agroup of Bimota engineers who had bought the company’s stock of V-Duemotorcycles and parts modified the engine by tossing the injection for a pairof Dell Orto VHSB 39 carbs, reworked the lubrication system accordingly and in 1999 introduced the V-Due Evoluzione series. Having solved the problems that initially doomed the V-Due, it remained in limited productionuntil the 2005 Edizione Finale.

TheEvoluzione versions produce reliably 135 hp (100 kW), weigh 150 kg (331 lb)and allow their owners to enjoy the legendary handling that had made a name for the Italian boutiquebrand. These models have since become highly sought after collectibles, soanyone in the market for one should expect a salty price tag.

Source: V-Due

Husqvarna WastedYears by Lorenzo Buratti

The blue side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
The blue side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years

Lorenzo Buratti is an Italian designer with a passion for motorcycles. Mostof his work is around designer items for the home, usually made out of wood andmetal, occasionally mixed with the unexpected motorcycle part – like a boxerengine chair or a Vespa desk light. He also designs some elegant custommotorcycles, such as his latest creation which came about after he bought avery cheap 1999 Husqvarna WR360.

His inspiration was a streamlined speed record chaser, so there was a lotof work to be done on this old Swedish enduro bike. The frame was extensively redesignedto end up with a wider caster angle and the rear converted to a hardtail design. TheHusky was equipped with a front suspension from a first generation Yamaha R6and the front brake was completely removed.

The engine was rebuilt with original parts and fitted with a custom exhaust Buratti designed for performance, achieving a hefty 65 hp (48.5 kW) from the singlecylinder two-stroke. Dressed in custom made fiberglass fairings and painted in flashy colors inspired by Evel Knievel, the end resultweighs just 85 kg (187.4 lb).

Buratti was planning to take his custom to Bonneville for a run at theSpeed Week, hoping to break the 200 km/h (125 mph) mark. This wouldn’t constitute arecord, it would just be a target set for his satisfaction. Unfortunately Speed Week has been cancelled this year, so Buratti will have to either findanother event to run his custom Husky, or wait another year.

In case you were wondering about the name: "WastedYears is not only my favorite Iron Maiden song, it is also a common opinion I sometimes had to fight against," explains Buratti. "This bikewants to be a tribute for all the people who believe in something, to peoplewho put ideas and real soul in life and maybe not so much money."

Source: Lorenzo Buratti

Ossa Copa250 Grand Prix by Café Racer Dreams

Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix

Ossa built its fame on off-road race success, but also had a strong, yet short-livedpresence in the road racing scene. In the late 1960s Ossa managed four racewins at the 250GP class before retiring from road racing after its star rider,Santiago Herrero, was killed at the Isle of Man on 1970.

This GrandPrix custom build is a tribute to those days, being based on a 1979 Ossa Copa 250. Spanish custom builders, Café Racer Dreams (CRD) subjected the donor model to a transformation process with older technology,removing the cast wheels and disc brakes in favor of spoked rims and ventilated drumbrakes. The original frame was reinforced forextra rigidity and several features were designed to successfullyreplicate the vintage racing aura, such as the petrol tank and the tail unit.

After afull engine restoration and a new exhaust system, the suspension was upgraded with fresh units fromSpain's Betor. The whole build took three months to completeand by now the Copa 250 Grand Prix has been returned to its happy owner.

CRD will gladly undertake such projects – it might even be a nice change from the hordes of BMWs and Hondas that occupy most of its time.

Source: Cafe Racer Dreams

500AF byService Honda

The 500AF can be fully customized at the customer's request. Here is a beautiful Elsinore relpica
The 500AF can be fully customized at the customer's request. Here is a beautiful Elsinore relpica

Despite going out of production in 2001, the Honda CR500is one of those motorcycles that will forever haunt our dreams. Thanks to companies like Service Honda from Indiana,USA, the legend doesn’t just live on, it thrives. These two-stroke lovers have prepared a special treat for those who would liketo get a 500 missile on their hands.

The bike's engineis housed in a brand new aluminum twin spar, semi cradle frame that can becustomized to the customer’s ergonomics in order to (hopefully) help tame all the insane powerthat this engine produces.

The 500AF(for Aluminum Frame) boasts a collection of parts one would expect to see onevery top of the line modern four-stroke off-roader, including adjustable Showasuspension, Service Honda’s aluminum swing arm, FMF Q-series or Pro Circuit 296series exhaust and, of course, a steering damper. The latter is a welcome aid in the effort to keep the front wheel in line when opening the throttle on amachine that produces almost twice the torque of contemporary open class off-roadmodels.

Customizationoptions including bodywork, suspension tuning and cylinder porting.

This is themotorcycle that many motocross and enduro fans around the world hoped Honda would produce. This two-strokelegend can still find its way to your garage, provided you are willing to part with at least US$13,499. Service Honda can also cater for customers inEurope, via its partners in UK, France and Denmark, as well as in Australia.

Source: Service Honda

KX500AF byService Kawasaki

Service Kawasaki KX500AF
Service Kawasaki KX500AF

Followingthe success Service Honda has enjoyed with the 500AF, a separate part ofthe same company prepared a similar model based on the green KX500.After reaching a special agreement with Kawasaki to supply them with brand newparts, the KX500AF was made available to the public in 2012.

The big KXis another monster of torque, benefiting from a Power Valve thatcontrols the exhaust port in order to enhance power delivery over a wider rpm range– an upgrade that Honda never offered to the CR500. The base model also features a Kayaba AOS (Air-Oil Separate) fork and a Unitraksingle rear suspension setup.

The startingprice for the KX500AF by Service Kawasaki is US$18,499.

Source: Service Kawasaki

Maico 700

Maico 685 Enduro
Maico 685 Enduro

The CR500and KX500 are monsters of torque, then there's the Maico 700. The German company produced a variety of two-stroke off road machines,with the 700 being the most famous of all. It couldn’t have been any different,with the single cylinder 685 cc engine that was born in the US motocross sidecarracing scene eliminating every four-stroke competitor that stood against it.

Maico wentbankrupt in 1986, but its motorcycles never disappeared. At one time they weresold in the USA by ATK, with the rebadged 700 Intimidator leading the charge. Since1999 a German KTM dealer in Leverkusen is the only producer in the world tooffer several Maico models, limited to around 50 motorcyclesper year.

The contemporaryMaicos feature WP suspension and modern bodywork, and they are available in Enduro, Motocross and Supermotoversions with capacities of 250, 320, 500 and 620 cc, plus the 685 cc bad boy.The Enduro and Supermoto models can be ordered with road-legal equipment,allowing legal registration in Germany.

Thosedreaming of a two-stroke behemoth that produces 82 hp (61.1 kW) for 110 kg (242.5lb) can visit the link below and prepare for a €11,995 (US$13,300) price tag.

Source: KTM Koestler

Two-Stroke Smoke Candle

Two-stroke in a can
Two-stroke in a can

So getting your hands on a two-stroke can be a little difficult (and expensive) these days, but if you're a true die-hard fan who pines for that oily aroma, Flying Tiger Motorcycles from Maplewood, Missouri, has just the thing.

The Two-Stroke Smoke Candle is made with real live two-stroke oil with "high-octane fragrance." It costs $20 and we bet you can legally light it up even in California ... plus the rest of us won't have to put up with the fumes.

Source: Flying Tiger Motorcycles

During thelast 20 years two-stroke motorcycles have practically vanished from the streets, substitutedby cleaner, safer and more reliable four-strokes. Their demise is unquestionably a good thing when it comes to air quality in big cities, but despite this many people still miss them, seekingsolace in restorations and custom builds. For those who understand this nostalgia, here are ten modern motorcycles thatkeep the oil-burning spirit alive. Some are available to buy, although most ofthem can hardly be considered cheap, easy to find or environmentally-friendly. The dilemma, of course, is that they're all likely to deliver a delicious ride.

In 1975 acertain Mr. Giacomo Agostini won the 500 cc class of the Grand Prix WorldChampionship on a two-stroke Yamaha. After the historic triumph these machines whitewashedthe field until 2001, when Valentino Rossi conquered his first 500GP title on aHonda NSR500; the last ever by a two-stroke smoker.

In off roadracing the two-strokes had already made their mark by the mid-1950s, going onto dominate the scene in the early 1960s.

Giacomo Agostini's Yamaha YZR500 OW23
Giacomo Agostini's Yamaha YZR500 OW23

Two-strokeshave an outright advantage over any four-stroke; more power from equaldisplacement, less weight and easier servicing due to less moving parts in theengine. On the other hand, their disadvantages include shorter service life, increased fuelconsumption, terrible emissions and a nasty disposition because of their narrow powerband.

Thingsstarted changing as the world grew more environmentally conscious and by the1990s it was becoming obvious that the two-stroke era was coming to an end.

Honda presented the revolutionary EXP-2 two-stroke Activated Radical Combustion engine in 1995, raced it in a few Rally Raids to prove that it could be clean and efficient and then proceeded to kill its own project – despite successfully vindicating its own claims.

In 1998Yamaha introduced the YZ400F, a revolutionary four-stroke motocross racer that producedincredible power at higher rpm than any four-stroke had ever achieved before. Itwas a game changer, and in just a few years the off-road racing world was turnedupside down. By the early 2000s the two-strokeshad been confined to a handful of competitors in every class – more of a nichethan actually competitive motorcycles.

People havealways been attracted to race replicas. "Win on Sunday, sell on Monday" is an old adage of the motorsport world that has yet to be proven wrong. A new generation of hi-tech four-stroke machines dominated the globalmotorcycle market, a trend still holding strong today.

Thefactories are happy; four-strokes are more expensive, they need more parts andtheir service is equally costlier. The environment should be in a better place,having rid itself from those oil-burning smokers. Four-strokes are safer toride, with a linear power delivery, engine braking and no unexpected outburstsfrom engines that suddenly hit a mountain of torque. But who really knows what kindof two-strokes we’d have if modern technology was applied to them? (We may yet find out if this recent Honda patent for a direct fuel injection, cleaner burning two-stroke is any indication).

Yamaha is the only Japanese factory to produce a 2015 two-stroke motocross YZ250
Yamaha is the only Japanese factory to produce a 2015 two-stroke motocross YZ250

But peoplestill want them. They are cheaper, lighter and morepowerful, but despite some recent signs that the two-stroke might not have fallen completely off the agenda like this cleaner burning Honda patent design, the two-stroke doesn't look likely to make a comeback anytime soon.

Today theonly available two-strokes are off-road models. Road-going bikes have practicallydisappeared, with the exception of the 50 cc Aprilia RS4. The only choice for adie-hard two-stroke fan is to go for a used old model, or do something along thelines of the following ten motorcycles.

RDTZ 2-StrokeAttack by Roland Sands Design

Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack
Roland Sands 2 Stroke Attack

Beforeemerging as a famous custom builder, Roland Sands was a motorcycle racer. Whenhe accepted an invitation to the Born Free Motorcycle Show that took place inlate June at Silverado, USA, he dove into his two-stroke racing past inorder to draw inspiration for the custom he’d build for the show.

A fewframes Sands had designed back in the day for racing Yamaha TZ250s werestill laying around in his warehouse. Claiming they are the best frames ever designedfor these motorcycles, he soon found a Yamaha RD400 engine to wedge on one ofthem – the RDTZ is named after these two donor bikes.

Sands selected a fine collection of race gear, the majorityof which comes from his own stock pile of TZ parts and from Team Roberts’ shelves.These include a vintage triple clamp set, a rare dry clutch setup made up fromparts gathered from all over the world and Performance Machine magnesium wheels from Sands’ own 1998 250GP championship-winning bike.

The enginewas tuned by Ed Erlenbacher, an engineer with ample experience in two-stroketuning, mated to a custom-made twin exhaust system.

In case youwere wondering, the silver leafed inscription on the sides of the carbon fiberfairing reads "2-Stroke Attack" in Kanji.

"Fast,incredibly light and good handling, the RDTZ is a blast from the past and a lookinto the future of what custom bikes can be," Sands says.

If you feltcupid’s arrow piercing your heart, you should know that this is a one-off build. Maybe you could convince him to make another – after all, he must still have some TZ frames sitting around in his shop.

Source: Roland Sands Design

NSR250R by TYGAPerformance

TYGA Performance NSR250R
TYGA Performance NSR250R

If you likethe good old 250GP race replicas of the 1980s and 1990s, Tyga Performance maybe the specialists you need. Its English owners, Paul Pearmain and MattPatterson, make no effort to hide their love for two-stroke racebikes and theirThailand-based company has a very long list of special parts to cater for everyneed.

Their latestcreation is a tribute to Honda’s 1994 NSR250R MC28 and serves as a rolling showcase of their products. The parts’ list is too long to mention here, so we’lljust stick to the basics: VHM cylinder heads, Wiseco pistons, handmade Tygaexhausts, revalved CBR600RR forks, Ohlins shock and steering damper, RC45triple tees, Brembo M4 monobloc calipers with CBR1000RR master cylinder,Marchesini magnesium rear wheel.

Add tothese a collection of highly coveted HRC race parts, among manyothers including a magnesium front wheel, close ratio gearbox, Keihin 30 mm carburetors, swingarm, radiator, water pump and ignition system.

Believe it or not, theframe is a stock piece.

The engineis bored out to 300 cc and ported, reaching up to 70 hp (52.2 kW) for a ready toride weight of 115 kg (253.5 ld). Compare that to the 40 hp (29.8 kW), 157 kg(346 lb) of the stock model and you get an idea of the two-stroke advantage.

Althoughthe complete bike is not for sale, most of the parts on it are – minus somediscontinued HRC items. Pearmain tells us that the carbon fairing will be available soon.

Surprisinglyenough, this motorcycle is still registered in Thailand as a 1994 NSR and hasall the equipment required to be ridden legally on the road by whoever daresto take this V2 two-stroke maniac for a stroll downtown.

Source: TYGA Performance

Ronax 500

The Ronax 500 sports an abundance of aluminum and carbon firer
The Ronax 500 sports an abundance of aluminum and carbon firer

Anyone fancya road-legal 500GP racebike? Ronax makes one and it may well be the only one ofits kind in the world. Based in Dresden Germany, Ronax pays homage to thefire-breathing 500s that ruled the queen Grand Prix class for many years untilValentino Rossi’s championship on a Honda NSR500 in 2001.

The Ronaxis powered by a bespoke fuel injected 80-degree V4 with two counter-rotatingcrankshafts, putting out 160 hp (119.3 kW) at 11,500 rpm. Combined with a wet weight of 145 kg (319.7 lb)this fiery two-stroke probably has more than enough to put modern superbikes to shame ... at least before you factor in reliability.

Equippedwith the typical gear, Ohlins suspension and Brembo brakes, the Ronax 500 isadorned with a black paint scheme and graphics reminiscent of Rossi’sNSR.

Production of the Ronax 500 is limited to 46 units. Brace yourself for the price though – €100,000 (US$111,000), with 30 percent advancepayment and a 6-month waiting period. Every customer gets to choose the number he wants on his motorcycle, provided of course it hasn't been already taken. For some reason we suspect number 46 will be the most sought after.

Source: Ronax

TZ Racer byDeus Ex Machina

Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer
Deus Ex Machina TZ Racer

The YamahaTZ250 is a prime example of the motorcycles that Yamaha raced in the 250GPduring the 1970s. This TZ is probably an example from the 1976-1980era, before the power valve engine was introduced in 1981 to lift the TZ from strong competitor to all-conquering machine.

The TZRacer was restored in California, USA, at the Deus Ex Machina workshop as a personalproject by Motorcycle Design Director Michael Woolaway, with a lot of attentionto detail and every intention of taking it racing.

The high-revving air-cooled engine is fed by two MicuniZC carbs and produces 50 hp (37.3 kW) at 10,500 rpm, more than enough to makethis lightweight racebike a real cracker on a race track.

Source: Deus Ex Machina

BimotaV-Due

The Bimota V-Due Evoluzione is a proper two-stroke racer for the street
The Bimota V-Due Evoluzione is a proper two-stroke racer for the street

The newsthat Bimota was designing a two-stroke 500 cc road legal motorcycleto take on the superbikes was initially met with great enthusiasm in Italy. In1997 the V-Due was introduced to the world, a 90-degree V2 that promised to solvethe two main problems that plagued the two-strokes, emissions and service life,by means of advanced fuel injection system and forced lubrication for thebottom end of the engine.

Unfortunatelyfor Bimota, the V-Due turned out to be an unrideable beast, with a horrifyinglyunpredictable power delivery and, to top this, several reliability issues. Manyof the 1997-1998 models were returned to the factory and in 1999 Bimota wentbankrupt. The first motorcycle with an engine made by the Italian company was the one thatkilled it.

Agroup of Bimota engineers who had bought the company’s stock of V-Duemotorcycles and parts modified the engine by tossing the injection for a pairof Dell Orto VHSB 39 carbs, reworked the lubrication system accordingly and in 1999 introduced the V-Due Evoluzione series. Having solved the problems that initially doomed the V-Due, it remained in limited productionuntil the 2005 Edizione Finale.

TheEvoluzione versions produce reliably 135 hp (100 kW), weigh 150 kg (331 lb)and allow their owners to enjoy the legendary handling that had made a name for the Italian boutiquebrand. These models have since become highly sought after collectibles, soanyone in the market for one should expect a salty price tag.

Source: V-Due

Husqvarna WastedYears by Lorenzo Buratti

The blue side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years
The blue side of the Husqvarna WR360 Wasted Years

Lorenzo Buratti is an Italian designer with a passion for motorcycles. Mostof his work is around designer items for the home, usually made out of wood andmetal, occasionally mixed with the unexpected motorcycle part – like a boxerengine chair or a Vespa desk light. He also designs some elegant custommotorcycles, such as his latest creation which came about after he bought avery cheap 1999 Husqvarna WR360.

His inspiration was a streamlined speed record chaser, so there was a lotof work to be done on this old Swedish enduro bike. The frame was extensively redesignedto end up with a wider caster angle and the rear converted to a hardtail design. TheHusky was equipped with a front suspension from a first generation Yamaha R6and the front brake was completely removed.

The engine was rebuilt with original parts and fitted with a custom exhaust Buratti designed for performance, achieving a hefty 65 hp (48.5 kW) from the singlecylinder two-stroke. Dressed in custom made fiberglass fairings and painted in flashy colors inspired by Evel Knievel, the end resultweighs just 85 kg (187.4 lb).

Buratti was planning to take his custom to Bonneville for a run at theSpeed Week, hoping to break the 200 km/h (125 mph) mark. This wouldn’t constitute arecord, it would just be a target set for his satisfaction. Unfortunately Speed Week has been cancelled this year, so Buratti will have to either findanother event to run his custom Husky, or wait another year.

In case you were wondering about the name: "WastedYears is not only my favorite Iron Maiden song, it is also a common opinion I sometimes had to fight against," explains Buratti. "This bikewants to be a tribute for all the people who believe in something, to peoplewho put ideas and real soul in life and maybe not so much money."

Source: Lorenzo Buratti

Ossa Copa250 Grand Prix by Café Racer Dreams

Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix
Ossa Copa 250 Grand Prix

Ossa built its fame on off-road race success, but also had a strong, yet short-livedpresence in the road racing scene. In the late 1960s Ossa managed four racewins at the 250GP class before retiring from road racing after its star rider,Santiago Herrero, was killed at the Isle of Man on 1970.

This GrandPrix custom build is a tribute to those days, being based on a 1979 Ossa Copa 250. Spanish custom builders, Café Racer Dreams (CRD) subjected the donor model to a transformation process with older technology,removing the cast wheels and disc brakes in favor of spoked rims and ventilated drumbrakes. The original frame was reinforced forextra rigidity and several features were designed to successfullyreplicate the vintage racing aura, such as the petrol tank and the tail unit.

After afull engine restoration and a new exhaust system, the suspension was upgraded with fresh units fromSpain's Betor. The whole build took three months to completeand by now the Copa 250 Grand Prix has been returned to its happy owner.

CRD will gladly undertake such projects – it might even be a nice change from the hordes of BMWs and Hondas that occupy most of its time.

Source: Cafe Racer Dreams

500AF byService Honda

The 500AF can be fully customized at the customer's request. Here is a beautiful Elsinore relpica
The 500AF can be fully customized at the customer's request. Here is a beautiful Elsinore relpica

Despite going out of production in 2001, the Honda CR500is one of those motorcycles that will forever haunt our dreams. Thanks to companies like Service Honda from Indiana,USA, the legend doesn’t just live on, it thrives. These two-stroke lovers have prepared a special treat for those who would liketo get a 500 missile on their hands.

The bike's engineis housed in a brand new aluminum twin spar, semi cradle frame that can becustomized to the customer’s ergonomics in order to (hopefully) help tame all the insane powerthat this engine produces.

The 500AF(for Aluminum Frame) boasts a collection of parts one would expect to see onevery top of the line modern four-stroke off-roader, including adjustable Showasuspension, Service Honda’s aluminum swing arm, FMF Q-series or Pro Circuit 296series exhaust and, of course, a steering damper. The latter is a welcome aid in the effort to keep the front wheel in line when opening the throttle on amachine that produces almost twice the torque of contemporary open class off-roadmodels.

Customizationoptions including bodywork, suspension tuning and cylinder porting.

This is themotorcycle that many motocross and enduro fans around the world hoped Honda would produce. This two-strokelegend can still find its way to your garage, provided you are willing to part with at least US$13,499. Service Honda can also cater for customers inEurope, via its partners in UK, France and Denmark, as well as in Australia.

Source: Service Honda

KX500AF byService Kawasaki

Service Kawasaki KX500AF
Service Kawasaki KX500AF

Followingthe success Service Honda has enjoyed with the 500AF, a separate part ofthe same company prepared a similar model based on the green KX500.After reaching a special agreement with Kawasaki to supply them with brand newparts, the KX500AF was made available to the public in 2012.

The big KXis another monster of torque, benefiting from a Power Valve thatcontrols the exhaust port in order to enhance power delivery over a wider rpm range– an upgrade that Honda never offered to the CR500. The base model also features a Kayaba AOS (Air-Oil Separate) fork and a Unitraksingle rear suspension setup.

The startingprice for the KX500AF by Service Kawasaki is US$18,499.

Source: Service Kawasaki

Maico 700

Maico 685 Enduro
Maico 685 Enduro

The CR500and KX500 are monsters of torque, then there's the Maico 700. The German company produced a variety of two-stroke off road machines,with the 700 being the most famous of all. It couldn’t have been any different,with the single cylinder 685 cc engine that was born in the US motocross sidecarracing scene eliminating every four-stroke competitor that stood against it.

Maico wentbankrupt in 1986, but its motorcycles never disappeared. At one time they weresold in the USA by ATK, with the rebadged 700 Intimidator leading the charge. Since1999 a German KTM dealer in Leverkusen is the only producer in the world tooffer several Maico models, limited to around 50 motorcyclesper year.

The contemporaryMaicos feature WP suspension and modern bodywork, and they are available in Enduro, Motocross and Supermotoversions with capacities of 250, 320, 500 and 620 cc, plus the 685 cc bad boy.The Enduro and Supermoto models can be ordered with road-legal equipment,allowing legal registration in Germany.

Thosedreaming of a two-stroke behemoth that produces 82 hp (61.1 kW) for 110 kg (242.5lb) can visit the link below and prepare for a €11,995 (US$13,300) price tag.

Source: KTM Koestler

Two-Stroke Smoke Candle

Two-stroke in a can
Two-stroke in a can

So getting your hands on a two-stroke can be a little difficult (and expensive) these days, but if you're a true die-hard fan who pines for that oily aroma, Flying Tiger Motorcycles from Maplewood, Missouri, has just the thing.

The Two-Stroke Smoke Candle is made with real live two-stroke oil with "high-octane fragrance." It costs $20 and we bet you can legally light it up even in California ... plus the rest of us won't have to put up with the fumes.

Source: Flying Tiger Motorcycles

17 comments
Kevin Ritchey
An excellent article. Still have my Kawasaki SC400 Triple from 1974. I've kept it pristine w/only 5.6K miles on it. Still has '78 tags on it. A joy to ride by the Columbia River.
Nicolas Zart
I expected to read about the Suzuki H2 and 3 also, but great idea to show us modern day two-stroke bikes.
Catweazle
I ran two-stroke scramblers through the 1960s and 1970s, with an occasional ride on a Gold Star DBD34 scrambler when the owner had hurt himself with it; a real beast that was... That Maico looks fun, but the wife won't let me have one! As to the two-stroke candle, REAL two-strokes ran on Castrol R40 castor-based racing oil, now that's a smell that you don't come across much these days!
leanonme
Seconded there Kevin what a brilliant article. Come on Honda sort us out with some new tech.
Jeff Goldstein
Two stroke motorcycles were lighter, simpler, less expensive and more reliable since they have a lot less moving parts. They were very easy to maintain. This is no different than what happened with outboard motors. Both were forced off the market by government regulations and pressure on manufacturers. This decreased consumers choices while having no measurable impact on the environment since they represented such a tiny percentage of all motor vehicles. I still have a Yamaha 2 stroke motor scooter that is a lot of fun to ride and extremely easy to maintain. Previously we also had a great Suzuki 185 2 stroke street and trail bike. There are no modern replacements for either one.
johnhoog
Evinrude E-tec 2 strokes are amazing engines, quite, clean burning, powerful.. They exceed all emissions standards of today and future requirements. Sure wish Bombardier would release their know how to cars and motorcycles. Two strokes are still used in the diesel engine applications. LONG LIVE THE TWO STROKE ENGINE...!!
Martin Hone
One of life's great joys was hitting the powerband on a peaky 2-stroke, particularly that of a TZ250 Yamaha racer.......but 2-strokes could be made torquey as well, like the Yamaha IT495 dirt bike. And they can be made enviro-friendly, with systems such as the Orbital direct injection system...
DaveChabassol
Had a number of 2 stokes back in the 60's... Altho the Kawi500/750 were faster than ...well u know. My fave was my Yamaha Diana 250 yds-5.. You could lay that down until the pegs rubbed and still feel secure. As a matter of fact, the pegs were spring loaded !
vblancer
After riding a Suzuki T125 Stinger twin as my only transport for a few years I bought one of the very first Yamaha RD400 to hit the CA streets in 1976. I think it was Cycle World that called it "A willing accomplice in crime" and so it was as I had 3 tickets in less than 6 weeks and had been pulled over by two other CHP Motor Officers just to talk bikes!! Having many friends in the after market industry in SoCal the bike did not stay stock for long. Drilled disks, two sets of pipes, air forks and custom Betor shocks as well as ported cylinders and even a cheap tuner trick of Kmart Epoxy Coils to replace the weak Yamaha pair. Then the second oil embargo hit. No problem.... lived just down the street from SoCal Racing Fuels. The high lead gas meant new plugs every two weeks but who cared? NO STREET LEGAL CAR short of the Porsche 930 Turbo could accelerate anyway near as quick as a stock $1200 RD400 and even the 930 could not stop as hard!! Even after Kawasaki came out with the 901CC Z1 the little Yamaha was faster light to light. No it could not keep up if you gave the big bike enough room but then the Z1 got lost once we got to the canyons too. All these years later and even including a fair share of road rash I still have to say that little 400cc 2 stroke was the most fun I ever had on the street....car or bike. Best money I ever spent on a vehicle legal on the street......but then there were the twin engine 200cc Roadracing Karts that I raced up and down the West Coast (in the East they are called Enduro Karts). These lay down, sticky tired, two strokes were just amazing to lay between two 14,000 rpm engines, one on each shoulder. Mine turned 14,200 going into turn 8 at Willow Springs Raceway at close to 140 mph pulling enough G's that you could not move once you turned into a corner until you straightened out. I still get goose bumps at the sound of a really hard running 2 stroke. As for their emissions there was never enough 2 stroke street bikes to add any measurable amount to the smog. I lived in the South Bay area of LA and the few hundred 2 strokes running on any given day did nothing compared the cleanest of the hundreds of thousands of cars. The Emission thing was a bogus "feel good" law that only accomplished removing the most fun street bikes ever made from the street.
mgb
If you can guarantee that they stay quiet as per the regulations, then OK, because the only thing more obnoxious than a 2-stroke engine noise is the sound of a Harley with or without a modified exhaust. I suppose all of these and all other engines can be quiet and clean and acceptable, but it is the owners of these machines that are at fault, modifying them into ear-splitting noise generatore; a bunch of inconsiderate jerks in my book.