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.
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!
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.
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...
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 !
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 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.
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.