One of the questions that I get asked the
most is, which is better a 2 stroke or 4 stroke and how do they compare? As someone who has switched back
and forth many times I think I have a pretty good grasp on the subject.
A couple of years ago it looked like we would all be on 4t’s in the near future just like in
motocross with the FIM having a rule that all competitors would have to ride 4t’s. That rule never came to pass and
the majority of world round riders still choose the 2t, though a 4t has won the last three world championships.
For the most part the manufactures still produce more 2t models than 4t.
So which is better? Well I have customers who swear by the 4t and say
it has made them a better rider, then I have others who got a 4t, tried to like it, but in the end went back to a 2t and now
are much happier. These are riders that ride in the same class. I can also say my results in a trial don’t change at
all from a 4t to a 2t. The one area that I will say a 4t is clearly better is on the loop/trail riding. If you’re looking
for a trials bike to go trail riding or anything outside a section then a 4t is the way to go. Their smooth, wide, torque
powerbands make trail work much more enjoyable. So what about in a section? The 4t has a smoother slower
revving power that finds traction much better than a 2t. The 4t also has more bottom end power for those who like to ride
in the lower RPM range. The 2t is a little lighter, quicker revving and a little more forgiving, as in it’s less likely
to stall on you.
Riding the bikes takes a little different technique as well. With a 4t you need to leave the power on a little longer
while going over an obstacle, this due to the increased engine braking, if you chop the throttle too early it can toss you
right over the bars. With a 2t you have to use more clutch while riding and be smooth with the throttle. While
the modern 4t’s do weigh a few pounds more I don’t find it to be much of a factor, I can hop them about as well
as a 2t.
Unlike MX 4t’s,
trials 4t’s don’t require any more maintenance than a 2t, other than more time consuming oil changes. Just like
the low revving 2t’s don’t go through top ends neither do their 4t cousins. I’ve checked the valves many
times on my bikes and not once did they ever need adjusting. Price is the big breaking point though, with
the average 4t costing $1,000 more than a 2t.
So I still haven’t answered the question, which bike is better. Well after riding and owning many of both there’s
no clear answer, I always enjoy switching back to the other. What I do find interesting is when I let people ride my 4t’s
some come back loving it and others come back hating it. For me if I had to buy one bike and have it forever it would be a
250cc 2t, mainly due to price and the fact that 2t’s just don’t really have any faults, but those 4 strokes are
sure fun to ride, and isn’t that why we all ride?