Moto Media

2 stroke v 4 stroke

The 2 stroke v 4 stroke debate has become a hot topic in NZMX with speculations running high on 2 strokes exclusion from NZ MX Championship MX2 class.


Facts and opinions from NZ riders racing NZ and Australia’s MX Championships state the 250F is easier to ride, tests faster lap times and is the preferred bike for Factory Team riders yet is too costly for privateer/amateur riders to maintain over 4-10 Round Series.


NZ MX Champion Darryll King puts the debate in perspective;  "My overall preference is the 250F. I’ve always been quicker and felt more comfortable on that bike. In saying that the 2 stroke has a couple more horse power at the top end and this can help on fast tracks. For me personally, when I won the MX2 NZ MX Titles in 2011 and 2012 I didn’t have the funds or time to keep up with tuning the 250F. The 2 stroke suited my schedule. In 2012 I had a huge disadvantage against the 250F of McCoy and Burkhart and relied on my skills and determination to win 2 Motos and the Overall MX2 Title by 1 point. It came down to more than 2 stroke v 4 stroke."


For NZ riders competing in Australia’s MX Nationals 250 2 stroke is the cheaper option, hauls off the start line and is the preferred bike for riders wanting to race at Pro level on a budget.


NZ’s Kayne Lamont (Husqvarna Red Bull) states: "Definitely racing on 250 2 stroke is the only way to be competitive with a Factory 4 stroke. Privateers don’t have access to the same bike components and tested information as Factory Teams do."


Kayne’s overall preference is clear: "250F is so much easier to ride, also you can generate corner speed a lot easier on a 4 stroke and corner speed generates straight speed."


Other parts of the debate range from; "Is this topic more about which Brands sell 2 strokes and which Brands want to sell more 4 strokes" or "Which riders are more suited to racing and winning on 250F or a 2 stroke," or; "how many entries will NZ MX Championship get if MX2 is exclusively 4 stroke?"


I put these questions to NZ riders past and present, Australia’s MX National MX2 Round 5 and 7 winner along with NZ MX Champion and Vice World Champion 2 times over Josh Coppins.


For Australia’s MX National MX2 Round 7 winner Caleb Ward:  "I think having 2 strokes in with 4 strokes is obviously beneficial for privateers and keeps numbers up in MX2. But if you do well on a 2 stroke there is some doubt whether or not you can have the same success on a 4 stroke and you may not get as much credit for a win on a 2 stroke. I believe that isn’t really right as it comes down to the rider more than anything in most cases."


NZ’s Blake Gillard (KTM and YZ) makes the point clear;  "Should the 250 2 stroke be banned? Not at all, should there be restrictions on what can be done to them? YES!! The reason people say they’re riding a 2 stroke is because they are cheap, well why not make them extremely cheap, production rules with an exception for suspension work. I think a standard 250 2 stroke and a race 250F are a very close comparison."


Final say - Josh Coppins;  "If I had aspirations to race overseas I’d definitely be leaning towards the 250F. For sure, it’s harder to make a very fast bike on a limited budget but Yamaha have a very good 250F that can be competitive for an amateur/privateer which is relatively cheap and reliable. I know this having run 250F in NZ MX Nationals 2013 then both 250F and 250 2 stroke in 2014." 


Overall there are many arguments, from every angle, on all the above topics. For me, bottom line is the best rider will win and if NZ’s top riders are serious about an International MX career at some point they will have to get on a 4 stroke.  

Sharon Cox