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I have recently started shopping for a vintage enduro to serve as my next project after completing my 1972 Harley-Davidson Shovelhead named “Cal.” (Read more about naming your motorcycle). I am definitely zeroing in on the earliest history of the dual-sport and noting that many of the earliest bikes were generally two-stroke vs. four-stroke motorcycles. Additionally, they were generally street models retrofitted for off-road use.
Thinking about the line between two-stroke vs. four-stroke motorcycles, I wanted to make sure readers out there understand the difference. Eventually HappyWrench is going to be an encyclopedia of motorcycle knowledge – until then, I just need to cover one topic at a time. 🙂
The Differences Between Two-Stroke vs. Four-Stroke Motorcycles
A topic like this warrants a sweet table to cleanly ennumerate the differences between two-stroke vs. four-stroke motorcycles. Check out the breakdown below to get a better understanding of these two engine types and how it translates into positives and negatives regarding performance and maintenance.
|Spec||Two-Stroke (Positives)||Two-Stroke (Negatives)|
|Power Sequence:||Compression and Combustion – Intake & Exhaust function combined|
|Firing:||Once every revolution|
|Power Output:||Can essentially produce twice as much power of a four-stroke of same size|
|Power Delivery:||Hard hitting – higher top speed||Can be harder to control|
|Noise:||The two stroke is louder than its four-stroke counterpart and can exceed noise ordinances|
|Weight:||Feel lighter and more nimble due to the reduced weight||Due to the simpler power sequence, good compressed gas is lost during the upstroke|
|Environmental:||Not environmentally friendly and less fuel efficient|
|Repair/Maintenance:||The maintenance is much simpler requiring fewer parts and cost||Require more frequent maintenance|
|Four-Stroke (Positives)||Four-Stroke (Negatives)|
|Power Sequence:||Intake, Compression, Power, Exhaust|
|Firing:||Once every other revolution|
|Power Delivery:||Smooth, easier to control across power band|
|Weight:||Due to the more complicated power sequence, additional parts including valves are required|
|Repair/Maintenance:||Required less often||Can be expensive due to the additional parts|
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