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Posts Tagged ‘two-stroke’

MX Sports Delays Rule Change to Allow 250 Two-Strokes in the Pro Lites Class for 2009


MX Sports

For months there have been rumors that MX Sports would allow 250 two-strokes in the Motocross Lites class for 2009. This effectively put both “strokes” on a level playing field, with no CC advantage.

However, it looks as though this is not going to happen. Due to the CPSC Ban on Youth Motocross, Davey Coombs and the MX Sports grew have decided that it is probably not in the sports best interest to concentrate their efforts on this issue.

However, I feel that this major rule change could have had a very large positive impact on the motocross community and delaying it will ultimately cause a negative effect on the development of the sport. While the far reaching affects of this act are impossible to summarize in one article, here are some of the major areas where I believe a 250 two stoke in the Lites class could have significantly benefitted the sport.

More Defined Class Names

Class names may seem like a trivial aspect of the motocross community, but to a newcomer to the motocross community, the current class names are extremely confusing.

While the AMA tried to change the class names from “250” and “125” to “Motocross” and “Lites,” this effort has all but failed. The new names are arguably worse than the old and tell newcomers to the sport absolutely nothing about each class.

As a result, many people have stuck with the traditional numerical denominations. But, that has led to further confusion. For newcomers it can be an extremely hard concept to grasp why a “250” four stroke would race in the “125” class. Unless you truly understand the stark difference between the two engine configurations, the placement of four strokes makes almost no sense.

The confusion continues with the experienced members of the motosphere. While most motocross riders know that “250” four strokes ride in the “125” class, when discussing events in the class, conversations can get very confusing.

Imagine if your friend said “Hey man, did you see the crash at the start of the 250 moto?” Because so many riders are now on four strokes, some people have begun calling the “125” class the “250” class and the “250” class the “450” class, so when people actually use the common number, “250,” it is unclear which class they mean.

On the other hand, if the AMA went ahead and allowed 250 two-strokes in the “Lites” class, this issue would be all but cleared up. The “Lites” class, whether officially or unofficially, could be talked about as the “250” class and the “Motocross” class could be reffered to as the “450” class. This would clear up confusion both for newcomers and seasoned vets of the sport and would ultimately help the sport in its current branding crisis.

Two Strokes are More Economical for Privateers

Photo by Karel Kramer.

While Factory riders may not care about the economic difference between two strokes and four strokes, for privateers it can make a huge difference. In the current economic trouble our country is in, struggling privateers need all the help they can get. Riding a two strokes, especially a 250cc two stroke in the “Lites” class, can be just this economic relief.

To begin with, Two Strokes are cheaper to purchase. However, the savings do not stop there. Two Strokes are easier to maintain and easier to workout, saving privateers money on mechanic fees. These small savings could have a huge effect on the lives of privateer motocross racers in the current times of economic turmoil.

Furthermore, a 250cc two stroke is competitive out of the box with 250 four strokes. In the Lites class where power is everything, not having to pay for expensive modifications can save a privateer thousands of dollars a year.

By lowering the costs to privateers, allowing 250cc two strokes to race in the Lites class will once again put privateers on a relatively level playing field which is a bonus for the sport as a whole as it will allow more riders to make the tough transition from local pro to national pro.

More Variety In the Pro Pack

This may be a matter of personal taste, but I love seeing some personality and some variety in the pro pack. The same cookie cutter personalities and standard bike setups may be easy to market for the factories backing the major teams, but for me it makes motocross something it should never be, boring.

I love seeing variety and personality on the pro motocross track. Whether this is in the riders or their bikes, it makes the nationals more exciting as a spectator. In the same sense that cialis generic no prescription

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“Why We Will See a new Jason Lawrence in 2009″>Jason Lawrence lights up the entire motocross community each time he opens his mouth, two strokes help to make races more exciting.

Maybe its just the sound of a freshly tuned premix bike, or maybe it is because two strokes are advantageous in certain sections of the track and four strokes in others, but something about having a heterogeneous field greatly increases the excitement of any pro moto and helps to shake up the results a bit. This is ultimately a bonus for the sport as it shakes up the results and prevents the same two or three riders from winning every week.

Inspires Competition

250 two strokes in the lites class would inspire privateers to compete. Photo by MX Matt

Two Strokes in the Lites class would inspire privateers to compete for readily. Photo by Matt Wellumson (MX Matt).

As the two strokes will help to enhance the variety within the pro pack, it will also help to further inspire privateers and local pros to go up against the factory riders. If they know that they are automatically on a more level playing field with the 250 four strokes of the factory riders, then they will be much more inspired to go out to the national week in and week out to compete against the factory riders.

This will benefit the sport by adding variety to the field, helping to diversify the pack between factory and privateer riders. This will allow more riders to make it big time in the pro ranks and deepen the depth of talent within the pro ranks.

Promotes the Popularity of Two Strokes Among General Public

Two Strokes would become more popular with the general public under these new rules. photo by Cori Chesnutt.

Photo by Cori Chesnutt

Alright, there may be some convoluted reasoning in this point, but it makes sense, believe me. If Mx Sports had gone through with their original plan of allowing 250cc two strokes in the “Lites” class, they would instantly make these bikes more popular among the pro riders. Penny pinching privateers as well as vets looking to have a good time would almost undoubtedly choose 250cc two strokes over the easier to ride, yet less fun and more expensive 250cc four strokes.

Because the two strokes would once again regain popularity among some of the pros, they would also begin to gain popularity among the general public. There is no denying that as a sport we follow the pros, and if some pros switched back tot two strokes, I believe that certain local riders would also make this switch. Once otherpeople began to see the fun which can be had on a two stroke, the transition would spread throughout the motocross community.

I'm not saying that two strokes would ever return to the dominance they had a few years ago, however, they will gain a strong cult following and be able to sustain themselves as a viable alternative to the four stroke motocross bike.

Who Doesn’t Love the Two Strokes?

Everyone loves the classic sound of a two stroke. Photo by Paul Buckley

Everyone loves the classic sound of a two stroke. Photo by Paul Buckley.

Let’s face it, anyway who has ridden motocross for any number of years loves the sound of a two-stroke. Nothing beats hearing a 250cc two stroke rip through a deep loam berm. For this same reason, any motocross enthusiast wants to see two-strokes brought back to professional motocross just for the sake of it.

It may seem like a trivial concern, but something about an all four stroke pro moto just seems booring to me. I would love to be able to hear another pro moto with two strokes at the front of the pack. Something about it would just add some variety and originality back to the pro motocross community and return something to pro motos which has been missing since the demise of the two stroke.

Further Resources

Want to read more about the failed attempt by MX Sports to allow the 250cc two stroke to race in the “Lites” class? Check out the resources below.

What do you think of this news? Were you looking forward to seeing 250cc two strokes on the same level as 250cc four strokes? Or do you think concentrating our efforts on the Lead fiasco is more beneficial to the development of the sport?


What Killed the Two-Stroke Motocross Bike and What May Bring it Back

The two-stroke motocross bike is all but dead. The epic staple of the motocross industry from decades ago is now an aging relic. The trademark br-a-a-a-a-a-a-a-p of a properly tuned 125cc two-stroke motocross bike is now a rarity, and the four-strokes have already begun their assault on the mini bike classes.
In years past, the two-stroke was the ultimate in motocross bike technology. Paul Buckley Photo.
-Photo by Paul Buckley.

The fact that two-strokes are quickly becoming an antique in the motocross world is undeniable. But what exactly killed this ingenious technology? Two-strokes are lighter, faster (at the same displacement), cheaper to buy and maintain, and easier to work on. On paper they are a clear victor over the louder, heavier, more expensive and more complicated four-strokes. So, what exactly is responsible for the demise of the two-stroke?

Racing Organizations (AMA/FIM)

When the four-stroke was first introduced, it was a joke. Heavy, expensive, loud and slow. Riding one was more of a way to make a statement about your personality than to actually ride the best bike available. So, racing organizations such as the AMA and FIM felt it necessary to give them a (huge) handicap. Almost double displacement for Motocross/Supercross class and exactly twice the displacement for the Lites classes. At the time this felt like a sensible move. The newer technology needed the extra motor size in order to even be remotely competitive.

The problem with the assumption by the AMA and FIM that the four-strokes are slower by nature is that it is wrong. Sure, you can make an argument that the piston travels four time as far for one revolution, but in practice, four-strokes can produce almost the same amount of power as an equally displaced two-stroke. As technology has evolved, the twice as large four-stroke engines have rocketed ahead of two-strokes, making two-strokes too slow for serious competition in the pro or national amateur levels.

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