Karen’s Corner: Two-Strokes vs. Four-Strokes and Why Corpo Culture is to Blame

When we ran across Karen at a local motocross track berating anyone and everyone around, we knew we had to let her write for us, because, well, she’s very “unique” and that’s what we do here at Vurb. Keep in mind, her opinions do not reflect ours or anyone on the staff at Vurb. Karen has our own opinions about things, which she likes to voice.

Let me start off with this: As far as the two-stroke vs. four-stroke argument goes, my opinion is straight down the middle. The way I figure it, a dirtbike’s a dirtbike; if it’s got two wheels and a motor, it’s the bees knees in my book (not including those electric bikes. Have your wife send the milkman over to my house when she’s done with him, e-boys). But I firmly believe that two-strokes are a truly load-bearing piece of motocross culture. Even if you ride a four-banger that ran you 12 racks, you still want two-strokes around.

First of all, two-strokes sound fing awesome. Theirs is the true sound of moto. Remember, only two-stroke can “braap”. Four-strokes sound more like a two-stroke and a fart had a baby. Ain’t nothing wrong with that, still fun to ride. Just calling it like it is.

But more importantly, two-strokes are DIY friendly. You don’t need a masters in mechanical enginology to work on one. Beyond the cost difference, the time you need to dedicate to maintaining a respectable two-stroke is a fraction of what it takes to properly maintain a 2021 robot bike four-stroke. This all equates to the sport being more available to more people, more money in the pockets of the brands that keep the sport alive, and more faces at the races to impress with some dope-ass butt scrubs.

And now I can already hear y’all chirping, “But Karen, two-strokes just ain’t competitive with four-strokes.” And it’s true, because not only here in America, but also in them tea-and-crumpets GP races, a bunch of old shitbrains that didn’t know a knobby from a nail clipper decided that four-strokes should be allowed double the displacement against two-strokes. And that’s STILL the rule! Utterly ridiculous and I know it’s 2020 and the world’s got lots of issues, but we ought to push this one further up the docket: Do not be c.c. discriminate; a 250’s a 250, no matter the strokes.

Sure, a 250 two-stroke puts out more ponies than a 250 four-stroke. I know. I’m smarter than you. But here’s the thing: four strokes are easier to ride, plain and simple. Don’t give me any guff about power or speed; a modern four-stroke is essentially idiot-proof. The things practically ride themselves. It’s actually a big part of the appeal of a four-stroke, the fact that it’s basically Postmates for dirtbikes. No more pausing TLC re-runs to get off the couch and go get food for this girl!

So what’s the issue? Just like with many things, it starts with the big wigs. The suits. The corporatists. These people (mostly men who need to pay women to knock their junk around to feel alive) do not give a woodchuck’s hairy ass about motocross. They like money, plain as day. It’s the only thing they care about. And fact is, four-strokes make more money. They’re more complex, use more parts and the technology moves quick enough to render bikes obsolete in about 2-3 years tops. The more pointless bells and whistles they throw on ‘em, the more gullible consumers run to the dealerships so they can put a “Spoke with my wallet” thread on Vital to get props from the rest of those virgins.

And after that purchase, it’s monthly trips to the dealership because ain’t an eskimo’s chance in Ecuador that an average rider possesses the tools and mechanical wherewithal to work on a modern day four-stroke. It’s the exact same business model that luxury car builders use, as well as that acid-trippin’ zombie Steve Jobs. And they know a thing or two about fleecing innocent consumers for their hard-earned paper.

Basically, two-strokes are too good to have long-term profit potential. Now it’d be a different story if the manufacturers actually put effort into developing the tech, but nowadays it’s commonplace for the only remaining smoke-sellers to toss on a fresh set of BNG’s and call it a new model. And you know what? I’m fine with that. The bikes are good. They’re fun. Sure, I’d like some fuel injection and electric start without having to buy bark busters and an oversized gas tank, but really at the end of the day, I’m not complaining about the modern two-strokes.

What I am complaining about is the erasure of two-strokes from our sport’s history. Chairman Honda gave up on two-strokes a long time ago because they love destroying things that make people happy, but it’s in fact Kawasaki that is the egregious in this regard. In 2020, they got rid of the F. They literally don’t give an F about two-strokes. It’s like they never even existed. I called my local Kawi dealer for some KX250 reeds, and that sumbitch was all shoulders. “Ma’am, the KX250 don’t have reeds.” Tell that to 2005 Bubba, partner.

There ain’t much of a point to what I’m saying—just ride dirtbikes and enjoy. But don’t forget about two-strokes. Next time you see a 2020 Kawi at the track, go over there with a Sharpie and paint that mofo with the grade it deserves.

Keep two-strokes alive. Give an F.



Written by Karen

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