A QUICK AND DIRTY HISTORY
1881 Glaswegian legend Dugald Clerk invents the two-stroke. Clerk is still celebrated to this day by the Society of Automotive Engineers with an award named in his honour. It all starts here. 1894 Joseph Day patents a modified version of Clerk’s original design. Day’s engine is the true forerunner of the recognisable modern two-stroke. Despite the man’s obvious contribution, in 1946, Day dies in obscurity, penniless. 1908 Formation of the Scott Motorcycle Company. Alfred Angas Scott is born in Bradford but raised in the Scottish Borders (what is it with Scotland and inventors?). His company launches with a revolutionary 450cc, two-stroke liquid-cooled twin. Scott’s bikes are so good, race officials deem them to be ‘too efficient’ and penalise his bikes with a capacity multiplication factor of 1.32. 1926 German Adolf Schnürle develops the ‘loop scavenged’ two-stroke. Also referred to as Schnürle porting, his design unlocks yet more two-stroke power and efficiency. 1934 DKW start making a range of small ‘loop scavenged’ two-stroke bikes. They’re so good that the BSA Bantam is a direct copy of the DKW RT125. As is Japanese musical instrument maker, Nippon Gakki Corporation’s, first ever motorcycle – otherwise known as the Yamaha YA-1 ‘Red Dragonfly’. 1961 East Germany’s MZ are the first to squeeze over 200bhp/litre from a normally aspirated engine. The brains behind this breakthrough is Walter Kaaden. Factory MZ racer and associate of Kaaden, Ersnt Degner defects to the West after the Swedish Grand Prix at Kristianstad. Degner took Walter Kaaden’s engine designs with him to Suzuki that same year. 1974 Suzuki campaigns the 500cc square-four XR14 for the first time. Utilising the secrets Degner stole fromWalter Kaaden, Suzuki go on to win four world titles and 50 races with this basic design. It’s also the bike that launched Barry Sheene’s racing career. 1975 Giacomo Agostini wins the 500GP championship on a twostroke Yamaha. It’s 27 years before a four-stroke wins a another World title. 1984 Yamaha unleash a 500GP bike for the road. The V4 RD500LC. Sadly, it’s no weapon and Yamaha pull it after just two years. 1985 Suzuki follow Yamaha’s lead with their RG500. The RG also struggles to live up to the hype and it’s gone forever in 1987. 1997 Bimota unveil their fuel injected V-twin two-stroke to theWorld. Unfortunately, the V-Due is not the saviour of the two-stroke. It is in fact the annihilator of the company that created it. 1998 Japanese manufacturers drop sports two-strokes from their showrooms altogether. 2002 The FIM change the rules and allow 990cc four-strokes to compete against 500cc two-strokes. The turkey shoot is renamed MotoGP and it effectively marks the end of the line for factory backed two-strokes. 2004 Last of an era. Aprilia finally close the page and kill off the RS250. 2017 KTM introduce two mass market fuel injected two-stroke models. The stink wheel lives on!