A QUICK AND DIRTY HIS­TORY

Fast Bikes - - FEATURE -

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!

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