How to: Enjoy life with a two-stroke
Two-strokes are magical beasts, but owning one requires plenty of TLC
Get well lubricated
A four-stroke retains its oil, swilling it around in the crankcase until you change it, but two-strokes burn their main engine lubrication. Most have oil injection – just keep the tank topped up and the pump keeps it fed. Pre-mix requires you to mix oil with fuel at a precise rate eg x-amount per litre of fuel added. High-performance two-strokes should be run on fully synthetic. Simpler models are fine on semi-synthetic.
Don’t just get on and go
Warming up is a crucial part of ownership, more so than four-strokes. The ports in the barrel wall mean the metal expands unevenly, so it can develop localised friction and overly-tight tolerances, causing damage and seizures. The method of lubrication by its nature is less efficient too, so it’s crucial to get the bike up to 50 degrees or so before setting off and being careful for a mile or two to allow it to fully loosen up.
The other side of the lubrication system requires its own oil – a transmission-specific oil is best, as it’s tailored to caring for the clutch and meshing gears, though regular four-stroke crankcase oil will do the job. The level should remain constant – any rise usually indicates coolant leaking in through failed seals. Any drop without an obvious external leak could signal a failed crank end seal.
NEXT WEEK How to put your bike to bed