Why Are 4-Strokes Cheaper Than 2-Strokes Now?

You may or may not have noticed, but in my area, as well as many others in the United States, you can buy a 4-stroke of the same year as a 2-stroke for the same, or even less dollars. Why is this, you ask? Well, there are many factors as to why this is happening. First of all, you have to realize that an “Asking price” is NOT the same as a “Selling price” in almost every scenario. While there are many people asking “X” amount of dollars for a certain model and year of bike, they are almost always selling it for less, even if their price is “Firm”.

 4-Strokes Still Dominate The Racing Realm

'05 YZ250F - $1500

While most racers in the U.S. are still buying new four-strokes because of their advantages, many are going back to the ol’ faithful two-stroke. Their reasoning? For one, they are sick of dealing with 4-strokes. The maintenance, the breaking, the rebuilding, the billing, and more maintenance. Now, I’m not a hater of 4-strokes, and what I just said isn’t always the case, because some of them last a long time with little maintenance, but in the long run they will almost always cost more to operate because of more moving parts. Yes, a 4-stroke engine has almost double the moving parts as a 2-stroke. 4-strokes are like ticking time bombs, because when something breaks, it usually takes out more parts, resulting in a grenade-like explosion.

Why Buy A Blender When You “Know” It’s Going To Break…

If the owners aren’t sick of their 4-stroke after the first rebuild, they usually are after a second time. Not only do the parts add up to a large sum, but if you have the work  done by a shop, it’s nearly doubled. You have a piston and rings, valves, timing chain, chain tensioner, valve springs, shims, possibly the cylinder head ($400 alone for most bikes) and cam(s), maybe the crankshaft, bearings (they add up quickly), and cylinder re-sleeved or plated if it got scored. Although not every part needs to be replaced after every engine failure, you can still see why it adds up to a much bigger bill than if you were to rebuild a 2-stroke. It’s not uncommon to see people paying the price of a used bike for an engine rebuild…. Now you know why there are so many 4-stroke motocross bikes in the classifieds that need to be rebuilt; people on a budget buy them, and when something happens, they don’t have money to fix them. To add to the fact, most people don’t know how to or aren’t confident enough to work on a 4-stroke engine because of their complexity, which is why they bring it to a shop to do (greatly increasing the rebuild cost).

'04 CR125R - $2000

I could give you a list of prices for new parts on an engine rebuild, but it just feels redundant. You can look it up if you really feel compelled (It won’t be pretty, especially after you consider the labor). It’s for this very reason that riders are switching to a 2-stroke. Racing is expensive, and if you don’t have much to start with, why dig a deeper hole?

Destroyed Head & Valves

It’s A Buyers Market

Back to the “Asking” and “Selling” price, most people post their bikes for more than they are actually worth. It’s because they see other bikes of the same or similar model and year for a certain amount, so they think theirs is worth that much too because that’s what they are “Going for”. That’s far from the truth. In fact, a lot of people never even sell their bikes because they are asking too much. Smart sellers, or someone that want a quick sale, will either take at least a couple hundred off of their price initially when posting it, or they negotiate when someone comes to look at it. The only time you will be able to sell your bike when you are “Firm” on the price is when it’s already much cheaper than any other bike like it on the market. Even then, a lot of people go down another hundred or so, just to get rid of it.

In the end, it’s all about supply and demand, and the demand for cheap 2-strokes is exponentially increasingbecause of how cheap it is to operate them over a long period of time.

Mint '07 CRF250R - $2100

 -Tom Stark

Note: this article is not to sway you to buy a 2-stroke. It is merely news and information on what the off-road motorcycle market is doing, and what people are currently buying. Although, it does make 2-strokes just that much more appealing!