How To Properly Ride A 2 Stroke In The Woods

Need to know how to properly ride a 2 stroke in the woods? I’ve ridden many 2 and 4 stroke dirt bikes in the woods over the years and will share my experience about them to help you become a better rider. 

Learning to efficiently use the clutch is important on any dirt bike, but especially if you’re riding in the woods. You need to learn where the point of engagement is, and how to slip the clutch as little as possible. 

But before I get too deep into riding, here’s some common questions I see about 2 stroke dirt bikes. 

Is it hard to ride a 2 stroke dirt bike?

Riding a 2 stroke motocross bike is difficult if you’re new to riding. Mx bikes have an abrupt powerband that will put you on the ground if you’re not prepared. 

Once you get used to the power curve of a 2 stroke dirt bike, they’re not much harder to ride than a 4 stroke. It really depends on the terrain or type of riding you’re doing and which 2 stroke bike you’re on. 

Can you ride a 2 stroke dirt bike on trails?

Yes, you can ride any dirt bike on trails if it’s legal to do so. With that said, certain 2 stroke dirt bike models are harder to ride in the woods or on trails because of the abrupt power curve and lack of low-end torque. 

2 stroke vs 4 stroke dirt bike

There’s quite a few differences between a 2 stroke and 4 stroke dirt bike. A two stroke tends to feel a little bit lighter when riding it and has a snappier power curve. A four stroke has a broader powerband with more low end torque.

Riding in the woods on a 2 stroke or 4 stroke is a blast
Whether you’re on a 2 or 4 stroke, trail riding in the woods is a blast!

Which is better for beginners?

Must for strokes are better if you’re just starting out. With that said, 4 stroke motocross and enduro bikes are not good for beginners.

Which is better for trail riding?

There are 2 stroke and 4 stroke dirt bikes that are good for trail riding. It really depends on which model you get and what kind of trails you’re riding.

An air cooled 4 stroke trail bike is good for beginner and slower trails, but a liquid cooled enduro bike is better for high speed or technical trails. 


4 strokes tend to get overheated on slow trails more easily, but are generally smoother and more predictable. 

2 strokes feel lighter, but require a little more clutch work on tight single track trails. 

Best 2 stroke for trail riding/woods bike

There’s quite a few models available that are good for trail riding now. It depends on your experience, how much power you need, and the type of writing that you’re doing to figure out which two-stroke is best.

For slower and tighter trail riding the old kdx200 or the new beta 200 are the best 2 strokes out there. 

If you need more power, then the KTM 250XCW, Husqvarna TE300 or Beta 300 Xtrainer are among the best options. 

Best 2 stroke dirt bike for beginner

The Kawasaki KDX200 and Beta 200RR are the most beginner-friendly 2 stroke dirt bikes. They have the most bottom-end power for a smooth and predictable power curve, making them more forgiving to ride. The suspension is also plusher for a comfortable ride at lower speeds. 

Can a beginner ride a 250 2 stroke?

Learning to ride on a 250 2 stroke is going to be challenging if you’re new to riding off-road. It’s way more power than you need. I recommend a smaller or less powerful dirt bike if you’re a beginner.

Colorado Trip 2018 Edit 16 How To Properly Ride A 2 Stroke In The Woods

Are 2 strokes more maintenance?

Not necessarily. You will probably have to rebuild the top-end more often on a 2 stroke than a 4 stroke. However, there’s no valves that you have to check periodically on a 2 stroke. 

For example, you might get 150 hours of trail riding on a 2 stroke top end, but a 4 stroke ridden the same way might get 250-300 hours before needing a rebuild. 

Either way, doing simple routine maintenance is needed for either kind of dirt bike to make it last as long as possible. 

How to ride a 2 stroke dirt bike for beginners

The hardest things about riding a 2 stroke are getting used to using the clutch, learning the powerband, and properly shifting. 

It’s easy to wheelie and get out of control the first time on a 2 stroke. What you should do, as a beginner, is stay forward on the bike. Simply scoot up on the seat until you’ve ridden the bike long enough to know how it will react when you accelerate quickly. 

How to shift a 2 stroke dirt bike

If you’re on a small-bore 2 stroke dirt bike (under 200cc), then shifting is more important because it doesn’t have much bottom-end torque to accelerate. This means that you’ll want to get the RPM up higher before shifting up each gear. 

When you shift, simply let off the throttle and quickly shift the lever up and then get back on the gas to keep accelerating. 

Riding a 2 stroke in the woods

They’re fun because they’re lightweight feeling, but you have to ride them a little harder. What do I mean? You need to keep the RPM up higher to stay in the meet of the power, unless you’re on a bigger 2 stroke. 

Riding in the woods is all about momentum and corner speed. What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s most efficient to be smooth with the throttle, and you need to learn how to brake later and start accelerating sooner around the corners. 

How to become a better rider on your 2 stroke

Practice makes perfect, but that’s only if you have proper riding technique. Having the right dirt bike can help you become a better rider faster, but you need to learn the basics first. This would include clutch and throttle control, balancing, proper riding position, and more. 

Want to take the first step in starting out the right way? Or maybe you want to fix some habits that you may or may not know you have? Click here to learn more. 


Kelley Fager

I help newer riders learn to safely ride with confidence by teaching basic techniques in a way that's easy to understand. Learn To Ride With Control Here

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