5 Best 2-Stroke Dirt Bikes

This article may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.

While the development of 2-stroke dirt bikes has been slow in recent years, brands like Yamaha, Suzuki, KTM, and Kawasaki still have some impressive models.

Also Read: Best 250cc Dirt Bikes

Small European manufacturers like Gas Gas continue to bet solely on two-strokes, and their efforts have enabled the bike to survive in this millennium. Some of the best 2-stroke dirt bikes in the market include:

1. Yamaha YZ250

Yamaha YZ250 (source)

The Yamaha YZ250 has an impressive track record in motocross and supercross. If you are in the market for explosive performance, this bike will not disappoint.

It is powered by a 249 liquid-cooled two-stroke motor. This compact engine is characterized by a wide and hard-hitting powerband. The bike features a lightweight aluminum chassis to keep the weight at 103kg for optimum agility.

The Yamaha YZ250 provides 5-speed transmission, and shifting will be incredibly smooth thanks to the multi-plate clutch.

The Speed-Sensitive System has been fitted on the bike’s 48mm forks to separate the air/oil function. Air will, therefore, not enter the cartridge, and the bike will have more stable damping.

The suspension system of the YZ250 consists of a swingarm, shock, and linkage borrowed from the YZ-F 4-stroke bikes. You can expect excellent traction and shock absorption while riding the bike.

To make the YZ250 more modern, Yamaha has introduced bolder graphics and sharper bodyworks on the bike. Riders can also enjoy wider footrests and an advanced clutch adjuster.

2. Suzuki RM250

Suzuki RM250 (source)

The golden years for the Suzuki RM250 was between 2003 and 2008 when Suzuki and Yamaha were locked in a competition for the best two-stroke. The bike may have been discontinued in 2008, but it still offers the 2-stroke appeal.

The RM250 is praised for its fast and reliable motor and its capable suspension system. Pre-2003 models were hard to jet, which is why you should opt for more recent ones.

Still, parts availability for the RM250 is excellent, and you can get it for a good bargain.

3. Honda CR250R

Honda CR250R

Honda CR250R (source)

The Honda CR250R is a prized commodity in the dirt bike market, and it has a celebrated history in amateur and professional races.

The model’s production run began in 1978 and ended in 2007. During this time, it went through multiple makeovers that changed its identity many times.

Some riders covet a 1996 Honda CR250R since it had accumulated several significant upgrades. The models between 2000 to 2001 are also in high demand.

In 2000, for example, the dirt bike was fitted with a second-generation aluminum chassis that made it incredibly light and fast. The CR250R received an electronic power valve in 2002, but it turned out that it was driven by an underpowered motor.

The bike is readily available today, and you can get a good bargain on it.

4. Kawasaki KX500

Kawasaki KX500 (source)

The Kawasaki KX500 first made an appearance in 1992, at a time when there were no 500cc motocrossers. The bike produced a colossal amount of power, and its popularity was mainly relegated to desert racing.

Kawasaki enjoyed a desert championship run from 1988 to 1996 that saw riders like Larry Roeseler, Ty Davis, and Danny LaPorte win the Baja Mill for the brand.

The Kawasaki KX500 is a vintage find on today’s market, and it is especially plentiful in the Southwest. The best thing about the KX500 is its indestructibility.

It features an electrofusion-coated cylinder that just keeps going, while the frame is designed to take a lot of abuse on the road.

The best Kawasaki KX500 are those produced from 2000 to when production stopped in 2004. It will suit off-roaders looking for a powerful, fast, and aggressive bike to take on dirt runs.

5. KTM 250 SX

KTM 250 SX (source)

The history of the KTM 250 SX dates back to 2002 when it was released as one of the fastest two-strokes in the market. KTM has equipped the bike with multiple upgrades since then to make it more powerful and reliable on the track.

The 250SX is still in production, which means that you can get a new one if you want advanced technologies. It currently comes with an electric start function and a kick start for convenience.

Are 2 Stroke Dirt Bikes Better than 4 Strokes?

The debate between 2-strokes and 4-strokes is as old as time since one is not technically more superior than the other. It depends on preferences, but it helps to weigh the pros and cons of each.

Two-strokes are more powerful, and they produce more torque at a higher RPM. 4-stroke bikes deliver higher torque at a lower RPM, and they are often twice the size of their smaller siblings.

Four strokes are more convenient to use since they do not need the premixing of oil and fuel as two-strokes do. Two-strokes are, however, easier to repair since they have a simpler design and fewer parts. Repair costs on the four-strokes can become quite expensive although they are more durable.

Why are 2-Strokes so Fast?

2-strokes have the advantage of being lighter and more compact, which ensures that they are fast and agile on the track. 2-strokes also hit hard to make an explosive start, and they are easier to throw around with a faster punch per cc.

2 Stroke or 4 Stroke Dirt Bikes are Best for Beginners?

Beginners should look at factors like handling, power delivery, and maintenance when choosing a dirt bike to buy.

4-stroke bikes put power to the ground, and they give riders more control over their riding style. They deliver more predictable power and are therefore ideal for trail riding.

Two-strokes shine in sandy and loose dirt like sand dunes.

4-strokes are easy to ride, and they are perfect for long runs. They use less oil, which means that you don’t have to stop now and then for gas as you would on a 2-stroke.

Two-strokes are cheaper, however, and you can get excellent bargains on used ones. 4-strokes are generally more expensive to make.

Are 2-Stroke Dirt Bikes Engines Banned?

EPA regulations do not apply to off-road vehicles, and two-stroke dirt bikes can, therefore, be ridden in trails and tracks.


Two-stroke dirt bikes are incredibly resilient, and they continue to counter the dominance of their four-stroke counterparts.

Two-strokes are formidable beasts on the track since they are fast, quick, and agile.

Brands like Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Honda, and Yamaha have relied on two-strokes for many professional and amateur races.

Josh Berry - MotoShark Editor
Josh Berry
I'm a off-road enthusiast, extreme sport fan and the editor of MotoShark. If you have any questions or suggestions regarding this article, please leave a comment or contact me.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *