During the last 20 years two-stroke motorcycles have practically vanished from the streets, substituted by cleaner, safer and more reliable four-strokes. Their demise is unquestionably a good thing when it comes to air quality in big cities, but despite this many people still miss them, seeking solace in restorations and custom builds.
For those who understand this nostalgia, here are ten modern motorcycles that keep the oil-burning spirit alive. Some are available to buy, although most of them can hardly be considered cheap, easy to find or environmentally-friendly. The dilemma, of course, is that they’re all likely to deliver a delicious ride.
In 1975 a certain Mr. Giacomo Agostini won the 500 cc class of the Grand Prix World Championship on a two-stroke Yamaha. After the historic triumph these machines whitewashed the field until 2001, when Valentino Rossi conquered his first 500GP title on a Honda NSR500; the last ever by a two-stroke smoker.
In off road racing the two-strokes had already made their mark by the mid-1950s, going on to dominate the scene in the early 1960s.