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Is it possible to get a 2-stroke that is a lemon?

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One of the most appealing things to me about getting a used 2T bike is the fact that maintenance seems like it would be pretty easy and cheap. I figure that if, after doing a general check of the bike, then really you just have to worry about basic wear items (including a top end rebuild every so often, which I've read is fairly easy and inexpensive).

4Ts on the other hand are much riskier to buy because any type of engine rebuild that needs to be done is much more expensive and complex (according to everything I've read). Therefore, if you were to buy a used 4T, and it needed a rebuild, then you're looking at $1000+ to fix it. For this reason, I don't want to ever buy a used 4T.

Basically I'm just wondering if I were to pick up a used 2T next summer for around $1500 to $2000, is there a chance that it would be a major lemon that requires all types of work and money, or can 2Ts theoretically last forever so long as you just replace the wear items (tires, gear oil, air filter, chain, carb cleaning, top end rebuild, etc...)?

Thanks!

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Get a bike from the right person. Any bike could be a lemon. Weather its Clean or dirty it doesn't matter the outside but the inside is what matters. Buying a used 4 stroke most people will be honest with the problems on the motorcycle. Cuz if you kick it 20 times. Something is wrong. Or you flooded the engine haha. Really take someone you know has bike knowledge to help you pick it out. Good luck!!

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I got out of a complete rebuild on my 525 for about $1000... new piston, replaced nearly every bearing/seal in engine and chassis, repaired/replaced a LOT of parts...

 

Just a top-end going-through every year or two only costs me $300-ish.  I can knock it out in two weekends (mostly part lead time/shipping).  One day to tear it down and clean everything up, get parts shipped out and order new stuff... another day to get it all back together and running. 

 

I think the maintenance "nightmares" are blown way out of proportion on the thumpers.

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One of the most appealing things to me about getting a used 2T bike is the fact that maintenance seems like it would be pretty easy and cheap. I figure that if, after doing a general check of the bike, then really you just have to worry about basic wear items (including a top end rebuild every so often, which I've read is fairly easy and inexpensive).

4Ts on the other hand are much riskier to buy because any type of engine rebuild that needs to be done is much more expensive and complex (according to everything I've read). Therefore, if you were to buy a used 4T, and it needed a rebuild, then you're looking at $1000+ to fix it. For this reason, I don't want to ever buy a used 4T.

Basically I'm just wondering if I were to pick up a used 2T next summer for around $1500 to $2000, is there a chance that it would be a major lemon that requires all types of work and money, or can 2Ts theoretically last forever so long as you just replace the wear items (tires, gear oil, air filter, chain, carb cleaning, top end rebuild, etc...)?

Thanks!

 

A lot of little things can add up to be something big, like if you start having to replace pipes, bearings, clutch, brakes, etc. 

 

All of those are consumable items, but you should avoid getting a bike that needs all those items. If you do, your $2k smoker will turn into a $3k+ smoker before you know it. Just remember that it's very hard to find a bike used bike that's perfect and you'll likely have to do at least some minor repairs on a bike that cheap.

Edited by Sierra_rider

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A lot of little things can add up to be something big, like if you start having to replace pipes, bearings, clutch, brakes, etc.

All of those are consumable items, but you should avoid getting a bike that needs all those items. If you do, your $2k smoker will turn into a $3k+ smoker before you know it. Just remember that it's very hard to find a bike used bike that's perfect and you'll likely have to do at least some minor repairs on a bike that cheap.

Ya but most little things can be checked simply by test riding the bike and carefully inspecting everything before buying. My main concern is whether or not there is any ONE major thing on a 2T that costs a significant amount of money to fix and/or is extremely difficult to do by yourself. Like on a 4T, if there is major engine work needed, then that could cost thousands, and your average guy may not have the capabilities to fix it himself.

I was just wondering if there is anything on a 2T that is super expensive (and too complicated for the average dude with just basic wrenching abilities).

Edited by Irishman301

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Ya but most little things can be checked simply by test riding the bike and carefully inspecting everything before buying. My main concern is whether or not there is any ONE major thing on a 2T that costs a significant amount of money to fix and/or is extremely difficult to do by yourself. Like on a 4T, if there is major engine work needed, then that could cost thousands, and your average guy may not have the capabilities to fix it himself.

I was just wondering if there is anything on a 2T that is super expensive (and too complicated for the average dude with just basic wrenching abilities).

 

Nothing is too hard. Cylinders and cranks are the expensive bits.

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Cool!

So if cylinders and cranks are the worst of the worst on 2 bangers...any idea how much they cost roughly if needing replacement and if they are difficult to do by yourself?

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Transmissions wear too.....

Dirtbikes as a whole are wear items, there isn't a part that can't be broken or worn out.

Edited by Blowin_Trannys
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Ya I know that everything is a wear item. My main concern was just that, assuming I do a thorough inspection, and my intuition tells me to trust the guy selling it, that I won't get the bike home and come to find out a week later that it's going to need a $1000+ repair or something. My understanding is that this isn't the case with 2Ts, but very well can be the case with 4Ts.

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Depends on your budget really. I've bought bikes that were great and needed nothing the entire time I've owned them and bought others that have needed complete rebuilds. Most recent one I had to replace everything after a short time of owning it. A lot of people will say they'll never buy used again cause they end up investing the same as new and other people that say new is a huge waste and to find deals.

Best advice I can say is have the cash ready for a deal if your buying used and really take your time and shop. Might take a month or a year to find something that doesn't need a ton of work

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Ya I know that everything is a wear item. My main concern was just that, assuming I do a thorough inspection, and my intuition tells me to trust the guy selling it, that I won't get the bike home and come to find out a week later that it's going to need a $1000+ repair or something. My understanding is that this isn't the case with 2Ts, but very well can be the case with 4Ts.

 

A catastrophic failure could cost big money. I  bought a clean, low-hours basket case kdx 220 from the original owner, because the piston grenaded without warning and took out the cylinder and the cases with it. Although in that case, it's a known issue on that particular model.

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Ya I know that everything is a wear item. My main concern was just that, assuming I do a thorough inspection, and my intuition tells me to trust the guy selling it, that I won't get the bike home and come to find out a week later that it's going to need a $1000+ repair or something. My understanding is that this isn't the case with 2Ts, but very well can be the case with 4Ts.

 

nope not really, there is equal probability of catastrophic failure for both. The four stroke has a more expensive top end but maintenance intervals on replacing the top end is also longer. If you run it more then a year or two they end up costing the same.........

Edited by Blowin_Trannys

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Yeah a toys are the same $$ but why sit around and do nothing. Got to have fun. Just ask the right questions and just judge the seller ha! You can get lucky but normally your initial instinct is right when you pull up to the sellers place you know what I mean. I have disregarded my instinct on the fact that nothing they have looks like it works and just honorably maintained, but some machines get maintenance priority and hopefully it what you came to look at.

Like my fist bike 99 cr125 I got it from my older cousin who raced the hell out of it for a few seasons. and I was a teenager so it didn't matter the condition. Haha! and I didn't ask anything really about what he has done with it or what should possibly need to do. He just told me it had a new top end in it so I was like hell yeah this is awesome. my buddy came with me and pulled me aside and was like dude no, but I bought it ha!

Broke teenager milking cows with a worn out bike that I payed decent money on. Lol

After few years I got it up to par.

Anyway ask some questions and look around.

I'm not against raced bikes typically there maintained very well. Just ask what and when and so on.

If you find a bike you really like but they say it has a lot of hours on some components just look it up the $ there not bad if you don't pay alot for the bike then you would no what to aspect. There easy to work on and you learn alot.

I'm doing the top end on my 2004 ktm 250exc I have been riding four years now and this is the first time doing anything to the motor. It still ran great but I have been wanting to do the top end sense I bought it. The first week I had it I removed the pipe to look up in the exhaust port to see how everything is and found that there was a pretty good mark up and down the piston the ring was free and not marked up I was planning on tearing into it that winter. But any way four years later I'm doing it now new piston and replating the cylinder it will be a little under $400 for everything.

Edited by 30-30

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I tend to disagree that 4 strokes are riskier.  I've looked at a ton of used dirt bikes, both 2 stroke and 4 stroke, and by far the worst ones were the 2 strokes.  They tend to be ridden harder and can suffer from all of the same problems that a four stroke suffers from.  Yeah, the four stroke has a valve train that can cost extra money if it needs service, so there is that extra cost to worry about.

 

But other than that the 2 stroke has all the same stuff the 4 stroke has.  Suspension, bearings, chain, transmission, crank and crank bearing, piston and rod, etc.  And if the 2 stroke cylinder is plated and needs repair or replacement this can cost you extra money as well.  2 strokes also require top end rebuilds and bottom end rebuilds at closer intervals, generally.  The cost for top ends, cylinders, cranks, is going to be the same.

 

I have 2 strokes and 4 strokes in my stable and I spend way more time servicing the two strokes.  Buy what you want.

 

The real question is how *not* to buy a lemon.  When you go look at a bike spend some time judging the seller.  Does he/she seem organized?  Responsible?  Do they sound like they are capable of performing basic maintenance?  Did they take the time to wash the bike, change oil, clean the air filter and chain, etc?  In my opinion judging the seller is just as important as checking out the bike.

 

So don't worry so much about 2 stroke vs 4 stroke, buy the bike that you want, don't get in a hurry with the seller, take your time, and check things over real good.  If you end up with a lemon it will cost you either way.

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I tend to disagree that 4 strokes are riskier.  I've looked at a ton of used dirt bikes, both 2 stroke and 4 stroke, and by far the worst ones were the 2 strokes.  They tend to be ridden harder and can suffer from all of the same problems that a four stroke suffers from.  Yeah, the four stroke has a valve train that can cost extra money if it needs service, so there is that extra cost to worry about.

 

 

I disagree...  First off there are a heck of a lot more moving parts in a 4 stroke than a 2 stroke.  I'm too lazy to count up all the parts but I suspect it's at least double the number of parts in a 4 stroke motor.  Valves, springs, valve guides, rockers, shims, cams, cam chain, cam chain tensioner, etc.   

 

If you ride a two stroke too long without doing proper maintenance, you'll eventually lose compression.  The result is you'll have to do a piston, ring and maybe a jug.  When 4-strokes fail, way more often it seems catastrophic.  Generally it's not a case of, "Oh look, I don't have any compression".  It's a case of "BANG! Clank, clank, rattle, rattle, rattle.... oh my look at that oil on the ground.."  Then when you tear down that 4 stroke you'll find valves that are torn up, a head that is torn up and a crank that is torn up. 

 

A friend of mind has a business rebuilding dirt bike engines.  He said the 4 strokes make him rich.  LOL!  When I first started looking to get back into riding, he told me to get a 2-stroke based on his experience rebuilding motors.   But I really wanted to try a 4-stroke since I've already had experience on 2-strokes.  Plus I have a friend who rebuilds motors for a living! 🤣

 

 

With that being said, I think unless you got a lemon, if you keep up on the scheduled maintenance you'll be fine with either.  But if I was buying used, and thought a bike might not have had proper maintenance, I'd definitely rather deal with a neglected two-stroke versus a neglected 4-stroke. 

Edited by Doc_d
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I have both. A catastrophic failure can be pricy on any bike. My two stroke requires more frequent top ends and cleaning of power valves etc. My 4 strokes require less frequent but more labor intensive builds. If you do uour own work it really is not that different maintainibg them. If you are the type who needs to have the dealer do a valve inspection you would more likely be better off with a two stroke.

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You really have to screw up to grenade a two stroke.  Theres not much comparison between servicing them either.  A 2T will run on the same bottom end forever if you're not feeding it dirt, so your maintenance consists of replacing the piston, rings and small end bearing every X amount of hours.  Replate the cylinder for $200 every few years if needed.

 

Four strokes will require similar intervals for the top end but you get to deal with four or five valves and seats too.  How much wear occurs here varies from engine to engine.  If you're looking at replacing valves, seats and guides its a huge expense.  If you are unfortunate enough to have a mechanical failure for any reason and you drop a valve at 13,000 RPM theres not going to be anything left in there to fix.

 

Theres no difference in the rest of the bike.  Equal chances of having to rebuild any suspension or chassis component regardless of which kind of bike you get.  There is no getting away from the four stroke top end though.  Two stroke heads have no moving parts.  Four stroke heads are a diabolical rube goldberg device that dangles big pieces of metal into the cylinder several times a second and gets them back out of the way just in time as long as everything goes well.  There is more to fix and more than can fail.

Edited by turbo dan
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Thanks everyone for the replies! I'm gonna be shopping for a 2T within the upcoming months. I will most definitely taking care of her even better then I take care of myself 🙂.

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