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Digital Subscriptions > Fast Bikes > Issue 329 > UP IN SMOKE

UP IN SMOKE

If you’re a two-stroke nut then chances are you’ve spent the last decade or so crying in the corner of a dark room, but there’s a glimmer of hope that you may not need to cry much longer…

TWO-STROKES

It’s been a long time since any major manufacturers cranked up the production lines and wheeled off a stroker, with Cagiva’s SP 525 hooligan learner bike being one of the last examples to make it into the showrooms. Yamaha were still pumping out their headbanging TZ250 racer until quite recently, but unless you wanted to share a prison cell with a hairy misogamist named ‘Bob’, the race focused weapon was little to no use for Her Majesty’s Highways.

If you’re over the age of 30, chances are you grew up riding a two-stroke of one capacity or another, and it’s likely to have left an indelible mark on your biking persona. Be it for their stonking performance or sheer inbility to go for a whole week without breaking down, twostrokes offered an experience of surprise that kept most of us on our toes and filled our daily boredom with memories of both the good and bad variety. If you’re like me, as in slightly fat and balding, then you’re probably old enough to feel a certain nostalgia to Suzuki’s RG500, which I class as the last mainstream superbike to have made it into dealerships. The 250cc two-strokes enjoyed a longer stay of execution but the Japanese big four had abandoned ’strokers and their fans by 1998. Luckily, Suzuki sold the design rights to their RGV250 engine to Aprilia, who continued to use a modified version of the Suzuki engine in their RS250 right up until 2004.

Many aficionados cite the little Aprilia as the purest two-stroke road bike ever made and 13 years on, the RS250 still looks and handles like a race bike that’s escaped from the paddock. Which it is.

Return of a full-fat 500

Aprilia were about to encounter some heavyduty competition to their pre-mix powered monopoly. Bimota, purveyors of exquisite if quirky Italian exotica, took the risky step of deciding their first ever in-house designed engine should be a two-stroke. And not a tiddly, little 250 like everybody had been pushing for the last decade, oh no, they decided to go for a full-fat 500. In 1997, 10 years after the Japanese had turned their backs on big ’stroker lovers, Bimota unveiled the V-Due.

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About Fast Bikes

Welcome to the Summer 2017 issue. This month, a digital exclusive... Watch 10 videos from our massive Sportsbike of the year feature. 8 of the best but only 1 winner! Plus, Honda CBR600RR Buyer's guide, BMW HP4 race, Ponies for pennies, Wanna race the TT? Know your suspension, The two-stroke comeback, best used bike investments. Fast Bikes is home to the best sportsbike tests on the planet and is packed with new bike launches, technical insight, hardcore action, masterclasses, racing, reviews and loads more.
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