After every war there are soldiers who refuse to surrender. To this day, there’s probably a 90-
year-old sailor hiding out on a South Pacific island,
awaiting orders from Tokyo. Every track in America
has two-stroke motocross riders like that. They
cling to their 10-year-old bikes, thinking that the
war is still on, refusing to concede that four-strokes have won.
They might not be crazy. The 2013 KTM 250SX
is a two-stroke, and it’s a great motocross bike. It
has continued to evolve, matching the development of KTM’s four-stroke line step for step. Now,
the 250SX is enjoying some low-key success and
attention. It has become the flagship for a growing
number of believers who think the two-stroke will
rise again. They might be right.
THE TWO-STROKE WORLD
On the off-road side, the two-stroke market still
has a pulse. KTM is the big player, but small
European factories like Husqvarna, Gas Gas and
TM continue to sell a few bikes and win a few
races. Only in motocross is the two-stroke invisible. Yamaha passively remains in the game with
the YZ250, a bike that hasn’t seen a significant
change since 2005, but that doesn’t really tell the
whole story. Just beneath the surface, there’s a lot
of two-stroke activity. Last year we saw a fuel-injected Ossa two-stroke motor come out of
nowhere, and within the next year, we will see fuel-injected two-strokes from Beta and Husqvarna.
You can bet that others will follow.
The reason is simple. KTM continues to sell two-strokes in fairly large numbers. European companies are inspired by this, and they are rallying to
the cause. The reason that Japan hasn’t followed
suit is because its embattled giants are unwilling to
take a risk. The economy isn’t healthy enough for
that, so they will sit back, watch and wait.
For now, KTM is in the two-stroke driver’s seat.
The 250SX is on top of its small kingdom, continu-
ing to move forward as if it were the old days. For
The state of two-stroke art