Honda’s President, Takeo Fukui, announced way back in 2003 that the Japanese motorsports giant would be phasing out two-stroke engines. Immediately, Honda began systematically eliminating two-stroke mopeds, scooters and road motorcycles. The only remaining ringdings in its line were its CR 250, 125 and 85 motocross bikes. Kiss them goodbye. Today, Honda made their threat stick. The official word is: Starting in 2008, there will be no more two strokes. This means that 2007 will be the last year that you will have to premix oil into your Honda’s gas tank.

This is a bold move for Honda, because they are the first of the big five motorcycle makers to take the step–a decision that most industry insiders admit will be inevitable in the very near future. Honda will surely lose business to diehard two stroke racers, but not for long. Just as the Yamaha 400-F marked the beginning of the end for pre-mix and expansion chambers, Honda’s decision to abandon port timing in favor of valves and cams marks the end of the end.

So, what are the ramifications for motocross racers? Well, for the 85cc class, anyone riding a four-stroke will feel like they are humming around on a weed eater. Honda, however, is confident that the AMA will recognize their plight and allow throaty, 150cc four strokes to pound on mini class racers. Another possible outcome is that there will be a lot less chatter in the pits. It is doubtful that anyone will be able to carry on a conversation, order a hot dog, or argue with the starting officials once the decibel level reaches the four-stroke tipping point. With change comes suffering–mini dads will no longer be heard by us or their stifled children. Prepare for meaningful sound checks by summer of 2008.


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