2-stroke or 4-stroke for cross-country travel?

Discussion in 'Travelling, Commuting & Safety' started by Burke, Feb 17, 2008.

  1. Burke

    Burke New Member

    Hey y'all,

    I'm new here, and I just posted my "hello" message on the Introduce yourself forum....anyway....

    This year I'm going to be traveling around the country by motorized bicycle, on tour playing music (I did the same thing last year with non-motorized bicycle and train). I don't yet have a bicycle motor and I'm trying to decide which one to buy.

    On this tour I'll often be covering between 100 and 200 miles in a day, and I imagine I'll probably have covered a total of between 7,000 and 10,000 miles by the time the year is through. I'll be hauling a trailer with about 100 pounds worth of gear, and I'll definitely be encountering lots of very hilly terrain along the way.

    I've researched all over the internet and read these forums like crazy, and thanks largely to these forums I've narrowed it down to two choices: the PF-4000 40cc Tanaka PureFire 2-Stroke or the EHO35 35cc Robin/Subaru Mini-4 4-stroke. Both of these, of course, are sold by Golden Eagle and on display at http://www.bikeengines.com/info.htm

    So, um, my question of anyone who's got an opinion is: are those two good choices for what I'm doing, and, of the two, which do you think would be the better choice?

    I'm heavily leaning towards the 4-stroke, mainly because it gets the best gas mileage. The only thing that makes me hesitate is I once read a posting on these forums saying that 2-strokes can run all day but with 4-strokes you have to take breaks. Is actually this the case, and if so, how much "resting" will be necessary? For what I'm doing, would I be better off going with a 2-stroke or a 4-stroke?

    Many many thanks for reading this, and many many more thanks in advance to anyone who can give me any kind of opinion on this!


  2. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    They both should be able to run all day long provided they don't overheat. Personally, I'd go wtih the 40 cc two stroke. I feel 2 strokes are more reliable because they have fewer moving parts-no valve train to worry about and no need to do regular oil changes.

    If you go 2 stroke, strongly consider Maxima 927 or Klotz Supertechniplate oil which have 20% castor/80% synthetic blend. The castor better tolerates high temperatures and extreme usage/loading. I rode a 2 stroke up a mountain for 2 hours continuous at full throttle often lugging the engine. The exhaust turned bright red and my head changed colors from bright silver to dark silver. The engine NEVER seized because of the castor oil in the fuel mix. The engine is still in use today with no apparrent damage from that hard run.

    If you go 4 stroke. Use nothing but a TRUE 4 stroke synthetic oil in the crankcase such as Mobil 1, Redline, or AMSOIL. Don't use any other synthetic oil such as Penzoil, Castrol, etc... because these "synthetics" contain Group III base oils and are not considered true synthetics by tribologists. A judge made the decision to call those oils synthetic even though most people in the know, know that synthetics are Group IV/V based oils (PAO/Ester). A synthetic motor oil will help it perform in hotter temperatures. Use a heavy weight oil too! I'd probably go for a high detergent diesel oil such as Mobil 1 5w-40 turbo diesel. I'd also help the cylinder walls by adding 1/2 oz of 2 stroke oil to each gallon of gas. Most gasoline contains ethanol which washes down residual oil on cylinder walls. This small amount of oil restores and improves fuel lubricity.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2008
  3. 2-stroke vs 4-stroke

    Hi interesting thought about "resting" a 4-stroke. ALL cars in this country are 4-stroke, and no-one "rests" thier cars? Neither Lawn Mowers, Lawn Tractors, Motorcycles or anything else that I'm familiar with.
    IF I were to go across country on a MotorBike it would be a Whizzer.

    Has alternator, brakelights, high and low beam, front brake, nationwide dealer network in case you might need or want something. Does NOT use a special belt that you cannot buy at auto parts store. It's DOT and EPA rated.

    What is not to love?

    "Ride one and you'll buy one"

  4. Burke

    Burke New Member

    Many thanks, both of you, for the replies....I will definitely look into the things y'all recommended. : )
  5. Alaskavan

    Alaskavan Guest

    I'd think that if you're going to be hauling 100 lbs along with you and dealing with hills, power would be the deciding factor. The motors Gebe sells all have reputations for reliability. The Whizzer has the power (not to mention style).
  6. beast775

    beast775 Guest

    cross country

    id be more inclined to be worried about a good seating position and seat,youll wear out before the motor will:shock::shock:
  7. Skyliner70cc

    Skyliner70cc Active Member

    The resting may have been used to allow oil temperatures to cool. Does anybody know if these 4 stroke engines have an internal fan to cool the heads?
  8. Dean

    Dean Member

    Why would a 4-stroke cycle engine run any hotter than a 2-stroke cycle engine?
    If anything, you'd think the 2-stroke would run hotter, since the top of every stroke would be a power stroke.
    The nice thing about 4-stroke's is that they do not require mixing oil in with the gas.
    Most (maybe still, all?) 2-strokes, do.

    I think for the kind of milage Burke is referring to, he would be smart to consider the mini Honda engines, as well, if for no other reasons than a superflous dealer network and proven reliability over the past 40+ years that Honda's been in the US.
    Otherwise, considering the load he's going to be carrying, it would seem to me that asking 35cc's to pull that much of a load is asking an awful lot.
    Me thinks he'd need a lot of gear on those hills.
    Maybe step it up a little and go with a Honda 50cc engine. Heavier, but also more powerful and less laborious on the rider/pedaler.
    For power, period, I would think it would be hard to beat a Whizzer. That engine is like 138cc's, IIRC, and like the old saying sez, "There's no replacement for displacement".

  9. Quenton Guenther

    Quenton Guenther Motored Bikes Sponsor

    2 stroke vs 4 stroke on a long trip? When I raced motorcycles I started with 4 strokes, and most of my time prior to each race was spent watching all the 2 stroke racers, re-jet & re-gear for each race. I did spend a little time in preping my race Ducati, by wiping the dust of the tank, and later I had to do the same type of maintance on my Harleys. After many offers to ride the 2 strokes, I eventually converted, and sadly I spent a lot of time rebuilding the motors between each race [seals & piston rings] and had to work hard at each race to [you guessed it] re-jet the carburetor and find the right gear combination. The biggest problem with a 2 stroke motor is centered around a little rubber device called a crankcase seal. If the crancase seal starts to leak, the motor draws air and serious problems happen quickly. I have watched hundreds of 2 strokes at the race track become "scrap iron" [actually aluminum] in seconds, and watched the 4 strokes win because of duribility. 2 strokes are far more sensitive to climate changes than a 4 stroke, and lack bottom end torque to climb many hills. Add the constant 2 stroke sound compared to the rumble of a 4 stroke motor, and noise also becomes an issue on long trips. I don't know if the oil needed to mix with the gas comes in exact sizes, but if not transporting an open oil can could be messy. So my vote goes to 4 stroke for trips, and of course since I am a Whizzer dealer, I would pick a Whizzer because of the torque and HP. And like mentioned earlier the dealer network is growing if service or parts are needed along the way.
  10. zmiracle

    zmiracle New Member

    Burke, I rode a 25cc Red Max 2-stroke (GEBE) from Seattle to Tucson (2300 miles) hauling 70-80lbs of gear in a Burley trailer. It performed beautifully. There were a couple of mountains I had to walk the bike up near the end using the engine to haul the gear but over all it was really nice with no engine problems whatsoever. This year I'm going to buy the 35cc Subaru mini (also from GEBE) to ride 3000+ miles hauling the trailer again. I expect from what Dennis and Julia at GEBE tell me that I won't have any trouble getting up those mountains with that engine. I decided to go with the mini for the extra power, not needing to fuss with oil in the gas and from what I've hear it is much quieter which is something I will appreciate while riding through all that beautiful scenery. As an aside the 25cc Red Max I have at the time of this writing has 7,500 miles on it and I've only replaced the clutch plates at around 6,500 miles. The only thing I can think to add with respect to your choices is that the 35cc has better low end torque and might perform better hauling that much weight. I'm sure Dennis at GEBE would be happy to talk you through the choices if he hasn't already. I trust his advice. Good luck with your ride and be sure to enjoy!
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2008
  11. Egor

    Egor Guest

    When I first saw your post (GEBE) flashed through my head, as I read on I saw you had considered it also, and then I thought you have solved your own problem. Mike has a good point with the Whizzer, big on CC's, but I have not had good luck with the belt drive for starting with a load, but both of the ones I have dealt with lately have auto clutches. I wonder if you could use the Honda 49cc engine on the (GEBE) platform. Dax has his but I would not venture out that far with it yet, but it has a lot of potential. I am assuming it has to be a motored bike, just something you have to do! I understand, I was supposed to go to Alaska on a Honda S90 this year from LA, we tried it 40 years ago our kids thought it would be fun. Have fun, Dave
  12. Dean

    Dean Member

    Ok Egor, I gotta ask....did you guys ever make it to Alaska?

  13. Egor

    Egor Guest

    No, we only made it about 300 mi, one of us fell and broke his arm. Good thing it was that close or his dad would have to gone a lot further to get us. Our kids heard he story a few years ago and thought is would be fun to fininsh the ride, but we are forty years older and the fact is, we as 18 years old had no idea how far it was. On a sunny Sunday afternoon in 1968 we just put our S90's on the road to Alaska. The kids wanted to put the ride on the internet, with a camera on the bars and let people follow us. We still know people at Honda and they wanted to follow also. This last year has been a tryal for our health and I was not able to secure a bike yet, my buddy has his and we thought we had one for me, but it fell through. Too bad one of us did not keep one of the bikes. We still talk about it but we will see. I am starting to feel better, and I am keeping an eye out for a bike, I have a lead but it is rough, I have four engines and some small parts. I will keep you posted. Have fun, Dave
  14. Dean

    Dean Member

    First off, sorry to hear about your health problems.
    I wish you a speedy and permanent recovery from that.

    Otherwise, it sounds like your kids have it pretty well planned out.
    Kudos to them for taking the reins and doing some planning.

    Your story actually sounds familiar.
    When I was about 9 years old, I saw a movie about Bigfoot and one of the segments was about Roger Patterson's famous encounter in 1967.
    For about a year or so afterwards, I wanted to take some horses up to Alaska and find Bigfoot myself! No planning, no learning to ride a horse, just get some horses and go up there.
    ... ;)

    Anyway, that sounds like a great plan. Maybe you and your friend (and the kids!) should do it on Mobicycles, instead of those old "Super Hawks".
    Maybe you could use one of the Honda "mini" engines to power them, and thus keep them involved (i.e., don't lose your sponsorship!).
    If the kids want to get the internet involved, maybe you guys could make up a website dedicated to the ride.
    Sounds like a great time, wish I could go with ya's.

    Please, keep us updated.

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2008
  15. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    I'm glad I found this old thread, I have to make a decision soon, because if I run the Tanaka to North Carolina, maybe up to Charlottesville VA and back next month, I need to go lengthen the throttle cable....but this makes me think the Robin Subaru can do it.

    I'm on the Mobil 1 regimen, multiple oil changing early on.

    This part about adding some 2 stroke oil, does everyone think a few drops of Amsoil 100:1 would really improve performance?
    It seems easy enough, but I sure want to hear from some R/S 35 cross country riders ASAP !!!
  16. Mountainman

    Mountainman Active Member

    if buying quality -- both 2 and 4 strokes are fine.....

    I haven't seen that statement around ???

    actually for very, very long rides I perfer a 4-stroke

    both 2 and 4 stroke engines if (quality made) can run all day long -- nite time too
    non stop -- no problem....
    have used many of both 2 and 4 strokes over the years -- many times 10 hrs non stop
    note -- all were what would be called on this site -- mid to top end -- nice engines

    I own the little Robin you are talking about
    it's a proven strong little -- long lasting engine
    I have done nothing to mine -- about 2 thousand miles now ??
    you mention pulling a trailer -- Robin is not big on power
    I am getting 22.5 with friction drive on the level
    with that very sweet running thing

    ride that thing
  17. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Yeah, this is something that gets recommended and sounds like a good idea.
    I can't comment about 4 strokes in general nor am I talking about any particular brand of oil but I will say adding 2 stroke oil @ 128:1 to the gas of a Robin 35 was a huge mistake.

    I was checking the plug one day and put a spot light into the bore with the piston at TDC and the piston top was heavy carbonized and this motor only had about 15 hours on it.

    It took awhile but I finally got through to a guy at Robin America tech support who was willing to help and the first thing he asked was if I had put 2 stroke premix in by mistake. When I told him I was doctoring the gas with a touch of oil for extra lube he said that's your answer and I should stop if I didn't want to burn a piston or valves clogging them with carbon.
    The Walbro carbs on these have no mixture adjustment.

    I ended up tearing the engine down and cleaned it up as there was a considerable amount of carbon formed.
  18. Dean

    Dean Member

    As a former mechanic, I know of 3 things that will blow carbon deposits out of an engine, without having to tear it down.

    Water, Diesel Fuel and ATF.

    Here's how it was explained to me - At the tempretures that occur during combustion, the water will change to steam and "soften" the deposits. The action of the engine running will eventually "blow" them out the exhaust.
    Diesel Fuel actually burns hotter than gasoline, so adding in diesel will actually "burn" the carbon out.
    To some degree, ATF is a solvent and seen from that aspect will "clean" the carbon out of the cylinder, much in the way the water did.

    The technique is to put a small amount of any one of these liquids into a small cup and gently dribble it directly into the carburetor, while gunning the engine at WOT.

    All 3 are classic "engine cleaners", when used in that fashion.
    Old trick.

    I've since found, in an automobile anyway, that one can actually pour a quart of ATF into the tank upon fill-up and it'll achieve the same end, quite nicely.

    I can't say the same for water or diesel fuel as I've not tried that with them.

    Finally, concerning adding a little oil to the fuel of the 4-stroke engine, I'd think that if the engine required that, the manufacturer would make sure to get the point across to whomever will be using those engines.
    Otherwise, I don't see why the stock lubricating system won't suffice.

    However, IF, you do decide to add some oil in the fuel, you will run a greater chance of fouling the plug with more frequency than if you didn't add the oil, so I would suggest that you gap that plug (and the points, if your engine uses points) with much more care, than you might normally do.
    You may even want to open the plug up by .001", just to gain a little larger spark, ensuring complete combustion, but you might want to experiment with that first, without adding in the oil, since that extra thousandths might make or break the felt power of the engine.
    Some systems are that sensitive.

  19. Happy Valley

    Happy Valley Active Member

    Nice post Dean.

    I suppose the amount of water or other liquid would be critical though so as not to blow out any seals or gaskets.

    How about Seafoam or is that just for cleaning fuel injectors?
  20. bamabikeguy

    bamabikeguy Active Member

    Thank YOUs Happy and Dean,

    I was leery, but I appreciate the input, because I was about 5 hours away from putting a capful of Amsoil per 33 oz....

    I couldn't get my small mind around it, how it might conflict with the $6.50 per quart Mobil 1 treatment. It just seemed my frequent oil changes in the early stages would be enough, else why pay that much for synthetic.

    Thanx again !!