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


New Member
Local time
11:44 PM
Feb 17, 2008
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!

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.
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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"

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

id be more inclined to be worried about a good seating position and seat,youll wear out before the motor will:eek::eek:
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?
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".

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.
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!
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