It’s early 1980 and the threat of the four-stroke invasion hangs heavy in the air. Yamaha and Suzuki have been slugging it out for two years in what may be the final fling for the air-cooled strokers
It’s fair to say that Yamaha had been ruling the roost for the second half of the ‘70’s with a certain equanimity. What other manufacturer can claim to have consistently offered such a desirable spread of machinery for the discerning youth on his 17th birthday? Having cut your teeth on for example, the legendary FS1E, you are spoilt with a choice of three machines – all with excellent hooligan potential – on which to progress and pass your test. To conclude the brand loyalty exercise, there is even a Superman sized 400cc rocket for those determined to pursue the ultimate 2-stroke journey. Suzuki of course, has pretty much always had something to say on this particular subject matter. They have always been there or there about, and have nearly always arrived at the battleground with a weapon to make the competition shiver - lest we forget the mighty GT750. It’s just as easy to work your way through the 2-stroke Suzuki range, as they too offer a 125, 200 and 250 - it’s just a shame that the range stops there. The GT250 is no exception to the norm and is here to offer customers an extremely dexterous and aggressive alternative in this particular arena. The worry for the blue smoke aficionado is not how this battle will end, but when it will end, and indeed whether these models will be singing the swan song, if not for the 2-stroke breed, then at least the air-cooled variety. Increasingly seen as transport for Yobs by the general public and often sneered at by the 4-stroke fraternity, the future is to say the least, a little hazy for the small but thirsty sports bike. As a customer base, ‘Yobs’ is a little on the strong side and the X7 and RD250 would be more accurately categorised as ‘rebels.’ The thrill of their powerband is to many of us a source of great pleasure and for some, a troublesome addiction. With petrol up 25% last year to £1.25 per gallon and no doubt heading skyward this year, for those that crave this type of fix, let’s hope that the beginning of this new decade doesn’t signify the end of an era.
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