IT'S BEEN 15 years since the last of the mainstream, high-performance two-stroke street bikes disappeared from showrooms and they’re becoming a rare sight on the road. But the mere whiff of a stroker’s exhaust, not to mention its unmistakable engine note, is guaranteed to trigger a tidal wave of memories to anyone old enough to remember their heyday.
These days any two-stroke sports bike is likely to be an appreciating asset. If you still mentally categorise an RD350LC as a cheap and cheerful future classic or consider a tatty-but-running RGV250 a sub-£1000 prospect, a few minutes of Ebay research will disabuse you of those notions; performance two-strokes are hot property, with prices rising as demand grows and their numbers diminish.
But which are the most mental strokers of all?
10: Maico 685 Enduro
We were going to throw a Honda CR500 into this list; after all, it’s a legend in its own right and plenty have been made road legal over the years. But there’s an even larger two-stroke single out there, complete with lights and indicators as standard. It’s the Maico 685, still being made in tiny numbers in Germany to this day. The 685cc version is the range-topper, with 82hp, but there’s also a 76hp 616cc version and a 65hp 499cc model, all offered in motocross, supermoto or enduro form.
9: Aprilia RS250
We had to include at least one of the final generation of 250cc two-stroke twins. Honda’s NSR250, Suzuki’s RGV250, Yamaha’s TZR250 and Kawasaki’s KR-1S were all candidates. But Aprilia’s Suzuki-engined RS250 outlived all its rivals, with production continuing until 2004, and as such represents the final evolution of the two-stroke sports bike genre. More modern suspension and chassis design than the Japanese bikes that came before mean that there’s probably no standard stroker that will be faster on real-world roads.