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Is 4 Really Greater than 2? The Engine Stroke Argument

Everyone wants to be the best, especially when they’re choosing equipment. Snowmobiles are no different. But what makes for the best snowmobile experience varies among riders. Some people are searching for raw power, others need a balance between strength and efficiency. The result is the longstanding battle between 2 and 4-stroke engines. Fans of each will argue until they’re blue, but the perfect choice will depend on your personal goals.

The Advantages of 2-Stroke Engines

There’s a Shakespearean quote, “though she be but little, she is fierce.” Sure, he was talking about Hermia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, but the same notion applies for 2-stroke engines. Their engine displacement makes them much more powerful. This means you can have a lighter, nimbler machine that still produces the strength you need. In fact, you’d need a 1000cc 4-stroke to match the power of a 600cc 2-stroke – plus the 4-stroke would weigh about 50% more.

One of the biggest advantages of a 2-stroke is the weight distribution itself. 4-strokes have a lot of material high in the head with the valve and camshafts. This raises the center of gravity and affects the way the machine handles. 2-strokes keep the weight centered lower, making it easier to hang on those tight turns.

Advantages of 4-Stroke Engines

Even though they offer more bang for your buck, so to speak, 2-strokes cannot compete with 4-strokes when it comes to consistent performance. 4-strokes lack power bands, meaning you can keep them running hard or lug them around without fouling the plugs. They’re heavier and less “peppy,” but far more versatile.

4-strokes are also more reliable. They may be a bit more expensive to fix, but it’s less likely you’ll have an issue in the first place – especially in high mileage situations. Another plus for 4-strokes is they’re more fuel efficient and produce fewer emissions. 2-strokes don’t expel exhaust completely, and they waste some fuel as the upstroke happens. This doesn’t happen with 4-strokes, meaning they save on gas even though they’re bigger and heavier.

In truth, the perfect setup is a matter of personal preference. If you’re looking to go screaming through the trees and take the curves hard, you might want to look at a 2-stroke. If you’re a weekend warrior that likes different kinds of trails and applications, a 4-stroke is likely a better match. But whichever you choose, remember to always BITEHARDER.