The Best Smokers of All-Time

It’s been exactly a decade since the last two stroke rolled off the assembly line. If you look at the big manufacturers, it was Yamaha who held on to the technology the longest producing the 350cc twin cylinder Banshee. It was actually sold in Australia and Canada for a few more years after they quit selling them in the U.S. back in 2006. We have ridden them all and have fond memories. From mixing gas with oil and the smell of the burnt power coming out behind you to the pipey power band and the racey sound, they get our attention every time one is near. Here is a list of our favorite 2-strokes of all time.


The 350cc twin cylinder beast was the backbone for sport riding for a couple decades. Shops made their living hopping them up mostly for the dunes. A few racers had success on them as well in long distance events such as the Baja 1000 and 12 Hours of Pont De Vaux in France. Most of the Banshees still running today have been turned in super fast straight-line drag machines but there are still a few cherry stockers out there.ATV Rider

GAS GAS 300:

Just before the modern 450 four strokes came in 2004, Gas Gas released their 300cc two-stroke. It was the first new high performance sport quad we had seen in a long time. The 300 had good lowed torque and a chassis that could keep up with the current top quads of the time, the 400EX and Z400. Other great features included a hydraulic clutch, high end shocks and standard nerf bars.ATV Rider


The Kawasaki Tecate 250 was the fastest thing on three wheels for a few years. It was the first liquid cooled 250cc machine and it dominated the early days of racing with Jimmy White at the controls. The four wheel version was just as fast but the handling couldn’t help it keep up with Honda or Suzuki.ATV Rider


For close to a decade the Polaris Scrambler 500 was the fastest 4X4 on the planet. It’s the machine that made us love riding gnarly terrain on sport 4X4’s. It’s unique design had a chain drive in the rear and shafts up front with nearly 10-inches of wheel travel. The 2 wheel drive version, the Trail Blazer,was the first sport quad with a CVT transmission and worked very well but was too heavy to be raced.ATV Rider


If four wheelers never existed, this machine would have dominated for years. It was great but had a short life span since Suzuki announced the Quadracer shortly after Honda released their fastest ATC of all time. Vintage machine lovers are rebuilding both 3 and 4 wheeled 250R’s right now like crazy.ATV Rider


While 3 Wheelers were still hot and dominating the tracks in the early 1980’s Suzuki surprised everyone with the first Quadracer 250 in 1985. In early race photos it’s cool to see top three wheel raced competing bar to bar with the brand new quads from Suzuki. Although Suzuki was first to come out with a race machine and it stayed around until 1992, it still wasn’t as good as Hondas 250R.ATV Rider


Formally called the LT-500, this monster of a machine had the longest wheelbase of any single seat quad ever. It was light switch fast but like the Banshee didn’t handle all that well. We still see plenty of bone stock Quadzilla’s on the used market and companies like Walsh Racecraft are building custom machines by sticking the big two-stroke engine inside a modern chassis. Check out to see one.ATV Rider


For kids around 10-12 years old, this quad was the best thing going. It was powerful and had suspension that could be raced. The seating position favored smaller riders but a bigger one could throw it around and have a blast. In 2003 it received a face lift as well as disc brakes. It fell off the assembly line in 2006 but it’s replacement, the Raptor 250 debuted in 2008 to our excitement.ATV Rider


It’s possible this one could actually top the list of best kids quads of all time too. The little two-stroke had an easy to use automatic transmission and smooth yet torquey power band. It worked so well adults could ride around on it too and have fun. It changed very little over the years and had a good run until 2007 when it was replaced by a 90cc 4 stroke.ATV Rider


The Honda 250R just might be as popular today as it was back in the late 1980’s when it was being sold. Although we feel its the best two-stroke ever, it was only produced in four models years (1986-1989) For over a decade it dominated the race tracks around the world. Honda’s chassis geometry was so good, most of the manufacturers copied it for their modern four stroke sport quads. If you want a stoke 250R, you better hurry because prices are going up. We have seen them go anywhere from $5000-$10000.ATV Rider