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Old 16 Sep 2010
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Two Strokes in Canada / USA

Hi everyone, I was just wondering if there were any state laws I should know about, if choosing to ride across the US and/or parts of Canada on a two stroke road bike?

We indend to stay pretty far to the north, so I doubt if california will be a problem. Most likely route is to pick up our bikes (shipped from Liverpool, UK) from Halifax, Nova Scotia and ride them to Tacoma, Washington State. From there we hope to ship to Yokohama, Japan.

In Japan we will meet up with another stroker and ride from Vladivostok back to the UK.

Thanks for any NA advice.


Last edited by Adler; 17 Sep 2010 at 06:17.
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Old 16 Sep 2010
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No problem in Canada

There are no regulations that I have ever heard of in Canada regarding the use of 2 stroke engines. The way some of the old cars smoke over here you won't even be noticed.

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Old 20 Sep 2010
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The only concern would be to make sure you have oil available. Might not be the stuff you're used to using, but you can probably find oil for a chainsaw or an outboard motor pretty much anywhere. Burns a bit dirtier, might foul plugs, carry spares.
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Old 20 Sep 2010
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Two strokes

Years ago had a bloke come thru on a ariel leader I think. I have ridden lots of miles on two strokes mainly a 500 twin suzuki and various 750 waterbuffalo's and a R5 yammie. You might be pleasantly surprised that long distance riding across the wide open spaces at a steady speed makes your plugs last a long time. Here in montana we have already had scattered snow but sometimes the nicer weather can last into november. other times we get snow in october that will last till march. Stop by if you come thru Helena Montana.
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Old 21 Sep 2010
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Replys so far

Thanks folks for the replies so far. I will keep checking back.

We are still very much in the planning stages at present, with our plan to arrive mid April 2012.

The bikes we plan to take RTW are late 1980's MZ ETZ250's. I would be quite happy to put Oregon, Stihl or Husqvarna two stroke oil in them at 50:1. Those chainsaw oils are far superior to the East German oils they were designed for in the DDR. I used to be a UK logger and my Huqvarnas had a tough life. The MZ's top out at 6000 rpm and spend much of their time below 5000rpm, so they're not overly stressed despite being both comfortable and capable of travelling at 80mph for long periods should the roads allow (Europe only of course).

We shall strip the motors down and fit new bearings and seals before we leave, with a new conrod if required. That should easily see us round. They are good solid machines, simple to work on and repair and built of quality steel and aluminium. So, what's not to like?

I think we have opted to miss out on Canada, instead shipping to New York. However, the timing is a concern to us. Will we suffer from cold, snow etc in mid April, from New York to Tacoma by any reasonable straight route?


Last edited by Adler; 21 Sep 2010 at 08:14.
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Old 21 Sep 2010
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Lots of places sell 2 stroke oil in Canada beside motorcycle stores.. The ubiquitous Canadian Tire company has stores in just about every modest sized town, multiple stores in large cities, easy to locate.Then there are a number of franchise auto part s stores , also in most towns , and as a last resort the shops dealing in outboard motors,chainsaws and snowmobiles.
Almost forgot mentioning ordinary gas stations- most will have a display rack with several types/grades of oil and usually include two-stroke oil for outboards so that boaters and fisherman can get some as they head out to the water.This will work well in your MZ

Last edited by Sjoerd Bakker; 21 Sep 2010 at 22:35.
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Old 22 Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by Adler View Post

I think we have opted to miss out on Canada, instead shipping to New York. However, the timing is a concern to us. Will we suffer from cold, snow etc in mid April, from New York to Tacoma by any reasonable straight route?

No idea about 2 strokes...but
I do have a idea that it WILL be cold all the way from NY to Tacoma in the April-May time frame. And windy...the middle half of the NA continent is a big flat prairie/plain, and the wind does blow...hard! Sometimes all day and all night. And it does snow. East coast snow is wet, the nice powder is out west. Oh, did I mention that it can get windy?

If you're coming to the US in April, I'd suggest shipping to a more southern route, and heading across the south, then up the California coast.
If you plug NYC to Tacoma into MSFT Streets and Trips, for example, you get a really nice ride across the top of the US. For July and August.
Some of the western mountain passes aren't open until June or July. That would be my biggest concern.
I did ride from Los Angeles to Cleveland, Ohio beginning of April a few years ago. All on interstates, but I have a cruiser type bike. Temps from 60+ F to freezing in Kentucky and Ohio. I wasn't anywhere as far north as you guys want to go. This saved my butt...
Warm & Safe Heated Clothing and the Heat-troller for the Real Thing!

Take care and ride safe!
Mary aka Krashdragon

Last edited by krashdragon; 22 Sep 2010 at 16:14. Reason: spelling...
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Old 22 Sep 2010
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Originally Posted by Adler View Post
Hi everyone, I was just wondering if there were any state laws I should know about, if choosing to ride across the US and/or parts of Canada on a two stroke road bike?

We indend to stay pretty far to the north, so I doubt if california will be a problem.
There are no laws in the US that I have ever heard of regarding the riding of a two stroke engine. The law in California is that you can't SELL one there (possibly can't register one either) unless it was manufactured x years ago (can't remember how many). But you can RIDE one in CA that has been purchased and legally registered elsewhere. Just make sure it's got plates and you'll be fine.

One thing many people aren't aware of is that Helmet headsets aren't legal in all states. In MA you're not even allowed to posses a headset equipped helmet. However, I've never heard of anyone being pulled over for it but they may hassle you if you have one and tick them off after being pulled over. Also, i've heard that in some states it's illegal to ride standing up. I can't confirm that though. Helmet laws vary from state to state so just always wear one.

Some states may have laws about emissions which would prevent you from registering a 2-stroke but since you're not registering it in that state you won't take the emissions test and thus it won't matter.

CA is also the only state where you can ride between lanes.
-Dachary & Kay
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Old 13 Oct 2010
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One thing you should keep in mind with the two-smokes is noise. Although nobody tests for emissions in NA, lots of places test for exhaust pipe noise (and its all random, roadside checks, you never know...)

Not familiar with that particular 2 stroke, but a whole RTW ride on one? Power to you, thats just cool. I've gotten 13 years out of my favorite Husky 288XPG, but I still wouldn't trust that motor for such a long, tough haul. Guess I'm just a firm believer in the power of a puddle of dead dinosaurs keeping all the important bits slippery.

April is pretty early for a trip through the mid-west. I imagine you are dictated to by the timing to get across Siberia, but, DAMN, it can be cold. Even on the warm days, aside from noon til 4, it will almost certainly be cold (May 15 is when summer jacket riding is usually upon us).

I agree with the recommendation to go south, follow the east coast down, across Texas, New Mex, Arizona, hit Death Valley then across to the 101 up the west coast. You are too early to see the best bits of colorado and wyoming (and most of the rockies) and its likely that you may not get through some of the higher eastern California passes (although by may 1 they should be mostly open).

Staying to the north in the US is a poor option (HWY2?). Its too cold at that time, and you don't get to see such a variation of the US as you do going further south (lots of open prairie, though).

Shame to skip Canada, but you are too early, most people won't even have left their igloo's for their summer cabins in cottage country yet. And the mosquitos won't be out yet...
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