It feels like only yesterday I was grooving to the high-pitched exhaust whine of my Yamaha 135cc two-stroke, hands sticky with run-off 2T oil after top-ups and billows of blue smoke as I left every four-stroker eating my dust. The Yamaha two-stroke RXZ 135cc sure rates as an icon in my diary. Two-stroke bikes for long dominated performance arenas the world over and it was no different in Thailand.
Bikers in the 80s could walk into showrooms and ride out on a stonking new Yamaha RD350, we where in Thailand not that lucky and bigger bikes came to showrooms near us just recently. When I was much younger I can remember my uncle who had a Royal Enfield Furry 175 imported from India, I can remember that I was always excited if my uncle was visiting us.
But back to the Thai two-strokes, who can forget the Yamaha two-strokes, they where a pocket rocket that just exuded, er... make that screamed thrills from every twist of the wrist.
Thinking of it I can still remember the sound as if I just hear it.
With the high performance little pocket rocket two-strokes from Yamaha and Kawasaki, we did not really missed the Yamaha RD350 that much in Thailand. Still if I could buy one now I would be willing to take a mortgage on my house.
While the whole world was screaming, in a sound similar to what the two-strokes sounds like at 13,000rpm, about the impact of two-stroke engines on the ecological environment. The race tracks where still filled with the wonderful sound of high performance two-stroke engines, at this time the big two-strokes already vanished from the streets in most countries.
However, the smaller capacity siblings were exempted and even today we can see old two-strokes from Honda, Kawasaki, Yamaha and Suzuki riding around in the Thai bike scene. The two-strokes are quick, light and easy handlers, these bikes featuring inherent simplicity of two-stroke engines, were trouble-free and inexpensive to maintain. With higher power than four-stroke bikes of similar capacity and weight, they proved popular in rural areas too.
The small capacity two-stroke bikes flourished in the 90s, with some two-stroke bikes like the Honda NSR, Kawasaki 150 ZZRR, and Yamaha RXZ 135 attaining a sort cult status. Suzuki too had share of the pie of the cult, with the high performance Suzuki 150cc Stingray.
With growing eco-consciousness, the small capacity two-stroke bike too were under fire in Thailand. It is said that the Thai government wants the two-stroke bikes of the road in 2010, which sounds impossible as there are huge numbers of two-stroke bikes still sen on Thai roads.