Why You Should Never Engine Brake on Modern Two-Stroke Dirt Bikes

Engine braking is when you let off the throttle and use the engine’s compression to slow down the bike. This works fine on four-stroke bikes but can be very dangerous on two-strokes.

The oil that lubricates the engine is mixed with the gas in the fuel tank in two strokes. When you shut off the throttle, you also cut off the oil flow. This can lead to overheating, engine seizures, and catastrophic failure.

So if you are used to engine braking on a four-stroke, you need to break that habit on a two-stroke!

Modern Premix vs. Older Oil Injection

Today most dirt bikes use the premix method, where oil is pre-mixed with the gas in the tank. Back in the day, many bikes had separate oil tanks and oil injection systems.

When you cut the throttle with premix, you cut the oil flow. So engine braking is very dangerous and should be avoided.

On older bikes with oil injection, you could get away with some engine braking, but it still put extra stress on the engine. So it’s best to use the brakes to slow down rather than relying on engine braking.

What You Should Do Instead

Rather than engine braking, here are some safer options:

  • Use your brakes – don’t be afraid to use the brake lever and pedal to slow down. This reduces engine speed without cutting oil flow.
  • Short blips of throttle – If you must engine brake, give short blips of throttle every few seconds to restore oil flow.
  • Downshift smoothly – You can use your clutch and gears to engine brake smoothly without chopping the throttle.

Conclusion: Protect Your Investment

dirt bike engine braking

Modern two-stroke dirt bikes are high-performance machines but also high maintenance. Engine braking puts undue stress on the engine, leading to expensive repairs or replacement.

I hope this video has convinced you to avoid engine braking and instead use brakes, throttle blips, and downshifting to control speed safely. This will help your bike last longer and avoid costly repairs.

Riding a two-stroke properly requires changing some four-stroke habits. But with the right techniques, you can preserve your investment and have years of fun on your two-stroke!


Why is engine braking bad on two strokes?

Engine braking cuts off the oil flow in two strokes since the oil is mixed with the gas. This can lead to overheating, seizure, and engine failure.

What should I do instead of engine braking?

Use your brakes, give occasional blips of throttle, and downshift smoothly instead of chopping the throttle. This reduces speed without cutting the oil flow.

Is it ok to have the engine brake just a little?

No, any engine braking stresses the engine. Get in the habit of using other methods to avoid temptation.

What about older two-strokes with separate oil tanks?

Some engine braking is possible but it still puts strain on the engine. It’s better to use brakes and downshifting whenever possible.

Does this apply to two-stroke snowmobiles too?

Yes, snowmobiles also mix oil and gas, so engine braking has the same risks. Avoid it and use brakes to control speed.

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