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Staying In Shape When You Have Young Kids

Before I had my two kids, I was used to working out at the gym, playing badminton and going for a run whenever I wanted. With a toddler and baby, I found it was much more difficult to find the time to exercise and invest in my own health and well-being in the way I was used to. However, I was determined to eke out some time in my day for myself and found that if you’re willing to be flexible and take a creative approach to the way you exercise, you can stay in shape. I started this blog to share my tips with other mums and help readers create their own fitness routines that allow them to continue taking part in the sporting activities they enjoy in a way that fits in with their responsibilities as parents.

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Staying In Shape When You Have Young Kids

A Stroke Of Luck: Should You Choose A 2-Stroke Or 4-Stroke Outboard Engine For Your RIB?

by Tommy Gordon

Rigid Inflatable Boats, more commonly referred to as RIBs, are tremendously versatile craft that can be used for anything from speeding about on the ocean waves to spending a sedate day fishing on a placid lake. However, a RIB without a suitable outboard is little more than a rather ungainly rowing boat, and with so many makes and models of outboard motors available choosing the right one for your RIB can be challenging.

While you'll have a number of important decisions to make when choosing an outboard, such as the power you require and the fuel type you wish to use, choosing between 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines is equally important and can be very difficult. To help you decide, keep the following pros and cons of 2-stroke and 4-stroke engines in mind:

What are the advantages and disadvantages of 2-stroke outboard engines?

2-stroke engines are relatively simple devices, and use a simple mechanism to provide power; when the pistons of the engine retract, they draw air and fuel into the cylinders, which combusts when the pistons move back into position, Exhaust gases are vented during this second 'stroke', emptying the cylinder so new air and fuel can be added when the piston retracts and the cycle begins again.

This simplicity makes for an engine that is cheaper, lighter and more reliable than an equivalent 4-stroke engine, since the amount of moving parts and valves within the engine is minimised. Less moving parts also ensures that any maintenance and repairs you have to perform down the line are quicker, cheaper and easier. Since new fuel an air is added to the pistons with every other stroke, 2-stroke engines can also produce power more quickly than 4-stroke engines, providing better acceleration from a standing start.

Unfortunately, combusting fuel and expelling exhaust gases simultaneously means that the exhaust gases of 2-stroke engines are smokier and more polluting than 4-stroke engines, and running a 2-stroke outboard while stationary for long periods can be very rough on the lungs. 2-stroke engines also have prodigious oil requirements, as they burn more oil during operation than 4-strokes.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of 4-stroke outboard engines?

4-stroke outboard engines are decidedly more sophisticated. Instead of expelling exhaust gases during the combustion stroke, 4-stroke engines use a separate cycle of piston movement to expel exhaust gases more thoroughly. Valves attached to the sides of the cylinder prevent fuel and air from entering the piston during this exhaust cycle.

The added complexity of this system generally means that 4-stroke engines are heavier and more expensive than 2-stroke engines of equivalent power, and many powerful 4-stroke engines are simply too bulky for all but the largest of RIBs. However they have many advantages that make this extra effort and expense worthwhile. They are considerably less polluting than 2-stroke engines, and create far less noise, making them much more suitable for idling (a property that is particularly valuable for people who use their RIBs for fishing). 

Because 4-stroke engines burn fuel more completely before venting exhaust gases, they also tend to have better fuel economy, and burn through oil at a significantly reduced rate. This makes them ideal for craft taken on longer journeys.

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