The performance of two-stroke spark-ignition engines is greatly influenced by the scavenging process The variation of the crankcase clearance volume has here been investigated as a method for engine-load reduction. This method allows the reduction of the load without throttling or only by partial throttling with a theoretical increase of the engine efficiency. A comparison of two methods (air throttling and crankcase clearance volume variation) has therefore been carried out. The reduction of pumping work, due to the use of the variable crankcase clearance volume, has not always caused a consequent reduction of the specific fuel consumption. This is mainly due to deterioration of the scavenging process and to the occurrence of pre-ignition which occur above all at light loads.