Due to increasingly stringent emissions legislation the four-stroke engine is beginning to replace the two-stroke engine for motorcycle and scooter applications over 50cc. However, because of its comparatively poor performance, the four-stroke unit is not replacing the two-stroke for moped applications which are restricted to 50cc. To meet forthcoming European legislation the two-stroke moped engine requires an exhaust catalyst which presents considerable durability problems when applied to this type of engine. This would not be the case with a four-stroke unit, so if its performance could be improved it would be an attractive alternative. This paper illustrates the difficulties facing four-stroke engines of this size, the improvements required, the benefits (and problems) of a multi-valve approach and possible means of improving performance.