Plug color is only affected by the RPM range you use the most. For most people that is high RPM which means it indicates whether the main jet is too rich (too dark color) or too lean (too light a color). Unfortunately the color is also affected by type fuel and oil used, and the color variation is much too slight to be of any use. And even if your top RPM jetting is correct that does not mean your mid throttle jetting is right, or that your jetting off of idle is right, or that your idle jetting is right. I highly recommend a good jetting calculator to know if the jetting is rich or lean between closed and fully open throttle.

Useful Plug Indications
EXTREME COLORING: Really dark or really light is an indication that you are clueless as to reading the feel of the engine and the exhaust note, because if you were good at that then you wouldn't even be looking at the plug. But if that is what you are doing then read the color on the first half of the ground electrode (not at its end) and end of the ceramic insulator. Medium gray or medium chocolate brown is the ideal color. This plug shows a good medium color. I was using Castor 927 engine oil at 40:1. But keep in mind that this was on an air cooled engine that runs hot and needs more gasoline for cooling. I expect a water cooled engine can have a slightly lighter colored plug that indicates leaner jetting.

The comparison below is between semi-synthetic Motul 510 at 27:1 and Castor 927 at 45:1 on my air cooled 48cc engine. I just ran with Motul on a new plug for a short stretch. If I'd run it longer then I think the darkness of the two plugs would be equal.

White colored ceramic insulators are caused by
1) too lean a fuel/air mixture
2) too hot a rating for the plug

Gray colored plugs can be caused by
1) use of aviation fuel
2) use of certain synthetic oils

Dark plug color can be caused by
1) excessive amounts of oil added to the gas (mostly with group 1 and 2 oils otherwise known as mineral oils. (Click here to see what group oils are in the most popular 2 stroke engine oils)
2) too rich jetting
3) spark plug misfiring possibly due to bad electrical connections or a failing ignition component (CDI, high voltage coil, stator coil)
4) too cold a heat rating for the plug

Below you can see how this piston is just one step away from the oil burning black onto its underside. This is as hot as you want to let it get. If it is black then the jetting is too lean.

Be warned about lack of coloration at the side end of the center electrode that is more than a half millimeter. That is caused by too much spark advance or too hot a plug rating. Enough spark retardation allows all of the sides of the metal electrode except for the last half millimeter to have combustion deposits on it.

Cheap gasoline without enough deposit control additives can leave strange deposits on the plug. This is fairly common in 3rd world countries but also happens in 1st world countries. (see

How To Test The Main Jet
If you look at the dynometer graph below it shows the air-fuel ratio going rich before and after the meaty part of the powerband. So ideally you want to spend most of the time in that part of the powerband while testing the main jetting. You can ride on flat ground and keep upshifting and then in top gear apply the brakes to keep the engine from reving much past the meaty part of the powerband. Or you can ride up a long incline to keep the engine from reving past the sweet zone. If the main jet isn't too lean then you can get enough color on it to read it within one mile. If it is too lean then it may take 5 miles.

Reading The Ground Electrode
If the plug heat range is correct then there will be a shift in color about at the halfway mark along the ground electrode. If that change happens closer to the plug body then the heat range is too much. Here is my test result for the same engine with plug changes within a short span of time. The color change was almost too faint but it was there. The #7 had its line right at the halfway mark so it is the right plug for this engine. The extra black body base of #6 is because I had been using that plug previously a bit and so had more run time on it. The oil used was Castor 927.