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2017 Yamaha YZ125 | Bike Reviews

Yamaha’s YZ125 has been a staple in the motocross world for decades but how does the newest generation fair in our world of modern four-strokes.

Yamaha is the only Japanese manufacturer still producing a 125 two-stroke motocrosser. It’s up against stiff competition from Europe but the YZ125 still is an extremely capable machine straight out of the box.

ADB’s two-stroke aficionado, Wes Mills was eager to jump on the 2017 YZ125, admitting he bleeds a little blue. Here is what he thought of the little dinger:

“First impression, just looking at the YZ125, the GYTR parts look awesome. Usually you end up spending money on those sorts of parts and to come off the showroom floor like this is unreal.

“Yamaha’s 125 has always been spot on. It has no bad attributes but then it doesn’t have anything that completely blows me away. It’s a very neutral bike and anyone would feel at home on it.

“Today at Oakdale we did lean out the jetting slightly just because it’s been so hot here. It made a huge difference and now it revs to the moon. All we did was drop the needle and that made it close to perfect.

“The fit and finish of the YZ125 isn’t as high quality as some of its European competitors but Yamaha has always perfected its engines, suspension, handling, things like that and the overall finish doesn’t get the same treatment. The price is noticeably cheaper than the European bikes so you have to expect that.

“Still, it’s a race-ready bike in stock form. The only complaint I had was the handlebar and stock ‘grips. For someone my size, the ‘bar felt too high and the stock ‘grips were super hard but that’s an easy fix.


“Running a cable clutch when the other bikes have hydraulic is a big one and if I was buying it that’s something to consider – but again it comes down to price. The stock engine has an incredible top-end and it comes jetted almost perfect.

“Today was an exception because it was so hot but, then again, we only had to drop the needle. It would be great if they could pump in a little more mid-range. Obviously the torque isn’t there but with a little work you can more torque out of these little engines.

“The suspension allows you to ride the YZ125 really aggressive or very smooth. It’s forgiving when you over-shoot or case jumps – it will keep you in the straight line. Through the rough, braking bumps and acceleration bumps the suspension kept both wheels on the ground.

“I didn’t feel the bike kicking around under me. If I was to own one I wouldn’t change much, it’s very capable. Oakdale was very hard today and the front wheel never pushed. I felt confident in the front-end grip and I was able to carry more momentum through corners.

“Because 125s don’t have a lot of power you can smash the throttle out of a turn and you won’t loop out as easily as you would on a 250F or 450F. The Nissin brakes aren’t as good as what comes on the European models but because the 125 is such a light bike this isn’t as much of an issue. And the race kit it comes with an oversized front disc, which improves the braking power.

“If you’re on a budget and want a fast, competitive bike the YZ125 is a good model to look at.”

Yamaha YZ 125