Words By Michael Allen • Photos By Zachary BonDurant
For the most part the Yamaha YZ125 hasn’t changed drastically since 2005 when Yamaha gave the little screamer an aluminum frame. In 2006 Yamaha introduced its Kayaba SSS (Speed Sensitive System) fork, which it still uses today and you’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like the way the SSS fork functions on the YZ125, YZ250, YZ250F or the YZ450F. The only real changes since 2006 came in the way of Pro Taper oversized bars, a front brake line holder, the YZ250F front brake caliper and in 2008 the fork springs were made slightly stiffer.
In 2011 Yamaha went to a global spec on the YZ125 and YZ250, which included a 75mm longer silencer with a perf-core size increase inside the silencer from 27mm to 30mm. The changes for the 2013 YZ125 include a white rear fender and a new tank graphics. The lack of drastic changes to the 2013 model doesn’t bother me, the YZ125 is still screaming at the top of the small cubic centimeter class. When comparing the 2013 YZ to my personal (and a little hammered 2003 YZ125) the noticeable differences are the six-speed transmission, KYB suspension, and more ridged aluminum chassis.
I had a chance to race the 2013 125 at the MTA 2-stroke nationals at Glen Helen and became quite fond of the little ripper. The suspension seemed perfect for my 165-pound weight, not bottoming when coming up short but also not too harsh when the brutal Glen Helen braking bumps reared their ugly heads. Even when the bike gets a little sideways it isn’t too big of a deal, it only weighs 199 pounds. The Yami has pretty good bottom for a 125 but the power tapers off a little too quickly on top and I’d like a little more over rev. Although very small power bands are the nature of the 125 beasts, it seemed that as soon as I was pulling hard it was already time to shift. I was riding the bike in bone stock form and with a pipe, silencer, and reed upgrade it would be a whole new animal with a couple more horsepower. Racing 125 two-strokes is so fun, especially against a full gate of other premix burning dirt bikes!
To read more about the YZ125, check out an upcoming issue of Dirt Rider, and be sure to tell us what you think of two-strokes at www.facebook.com/dirtridermag.