I Am A 2010 Yamaha YZ125 - First Test - Dirt Rider Magazine

I bet you didn't think bikes have fun, but we do. And let me tell you a secret: I have the most.I am Dirt Rider Magazine's 2010 Yamaha YZ125. I was made out of parts that haven't changed much since designers added my motor to this aluminum frame in 2005. Sure, I got trickle-down, lightweight additions here and there a few years back; and that Speed-Sensitive System fork in 2006 was a nice modern touch. But for the most part, I'm very close to my brothers from 2005 and on. For 2010, I get two new stickers. If you find them, I will give you a prize. That prize is looking at a YZ125 with care. Now you are cooler. You are very welcome.Since my story obviously isn't new, what could be interesting about it? I'm just a 125, after all. Only a couple of companies even make 125s. So maybe we're totally radical because we're different? Maybe. But I have another theory.Today, most of my competition have valves in their heads, cam chains spinning next to their cylinder walls and ridiculously skinny pipes. The modern motocross bike, in my humble opinion, has gone soft like a couch. It begs you to work less, make more noise and spend more money. It's a big dose of fat laziness served up in a sport that is supposed to chew the fat and spit out the lazy.Today's bikes are heavier than me. Today's bikes are more complicated than me. Today's bikes have brains that control how much gas goes in and know what the weather is like. My brain involves spinning magnets-that's pretty much it. And my parents spend more time, money and effort building and selling these not-so-new-anymore "modern" bikes.I'd be lying if I weren't jealous. I mean, kids everywhere are lining up for today's bikes. Fuel injection? I can only image what that feels like in my heart no matter the temperature or altitude. Some have electric start, I hear. Four-stroke traction? I don't know what that is, but the way the noisy bikes grip to the hardpack makes me ping. Titanium exhaust systems? That. Is. Awesome. My second cousin, the YZ450F, even has a backward cylinder. I hear that's so it can feel more like me. Cool!But something strange is happening in this sea of coolness. What was old is new again. And eyes are coming back to me. Well, at least they're glancing.I know this because I've been tossed around Dirt Rider's testing pool of editors and their friends for months. I've been ridden all across Southern California's MX tracks. I've been exhausted, refueled and exhausted again. I've been meticulously cleaned to factory-like specs. I've been used and put away dirty. I've been flat-landed and came-up-short upon. I've even had totally solid one-handers thrown off my bar. I've been loved to death. And I've had a lot of fun. And it seems people can't take their eyes off of me.Riders can hear me wake up from across the pits, and they almost always turn their heads. Famous people must ride me because they give a lot of high-fives. Cheers of "Yahoo!" "Nice!" "125s kick ass!" are not uncommon. It seems I'm the most popular bike in the pits. When I'm riding in the back of a truck people stop and smile. Brett Metcalfe (the last racer on a factory-level YZ125) nearly wept when he saw me. And I'm rarely left in the shop on a weekend. I'm getting respect everywhere I roll. Well, almost everywhere.There are riders who hate me. They hate to hear me coming. They hate to hear me next to them. And they really hate to hear me go by because they'll do anything to get in my way. It's funny because most of these haters are older. They probably remember riding bikes like me before they got their newer, lazier bikes. They're probably mad at how much fun they know the guy riding me is having or that they can't do the work anymore to keep me competitive. Whatever. I know I sound cool to them.

Even though I was almost born yesterday I'm not ignorant enough to think I'll ever become as popular as I once was. I'm at a competitive disadvantage. But I maintain a humongous enjoyment and value edge over any class of bike. Everyone says the same thing when they ride me: "That was really fun." And when the ride party becomes four to five 125s deep, the good times go off the chart.So stop to look at me when you're sprinting to the latest and greatest on the showroom floor. Remember how much fun I am to ride. And take me home. Because you know I'm ready to have fun with you.

Specifications: 2010 Yamaha YZ125

MSRP: $6,090

Actual weight (tank full): 211 lb

Seat height: 37.75 in.

Seat-to-footpeg distance: 21.0 in.

Footpeg height: 16.25 in._Other Notes: Some riders preferred dropping the fork to flush with the caps in the clamps for more stability at high-speed tracks. An equal number of riders felt this made the bike difficult to turn and put them back to stock height above the top clamp (5mm).__*Riders over 180 pounds are stretching the useful range of the stock spring rates front and rear. We ran roughly 105mm of sag to keep some free sag in the bike for heavier test riders. Even at 200-plus pounds, the bike handles well. Only the biggest G-out landings got those riders sketchy._


Jesse Ziegler

5'10"/175 lb/Intermediate

You know the old saying "You don't know what you've got until it's gone"? That's a true statement. I felt pain and depression like never before when I pulled off the track with a flat rear tire on this YZ125 during a practice day. Yes, I had a 2010 CRF250R and KX250F I could have ridden. But I didn't want to. I wanted to ride this bike. This bike is every bit as fast as those class leaders. You just have to work for it. It doesn't do as well on hardpack, and it doesn't turn with the precision of the CRF250R, but big deal. It gains on both through the mid and pulls just as well on top. The clutch is the real throttle, and the throttle stays wide open. That rules. If you need more evidence, I spelled out every reason you could possibly need to buy a Yamaha YZ125 here.Joe Melton

6'1"/210 lb/Intermediate

I regularly ride 125s with my friends and sometimes against my biggest rivals. I never rode or raced one growing up even though I grew up in the heyday of American motocross in the late '70s/early '80s. My heroes rode Open-class machines, so I started on a 250 and stayed there. Now, I ride 125s whenever I can. I've even raced the MTA World Vet Championships at Glen Helen on one (yes, with the hills), and I seem to squeeze out some competitiveness just fine. What's most impressive is these bikes' bulletproof durability (I rode a 2009 YZ125 all year and didn't even replace a clutch); stock dependability is unbelievable as well. This class of bikes in the '80s were basket cases. Most needed weekly maintenance just to keep them running. I'm not 125-sized. I'm not 125-aged. But I'm a huge 125 fan. I usually go up a spring rate front and rear and add a tooth to the rear sprocket. That gives it a little more pull out of the corners and helps it in G-outs and high-speed rollers. For sure, anyone who buys a 125 will have zero regrets.