20 year old, pretty much beginner, 125 2 stroke or 250 2 stroke?

Hey everyone,

    I'm 20, 5'11", 155 lbs. When I was younger I had a Honda xr70 for a few years but I never really rode it a whole lot. I've been really looking into buying myself a used bike in a price range of 1k to 2k at the very most. I definitely want to get a 2 stroke due to my price constraints, the light weight of the bike, and because I'd love to work on the bike on my own in my spare time too. My dilemma is I've always generally been somewhat timid when I'm in control of something that I'm not necessarily good at, yet I pick things up decently quickly and then I pretty much get over-aggressive and hammer it once I get the hang of it. I don't want to scare myself out of riding my bike early on so that's why I'm leaning towards a 125. My older brother has been riding for a few years and he has an 03 cr250. So that brings up my question. Would a 125 be enough power to keep me happy and also be fast enough that eventually I'll be able to keep up with my brother, who is by no means an aggressive rider?


Thanks in advance,


Go with the 250.  You are plenty tall enough and will outgrow the 125 in a couple of weeks.  The 250 will be a longer term answer to your needs.

Another thing is I'm getting pretty impatient of waiting around for a decent priced 250 to show up when there's a couple 125's that fit my budget perfectly. I'm a college student so I don't have a lot of spare money to work with.

If you dont over pay for your 125 you should be able to sell it for very close to what you have in it if/when you decide you want a 250.  Post up some craigslist listings and show us what you're looking at.


Those are some good prices. Less than around here. Of those three the KX is the clear winner. Cheapest and best condition.

I'd caution against a 250 while you are learning. You will find that a 125 does a whole lot more than you can manage effectively as a new rider. A 250 does more than that. Could you 'handle' one? Probably. But the point is to build enough skill to have fun and be in full control at all times. A 125 will have a lot of power to control as it is. Many (most?) new male riders buy too much bike when they are starting out because they underestimate the power a race bike has.

Plenty of veteran riders love their 125. You may never want more power.

You can always go bigger. Its hard to repair the bad habits learned from too much bike. Since you already admit to being timid AND over-aggressive, a 250 could potentially be too much. Have you ridden your brother's much? I would start there. 


As for speed, I have friends that blow me away on a 125, but there are climbs they just can't make while I'm shifting through the gears going up. Just depends on the rider and terrain.

Those are great prices.  IMO a modern 125 will never be worth less than 800-1000 bucks as long as its in decent running shape.  I would say go with a 125, ride it for a year and then if you want more sell your 125.  If that KX isn't about to blow up thats a great deal.  I had a 99 CR125 as my first bike actually.  Its a great handling bike but I've heard its down on power to other 125s of the time. 

Edited by PTECH

Thanks everyone, I really appreciate the help. I think I've come to the conclusion that the 125 is the way to go for me, at least for now! 

I hate the mentality that 125's are "learner" bikes and that you "Outgrow" them. They have the same seat height as full sized bikes, and do people not remember 10 years ago when they were raced professionally? 


I hate the mentality that 125's are "learner" bikes and that you "Outgrow" them. They have the same seat height as full sized bikes, and do people not remember 10 years ago when they were raced professionally? 



Its almost like a street rider attitude.


But even those guys are wrong, when the 600's with a good rider slay the straight line power heroes on the track.

I started on a 450f and regretted it. On a 250f now and love it. Start on a 125 or 250f then move up for sure also if you were to start on a 250t you would get smashed

Go with the 250.  You are plenty tall enough and will outgrow the 125 in a couple of weeks.  The 250 will be a longer term answer to your needs.


I disagree. At 20 he's probably done growing, and i'm 6'2, 24 yo, and still ride a 125. I started riding a 125 and MX in general at 20 yo. I'm still a long ways before I could make efficient use of a 250 2t's power. Also, the 125 is the longer term answer because it breeds good riding habits. If you ride lazy on a 125, you won't be able to accomplish much. It forces you to practice good technique since you are lacking horsepower.


I hate the mentality that 125's are "learner" bikes and that you "Outgrow" them. They have the same seat height as full sized bikes, and do people not remember 10 years ago when they were raced professionally?


I'd definitely say 125's are learner bikes for some of the reasons I stated above. However, I totally agree you don't "outgrow" them. At 6'2 I do prefer the bigger feel of a 250 2t or 450f, but it's not like my 125 is too small to ride or uncomfortable by any means. Just have to jockey around on it more.




To Jpetsche12, I'm glad you're already leaning towards the 125. I was in your exact same position 4 years ago. College student, 20 yo, 150 lbs, 6'2. I bought a 2001 CR125 and a just few months ago picked up a 2011 YZ125. The 125 is going to teach you proper riding technique because you don't really have a choice. It has plenty of horsepower to get around any track, you're just going to have to learn how to use it and most importantly - carry your speed. That is one of the biggest advantages to learning on a 125, you'll never get fast on it until you learn to carry your speed and hit corners fast. The other main reason I prefer it is for the lack of power, its easier to avoid hairy situations, especially whiskey throttle. When I have a rough landing or am riding tired and whiskey throttle, I typically have time to get off the gas and hit the brakes. On a big bike, you would have already looped out or flew off a berm (very dangerous). Riding a big bike can make you lazier and breed poor technique, you can enter corners slow and just grab a handful of throttle and power out. On the 125 you're going to be using both arms and feet on the controls on damn near every corner.


I've always told myself once i'm able to fly around the track in 5th and 6th gear on my 125, then I'll be ready to harvest the power of a 250 2t or 450. I'll buy a 250f once I can afford to rebuild the damn engine regularly. 


To any nay sayers that think 125's are too weak, too small, outdated, kids bikes, etc. Watch Ryan Surratt effortlessly pass the big bikes with ease on what appears to be a stock 125. It's not the bike, its the rider. Extra HP is useless (and counter productive) until you're good enough to use it (don't overestimate yourself).


Edit: I do have one comment I should add so I don't sound like everyone should/needs to ride 125s. If you're 200+ lbs it probably doesn't have enough HP to get you through most situations comfortably.


Edited by dan2581

Oh, about which bike to purchase. Definitely do everything in your power to buy an 06+ YZ125. Best suspension in the business hands down which is more important than power delivery IMO. If you cant find/afford one of those, just try to find any 125 with twin chamber forks. They are significantly better than old open bath forks and will allow you to ride faster.


If you can't find one of those, then buy an older Yamaha or Suzuki. I have no comment on Kawasaki because i've never owned one, but I don't think they are bad bikes at all, I just don't have first hand owner experience on one.


I liked my honda a lot, minus the terrible forks. The motor wasn't anything spectacular either, but it was tiny and light which boosted confidence. The hondas have no bottom end, no mid range pull, just top end. It did teach me how to ride on the pipe with confidence. The Yamaha and Suzuki I owned seemed to have a much broader power band on a stock motor without any sacrifice up top. I had to dump a lot of money modding my CR to be happy with the pull up top.


Edit: I also had a 2001 honda, that was a shitty era for the choked up motor they stuffed in the first aluminum frames. I've heard quite good things about the per-aluminum frame hondas and the later ones weren't so bad either. If you can afford an updated honda though, then you really just need to get an 06+ YZ

Edited by dan2581


Hey guys, so I've been talking to the guy about the 02 kx125: http://omaha.craigslist.org/mcy/4983924178.html

and he sent some pictures of "all the bad stuff" which I've attached. I'd like to get some opinions on this bike. Would you steer away from it since it looks pretty beat up that maybe other costly problems could come up? Or would you buy it, and if so how much would you offer? He's asking 800. Thanks in advance!





Hey guys, so I've been talking to the guy about the 02 kx125: http://omaha.craigslist.org/mcy/4983924178.html

and he sent some pictures of "all the bad stuff" which I've attached. I'd like to get some opinions on this bike. Would you steer away from it since it looks pretty beat up that maybe other costly problems could come up? Or would you buy it, and if so how much would you offer? He's asking 800. Thanks in advance!

That stuff is gingerbread. I'd give him his $800 and be happy to do so. That bike is worth twice as much here. Go to somewhere like Canada and that's a $2500 bike.

Hey guys, so I've been talking to the guy about the 02 kx125: http://omaha.craigslist.org/mcy/4983924178.html

and he sent some pictures of "all the bad stuff" which I've attached. I'd like to get some opinions on this bike. Would you steer away from it since it looks pretty beat up that maybe other costly problems could come up? Or would you buy it, and if so how much would you offer? He's asking 800. Thanks in advance!

That's not alot to fix.  But in the first pic, is that a bent sub-frame?



I would say get the bike if he still has it, but if I were you I'd try to get it even lower.... seeing how he revealed the damages after the asking price, even though $800 would already be a good deal.

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      Now take your OLD needle, I repeat, the OLD needle because what you are going to do next will ruin it. Pull the clip off with your needle nose pliers, or a tiny screwdriver to pry it off. Then put the needle back in the hole where it goes. That’s right, just to clarify, you took off the needle, and you put the needle back in the hole with no clip. Slide the point side first, just as it would go normally. Now if you look at the bottom of the carb, the needle is protruding past the main jets hole. Grab another pair of locking pliers (vise grips as I call them) and lock it as tight as you can on the needle. Pull with all your might on the needle. Use two hands. Have a friend hold the carb so you don’t pull it off the boot. Tell them to stick their fingers in the hole that goes to the engine, and pull up. After pulling hard, the needle jet should slip right off. Then notice which side goes towards the top of the carb. There is one side that is a smaller diameter than the other. Take the new needle jet, and push it up into the hole the way the old one was set. Just get it straight. Take the tube the main jet goes into, and start threading it in. Once you can’t tie it down anymore with a ratchet, unscrew it and look at the needle jet to make sure it’s set. That’s it for the needle jet. Now let’s start putting the carb back together.
      (Notice: Many people have destroyed jets and such by overtighting them! Use the thumb on the head of the wrench and two fingers on the wrench to tighten it down.)
      Thread the main jet into the tube it goes into, and then start putting it back on the carb. Thread the pilot jet in as well if you haven’t done so already. Remember these carburetor metals are soft as cheese, so don’t over tighten the jets very much. What I do is I put my thumb on the top of my ratchet, and use two fingers closest to the head of the ratchet to tighten the jet. That’s how tight I go when I tie them back in.
      Now before we put the carb back together, let’s adjust the fuel screw. Take a small screwdriver, and start screwing in the fuel screw until it sets. Again, do not over tighten, just let it set. Then count back your turns. Count back 1.75 turns.
      Now we must put the bowl back on. The white piece that came off with the bowl goes back as followed:

      If you look directly under the carb, the round hole is aligned with the pilot jet. Take the float bowl, and put it back on.
      Untie the rear clamp and the front clamp as well. Slip the carb back the way it used to. Make sure that it is straight up and down with the rest of the bike. The notch on the front boot should be aligned with the notch on the carburetor, and the notch on the carburetor should be in that slot. Tie the clamps down securely.
      Let’s put the needle in. These are how the needle numbers go:

      The top clip position is #1, the lowest one, closest to the bottom, is #5. (The picture says six but it is five in this case) For reference #1 is the leanest position, while 5 is the richest. I put the clip in the 4th position. Read at the bottom of the page and you can know what conditions I ride in, and you can adjust them to your preference.
      Put the clip in the new needle, slip it in. Take the vise grips off your grips and start guiding the plunger holder down to the bottom. Remember not to let that assembly come apart because it is a pain in the ass to get it back together! Once you get it to the bottom, put the two screws on, and then put the cover on.
      Now that you have done the carburetor mods, there is still one thing you want to do to complete the process. Don’t worry, this takes less than a minute! On the top of the air box there is a snorkel:

      As you can see, you can slip your fingers in and pull it out. Do that. This lets more air in to the air box. Don’t worry about water getting in. There is a lip that is about 1/8” high that doesn’t let water in. When you wash, don’t spray a lot under the seat, but don’t worry about it too much.
      The next thing you must do is remove the exhaust baffle. The screw is a torx type, or you can carefully use an allen wrench and take care not to strip it:

      The screw is at the 5 o’clock position and all you do is unscrew it, reach in, and yank it out. This setup still passes the dB test. The bike runs 92 dB per AMA standards, which is acceptable. Just carry this baffle in your gear bag if the ranger is a jerk off. I’ve never had a problem, but don’t take chances.
      That’s it! Start putting your tank on, seat, and covers. After you put the seat on, pull up on the front, and the middle of the seat to make sure the hooks set in place.
      Turn on the bike, and take a can of WD-40. Spray the WD-40 around the boot where it meets the carburetor. If the RPM rises, you know you have a leak, and the leak must be stopped. You must do this to make sure there are no leaks!
      Here is my configuration:
      04’ 230F
      Uni Air filter
      132 Main Jet
      45 Pilot Jet
      Power up needle, 4th clip position
      Fuel screw 1.75 turns out
      Riding elevation: 2000ft - Sea level
      Temperature – Around 60-90 degrees
      Spark Plug Tips
      When you jet your carb, a spark plug is a best friend. Make sure your spark plug is gapped correctly, (.035) but that’s not all that matters. You want to make sure the electrode is over the center, and you want the electrode to be parallel, not like a wave of a sea. Put in the plug, and run the bike for 15 mins, ride it around too then turn it off. Then take off the spark plug after letting the bike cool. The ceramic insulator should be tan, like a paper bag. If it is black, it is running rich, if it is white, it is running lean. The fuel screw should be turned out if it is running lean, and turned in if it is running rich. Go ¼ turns at a time until your plug is a nice tan color.
      Making sure your bike is jetted correctly
      While you are running the bike for those 15 mins to check the plug color, you want to make sure it’s jetted correctly now. Here is what the jets/needle/screw control:
      0- 3/8 throttle – Pilot jet
      ¼ to ¾ throttle – Needle
      5/8 – full throttle – Main jet
      0-Full – Fuel screw
      Pin the gas, does it bog much? Just put around, is it responsive? When you’re coming down a hill, the rpm’s are high and you have no hand on the throttle, does it pop? If it pops, it is lean and the pilot jet should be bigger. If it’s responsive your needle is set perfectly. You shouldn’t have to go any leaner than the 3rd position, but I put mine in the 4th position to get the most response. Your bike shouldn’t bog much when you have it pinned. If it does it is too rich of a main jet.
      Determining the plug color, you will have to mess with the fuel screw.
      That’s it, have fun jetting, and any questions, post on the forum, but remember to do a search first.
      Also, if your bike requires different jets due to alititude, humidity, or temperature, please post the following so we can better assist you:
      Average temperature
      Altitude (If you do not know this, there is a link in the Jetting forum that you can look up your alititude)
      Average Humidity
      What jets you are currently running
      What the problem is (If there is one)
      Just do that and we'll help you out the best we can.
      EDIT: The girl using this login name is my girlfriend. You can reach me on my new login name at 250Thumpher
      Then again, you're more than welcome to say hi to her!
      -Phill Vieira
    • By kashlak
      JUst curious of how many bikes,quads,trikes people owned over the years and what they were?
      78 honda atc 70
      85 honda atc 110
      ?? handa trail 70
      78 yamaha mx 80
      85 yamaha yz 60
      82 yamaha it 125
      85 kawasaki kxt 250 tecate
      79 yamaha yz 400
      86 yamaha yz 125
      85 yamaha yz 80 (playbike)
      92 kawasaki kx 250
      93 yamaha xt 350
      and last but not least a 99 kawasaki kx 250
    • By Bosch232
      Were the XL's the predecessor to the XR's?
      I have a friend who's looking at an old XL350, and I don't know anything about these bikes.