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I am looking for a YZ125 and have found a 99 for 1300 and an 03 for 1600 both in pretty nice condition. Obviously going to negotiate the prices down however I was wondering which one you guys would suggest. Ive been doing research and know that the 03 is lighter with a modified frame though it has a 5 speed. The 99 motor is well liked for the power and reliability.

I will be doing strictly trail riding so whats the better option here?

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Ill add this, if youre in cali maybe you want to consider the older model so you can ride year round? Otherwise newer might be better. I have had no trouble finding parts, after market or OEM, for my machine

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I'd go with whichever one is in better condition. Both good bikes you'd do same on either one I bet 

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My buddy has a 99 that I've ridden from time to time, and I have an 03 and an 06.  I've come to the conclusion that any YZ after 97-98 is a great bike.  I prefer the older steel frame bikes a bit compared to my 06, but it's just nitpicking.  I would echo the comment above, buy the bike that's in the best condition of the two.  I would also go for the most stock of the two bikes.  Aftermarket parts and modifications can cause a lot of problems.

As for a direct comparison of the 99 and 03, the main difference I feel is the seat height and riding position.  The 99 has more of the classic "scooped" seat, whereas the 03 has the more modern design where the seat is basically flat from the tank to the fender.  If you are shorter, the 99 might be a better fit.  My other comment would be that the 99 came with the Nissin brake caliper, but the front master cylinder was another brand I was unfamiliar with.  It did not work well even with bleeding and a rebuild, so we replaced it with a Nissin.  If you go with the 99, give the brakes a good test.

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Thanks guys. Seeing the 03 Thursday and the 99 Friday if I can't get the first for the right price. Thanks for the insight. 

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99 six speed gearbox

03 five speed gearbox

99 old style plastic, but still a looker. 

03 new style from 02-14, but can do 15-17 on it also. 

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