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2020 YZ125X first impressions and review

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Yesterday I took the plunge and bought a new YZ125X. Doing research I found very little first hand info on the new bike. Yes there was the basic first look but no tests or ride reports. I figured what the hell let's just do this. I'm a big guy that loves small bores. I currently own a 2018 KTM 150xcw, 2009 Husky WR125/165 and a 1988 CR125. I have also owned a KTM 125sx 150sx and a older YZ125.

If you're unfamiliar with what a 125X is go look it up then come back. I'm not going to go over all the changes they made vs the regular YZ. 

Seeing the bike in person it looks good. Doesn't look really any different except for the factory kickstand. IMG_20190729_185828901.jpg.bb7efb06003e9ad1a2e57d151fdda7e8.jpg

Fit and finish is typical Yamaha meaning good. Looking it over nothing seemed out of place or wrong so let's fire this up.

Bike started on the 2nd kick with the choke. After a quick warm up I put it in gear and headed up my driveway. I should at this point say I have 5 acres of land with about 2/3 of a miles of trails cut. There good for testing out a bike and getting it ready for the " real" trails.

After a quick trip up and down the driveway I had to stop riding. The jetting was way off. I mean this was the worst factory jetted bike I ever bought. Yamaha must have used the same guy KTM did for jetting specs. Way way to rich off the bottom to 1/4 throttle. The Mikuni carb comes with a 40 pilot  430 main and a 43-74 needle. The dealer had the air screw 3 1/2 turns out too. Luckily I had a 35 pilot that I could put in. The 35 pilot was more in the ballpark but it's still to rich. I changed needles to the 44-74 on clip 2 position. That's a 1/2 clip leaner . Now its good enough I can ride it without fouling a plug. 

With the jetting mess taken care of for now I can start breaking it in.  Im a believer for a fast break-in. Ride the bike but don't over rev it for the first hour.  I've done a half a dozen bikes like this and never had a problem. 

So what do I think of the motor? It's pretty impressive for a 125. Whatever Yamaha did they did it right. It has power right off idle not a ton but very close to the 150xcw. In fact the motor feels a lot like my 150xcw but just a tad softer with a little less hit. That's a good thing because it means the bike is going to work.  I did a few 3rd gear pulls and it's really close to the 150xcw. I'm ordering a leaner needle and will get the jetting spot on then I can really evaluated the motor. My first impression is Yamaha hit a home run. 

Suspension and handling its hard to make a call. Nothing is wrong and overall the bike feels good. Things just need to break-in and be adjusted. The forks feel about right with the stock .42 kg springs. The forks may be over sprung. I'm 215lbs and don't think I need to change them. The shock is definitely to soft for me but not bad . The stock 4.7kg spring will be replaced with a 5.2 I have.

The tires suck, at least the front. Dunlop AT81's fronts are horrible. Doesn't instill any confidence. I have a new tire coming. Other than the front tire trying to kill me the bike corners great. The lightweight feel of the bike is going to be a lot of fun.

Speaking of weight Yamaha list the bike at 209lbs ready to ride. They actually we're pretty close. Before riding the bike it got weighed with a full tank of gas . 212lbs is what I got so only 3 pounnds of there spec.IMG_20190730_091241671.jpg.7876add05e002be8100507dbc12906d5.jpg

Yes the scale says 214.2 but the lifting straps were 2.2lbs

For comparison the 150xcw weighs 227lbs with full tank. 

I'm going to give it a few more rides around the house before taking to the trails. I still need to cut the bars and install some handguards. Plus I'm waiting for a FMF TC2 spark arestor and skid plate. 

As of now I can tell this will be a really good bike. I think it will be able to compete with a KTM 150 head to head but at a lot lower price point. 

Stay tuned more to come.

If you have any questions please ask.

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Thanks for posting. Tired of riding

my 250f and considering one of these. 

More please!!!!!!

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1 minute ago, shrubitup said:

Oh man! I’ve ridden his xcw and wanted to get one but price kept me away.... damnit Yamaha! 

This bike will probably cut into KTM\husky sales once people figure out how good it is.

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Yesterday I took the plunge and bought a new YZ125X. Doing research I found very little first hand info on the new bike. Yes there was the basic first look but no tests or ride reports. I figured what the hell let's just do this. I'm a big guy that loves small bores. I currently own a 2018 KTM 150xcw, 2009 Husky WR125/165 and a 1988 CR125. I have also owned a KTM 125sx 150sx and a older YZ125.
If you're unfamiliar with what a 125X is go look it up then come back. I'm not going to go over all the changes they made vs the regular YZ. 
Seeing the bike in person it looks good. Doesn't look really any different except for the factory kickstand. IMG_20190729_185828901.jpg.bb7efb06003e9ad1a2e57d151fdda7e8.jpg
Fit and finish is typical Yamaha meaning good. Looking it over nothing seemed out of place or wrong so let's fire this up.
Bike started on the 2nd kick with the choke. After a quick warm up I put it in gear and headed up my driveway. I should at this point say I have 5 acres of land with about 2/3 of a miles of trails cut. There good for testing out a bike and getting it ready for the " real" trails.
After a quick trip up and down the driveway I had to stop riding. The jetting was way off. I mean this was the worst factory jetted bike I ever bought. Yamaha must have used the same guy KTM did for jetting specs. Way way to rich off the bottom to 1/4 throttle. The Mikuni carb comes with a 40 pilot  430 main and a 43-74 needle. The dealer had the air screw 3 1/2 turns out too. Luckily I had a 35 pilot that I could put in. The 35 pilot was more in the ballpark but it's still to rich. I changed needles to the 44-74 on clip 2 position. That's a 1/2 clip leaner . Now its good enough I can ride it without fouling a plug. 
With the jetting mess taken care of for now I can start breaking it in.  Im a believer for a fast break-in. Ride the bike but don't over rev it for the first hour.  I've done a half a dozen bikes like this and never had a problem. 
So what do I think of the motor? It's pretty impressive for a 125. Whatever Yamaha did they did it right. It has power right off idle not a ton but very close to the 150xcw. In fact the motor feels a lot like my 150xcw but just a tad softer with a little less hit. That's a good thing because it means the bike is going to work.  I did a few 3rd gear pulls and it's really close to the 150xcw. I'm ordering a leaner needle and will get the jetting spot on then I can really evaluated the motor. My first impression is Yamaha hit a home run. 
Suspension and handling its hard to make a call. Nothing is wrong and overall the bike feels good. Things just need to break-in and be adjusted. The forks feel about right with the stock .42 kg springs. The forks may be over sprung. I'm 215lbs and don't think I need to change them. The shock is definitely to soft for me but not bad . The stock 4.7kg spring will be replaced with a 5.2 I have.
The tires suck, at least the front. Dunlop AT81's fronts are horrible. Doesn't instill any confidence. I have a new tire coming. Other than the front tire trying to kill me the bike corners great. The lightweight feel of the bike is going to be a lot of fun.
Speaking of weight Yamaha list the bike at 209lbs ready to ride. They actually we're pretty close. Before riding the bike it got weighed with a full tank of gas . 212lbs is what I got so only 3 pounnds of there spec.IMG_20190730_091241671.jpg.7876add05e002be8100507dbc12906d5.jpg
Yes the scale says 214.2 but the lifting straps were 2.2lbs
For comparison the 150xcw weighs 227lbs with full tank. 
I'm going to give it a few more rides around the house before taking to the trails. I still need to cut the bars and install some handguards. Plus I'm waiting for a FMF TC2 spark arestor and skid plate. 
As of now I can tell this will be a really good bike. I think it will be able to compete with a KTM 150 head to head but at a lot lower price point. 
Stay tuned more to come.
If you have any questions please ask.

Doesn’t the KTM have a larger tank? Or did you put the same amount of fuel in each tank for the comparison? That might have been the majority of the weight difference.

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24 minutes ago, Familyman6000 said:


Doesn’t the KTM have a larger tank? Or did you put the same amount of fuel in each tank for the comparison? That might have been the majority of the weight difference.

KTM holds .3 gallons more or about 2lbs and yes that was factored in. What wasn't is the skid plate hand guards and tires. I suspect the YZ will gain about 5 lbs to bring it to 217 lbs. So 10 lbs less with no e-start is still pretty good.

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31 minutes ago, Familyman6000 said:


Doesn’t the KTM have a larger tank? Or did you put the same amount of fuel in each tank for the comparison? That might have been the majority of the weight difference.

Subtract fuel and YZ is lighter than KTM with no fuel. But KTM includes starter and battery in that weight. Still YZ is a great little package that will steal some sales for sure. 

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4 hours ago, GreenMT_Rider said:

After a quick trip up and down the driveway I had to stop riding. The jetting was way off. I mean this was the worst factory jetted bike I ever bought. Yamaha must have used the same guy KTM did for jetting specs. Way way to rich off the bottom to 1/4 throttle. The Mikuni carb comes with a 40 pilot  430 main and a 43-74 needle. The dealer had the air screw 3 1/2 turns out too. Luckily I had a 35 pilot that I could put in. The 35 pilot was more in the ballpark but it's still to rich. I changed needles to the 44-74 on clip 2 position. That's a 1/2 clip leaner . Now its good enough I can ride it without fouling a plug. 

Thanks for taking the plunge on the 125X and giving us a great review of your 1st impressions. Curious if you checked the float height while messing with the jets and needle? Seems like most feel the float height comes set too high on the new YZ's.

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1 minute ago, GettingThere said:

Thanks for taking the plunge on the 125X and giving us a great review of your 1st impressions. Curious if you checked the float height while messing with the jets and needle? Seems like most feel the float height comes set too high on the new YZ's.

I was going to check the next time I was in the carb. I did turn off the gas and ran it down a bit. That made no difference. The jetting specs are the same as the regular YZ. I wonder if the motor and cdi difference has that much effect on the jetting.

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Yep, good point. Possibly it will be different than the regular 125? I assume you are at a higher elevation also? I know the 250X likes the same jetting as the normal 250, especially with the Kinger 40 power jet setup. You may want to drop the float to see if it helps. Looking forward to your progress reports with the 125X.

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10 minutes ago, GettingThere said:

Yep, good point. Possibly it will be different than the regular 125? I assume you are at a higher elevation also? I know the 250X likes the same jetting as the normal 250, especially with the Kinger 40 power jet setup. You may want to drop the float to see if it helps. Looking forward to your progress reports with the 125X.

I'm at 200ft above sea level. Its better rich than lean in my book. KTM uses the same Mikuni carb on the 125 and 150. It seems like I'm going to end up with about the same jetting specs that KTM uses on there 125. Makes sense a 125 is a 125 regardless of brand. I swapped a carb between a KTM 250 and yz250 and the jetting was the same. I think Yamaha just missed the mark jetting wise. 

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22 minutes ago, gdwrench said:

Man what a nice looker …. is that an 18" rear on that?

Yes, they come that way stock hence the X moniker 

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So I did a few more runs around my trails. I'm getting the suspension dialed in more. This bike is very nimble and likes to be pushed. The faster you go the better it works. I really like the overall gearing and transmission spacing. There's no gaps but maybe 6th could be a little taller. Stall resistance seems good. I haven't stalled it yet but I'm not in the narly stuff yet. Rode the 150 back to back with the YZ. The YZ does feel a tad lighter. Power the YZ pulls good but comes on the pipe softer.

Let me say this right now sometimes less is good. The YZ power is more linear and builds very predictably. You can ease into power band and the bike stays under control. This motor is built for woods racing. Its a controllable power that dare I say is a little 4st ish. l really think the 150xcw is a near perfect tight woods motor and the YZ is too. Tracks and open fields will not be it's strong point. If you're riding trails that you can run a 250 in 3rd , 4th and 5th gear you may not like this bike. Most of my trails are 15-18mph average at A level race pace and this bike will do great in those trails. 

Like I said before Yamaha made a winner.

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Thanks fo the excellent review and details, especially jetting and suspension specs. 

I’m hoping it will serve you well. 

Like you I like small bores and had a 2013 KTM 150 XC and now a modified YZ125 (a home made X) which I find I ride more often than my other bikes. I’m likely to get a 2020 X when they arrive.   

A couple of questions. I’m very familiar with YZ jetting. Will you be getting a few needles to try? A 44-75 for example (clip 2) and or others. After you check/adjust float height the 35 pilot might stay in there?   

I read in the Yamaha release that the springs were “softer” but they didn’t say what rate so thanks for listing them. (I’m 180lbs and ride slower technical trails)  

Thanks again and I’ll be reading with great interest any updates and progress

 

CA1D5C32-45DC-43A0-ADF6-D97308EEBC69.jpeg

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Great first review!  I'll definitely be following your progress and feedback on the bike going forward.

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