Any pre-96 YZ125 owners on here?

Ex NESC/NEMA novice/youth int racer here from the early 90s. I have not had a dirt bike in over a decade...sold my last bike (94 YZ125) in 1995 to buy a car. Have not ridden in 3 years (borrowed an 01 CR125 for a weekend) but a friend with a KTM 200SX (ex Dirt Rider test bike, actually) is bugging me to get back into it.

Back around 2000, I borrowed a 97 KX125 with a full PC engine for a week, and went riding with a friend who had a 99 YZ125 at the time. The stock YZ was noticeably stronger than the admittedly ratty KX, but the KX ergos suited me better than the tall, stiff feeling YZ.

My friend with the KTM insists that older bikes are just plain junk. This is only his 2nd bike - 1st being a ratty 94ish RM125, so I'm not sure he's the best resource on the matter. It's not like we'd be racing...just trail riding and some fun laps on a practice track.

The last 3 bikes I owned were 91, 93, and 94 YZ125s...back when they were new. The 93 was my favorite as it had a super pipey motor with a noleen exhaust, ported 90 cylinder etc and other things I cant' remember. How archaic would an early 90s YZ125 be compared to recent bikes?

Has suspension improved *that* much that a revalved early 90s model would still be junk by comparison for our intended uses? I know peak hp and power delivery has gotten much better, but is it a big deal if we aren't racing?

I was going to tell you that everything has changed a lot, but then I thought about it and no.

I found an old Cycle World magazine in a used book store. They had the 1991 250 MX shootout. As I read the article, I realized that the strong/weak points of each bike was pretty much the same as today's.

I think the current powerbands are a little broader than they used to be. Handling would be pretty much the same, and ergonomy would be a little better due to flatter seats. Suspension would be where most of the improvements would be found, but a revalved mid-90's bike could work good as well.

My main concern with a 10+ year old bike would be general wear. The bike could be really good new, but as any competition machine, time and bad owners can easily turn it into a money pit.

I suggest you find a bike that is not older than 4 or 5 seasons. The new YZs (2005+) and KTMs (2005+) are really good choices if you are going for a 125. They are reliable and fast.

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