TTR125 or CRF100F?

My son is a 12 year old novice rider. He has some desire to get into racing but I don't see it being anything too serious. Mostly, we'll be riding together on trails and such.

Both bikes are about the same height for him. The TTR has the electric start which seems like the key difference to me besides, of course, the engine size. Is there a big difference in power between the two bikes? Reliability?

I'm buying used but both are relatively new and in good condition. Presuming I can get either one for roughly the same price, what would you recommend?

I had a TTR 125 for some time and had a great experience with it. Taught me many basics and had enough power to do just about anything. The electric start came in handy quite a bit for me as I was pretty small then. And with Yamaha's, you can never go wrong with the reliability. Never had a single problem with it. Just clean the air filter and change the oil and it'll be good. I'd go with the 125.

I've got a 12 year old novice rider too. He is learning to like jumps. He has a CR85RB and it is great for the track, racing and jumps. It isn't the best trail bike though. His friend's he rides with a lot have CR80s and one has a TTR-125. Wouldn't want to try to race with the 125 and definately need to brace the frame before jumping much with it. The TTR is a good trail bike, lacks in suspension and strength for racing. I would pick up a used 90's 2 stroke 80/85 and let him try that, they are fairly cheap and resale well, or part it out and make more money! TTRs are out there pretty cheap too. As for the CRF100, no experience with them. Good luck with whatever he chooses to do, just keep him riding!

Jim

flwildcat,

Are you looking at a Yamaha TTR125E or TTR125LE?

I owned a Honda CRF100F and Honda CRF150F (which is a little bigger than the TTR125LE but has very similar features) for the last 2 riding seasons that I sold this past winter. My experience/insight may provide some benefit to your decision-making.

There are a couple differences that I note between the TTR125LE (big wheel and electric start) TTR125 E (small wheel and electric start), and the CRF100 that you might want to consider. As you stated the Yamaha has the electric start which is nice to have but it adds more weight for the starter and battery. My experience with air-cooled 4 stroke bikes are they can be very difficult to start after they have been dumped over. An electric start will make it much easier on a novice rider (and on the parent) and is definitely a plus for the Yamaha. The only downside is your 12 year old won't get lots of practice kick starting. But since it has both, you can have him try to just use the kick starter every so often. He will need this skill later or when the battery/starter doesnt work -which is nearly always at the worst possible time.

The TTR125LE also has a front disc brake which is definitely much better than the drum brake the CRF100F and TTR125E have.

The TTR125LE and CRF100F both have 19" front and 16" rear wheels (with the TTR125LE having a bit more suspension travel) and the TTR125E has 17"/14". Generally speaking, I find the larger wheels to be advantageous for getting over trail obstacles vs. smaller (think fewer crashes over the same size rocks and tree roots), so depending on which Yamaha you are talking about, this could be an advantage for the CRF100F over the TTR125E.

I think you should also consider the seat heights when evaluating your choices. The TTR125LE is the highest at 31.7", the CRF100F 30.9" and the TTR125E is 30.5" You didn't mention your son's height and weight, but the taller bike might allow your son to be able to ride it a bit longer before growing out of it and provides slightly better suspension travel (these entry level trail bikes all have pretty crappy suspension, but you don't want to start a novice rider on an MX bike with great suspension and way TOO much power). Conversely, if he is on the shorter side it could cause some difficulties. Too much height can be very unnerving for a novice rider especially when they get on uneven, off-camber terrain on the trail and they cant touch their feet. Make sure that he starts with a bike that he can easily touch the ground and support it with confidence. For example, my youngest rode a CRF80F from ages 10-12 because the CRF100F was too tall. His is just now 5' 0" and moved to a YZ85 where he is nearly on tiptoes to touch the ground. My middle kid started riding at 13 (when he was about 5' 7") on a CRF150F (seat height 32.5") and he quickly outgrew the bike where he looked like a gorilla on a clown bike (now age 15 and 6' 1").

Whichever bike you decide to buy, you will likely only have for a riding season (or maybe two if you are lucky) because his riding skill will progress beyond the entry level trail bike and/or he will grow out of it. So, buy the one that has the "best" combination of price/condition/model year.

Not sure what year you are looking at buying, but in checking the 2008 Kelly Blue Book pricing I see the TTR125LE is showing $1,475, the TTR125E $1,345, and the CRF100 $1,435 (dealer starting retail price for a bike in excellent condition). Now, your market might vary from the KBB pricing, but if they are roughly equivalent for the same year and same condition, I would take the bike with disc brake and electric start. I think these features make for an easier re-sell when its time to move on to bigger & better.

Regarding reliability, my Honda's were very reliable for the short time I owned them And, my impression is that the Yamaha air cooled 4 strokes are equally reliable (that motor design has been around forever and has been largely unchanged since the early seventies). Horsepower differences between these models are negligible. The CRF100F has about 10 HP. I think the TTR125 has about 10-12 hp and slightly more weight due to the battery and starter.

The whole world learned on an XR 100, but the TTR is a little better. the E-start is worth a fortune.

The TTR 125 dyno's at 7.97 HP corrected for seal level, and the 100 has 1.5 hp less. That doesn't sound like much, but the TTR has nearly 20% more power.

Both bikes are great, and will work well.

Edited by Leardriver

Id go with the Honda.

Go with yamaha if you dont want to work on your bike all day

my friend has a couple ttr 125's. One is the ttr-125E and one is the ttr125LE. Both are solid bikes, but dont have the electric start. As nice as the E-start is, kick starting is a good thing to be good at it, because like somone above said, the E-start chooses not to work at the worst times. They have plenty of power for trail riding, I weigh 140 pounds and it can make it up most hills with me on it, and can be used for some smaller jumps. The CRF 100f wouldnt be a bad choice, but is horrible for jumping, and would be outgrown powerwise and supsension wise much quicker. Overall, i would go with the yamaha because of the reliability. Your son will enjoy the travel and more aggresive style of the bike over the honda. I hope he has a great time riding with you, i wish my dad would do that with me. Good luck

I have three boys and have had them all. Get a TTR 125LE. Do the big three mods and you will be set until he outgrows the bike.

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