Which 125 for trails? 6 speed, reliable....

Looking to pick up a fun bike for trail riding, possibly an occasional hare scramble race. Requirements

  • Relaible - well, as reliable as a 125 will get. Want to avoid bikes with known issues, unless it's a cheap fix.
  • 6 speed - not interested in a 5 speed on a trail bike.
  • Modern - No 1979 RM's or anything of that sort
  • Under $1500 - leaves me some budget for maintance and personal setup (tires, top end, bars, grips, skidplate, etc). So far this looks like it chops off most 04+ bikes locally

I spent much of high school riding and racing a 94 YZ125, owned a 99 KX125 a couple years ago as a fun bike, and have borrowed and ridden more mid-to-late 90's 125's than I can remember. There's tons of them around here, but I'm not sure if any one brand/year is a standout above the rest. Eventually I'd probably do a 144, and suspension will be sprung/valved. The original plan was just to get the cleanest bike I could find, but I'd hate to pick up something and find that say, 1 model year later would have been a better powervalve design, or grab a year that has horrible transmission issues, etc.

30 yrs old, 5'9", 175 lbs and shrinking

Been on a heavily mod'd YZ250 for 4 years now

No slouch - solid B class harescrambler, even made the move to A as a back-of-the-pack rider. Life gives very little riding time now, so I'm sure speed has slipped the last two years.

So what's your recommendation?

forgot to add, big 4 bikes only, KTM, GasGas, TM etc just dont come up for sale around here.

While I'm at it, the current bike


And some high school pics




I have an 03 KX125, and I use it for trail riding. I don't have any other experience on any other 125s. From what I have heard, stay away from electric power-valves! Keep with the mechanical. I've also heard that the YZ has the most bottom-end, followed by the RM and KX. The CR has a very pipey motor. I'm not sure about which one has how many gears, but I'm pretty sure they all have 6. I'm no expert though. :smirk: You can find most 125s for cheap, especially 05s and down.

2001 YZ125...or if you can find a good deal on the 2005 YZ125...

2002-2004 were 5 speeds...but to be honest the 5 speeds ain't bad either.

I would get a yz around y2k and then you could get the 144 kit sometime.

I'll also recommend a late model yz125. My 2005 has the 6 speed tranny and a strong pull off the bottom through the middle. I love the powerband. It pulls hard and fast without the boring 250f tractor feeling. It's more like a rocket.

The only problem I've heard of were in the 2005 and 2006 models. The shift stopper bearing was prone to grenading. It's like a $12 part that was updated in 07.

another late model yz125 vote, with 144 kit

I had a 03 kx125 they just dont have much bottom end, they sing if you can keep the rpm's up, but on big hills mine just couldnt do it no matter how much clutch abuse I gave it


Trade me your 250 for my 125 =]


Trade me your 250 for my 125 =]

Plan is to put the 250 up for sale, or trade it for a 125 + some cash, depending on the bike and condition. Need a bit of time though, this was the bike this morning:


Doing a top end, repacking all the bearings, new tires, brake pads, etc etc. Plus, there's no easier way to clean it up spotless than to tear it completely down. Plan was to do all this for my own use, but I can't get 125's out of my head! Been wanting one for a while, and it's time to just do it. :smirk:

Hit me up in a PM, we may be able to swap bikes. Should be able to keep our own forks/shocks as well since they will swap. Also, you're suppose to do that before the season starts. :smirk:

Edited by kan3
Hit me up in a PM, we may be able to swap bikes. Should be able to keep our own forks/shocks as well since they will swap. Also, you're suppose to do that before the season starts. :smirk:

I'd love to keep these forks. As much as everyone bags on the 05 stuff I've been extremely happy with them, once finally going into them myself and doing all the fixes, plus a proper revalve (previous tuner skipped touching the midvalve, which was setup for SX by Enzo previously. No wonder it was harsh on the trails!).

I know I'm supposed to work on it before the snow melts. But we just bought a house and moved here at Xmas time. Few months to settle in, few months with zero extra money because it's all going in the house & new kid, etc etc.

PM is coming....

Just bought a nice 2005 yz125 for 1300 a month or so ago. It had pro circuit pipe and pc shorty installed, in a box was the painted factory pipe and exhaust.

Keep your eyes open and don't buy the first one you see, there is always a nicer one for less around the corner.



My 01 was a little brute. I recommend it.

the KTM 125 is a good reliable motor, as far as the SX goes, im not sure about the other one, with a fresh rebuilt motor, these bikes will stay in powerband and wont die if you are in center bike through all 6 gears, i love my KTM 125 SX, my dad was riding and had wide open UPHILL, and forgot about a drainage ditch, couldnt stop on time, he said, " I just dropped a gear, popped the clutch, and front end came up just like a 250f" so idk if this would have helped, but i hope it did

Believe your the first person I've ever heard want to go from a YZ250 to a YZ125 for trail usage..

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