desert racing a yz125

im toying with the idea of desert racing an 03 YZ 125, because its what ive got. i got the 125 to improve my skills and teach myself to be a better mx rider. that and my crappy schedule limits me to weekday riding, so i have spent over a year pretty much riding nothing but mx track. but my schedule may be changing and i might have some weekends again.

so who else is crazy enough to desert race a 125? i know its far from a new idea, since its been going on as long as there have been motorcycles, but it seems these bikes have fallen off the radar when it comes to desert racing. ive read a few posts where the small bike classes in certain racing series have been emtpy for some time.

just wondering if there are any die hard 125 guys out there who set these up for desert, and how well you have made out. i knows it more rider than bike, and i know its asking a lot for a small bike, and i know at 190 lbs im pushing the limit of the bike.

id like to see pics of your 125 off road racer. hear feedback from the adults that are still racing them. i know there are plenty of kids who use this as a stepping stone and cant wait to get more displacement, but i kind of like the idea of the challenge. that and the price of parts for them i could afford to make sure the bike is perfect before every other race or so.

I used to have one set up for offroad, 144, big tank, damper, etc.. I raced it in the 200 class. It was fun.

There is a guy who races district 37 and does pretty well on his 125. I know there is a good turnout usually for the 200 class.

I have my yz125 set up for desert, it is fun and i am almost as fast as my 250 in anything but hills or long straights. But pretty much basic set up for desert, big tank, skid plate, hand guards

Here is this guys helmet cam

Never raced it, but I road an 03 YZ125 in CA deserts for several years. Sometimes it was at a bit of a disadvantage, but other times it was fantastic. Of course in open straights I couldn't keep up with the 450s, but it was light and easy to maneuver in slower rocky sections and stuff. The GYTR flywheel helped a lot, and a 144 kit would have made it even better.

I did struggle in sandy uphills though. Seemed like every time we went into the hills I'd end up stuck on the side of a hill trying to start the bike and muscle it around.

Prep the carb before you ride in the desert, 1 to 2 steps bigger mains seem to be in order.

Prep the carb before you ride in the desert, 1 to 2 steps bigger mains seem to be in order.

Depends on what kind of desert racing we are talking. Baja style, high speed, deep sand stuff, definitely some jetting tweaks on order. But there's plenty of other harescramble/enduro/qualifiers etc that are more low speed, "normal" off road racing.

Last 125 I raced was a $900 1999 KX125 a few years back in a Arizona hare scramble.

Mods were

  • FMF Stealth for the spark arrestor
  • Full wrap hand guards
  • Heavy duty tubes
  • Homemade skid plate

Did alright. Yea, it's down on power, but towards the end of a 3 hour race only a few are still hammering, most people go into survival mode, so even a wheezy 125 can catch bigger bikes.

all up to stamina so it seems :devil: Not a racing fan myself, rather like to ride st stay fit :ride:

a guy in district 37 got in the top 5 overall on a 125. i wish i could have two bikes and race a 125 as well. keep it wiiiiide open and hang on.

i was looking at some d37 or d38 races to get back into things. I have come across other forums about the small bore classes coming up pretty much empty over the past few years in BITD and score. ive looked into doing vegas to reno awhile back, but my team mate who is still active duty got orders to the other coast. he and his family were the ones with the logisitical experience of long desert racing their cars. so it didnt happen. i was curious if anyone here attempted recently. thanks to 4 stroke marketing, it seems the masses now consider a 125 2 stroke a kids bike and they have slowly dissappeared in the offroad world. i know theres better huge horsepower bikes out there, but being a budget racer it seems like it would be fun.

i was just seeing who out there is still a die hard 125 desert racer. or if anyone had plans to attempt a big race on one. or if the small bore classes are going to remain empty forever.

thanks for the replys though, got my shopping list to turn this bike into a desert screamer.

I used to have a 2006 YZ125 (EG 144) and I set it up for desert and I could keep up with or beat almost anything until long straights or sand, no trouble on hills though, however keep in mind I weigh 120lbs soaking wet so I can go much faster than most on a 125, in the corners the thing was basically a heavy mountain bike.

I raced it in a couple of times in D38 a few years ago and did well, almost hard not to when there are less than 10 people in your class! It was fun, but small bore bikes just arent my thing, now I have a YZ250 I am setting up for D38, so that will fare much better, I think I would be able to overall on a good day on the 250, I did it once on a 250 4 stroke (Expert class), only once..being that the 250 will be lighter and faster I dont see why I couldnt do well. That always depends on who lines up that morning, always somebody faster...

Just get a Desert tank (you can usually do the entire race on 1 tank), some handguards, a skidplate and most important of all GEARING! Make sure that thing dont top out at 50mph. At least go up 1 tooth in the front and probably drop one or two in the rear, but that depends on how much you weigh the lighter you are the more top speed you can set up, I am lucky in this regard.

Also most of the D38 races have a lot of open area so I would suggest to go up one or two jet sizes to keep it safe.

A tip for you if racing Desert, if you are running WOT for more than 5 seconds at a time give the kill switch a little hit for maybe 1/2 a second to help cool the bore as often as possible, desert racing is hard on a wheezy motor, lol.


When im riding mine I find that i cant let off. Cant loose momentum! Stay on the gas, wheelie/ Jump anything you can! Pic is an absolutely stock bike @11k In Idaho.

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