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Tested: 2018 Yamaha YZ125

It may be old technology, it may not have changed much in the past decade apart from a few suspension tweaks, but we’re pleased the Yamaha is not only still on sale but is still such a good bike. Despite no real development, it shows just how good the YZ125 was when it went to an aluminium frame in 2005. Just think how advanced the YZ range could be if there had been the same level of development as the four-strokes have had. We can only dream.

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In standard form the YZ125 is totally on point, with a strong engine and proven KYB spring suspension. You know what you’re getting and there is loads of know-how on how to get the best out of the bike. Even Yamaha sell the GYT-R kit that gives a huge boost, if you can afford it.

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The bike set up is very neutral, meaning no matter what size or shape, most riders still feel balanced on the bike as it seems to float around the track. That’s a good thing as the bike is popular with everyone from featherweight teenagers to women riders and older riders looking to rekindle the fun of racing that the four-strokes have robbed them of.

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The suspension action just gives you confidence. It’s not too hard which avoids any nervous feeling into turns on braking bumps. And it’s not too soft that it bottoms on jumps. The chassis is good and you never feel limited when choosing lines. It’s an open book as the bike is so nimble you can go where you want.

The front suspension works especially well, giving the perfect balance and front end grip when attacking the track. And the brakes are awesome which is important on a bike that has very little engine braking.

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The motor is very shape and the jetting is near-on perfect, despite it being a bitterly cold day when we rode the bikes. I had no problem in cleaning out the motor.

I reckon the Yamaha engineers have set up it up with for a no-fuss ride. Just get on and race. The motor is very responsive and strong from bottom to mid and at no point did I feel a bottom end lag – so thumbs up!

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It’s great fun to ride and brings a smile to the face. But having said that, it is almost 4kg heavier than the Austrian rivals and is under-powered in comparison.

The peak power is just fractionally behind the KTM and Husky but it’s in the mid range where it falls behind. That’s a decade of progress for you.

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