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Tested: 2020 Yamaha YZ125

Yamaha YZ125 86.7kg 32.6 bhp

While the KTM 125SX has been developed every year since the millennium, the YZ125 is pretty much the same bike as it was then in terms of engine and chassis. Yamaha has upgraded the KYB suspensions – which is now the same as the YZF KYBs, with the AOS 48mm forks – the swingarm and the footrests. The 2020 Yamaha YZ125 is identical to the 2019, which is identical to the 2081. Yet the YZ125 remains constantly popular and accomplished on the track.

The KYB AOS 48mm forks seem a bit harsh on the bumps, but opened the compression by a few clicks worked well.

After softening the fork, the rear KYB shock tended to kick a little so the sag was dropped rom 104 to 108mm to give a better overall balance.


Motor oil: 0.68 litres.
Oil change: after break-in and then every 5 races or 12.5 hours
Air filter cleaning: after every race
Piston Replacement: every 12.5 hours
Starter motor: N/A
Premix: 33:1
Front: Dunlop Geomax MX52F 80 / 100-21
Rear: Dunlop Geomax MX52 100 / 90-19

What the testers said:

Pablo d’Aniello:

The YZ125 a bike that you have to ride hard and with skill to make it go fast. You have to work harder than on a KTM or Husky. But it is light, manageable and very agile which puts you at ease.

The bike somehow seems to have improved low end power and this helps in the corners, especially bursting out of tight turns. The spring forks are quite rigid which hurts the wrists, but they work well.

Edoardo Boga:

The more laps I did on the YZ, the more I liked it. And at the end of the test when the track was roughest, it was my favourite to ride. The forks are smoother in the first part of the travel, but the shock doesn’t soak up the hits as good as the WP units.

But make a mistake and the little engine takes time to get you back to speed. With the Austrian bikes you can be less than perfect and get away with a lot more.