First Impression: 2006 Yamaha YZ125

Once again we were invited out to Competitive Edge MX in Hesperia, CA, to take our inaugural ride on the 2006 version of an ¿05 shootout winner¿this time in the two-stroke 125cc category. Yamaha surprised the industry in ¿05 when they delivered two brand-spankin¿-new two-stroke motorcycles to the public. The YZ125 featured an all-new, lightweight aluminum frame, new suspension, and a newly designed, more compact motor that produced even more horsepower than the year previous. So good was the ¿05 YZ125 that it railed its way through our shootout with ease, taking home top honors as 125cc bike of the year. The result in the real world? Yamaha was the only manufacturer in 2005 to increase the sales of their 125cc two-strokes.

For 2006, Yamaha set out to increase the YZ125¿s power even more, improve its handling and add to the overall comfort of her ride. Starting with the motor, they incorporated a new cylinder head, changed the power valve setting, the carb spec and the ignition mapping. To enhance the handling, a set of new speed sensitive front forks and a new rear shock featuring a titanium spring were added, as well as a new triple clamp, a new swingarm and a new seat for improved rider comfort.

The result is a YZ125 with wider peak power, better bump absorption thanks to new speed sensitive front forks, even better cornering ability, and improved traction. The YZ125 is light, nimble, stable, and extremely powerful¿for a two-stroke 125cc, of course. As we said after last year¿s shootout, the YZ125 is still not our bike of choice when it comes to racing in the highly competitive 125cc (250cc four-stroke) class, but as far as 125cc two-strokes alone are concerned, we think the Yamaha¿s package is nearly flawless, and will once again be tough to beat in 2006.

Check the Related Links for video of the new YZ125 in action on a very windy day at Competitive Edge MX.