TransWorld Motocross took delivery of its 2005 Yamaha YZ125 yesterday at Perris Raceway, and to say that each of our test riders came away from the press launch quite impressed would be an understatement.
Like the rest of the motocross world, we’ve been enamored with the 250cc four-stroke trend and have spent relatively little time aboard 125cc two-strokes these past few months. To be honest, we were surprised to hear that Yamaha had invested so much into making an all-new YZ125 for ’05. Still, we couldn’t wait to take a spin on the new blue ring-a-ding.
We’ll start with the all-new motor. Let’s just say that after spending an entire day aboard the bike, we’ve yet to figure out where the weak spot in the YZ125’s powerband is. In typical Yamaha fashion, the YZ125 motor cranks out a surprising amount of low-end for a tiddler, then pulls way hard into a beefy mid-range hit. Best of all, the motor continues to pull well into the upper echelons of the rpm range. From 165 lb. pro tester Rich Taylor to 185 lb. goliath Garth Milan, the YZ125 forced everyone who rode it to crack a big smile once the throttle was twisted. Transmission and clutch action were both flawless, as clicking the YZ through the gears under high rpm was no problem at all. Perris Raceway is littered with small-to-medium-sized double and triple jumps that are most often located right after corners, and the YZ easily launched even our heaviest testers over all of them with no problem at all. This bike is fast. How fast? It’s the fastest stock 125cc motocrosser we’ve ever ridden.
Suspension action on both ends is excellent, as the Kayaba fork and shock seem to be set up firmer than last year’s units. We did encounter some initial harshness in choppy acceleration bumps and were not sure if it was suspension settings, or the added rigidity of the new aluminum chassis that was causing the sensation. Some clicker adjustments improved the ride in the chop, but we have yet to pass final judgment on the new aluminum chassis as Perris was prepped to perfection for our initial test ride. What the new chassis definitely does well, however, is slice through corners like no other! The bike has an extremely positive feel in corners, and the front wheel enjoys plenty of traction in even the flattest of corners. Getting the YZ125 to lay flat in a rut was effortless.
In closing, we must also comment on the light weight of the new bike. At 196 lbs. with no gas in the tank, the YZ125 tips the scales right at the AMA weight limit and weighs in lighter than the works bikes Kevin Windham and John Dowd used to win 125cc Supercross Championships not so long ago. On the track, the bike feels light as a feather and definitely requires less energy to man handle.
Here’s betting that this test bike sees plenty of track time in 2005. Yamaha has a real winner on its hands with the 2005 YZ125.
Check out this week’s Thursday Theater, that actually works now, to see the new YZ in action.