We just completed our 2024 125 two-stroke shootout and it was a head scratcher. Two years ago we compared the then-new 2022 Yamaha YZ125 with the GasGas MC125. The GasGas was faster, lighter and handled almost as well as the Yamaha. They were the exact same price at the time, so the GasGas was an easy winner. In the two model years that have gone by since then, the KTM 125SX, Husqvarna TC125 and the GasGas have all been updated with electric start, throttle-body fuel injection and electronic powervalves. Now, the Yamaha is the one that’s unchanged. 

The last thing we do in each shootout is take the bikes to the dyno. We don’t want test riders to know the numbers before they provide their reviews. Usually, the dyno simply supports their seat-of-the-pants impression. But, that’s not exactly what happened this time. Virtually all the test riders felt the new versions of the Austrian bikes had lost power–which was true. They also felt the Yamaha was the new horsepower champ on top–which wasn’t true.

Husqvarna TC125: 37.02 hp @11,430 rpm
GasGas MC125: 36.51 hp @11,530 rpm
KTM 125SX: 35.94 hp @11,430 rpm
Yamaha YZ125: 35.78 hp @11,670 rpm

Husqvarna TC125: 17.18 lb-ft @10,950 rpm
GasGas MC125: 16.91 lb-ft @11,060 rpm
KTM 125SX: 16.88 lb-ft @10,960 rpm
Yamaha YZ125: 16.47 lb-ft @10,940 rpm

As you can see from the Pro Circuit dyno, the peak horsepower of all four bikes is similar. There’s only a 1 ¼ hp difference between the strongest and the weakest on top. Before the peak, however, the Yamaha lags behind the others. Sean Lipanovich, Mark Tilley, Carson Brown and Jared Hicks all felt the Yamaha was the strongest in the middle. The Yamaha feels that way because it has the least flywheel effect and the most free-revving engine. The new Austrian motors with their throttle body fuel injection have a more enduro-bike feel and don’t respond well to clutch work. We consider the dyno an interesting tool, but not the final judge on anything. How did they all stack up on the track? The full test will appear in the April, 2024 print edition of Dirt Bike.


Photo: Align Media

More manufacturers have announced contingency programs for 2024. Last month Kawasaki announced a program that’s a big step up from the past. A Loretta Lynn’s Amateur national Championship is worth $2000 in many classes. For a GNCC XC1 Pro win, the payout is $10,000. A 450 Pro win in NGPC will earn $6000. Most of the larger A classes will pay $1000 to the winner in major off-road series, with $300 going to the winner in smaller classes.

Honda’s program pays $1500  for a win at the Loretta Lynn’s Amateur nationals. On the off-road side, it’s worth $7500 for a GNCC Pro win and $400 to many A class winners..

This week, KTM joined the list with 7 million in offerings. Loretta Lynn’s Amateur National Championship pays out $1000for a win in many classes. In off road racing, a GNCC XC-1 Pro class win pays $5000. Most of the other high profile off-road races (NH&H, NGPC, NEPG) will pay $2500 for a pro win. The individual classes pay around $300 for a win. Husqvarna has also announced a $7 million contingency program with similar payouts to KTM’s. Pros will get a debit card while the amateurs will get a dealer debit card.



See you there!

–Ron Lawson


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