2018 125 SHOOTOUT: CONCLUSION

For Part One of the 2018 125 Shootout, click here.

We’re delighted that there’s still a 125 class big enough for a comparison. As a group, these bike are more fun than anything in the dirt. It has always been that way. Nowadays, it seems like the market is coming back to the 125 two-stroke for a variety of reasons, with low prices and a high fun factor at the top of the list. Here’s how we see the bikes as they stand today.

Horsepower, as measured on the Pro Circuit dyno. The TM is green, the KTM is orange, the Husky is black and the Yamaha is blue.

 

1st PLACE: KTM 125SX

This shouldn’t surprise anyone. In 2016, many riders would have still penalized the KTM for its infamously poor front suspension, but that all changed with the introduction of WP AER48 air fork. The KTM still doesn’t have the best suspension in the world, but it’s close enough, and that amazing motor carries it over the top.

Racers will love everything about the KTM 125SX.
Racers will love everything about the KTM 125SX.

2ND PLACE: HUSQVARNA TC125

As we have found in many comparisons, it’s impossible to separate the KTM and the Husqvarna. In most classes, the bikes are more alike than they are different, and that’s especially true here. We give credit to Husqvarna for putting in the effort to make its bike look distinctive and offer some different components, but at the end of the day, the bikes are almost even in performance.

Husky’s TC125 is a near twin to the KTM, but might surrender a tiny bit of overrev on top.

3rd PLACE: YAMAHA YZ125

Let’s be clear; we love this bike. It’s absolutely wonderful to ride. You can say it hasn’t changed enough over the past 13 years, but that just goes to show you how good it was back in 2005. On the track, though, it’s impossible to get around the deficit in top-end power. The Yamaha has a built-in disadvantage when it lines up against any of the other three.

The Yamaha YZ125 is easy to ride and handles like a dream.
The Yamaha YZ125 is easy to ride and handles like a dream.

4th PLACE: TM MX125

We have deep respect for the TM and the skilled engineers who built it. It’s simply not a bike for the masses. You wouldn’t give it to a 14-year-old novice any more than you would give him a thoroughbred racehorse and send him to the Kentucky Derby. It’s an expensive, demanding bike designed for riders with very sophisticated needs.

The TM 125 is a rocket, but not the best bike for a rookie.

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