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Old 11-04-2017, 11:49 AM   #1
2strokeYardSale
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125 Enduro bikes

Having gone from street bikes to 600cc dual sports to a 350cc dual sport to 2 stroke dirt bikes, I have been pretty happy with my YZ250 for trail riding. It's light, smooth, and torquey. But then I got a trials bike and now I know what light, smooth, and torquey really is. Especially light. When I got back on my YZ250 it felt like a tank.

I'm not getting any younger or fitter and I'm wondering about something lighter. Sherco and Beta have these new 125 enduro models that supposedly have smooth, torquey power for 125s. The Sherco in particular looks like it was purpose-built as a small, light bike. (With e-start only?!)

Gas Gas no longer makes a 125, KTM is dead to me, and Yamaha has the YZ125X elsewhere that may come here someday and probably has a motor that's too MX-like.

I know WoodsChick had a Husky (Italian?) CR125 she rode at places like Stonyford. Anybody else ever ride a 125 enduro in rock gardens and gnarly uphills?



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Old 11-04-2017, 02:08 PM   #2
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I have not ridden a modern 125cc enduro bike. I've followed Woodchick around for a single day at Stonyford and seen one work. It was a Husky CR125. Though I dont know if I would call it torquey based on what I saw. WC has skills and knows how to ride, never missing a beat.

I think if you are looking for trials like performance out of any modern competition 125cc enduro bike, you would be disappointed IMO. You certainly could not ride one in the same manner as you do your YZ with the cheater clutch. It would be just the opposite, a very active engagement sort of ride with your clutch, throttle, and shift lever.

The bike that does fit your description is the two stroke KTM Freeride (but we know how you feel about Pumpkins). And to a slightly lesser extent, maybe the Beta x trainer. A since you dont like Pumpkins, I wont bring up the KTM200 either. Though I will say a friend just did pick up a used new to him one and it looked slightly smaller than my YZ physically side by side, certainly a tad lighter, and seemed to have sufficient torque to make it up hills I bobbled on... even with a full size adult piloting it.

But back to the Pumpkin Freeride and two stroke trials bikes. Look at the expansion chambers shape, or should I say lack of on them (slim, much less expansion shape). Then look at the carb specs... most if not all are significantly smaller than offroad bikes of similar cc. Thats just the tip of hints regarding how they are tuned for that trials like performance.

Furthermore, neither KTM or Beta attempted to use a 125cc engine to get that kind of performance on their cross overs (250cc and 300cc). Personally, I dont think its possible with a 125. Just isnt enough torque available offroad for most unless you are willing to wring it out and use the clutch extensively. If you took a 125cc trials bike motor and put it in an offroad frame, it would fall flat on its face anywhere the trail opened up a bit.

As a teen in the 80's I rode 125cc smoker MX bikes everywhere but tight technical snotty loose and muddy woods conditions. Then I jumped on to an IT175 and later a much better IT200 for those conditions. Really no way we could have ever tuned my CR125 to match the IT200 in those conditions. Also why the KDX200 basically ruled offroad for a few decades in the woods.

So in summation.. no I have not ridden a modern 125cc enduro bike but have watched WC school me on hers. My experience with 125cc bikes is over 30 years old. Possibly no longer relevant, but I dont think so. As you know, I have opinions and not afraid to share them... Others experience may vary. And lastly, I dont think I am sharing anything you dont already know Eric.

Harden the F up and ride your YZ!


Edit: if funds allowed, I think it would be a fun project to try and build a YZ125 for offroad. Thought about it a lot. But I dont think it would ever match the performance you are looking for.
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Old 11-04-2017, 05:34 PM   #3
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Used to ride a kx125 back in 87 converted it to an enduro bike with the big tank and bark busters but rode it like a mad man. I think a 125 isn't an ideal woods putter bike, you need to ride them hard and a lot of clutch work. I think the beta cross trainer sounds more like what your looking for, however nothing will feel as light and nimble as your gasgas.
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Old 11-04-2017, 08:40 PM   #4
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I have a bike that sorta fits: 1998 YZ125 with a 144 piston that adds some torque down low, a heavier flywheel weight, and a big 3.8(?) gallon tank.

It's for my son, but i've ridden it a few times.
It is a blast in the single track.
The lack of power can be felt on the hills (but a newer bike with better tuned power valve, etc would surely work better)
I tried some trials logs with it, and I wasn't very happy with how it (ok, me) handled that. Then I remembered it had no skid plate, so I stopped before I got the hang of the logs.
I don't remember doing any rock gardens on it.
We are going to have it out tomorrow, I will try to find some technical stuff!(we haven't ridden it in a few years)
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Old 11-04-2017, 10:41 PM   #5
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I believe her bike was (is) a WR125, with the wide ratio gearbox, and a 144 kit installed.

If you are orange averse there is a Husky version of the new 150 out. Specifically targeting the light weight Enduro market. It’s a TE150, I’ve been looking at that bike. It won’t have near the bottom end as your 250 but if you are specifically looking for slow and technical you can always gear super low.
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Old 11-06-2017, 09:02 PM   #6
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we took the yami 144 out and played in some of the rock gardens at Metcalf yesterday, but shucks I never got to ride it myself for a first hand report.
My son hadn't ridden in about 3 years, yet he was making the bike look pretty good (might have some rock garden vid to post later).
I'm sure it helps a little that he only weighs about 135lbs. A really big rider would slow that bike down.
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Old 11-07-2017, 02:45 PM   #7
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I've heard of people who have tried to 'adult-ize' bikes like the CRF150RB or KX100, and make them into 'KTM FreeRide'-esque bikes on the cheap.

If you've got a smaller frame, it might work. The KX100 is something like 165 wet. CRF150RB is around 185 I think.

I'm in love with that idea, but at 5'9, am not sure I could make that work. (My DR350 is a pig off road, and I've taken it to some of the not so pretty riding places here in western NC where it was a handful. I'd love something that would come in at barely half its weight.)
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:35 PM   #8
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I tried a few months of riding a CR80, which i think shares a chassis with the CRF150R. The light weight was great but ergonomics were horrendous for my 5’11” size. It was super hairy to land after the wheels leave the ground, though I’m sure people with more skill than I could make a great play bike out of it.
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Old 11-10-2017, 09:02 PM   #9
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Late to the party, as usual...

Yes, my Husky is an Italian WR. It's an `09, and was the last one marketed as a 125. The following year they called it a 150, sold it with a 125 motor in it, and gave you a free 144 kit. I ended up getting a killer deal on a 144 so I went for it. It was ok. I had the 125 tuned pretty nicely to give me gobs of low and mid (all relative, mind you...it is a tiddler!) at the expense of some of the frighteningly effective top end, and the 144 couldn't really make it much better than it already was. Seriously...Husky knows (knew?) how to build a 125 motor. I think it was still a 125 when we rode together at Stony, CJ? I can't remember, it was so long ago Anyway, I ultimately went with the WB165 kit (again, a good deal as WB is a friend) and the bike is an absolute hoot to ride! It was great as a 125, too. And a bonus feature of this tiny little motor is you can do the top end without removing the tank

I'd been riding modified 125 MX bikes (flywheel weight, Gnarly pipe, gearing, large tank, etc) in the woods for about 20 years after thrashing myself on a CR80 for a few years, and there's a huuuge difference between a 125 enduro machine and a tweaked MX bike. As fun as the MXer's are, they demand the rider expend a ton of energy in the gnarly stuff, and they will quickly and without mercy expose any deficiencies in skill. I did my first real enduro on a Honda CR125 and it totally kicked my ass.

I think something that gets overlooked when discussing these little enduro machines is how easy and effortless they are to ride, from a handling standpoint. They are so slim and light, they change directions effortlessly...my Husky seems to just turn intuitively!...and slowing them down doesn't feel like trying to rein in a freight train like my 450 does on the trail. At the end of a long day these qualities are going to leave you with more energy, which is a really good thing as we get older.


Wait...what was the question again?


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Old 11-10-2017, 09:08 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Guoseph View Post
I tried a few months of riding a CR80, which i think shares a chassis with the CRF150R. The light weight was great but ergonomics were horrendous for my 5í11Ē size. It was super hairy to land after the wheels leave the ground, though Iím sure people with more skill than I could make a great play bike out of it.


My first bike was a CR80. I had no idea what I was doing, but didn't know any better and was too ignorant to know that learning on a 80cc 2-stroke was a trial by fire After riding a 125 for a few years I tried to ride my friend Cynthia's YZ 80 and I just couldn't do it. I'm only 5'1" with short legs and it felt too small and way too sketchy for me! I don't know how people ride them like they do!



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Old 11-12-2017, 12:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by WoodsChick View Post
Late to the party, as usual...

Yes, my Husky is an Italian WR. It's an `09, and was the last one marketed as a 125. The following year they called it a 150, sold it with a 125 motor in it, and gave you a free 144 kit. I ended up getting a killer deal on a 144 so I went for it. It was ok. I had the 125 tuned pretty nicely to give me gobs of low and mid (all relative, mind you...it is a tiddler!) at the expense of some of the frighteningly effective top end, and the 144 couldn't really make it much better than it already was. Seriously...Husky knows (knew?) how to build a 125 motor. I think it was still a 125 when we rode together at Stony, CJ? I can't remember, it was so long ago Anyway, I ultimately went with the WB165 kit (again, a good deal as WB is a friend) and the bike is an absolute hoot to ride! It was great as a 125, too. And a bonus feature of this tiny little motor is you can do the top end without removing the tank

I'd been riding modified 125 MX bikes (flywheel weight, Gnarly pipe, gearing, large tank, etc) in the woods for about 20 years after thrashing myself on a CR80 for a few years, and there's a huuuge difference between a 125 enduro machine and a tweaked MX bike. As fun as the MXer's are, they demand the rider expend a ton of energy in the gnarly stuff, and they will quickly and without mercy expose any deficiencies in skill. I did my first real enduro on a Honda CR125 and it totally kicked my ass.

I think something that gets overlooked when discussing these little enduro machines is how easy and effortless they are to ride, from a handling standpoint. They are so slim and light, they change directions effortlessly...my Husky seems to just turn intuitively!...and slowing them down doesn't feel like trying to rein in a freight train like my 450 does on the trail. At the end of a long day these qualities are going to leave you with more energy, which is a really good thing as we get older.


Wait...what was the question again?


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Old 11-12-2017, 12:38 PM   #12
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Late to the party, as usual...

Yes, my Husky is an Italian WR. It's an `09, and was the last one marketed as a 125. The following year they called it a 150, sold it with a 125 motor in it, and gave you a free 144 kit. I ended up getting a killer deal on a 144 so I went for it. It was ok. I had the 125 tuned pretty nicely to give me gobs of low and mid (all relative, mind you...it is a tiddler!) at the expense of some of the frighteningly effective top end, and the 144 couldn't really make it much better than it already was. Seriously...Husky knows (knew?) how to build a 125 motor. I think it was still a 125 when we rode together at Stony, CJ? I can't remember, it was so long ago Anyway, I ultimately went with the WB165 kit (again, a good deal as WB is a friend) and the bike is an absolute hoot to ride! It was great as a 125, too. And a bonus feature of this tiny little motor is you can do the top end without removing the tank

I'd been riding modified 125 MX bikes (flywheel weight, Gnarly pipe, gearing, large tank, etc) in the woods for about 20 years after thrashing myself on a CR80 for a few years, and there's a huuuge difference between a 125 enduro machine and a tweaked MX bike. As fun as the MXer's are, they demand the rider expend a ton of energy in the gnarly stuff, and they will quickly and without mercy expose any deficiencies in skill. I did my first real enduro on a Honda CR125 and it totally kicked my ass.

I think something that gets overlooked when discussing these little enduro machines is how easy and effortless they are to ride, from a handling standpoint. They are so slim and light, they change directions effortlessly...my Husky seems to just turn intuitively!...and slowing them down doesn't feel like trying to rein in a freight train like my 450 does on the trail. At the end of a long day these qualities are going to leave you with more energy, which is a really good thing as we get older.


Wait...what was the question again?


WC
If I had unlimited funds and garage space an off-road 125 cc based two stroke would be in the. Once you get off a larger 4 stroke, they feel like a big mountain bike with a lot of power.
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:03 PM   #13
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200 perfect bike for up here IMO. Torquey, light, gwar-friendly

My apologies for not directly answering your question.

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Old 11-14-2017, 06:02 PM   #14
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Anybody else ever ride a 125 enduro in rock gardens and gnarly uphills?
I finally got a chance to ride our yz144 a little bit this wknd (15 mins at Hollister hills)
It's clearly not ideal for hill climbs and really technical rock gardens, but if you try hard, you can accomplish a lot.
Single track/double track? you will smile and smile (until you crash hard, which I did. But that's just me)

It's really no surprise that it shines in some areas, and not others. If you have room for multiple bikes, it's great to have around.
I wouldn't hesitate to race pretty much any enduro or hare scramble on it (but it would not be my 1st choice, especially at Donner)
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Old 11-14-2017, 06:18 PM   #15
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Oh, I forgot to mention that I have a friend whose only dirt bike is a KTM105, by choice! (with 19/16 wheels).
He rips through all the national forest we have, including all of thee most technical trails (seriously). Nothing slows him down. He rips.
(he's probably 5'-6 or 5-7, maybe 130lbs. Somewhere in that range. So he fits the bike a little bit better than me. I tried it for 10 minutes, and I had trouble adjusting to it in that time)

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