MotoOnline.com reviews the latest 2022 Yamaha YZ125.
Words: Caleb Tennant
Receiving its first full model update in over 15 years, the iconic Yamaha YZ125 represents a significant evolution in Yamaha’s two-stroke lineage for 2022 and we put this revamped machine through its paces in our latest Tested piece.
The test took place at Glen Helen Raceway and upon arrival at the San Bernardino circuit, we were greeted with a beautiful day and an aggressive, yet stylish fleet of 2022 YZ125s. Immediately, the modern stance became evident.
I’m a fan of the 2022 YZ125 look, Yamaha has definitely made some great changes with the all-new ultra-slim bodywork, updated plastics, narrower shrouds and fuel tank. You can find complete technical information in Detailed.
On location, Yamaha technicians were present to assist us with any changes or set-up that were needed and, prior to heading out, we ensured the sag was set correctly for my weight.
It didn’t take long to get comfortable with the feel of the bike at all, initially, the 2022 YZ125 felt great and I loved the balance of the bike – everything worked together really well. The bike was super-easy to control and very predictable, so I could tell exactly what the bike was going to do.
The 2022 model comes with a higher and flatter seat, which really makes you feel on top of the bike and gives you a lot more room to work around your seating position. It was also a lot harder than the previous bike’s seat.
I had not ridden a 125 many times, so the first session took me a little while to adjust to the gearing and where the right rev range was for the bike – I had to get used to screaming the bike in higher revs than what I was used to.
Gearing wise, I contemplated whether it might have been good to test going one tooth higher on the rear sprocket so that I could take a couple more corners in third. However, second gear ultimately worked really well off the turns and therefore I left the standard gearing on, which was great.
Discussing with some of the other test riders who had ridden the previous model, the consensus was the power and pull through the gears was a lot stronger and faster on the 2022 edition when compared to years prior. I definitely noticed the bike pulled really well through every gear and was surprisingly fast for a 125.
The new model does have a new intake design, which allows better air-flow, and it boasts a new liquid-cooled engine and has improved fueling and that notably gives the YZ125 really clean and smooth power.
With the suspension, I really did feel comfortable right away. I always tweak a couple of things here and there, but on the 2022 YZ125 we never changed one clicker the whole day, even when the track conditions ranged from being smooth, to getting some nice ruts, to becoming a little choppy.
There were not a lot of riders present so the track never got super-rough, but it did break in well. The YZ125 was really plush on the choppy sections, but when charging hard it still had that stiffness and support where I was not bottoming out. The 2022 model does feature some changes to the suspension with revised damping, improving the bike’s bump absorption, as well as corner performance.
The 2022 YZ125 also has a new braking system – larger front pistons, a more rigid caliper, a redesigned 270mm front rotor with a 30 percent increase in pad contact area and a redesigned rear rotor. The brakes worked really well, they were very smooth on feel and predictable when applying brake pressure. When riding aggressively they were also sharp enough to stop as quick as I would like.
The 2022 Yamaha YZ125 comes out with Bridgestone X20 tires and I have not ridden on those in a while, but really enjoyed them. I felt like the X20s really hooked up well in the corners and the bike didn’t feel like it was sliding around too much.
As the day went on I was getting more and more comfortable and really started throwing the bike around. At the end of the day Ryan Villopoto, Carson Brown, Damon Bradshaw and myself were all racing around the track as hard as we possibly could, with all of us hardly ever letting off in any section of the track… It was one of the most fun times I have had riding in a long time!
As outlined, throughout the entire day I didn’t feel the need to make any changes to the bike – it is a brilliant package out of the box. As a personal preference, I would switch the grips to softer, more comfortable grips, and then of course putting a pipe and a couple of added things on would make the bike even more responsive, but it’s not urgent.
Riding the 2022 YZ125 definitely makes me wish I rode a 125 more often and I absolutely want to ride one again, it is such a fun all-round machine. From a beginner learning to ride to professionals, I feel anyone would have a great time on this bike and it has something to offer to everyone.
Engine type: Liquid-cooled, two-stroke, reed-valve
Bore/stroke: 54.0 x 54.5
Transmission: Constant-mesh, six-speed
Clutch: Wet multi-plate
Front suspension: Telescopic forks, 11.8-in travel
Rear suspension: Swingarm (link suspension) 12.4-in travel
Front brake: Hydraulic single disc, 270mm
Rear brake: Hydraulic single disc, 240mm
Tires: Bridgestone Battlecross X20
Weight: 209 pounds (wet weight)
Availability: Available now
Further information: www.yamahamotorsports.com