Bigger Wheels For Bigger Kids (and smaller adults)
This bike is definitely an upgrade from the old Yamaha TT-R125. The power is what I expect from a two-valve, air-cooled, four-stroke 125—pretty good when revved up, but not that very responsive down low. The bike is light and easy to throw around, so that makes it fun to ride even if it doesn’t have a lot of power.
The suspension is little more than mediocre, though. It’s choppy, and that keeps you from going very fast. As soon as I found a spot where I could go fast, I felt like I was in a rodeo. This is a good bike for a beginner, but if you’re an experienced rider like me (10 years), then it is going to come up short.
This bike is bulletproof. If it could take Kristjan’s pounding, it will be fine for anything short of racing. Because the TT-R is so reliable, the temptation to neglect maintenance is overwhelming. This bike was ridden quite a bit, so the battery never lost a charge; that’s easy. The oil probably didn’t get changed as often as it should, the air filter did get dirtier than ideal, and chain lubing was inconsistent. Happily, the 125LE just ignored our malfeasance and continued to run like new. A big positive is that maintenance is easy, allowing the young rider to perform the tasks himself—a worthy lesson, to be sure.
For a new or intermediate rider, the Yamaha TT-R125LE is superb. It is large enough for smaller adults to use as a learning bike. If you have an experienced rider on your hands, you already know that this isn’t the right bike, unless you’re looking for a spare backyard playbike (which is exactly how Kristjan was using it).
Action photography by Don Williams
Helmet: O’Neal 507
Goggles: Blur B-1
Chest Protector: O’Neal Hammer
Jersey, gloves, pants and boots: O’Neal Element