In 2009 Yamaha keeps both kids and adults riding hard on those trails with the two most notorious Yamaha 125cc dirt bikes ever, the TT-R125E and TT-R125LE. There is no wonder they’re beloved as fun, excitement and ease of use are there three most important features. How’s that for a new bike?
Addressed to everybody who wants to develop off-road riding skills or simply feels like having loads of fun on a bike from which they can really get the best out of, the two TT-R models come with the awesome-performing 125cc air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke, two-valves engine and the impressive YZ design that will surely have teenagers beg daddy for it.
And if they actually have their wishes accomplished, there will be no problems with controlling the bike. Having a seat height of less than 32 inches, it can be kept well under control by all kinds of riders, but we also have to consider its serious ground clearance (over 10 inches) and long-travel suspension.
Both models are fitted with an electric starter and mechanics don’t differ much as you can see by checking out the specs sheet. But what you’ll notice different is the fact that the “E” model features a 17-inch front and 14-inch rear wheel while the “LE” stands out higher with 19-inch front, respectively 16-inch rear wheel dimensions. This last model also comes with longer rear travel suspension (6.6-inches instead of 6.3-inches on the “E”) and a 220mm front brake disc. Ground clearance is also bigger in the case of the “LE” (11.6-inches instead of 10.4-inches on the “E”).
Even though not very different the one from the other, they do manage to offer the same kind of excitement, but at whole different levels.
Yamaha had orientated on entry-level dirt bikes in 2000, which is relatively late, considering that kids have to be hooked up from the very first start in order to remain faithful to a certain manufacturer. But the TT-R125 had come to conquer this category and it did it with its light weight and user-friendly four-stroke power.
Properly balanced, reliable and a real companion on small rider’s evolutionary graphic (whatever that may be), the TT-R125 came in two different size versions, the second featuring an “L” at the end of the bike’s name which stood for larger wheels on the actual motorcycle. The TT-R125L also had a 1.2-inches taller seat height (30.1-inches on the simple TT-R).
Using this simple and efficient recipe, Yamaha managed to sell more such bikes than it could have with a single version. And the best thing for this manufacturer is that it didn’t even needed to radically upgrade these bikes, but simply bring them up to date with decals and stylistic features as the YZ models changed during the years.
2009 Suzuki DR-Z125
For the same price, Suzuki offers the greatest opponent for the TT-R125E, the DR-Z125 ($2,699). The Suzuki draws its roots from the RM-Z motocross bikes, but only in what concerns the visual aspects. The engine is still the 125cc four-stroke, air-cooled, OHC and the brakes feature drums instead of discs, just like on the Yamaha.
You can buy the Suzuki DR-Z125L for 100 bucks less than the TT-R125LE. The $2,899 MSRP says a lot of this maker’s marketing strategy and, as the TT-R125LE, the DR-Z125L comes with larger wheels and disc brakes up front.
2009 Kawasaki KLX140L
Kawasaki is in for more power and speed with the KLX140 and KLX140L. They get it out in both cases from the 144cc four-stroke, SOHC, two-valve single. The difference here is that the small bike features disc brakes (220mm single petal disc) on its 17” front wheel as well as on its 14” rear one (186mm single petal disc). All that for only $2,799!
In the case of the KLX140L, the wheels grow bigger (19-, respectively 16-inch), as well as the MSRP ($3,099).
2009 Yamaha TT-R125LE
The critics would say “decals changed and that’s all folks”, but we’re not like that. What we must admit is that, stylistically, the bikes have a fresher feel for 2009, even though mechanically they are pretty much the same.
Easy to be confused with motocross bikes as they don’t feature a headlight, but only a number plate, the 125cc TT-R models don’t disappoint in any matter. The low positioned front fender gives a clue about it not being designed for the track, but more for the trails and that is noticeable only when jumping with it hard enough.
Race-inspired side panels and two-tone seat are great on any bike, but on the TT-R models they are even greater as they complete the overall racing looks of the bike. Also, this is exactly the purpose of the Team Yamaha Blue/White color scheme.