Athena’s YZ144 kit added some much
Applied Racing’s new R/S triple clamp
set added comfort. UFO’s restyle kit and Dirt Digits Graphics made our YZ144 look great.
out going overboard. Dirt Digits Graphics made the kit flow, and the white
SDG seat took the style factor to an entirely different level.
We installed an Athena 144 big-bore kit that included a brand-new nickel-carbide-plated cylinder (with enlarged water passages), cylinder head,
58mm Vertex piston with rings, pins, clips, gaskets, modified power valves,
O-rings and complete instructions. Best of all, it fits all 2005–’ 12 Yamaha
YZ125 models. The kit was a little more involved to install than we initially
thought. After actually reading the instructions first for once, we discovered
the need to grind some clearance from the cases for the oversized piston.
(Just an FYI) For this you need to split the cases. A Pro Circuit factory-finished pipe and 304 shorty silencer helped our YZ144 with those extra
ponies on the mid- to top-end pull. We installed a complete Hinson billet
clutch that included a clutch basket with a kickstarter gear, an inner hub, a
pressure plate, fiber plates, steel plates and springs.
Enzo Racing probably has the most testing time with the KYB components that are stock on the YZ125. Ross Maeda, Wil Decker and Craig
Decker have countless hours logged supporting all the factory and privateer
race teams of the era when two-strokes reigned supreme. So, it seemed like
an easy decision to have them work over the suspension. Applied Racing’s
new R/S triple clamp set gave us the option of running rubber- or solid-mounted bars with loads of adjustability.
We used Warp 9’s complete wheel sets with blue hubs, black spokes and
black rims. The rear wheel comes equipped with a brake rotor and sprocket,
while the front includes the brake rotor. We also installed Ride Engineering’s
steel-braded brake lines to give us that extra stopping power.
With all that, did the little YZ become a 250F killer? Not quite. The age when
an over-bored 125 can hang with a 250F was over some time ago, but there
isn’t a rider on earth who wouldn’t dig the 144 for the sheer fun factor. It loses
a few revs on top, but the low-end power is vastly improved. With all these
improvements, our YZ125 not only looks updated on the outside, it feels
updated on the inside.