Ping covers why 125s are the most fun bikes ever, adult beverages as sponsors, and if testers have to be politically correct to be invited to the game.


@PING is brought to you by Troy Lee Designs, Eks Brand, and VP Racing Fuels.

Dear Ping

I’ve been riding four strokes for the last decade. Recently I got the chance to ride a friend's completely rebuilt 2006 Yamaha YZ125. I was blown away with how amazing the bike was. Obviously, this bike was framed and rebuilt like a new one but the bike was incredible. I forgot how light, fast, quick turning and FUN 125s are! It also made me feel like a champ when I was passing other riders on new 250s/450s. How is it that such an “outdated” bike is still so good? Was Yamaha way ahead of their time in 2006? After spinning laps on the little tiddler, I now would like to add a 125 to my garage. What’s your opinion on the Yamaha 125 compared to the Austrian 125s? Also, if you weren’t a test rider and were a weekend warrior, which bike would you choose to buy with your hard-earned money and why? Thanks for your time and input. 

Future 125er 



Yamaha spent a lot of years tweaking that bike and developing it into one of the most polished two-strokes ever built. I think the reason it is so good is that they continued to develop it for years after other brands gave up on their two-strokes. I love hearing when guys like yourself jump back on one after a long time and get to experience just how fun they are all over again. I feel the same way!

I prefer the Yamaha because it is a better all-around package. The KTM motor is faster, but I prefer the way the YZ turns, handles and feels over the KTM. The Yamaha suspension is incredible in stock trim and you can build a whole bunch more horsepower into the motor if you want to. The aluminum frame doesn’t stretch, so the newer YZ’s can be rebuilt over and over and they feel brand new again, where a steel frame stretches out over time and will need to be replaced long-term. I do love the KTM 150, and I would suggest trying one of those before you buy anything. Those extra 25cc’s make a big difference. I guess it kind of depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to stick to a 125… I recommend the Yamaha. 


Good Day Mr. Pingree,

First timer here to ask you something. Exactly how is HEP Suzuki able to have "Twisted Tea" as a title sponsor? Did I miss a rule change about advertising alcoholic beverages? Can Privateers now reach out to Budweiser, Coors, Jim Beam Jose Cuervo or any Mom and Pop Liquor Locker for sponsorship? Very interested to hear your take. Can't wait for Joe Camel to come back to Supercross! The sport definitely needs tobacco and nicotine product endorsement again to go along with their "Twisted Tea."

Thank You for time, as well as your service,



I don’t think any rules changed. Jeremy had a Bud Light sponsorship for a hot minute, Deano was sponsored by a company that sells weed, and now HEP has an alcoholic beverage sponsor. The one caveat is that their athletes have to be 21 years of age. If you look closely, you’ll see that their 250F riders don’t have the Twisted Tea logos on their bikes because they are under age. When Ryan Morias was the 125 rider on Jeremy’s Bud Light team, he couldn’t run the logos either. I’m OK with adult beverages supporting teams, because they can be consumed responsibly with little to no health effects on the consumer. Again, I said responsibly. Tobacco products, on the other hand, are cancer causing the instant you consume them. And second-hand smoke effects all those around the user, an additional health issue. Honestly, if you’re still smoking cigarettes in this day and age you aren’t using your head for anything more than a hat rack. We’ve had to embrace some unhealthy products in this sport to keep it funded; energy drinks are the new Camel and Coors in the supercross/motocross world. Those drinks are major factors in diabetic issues, adrenal pathophysiology, anxiety and sleep issues. 



As an average mx citizen who has no idea about being inside the industry, I have a question. When you are invited to these events, like the 2021 Honda CRF450 intro, is there some kind of unwritten obligation to give the bike some credit? For instance, if you just went there and said the bike is total shit and whoever built it needs to pull their head out of their butts, what are the odds of you actually being invited back? Does it mean that everybody is giving a politician answer at these releases?




No, there is no unspoken obligation to say good things about a product at any introduction. We do, however, attempt to be decent, respectful human beings, and that does, and should influence the way we deliver our opinions. There is a congenial way to say that a product isn’t stellar without calling it a pile of excrement. That might make for some entertaining reading for you, but it would be a quick way to get black-balled in this, or any other industry. If I say, “It’s a very beginner-friendly power,” or “The power is a little soft,” you can deduce that the bike makes as much power as an electric toothbrush. If I tell you that it “Has a harsh feel in the forks,” or “It turns like a shopping cart,” you should be able to understand that it’s not the best handling bike. So, read between the lines a bit and then use your deductive reasoning to reach a conclusion. 


Do you have burning questions that need answering? E-mail Ping at ping@vitalmx.com. Want more? Click the @PING tag below to quickly find all the previous columns.

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