1981 yz125 restoration finally done

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5/4/2018 6:40 AM

I finally finished one of my 1981 yz125 restorations. Put about 2 years into it after rescuing it from a neighbor that had beat it to death. I got it for $200 so I couldn’t resist the challenge. I have another all original running 1981 that I’m going to tackle next but it will be a much easier resto. Photo Photo

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5/4/2018 7:36 AM

Beautiful . Great job .

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5/4/2018 11:31 AM

Sweet! That really takes me back. I remember drooling over all the new liquid cooled 1981 125's as a teenager. I even liked all the weird number plates.

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5/4/2018 11:40 AM

Very nice, where did you get the rims?

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When in doubt gas it! It may not cure the problem but it will end the suspense!

5/4/2018 11:42 AM

Thanks. I was just a kid when these came out too. Used to dream about them as I read Dirt World magazine. The 1981 yz125 is by far a unique piece of terrible engineering but still looks awesome.

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5/4/2018 11:49 AM

wertman194 wrote:

Very nice, where did you get the rims?

I just happened to come across the rims on eBay in very good shape for $100 and the front had a brand new tire on it. One new matching rear and I was good to go. Got lucky there I think.

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5/4/2018 2:39 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/4/2018 2:50 PM

special K wrote:

Thanks. I was just a kid when these came out too. Used to dream about them as I read Dirt World magazine. The 1981 yz125 is by far a unique piece of terrible engineering but still looks awesome.

That looks really lovely and great work - probably are rare also? So nice to see one again and brings back memories. Love the early 80's watercooled era.

I remember 1981 here, me too was quite young (as we all were I guess!) -most people seemed to have the RM125X in 1981 and not really too many Yam YZH at all, a few had them but most seemed to go for the RM then and think the RM won often with the handy riders who had them.
I seem to remember well known Grand Prix rider Kurt Nichol having KX's in that year and he also won alot of the Nationals back then. So suppose it wasn't only the RMX that won! Also was not that many CR125's that were raced that year, lots of RM's, then prob some Yams but not that many and a few KX's and probably even fewer CR's that year, speaking of the youth divisions back then this is.Maybe was different in different regions but that is how I remember it mainly in the Southern and Mid regions.

Were the gold rims original for that year in US then? Think we had silver rims over here on the YZH's that year but I maybe wrong.
Good job and show us the other one when you get working on it!smile

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Always was an excellent rider ...... at crashing usually

Moto Aspes, you know you want one

5/4/2018 4:16 PM

special K wrote:

Thanks. I was just a kid when these came out too. Used to dream about them as I read Dirt World magazine. The 1981 yz125 is by far a unique piece of terrible engineering but still looks awesome.

a22 wrote:

That looks really lovely and great work - probably are rare also? So nice to see one again and brings back memories. Love the early 80's watercooled era.

I remember 1981 here, me too was quite young (as we all were I guess!) -most people seemed to have the RM125X in 1981 and not really too many Yam YZH at all, a few had them but most seemed to go for the RM then and think the RM won often with the handy riders who had them.
I seem to remember well known Grand Prix rider Kurt Nichol having KX's in that year and he also won alot of the Nationals back then. So suppose it wasn't only the RMX that won! Also was not that many CR125's that were raced that year, lots of RM's, then prob some Yams but not that many and a few KX's and probably even fewer CR's that year, speaking of the youth divisions back then this is.Maybe was different in different regions but that is how I remember it mainly in the Southern and Mid regions.

Were the gold rims original for that year in US then? Think we had silver rims over here on the YZH's that year but I maybe wrong.
Good job and show us the other one when you get working on it!smile

The gold rims where factory in the US. I think the Canadian white model had silver rims. And you are correct, the 1981 yz125 was advertised as the best but sure came up short. I just happened to stumble on these 2, one next door and the other a few miles away in town. Don’t see many off them anymore. Here’s the other one that I do ride pretty regular. Just the way it was in 81. Photo

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5/4/2018 5:28 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/4/2018 6:26 PM

Yes, we had the white ones here as you probably know, prob the same as the Canada bikes. That front air scoop was pretty distinctive and people seem to remember that well, as a feature of the bike. I reckon the percentage of the different makes here at that time, 1981 in the regions I raced was probably RM,s about 40% YZ's maybe 20% KX maybe 15% CR maybe 10% and other Euro bikes (Husky/ KTM/ CAGIVA/ Maico poss the remainder. I guess also there were a good few of the air cooled bikes also from the previous year, being the YZ 'G' and RM T wasn't it?
also alot of the Yam owners here used these red 'Yamoto' stamped tank covers, think they were made by Yamaha themselves- they were sort of trick looking abit like leather even and some people also changed the fenders to red to match the red tank covers. Not seen one of those covers for years! Not sure if you used the tank covers over there.
Yes, your bikes look rearly original- parts must be quite hard to find? or not?
Also forgot how square the barrels were on them, opposed to the round ones of the RM's.
As you say, seem to remember the YZ appearring in the press reviews and them ranting about them, then the RM came along and probably blew it away.

Seem to recall late in 1980 season(still aircooled), a few of quick Suzuki sponsored kids appearred on the new watercooled RM's and really flew on them- turns out they were a batch pre-production water cooled/ Full floaters(RMX's)- think they were the first bikes in the country before the production ones got released. The top Zook 'sponsored kids' got them I think and were different to the production ones that appearred the following year(81), think the frame was different and the exhausts and poss other stuff. Remember seeing the first ones, drooling at them and thinking a spaceship had landed! They were SO trick looking compared to the aircooled bikes and the watercooling and Floater suspension blew me away.

there was also some quick lads on the YZ H's though, think remember seeing/reading that a few of the top ones got some special parts from the GP bikes to use in the National youth division races and to take something to the RM's..

I wasn't quick enough by far but remember that period for sure with good memories of both the bikes and riders.smile as said remember Kurt Nichol winning lots around that time on the KX in the Youth Divison before he went onto GP/ adult fame somewhat. Max Ansties old man, 'Merv' was also very quick in 81 remember! think he was on KX also.

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Always was an excellent rider ...... at crashing usually

Moto Aspes, you know you want one

5/4/2018 7:18 PM

I think the 1981 RM was still air cooled but put tons of engineering in the full floater suspension which proved to be much better for the performance of a bike than how the enigine was cooled. Parts for the 1981 yz125 in the US are hit and miss. All plastic is aftermarket, most engine parts you have to find used because of the right hand drive, it was an odd bike because 80 and 82 are both way different. You can find new old stock parts pretty frequently though. My next search is for the beast of a YZ465.

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5/4/2018 7:53 PM
Edited Date/Time: 5/4/2018 7:55 PM

^^ Your'e thinking of the 81 250x, that was still air cooled in 81 but with the Full Floater though as you say.
81x was the first year of WC for the 125 and 1982z for the 250.

first adult bike I rode was a YZ465 I seem to remember, straight from a 125!
Yea- get one- then you will have a YZ nice set!
Keep up the good work!

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Always was an excellent rider ...... at crashing usually

Moto Aspes, you know you want one

5/4/2018 8:48 PM

a22 wrote:

^^ Your'e thinking of the 81 250x, that was still air cooled in 81 but with the Full Floater though as you say.
81x was the first year of WC for the 125 and 1982z for the 250.

first adult bike I rode was a YZ465 I seem to remember, straight from a 125!
Yea- get one- then you will have a YZ nice set!
Keep up the good work!

YZ125's were RH drive from 1980 through 1985, as well. Not sure about parts interchange though.

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5/4/2018 10:31 PM

The YZ125's were yellow in Canada in 81, there were a ton of them on the starting lines here in BC that year, way more then the other brands. They were good enough to win many races that year, most notably under the piloting of Mr Terry Hofoss.
Photo

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5/5/2018 9:38 AM
Edited Date/Time: 5/5/2018 1:27 PM

Thats a cool picture- he looks quick. The 81H kind of looked a very slim and sort of nimble bike and seemed to sit quite tall. Prob looked slim because it never had the rads all poking out the sides- seem to remember though people complaining that the 1982 YZ 125J (which also had its rad up high) was top heavy feeling, not sure if the H was criticized for this also. Think generally people did not like the 82J much but I maybe wrong. Had a go on one for half an hour or so ('82 125J) years back and its rear suspension seemed abit pogo ish feeling, may have just been set up abit wrong though.

Anyone got a link or anything for any magazine shootouts of the old 81 125cc's? Love to read some.

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Always was an excellent rider ...... at crashing usually

Moto Aspes, you know you want one

5/6/2018 10:09 AM

Awesome job cool cool cool

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Ed Johnson

5/6/2018 10:11 AM

a22 wrote:

Thats a cool picture- he looks quick. The 81H kind of looked a very slim and sort of nimble bike and seemed to sit quite tall. Prob looked slim because it never had the rads all poking out the sides- seem to remember though people complaining that the 1982 YZ 125J (which also had its rad up high) was top heavy feeling, not sure if the H was criticized for this also. Think generally people did not like the 82J much but I maybe wrong. Had a go on one for half an hour or so ('82 125J) years back and its rear suspension seemed abit pogo ish feeling, may have just been set up abit wrong though.

Anyone got a link or anything for any magazine shootouts of the old 81 125cc's? Love to read some.

I have all the old MXAs and in 81 the RM125 won the shootout as they were a great bike.

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Ed Johnson

5/6/2018 1:00 PM

Yes Lostboy819- Thought that may have been the case... think many people thought the RM125 81x was actually quicker than the 82 and 83 Zooks- think it had a different crank to the 82z and 83d and also different reed valves.
Would love an 81x or a 82z, come to that a YZ125h- as in this thread also... super era of racing- it all changed when the watercooling appeared.

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Always was an excellent rider ...... at crashing usually

Moto Aspes, you know you want one

5/8/2018 8:23 AM

My very 1st 125 was this bike as the 82 models were coming out. I was 15 and rode this in mx and cross country events for a year. Pretty much rode the bike into the ground a couple of times. LOL

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