1989 YZ125 - Should I?

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12/2/2015 10:40 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/2/2015 12:51 PM

The Old School Moto section has me motivated to grab an early 90's late 80's bike and do a little restoration over the winter.

Anyone have any personal experience with the 89 or 90 YZ125's? Things to look out for? I came across this one on Craigslist for a decent price. It looks dirty, but I was intrigued to see original graphics... and what looks like a complete probably poorly "washed/taken careof" 89 yz125. The seller says it "starts hard when cold, but runs great when warm" haha

Is there a better bike I should be on the lookout for? I was looking for 90-93 KX250's as I wanted a 250, but these 125's are cool. Doesn't hurt that Damon Bradshaw had a good year on the 89 YZ125...

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12/2/2015 10:42 AM

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12/2/2015 11:02 AM

if its cheap, get it done

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12/2/2015 11:09 AM

philG wrote:

if its cheap, get it done

$500 likely. I honestly don't know, I see some really bad ones for $250. I don't want a complete basket case.

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12/2/2015 12:02 PM

its worth 500 they are slow as death but your excuse can be that its from the 80s, when you get it if the clutch drags in gear after you change every thing put a new cover on it ok you could just listen to me and change the cover first if it drags and not buy the basket, pressure plate and hub,plus clutch kit
i learned that the hard way and have done four or five since no one believes its the cover, i didnt either

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12/2/2015 12:27 PM

Thanks for the tip Pete.

Slow as death kinda makes me nervous. They can't be that bad right? hahaha

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12/2/2015 1:09 PM

You really need to figure out what your plan of attack is going to be. Are you going to replace all the plastic? Are you going to buy a NOS gas tank? Are you going to buy seat foam and a new cover? If so, you don't even need a complete 1989 bike. You just need a roller with seat pan. In fact, you would probably be money ahead to buy a pile of parts in that regard.

From what I see, I would be interested enough to look. But I would be looking to refurbish as many parts currently on the bike. If I see melted plastic or cracks that can't be fixed, I would soon change my thoughts to maybe just making it mechanically sound and having a fun older "survivor" to kick around on.

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12/2/2015 1:24 PM

I had so much fun on these that I owned 2 of them. LOL

Fun little bike that did not require a lot of work. I could see myself dropping about 2 grand in a restore rather quickly.

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12/2/2015 1:37 PM

Micahdogg wrote:

You really need to figure out what your plan of attack is going to be. Are you going to replace all the plastic? Are you going ...more

I hear ya. While I would likely strip it down, paint or powdercoat the frame and clean everything, I wouldn't be looking to restore to original and buy NOS gas tank, original seat cover and all that.

I want it to look nice, and rip it!

Like another vital member did on here, this would be the goal.

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12/2/2015 2:04 PM
Edited Date/Time: 12/2/2015 2:06 PM

Gotcha. Who did that YZ125? Would like to see the build if its posted.

These days I try to buy bikes as bad and as cheap as possible, but complete! They can be bombed out and dipped into a bucket of paint, as long as i have most of the fasteners and little bits.

Here is one I'm currently doing:

[LINK TO IMAGE]
[LINK TO IMAGE]

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12/2/2015 3:01 PM

Micahdogg wrote:

Gotcha. Who did that YZ125? Would like to see the build if its posted.

These days I try to buy bikes as bad and as cheap as ...more

http://www.vitalmx.com/community/38special,20976/setup,35644?page=2

He may have a build here on Vital or elsewhere. I tend to notice people post on multiple sites.

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12/4/2015 7:59 AM

The 86-93 YZ125 motor usually (certain years excluded) had a good midrange hit and little else. plus terrible shifting. I mean, refuse to shift under power whatsoever at times. It seems like they screwed it up any time they tried to improve it. The 88 ran really well. The 91-93? not so much.

The 90 actually won Dirt Bike's shootout, FWIW.

The early 41mm inverted forks are not so hot. It would be interesting to see if the 1991 forks would fit.
That Bradshaw tribute bike in this thread is sick. It's so clean.



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12/4/2015 9:08 AM

My '89 125 shifted really well. It was an ex race bike though and had loads of work done.
Not sure what though, as I never split the cases on it. Polished gearbox parts I'd imagine.
Never suffered the worn case problem at the clutch arm either.

It's the bike I still really wish I had.
My CR125 would knock it into a cocked hat, but I'd still rather the YZ - it was my first MX bike.

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12/4/2015 9:48 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/4/2015 9:49 AM

I just picked up an 89 YZ125 this fall to restore. Not sure if I'll get to it this Winter or not.

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12/4/2015 9:49 AM

I did the Bradshaw tribute bike. I documented the build over here: http://www.thumpertalk.com/topic/1012557-89-yz125-restore/page-1

Here is what I can tell you about '89 YZ125's. I had one back in '89, and then the tribute I recently did:

The shifting is bad but I got used to it. You can fit an entire '91 front end, and that's what I did on mine. These bikes eat clutches and stators. Many of the clutch and power valve parts are NLA so that makes repairs difficult. The 2 most problematic clutch parts, the inner hub and cover, are NLA and finding good used ones is difficult.

Back in 1989 I called the bike a piece of junk and put it away mid-year and started riding my dad's 250. After riding and racing my restored Bradshaw tribute several times, it started to develop the same problems I had back in '89 (clutch and electrical) and I said to myself, "Why did I ever restore this thing? It was a piece of junk back in 1989 and it's a piece of junk today." I parted it out for pretty good money though.

I think I posted something in the Thumpertalk thread where I compared lap times back to back with my modern CRF250. The 125 was not running well on that day, though.

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12/4/2015 9:50 AM

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12/4/2015 9:53 AM

What is the issue with the clutch cover. I've also got a 93 and it seems to be fine.

[LINK TO IMAGE]

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12/4/2015 9:57 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/4/2015 9:58 AM

The bore that the lifter rides in gets elongated so it will not pull the clutch stack apart evenly. Hence the dragging that can't be eliminated. I looked into making a bushing to press-in but there is not much material there to work with, and it's Magnesium.

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12/4/2015 10:54 AM

Well - Here's the bike I was thinking about getting when I started this thread. NLA parts is to be expected but scares me.

I still really have my heart set on a early 90's KX250. I'll find one.

Here's the craigslist ad - https://poconos.craigslist.org/mcy/5306369074.html It's still available and I'm pretty sure he'd take $550 as he said so, or likely $500. Someone go check it out!

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12/4/2015 11:55 AM

Here's my 1989 yz125 I'm having bad clutch drag apart from that I love the bike has anyone got a pic of the modification that needs to be done to clutch Photo

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12/4/2015 1:35 PM

I wonder what running no gasket on the clutch cover would do.

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12/4/2015 1:45 PM

In 91 they changed to a aluminum cover, those are maybe better?

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12/4/2015 2:56 PM

Just bought nos 91 clutch cover $69 hope it does trick

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12/4/2015 7:20 PM

MXVet261 wrote: Photo

Is that how you bought it? Looks clean to me!

Let me know if you wanna get rid of that thing. I'm in PA.

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12/5/2015 1:05 AM

That bike is a gift at that money, your all spoilt for choice over there !

I've been using a good mates bike for the last 2 years to do Farleigh Castle vmxdn on, its a 88 yz125, it goes realy well, the engines been rebuilt & it runs spot on.

The power is still good on this bike, the suspension is obviously not a patch on modern, but you get used to it,
when you watch the faster riders on these older 80's bikes it makes you fully realise it's not the bike.

I have a modern Yz125 and the suspension is unreal in comparison to the 88 but the engine while being more powerfull is only stronger, the 88 engine is still very useable. Photo

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12/5/2015 8:00 AM
Edited Date/Time: 12/5/2015 8:01 AM

Doesn't look bad at all:
http://www.evo-mx.com/mall/productpage.cfm/EvoMx/_YZFULL009/419860/89%20YZ%20125%20Tank%20and%20Rads

Go for it! These projects are so cool. Put your time and heart in to it. Don't build it for sale. Those YZ:s are for me the only 'right' models.

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12/5/2015 10:40 AM

Micahdogg wrote:

What is the issue with the clutch cover. I've also got a 93 and it seems to be fine.

[LINK TO IMAGE]

I had one just like this when i was a kid i loved that bike , this thing is beautiful

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12/5/2015 11:08 AM

I had an 89. A little slow. But man I beat the snot out of that thing and it would keep running. The clutch blew. Shifting did too

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12/9/2015 10:59 PM

I had a new '89 that I raced through '91. I had land at my house and probably rode it four days a week, racing in 125 C and 125 B and practicing on it too. Regular oil changes, filter cleaning, fork oil and top ends, FMF pipe and stock suspension.

The clutch got weird towards the end (as others had mentioned). My stator went out one time. Given all of the hours I put on mine, I thought reliability was pretty good. I rode the hell out of that bike!

It's not that slow- I pulled plenty of holeshots on that bike against its contemporaries. Punchy mid-range hit. It isn't as fast at a 2015 YZ 125 of course, but it wasn't a dog by 1989 standards (KX and RM were slower that year, Honda was king). A pipe and reeds will help broaden the power.

Ergos still feel decent (I just sold a 1990 last month and the layout is the same). Suspension was usable and it was the first year of the USD fork.

You can still have a lot of fun on that bike, it will still get around a track just fine, and of course that was Bradshaw's year, so that makes it an awesome restore.

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