YAMAHA WR125X (2009 - 2017) Review
- Class-leading learner supermoto
- Excellent handling and entertaining engine
- Loads of kit as standard
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£40|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
If you are a taller rider, the Yamaha WR 125 X (or the WR 125 R in its more off-road guise, which has a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear where the Supermoto X has 17-inch front and back) makes for an excellent 125.
- Related: Best supermoto motorbikes
- Related: Best 125cc motorbikes
- Related: Learn to ride a motorbike with MCN
Thanks to its off-road styling the XR is a roomy bike and while on paper the tall seat height may seem intimidating for shorter riders, the reality is that soft suspension and a narrow bike negate this and reaching the floor isn’t generally a problem.
Released in 2009 to replace the XT125X, which ran alongside the WR 125 until 2011 while stock cleared, the XR’s four-stroke motor can generally shrug off the abuse suffered by small capacity bikes and as long as you keep on top of a few notable areas is reliable, frugal and likely to start every morning, which is all you can ask of a 125.
As you would expect on a 125, it’s not the most high-tech of bikes and from its single overhead cam motor to its steel frame and telescopic forks you are talking about a bike built to a budget, however there is nothing wrong with that as long as it has been done well and on the WR, Yamaha have ensured a decent level of build quality. It went off sale in 2017.
If you're after a bigger bike, you might want to consider the Yamaha WR 250 X instead.
Watch: Supermoto 125 group test video featuring Yamaha WR 125 X
There's a private group on Facebook catering for owners of this bike. Be sure to check out Yamaha WR 125 X/WR 125 R owners club.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The X is the sportier WR model and it isn’t a bad handling 125 at all. The 17-inch wheels mean you can get fairly decent rubber and while the forks lack any adjustment, you can up the shock’s preload to give a bit more support. With a seat height of 920mm (the R is even taller at 930mm) shorter riders may be concerned but most will be able to get both feel flat on the floor due to the narrowness of the bike’s waist.
In or out of town the WR 125 X is fun to ride and nice and manoeuvrable, which is always handy. Although some owners find the single two-piston caliper a bit lacking at the front (ABS was never an option) you can go a long way to remedying this through a set of higher friction pads and the X has a bigger diameter disc than the R (298mm vs 240mm) to match its on-road focus. Although it does have pillion pegs, restricted licence holders are barred from taking pillions and to be honest, the 125 does struggle to carry two adults.
EngineNext up: Reliability
Although more than a little basic in its design, the Yamaha WR 125 X’s single is liquid-cooled and more than gets on with the job in hand.
As it is restricted in its performance you can’t expect too much from it but a claimed 15bhp and 8.9ft.lb of torque puts it in the right ballpark and given a decent straight you can hit an indicated Yamaha WR 125 top speed of 65mph.
What’s more important, however, is the fact even at this rate you should see around 90mpg. With a SOHC maintenance is fairly basic but on a 125 even basic maintenance is often skipped and that’s where you need to be wary.
The WR only carries 1.15-litres of oil in its motor, which means that while a basic service is nice and cheap (an oil and air filter kit, spark plug and oil costs just £25 and is easy to do at home) if the engine is showing any signs of wear and drinking a bit of oil, damage can occur quite quickly as owners aren’t generally great at keeping an eye on the oil level.
When buying used, always check its oil level, see if the owner has any idea when it was last looked at (or what oil was put in...) and listen for a rattle or smoke on start-up that might hint at damage within. The issue that 125s suffer from is that generally they are hammered from cold and not given the chance to warm up and that can lead to issues. As there is only a single cam, checking the valve clearances isn’t too expensive but it should be done at every service, which is every 3500 miles, and seldom is.
Owners report that incorrect valve clearances can lead to poor fuel economy, so it is worth paying a professional to do it as it should only be about £100 in workshop costs.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
So much of a 125's build quality and reliability depends on the mechanical sympathy of the previous owner but it seems the WR can shrug off a lot of abuse. As on most budget 125s the exhaust rots through (check it for leaks) but as replacement systems are just £200 this isn’t a huge drama (unless the studs are rusted solid) and the frame and wiring are quite robust.
Major engine issues are few and far between however the big issue is crash damage, which can manifest itself as anything from bent bars and forks twisted in the yokes to scratched plastics and a damaged radiator. Always have a good inspection of the bike to see if it has suffered.
Unlike the R model, it is unlikely the X will have been off-road so you don’t need to be as wary of damage on the bike’s underside, but check the wheel rims for dents and the spokes for rust. The two-piston sliding calipers can seize on their sliders, but a rebuild kit is only £35 and they are simple to resurrect and you can add stainless steel brake pistons to reduce the chances of their seizing. As on any 125, watch for damage due to theft so inspect the frame numbers and see if the steering lock works and that one key fits all the bike’s locks.
Our Yamaha WR 125 X owners' reviews show overwhelming love for the bike, with just one reader giving it fewer than the maximum five stars. It only really gets marked down for the tall seat height.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
Even for a newer rider, insuring a Yamaha WR 125 X isn’t a huge drama as its age makes it affordable. Economy figures in the 90mpg range and annual servicing costs of less than £150 make it a very cheap bike to run and there are loads of aftermarket parts available online to help cut running costs should anything fail. If you are prepared to do a bit of basic home DIY (oil and filters), the WR 125 X is a cheap bike to run. Although not necessarily that cheap to buy.
Prices vary from about £1300 for a tatty bike to £4000 for a late model, which is quite a lot for a 125. Although that said, they do hold their value and are popular buys so as long as any major new-rider tumbles are avoided, selling it again for a minimal loss is quite likely.
The WR is pretty basic but the fact it is water-cooled and fuel-injected is good and also the LCD dash having a fuel gauge as standard is excellent. The X comes with spoke wheels, which is cool, and even a tool kit, which by now will probably be missing so invest in a proper C-spanner to adjust the shock rather than attack it with a hammer and drift.
Loads of owners fit aftermarket exhaust systems, so check its legality as you will need an MOT at some point, and with complete bodywork kits costing just £500 from China, these are also common.
Although due to the 125’s price, £99 decal kits are even more prevalent so if you see one with an obvious aftermarket decal kit (Red Bull, Monster, etc etc), assume it has been crashed and inspect it well for signs of damage. Other common extras include wheel rim tape, small licence plate hangers, new levers and sometimes chunkier bars.
|Engine type||4v four-stroke single, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Tubular steel double cradle|
|Fuel capacity||8.5 litres|
|Front suspension||41mm inverted forks, no adjust|
|Rear suspension||Single shock, preload and rebound damping adjust|
|Front brake||298mm disc, four-piston caliper|
|Rear brake||220mm disc, single piston caliper|
|Front tyre size||110/70 x 17|
|Rear tyre size||140/70 x 17|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||45 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£21|
|Annual service cost||£40|
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||15 bhp|
|Max torque||8.9 ft-lb|
|Top speed||75 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||-|
|Tank range||100 miles|
Model history & versions
- Yamaha WR 125 X (2009 – 2017): New model, replacing the XT125X.
- Yamaha WR 125 R (2009-2017): More off-road targeted, the R is effectly the same chassis and motor but with a 18-inch rear and 21-inch front wheel sizes for an off-road look and a smaller front disc.
- WR 125 R: Trail version with different wheels/brakes
Other Yamaha WR reviews on MCN
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA WR125X (2009 - 2017)
5 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA WR125X (2009 - 2017) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£40|
Annual servicing cost: £30
I am both tall (6'3") and heavy (18stone) I have owned a few different 125 bikes over the years (yzf125r, nsr125, rs125) and this wr125x is the slowest but also my favourite by far especially for the riding I do, with my weight on it mine can only just manage to get to 70mph on a flat with a long run, but where I live I hardly ever go on any roads that allow more than 60mph so no big deal. The real benefit of a bike like this is you can get so good at slow manoeuvres on a bike like this which helps a lot in London and its tall slim profile means you can filter through any gap your handlebars fit through and its low weight means it feels like riding a bicycle especially if you have any experience on bikes that weight 200kg+, but it also has proper big bike wheels which make it feel like a real bike and inspire confidence in corners (but not on the stock tyres they are okay in warm dry conditions but horrific in the wet). all my friends who have ridden my bike love it when its moving but the shorter friends struggle to get their feet flat its the only real downside.
I can only ride this bike for about 45mins at a time then my lower back hurts but it is a supermoto this is what to expect. I upgraded the front brakes to HH sintered EBC brake pads they were very cheap at £20 don't seem to have worn out my disk much quicker than standard pads and work very very well with my pilot street tyres (and remember I'm very heavy and they keep me out of trouble)
this little engine is the best 4 stroke 125 engine around in my opinion (I have around 12k miles on this little engine over the years) it gives great performance and I regularly see myself getting 80-90mpg imp. even though I ride at full throttle everywhere (I mean like off the lights I'm at full throttle but also I don't always use the most efficient gear I have a tendancy to be down a gear from the one I should really be in for fuel economy) when ridden super economical I have managed 98mpg imperial But if the valves need a service I have seen it drop as low as 60-65mpg. power delivery is decent, it wont set the world on fire but it is sufficient for town riding. but you cannot really pass well above 50mph there isn't enough oomph so you gotta plan ahead.
I got mine second hand with 6000 miles on the clock. the bike is built very well and I found it to be very reliable all you have to do is check your oil properly and make sure its got enough but never overfill the oil and you are going to have a great bike for a long time.
I am amateur mechanic so servicing is very cheap for me, every 2 years i change the brake fluid and coolant, I do an oil change every 3000 miles or after a year has passed I only change the filter every 3 oil changes and it only takes about 1 litre of oil so its super cheap. This engine is tuned quite high for a 125 so if you ever experience a loss of top speed or you find your mpg is quite bad then its likely your valves need doing (it was always valves for me) I have done the valves every time I experience a loss of power and they were always quite out of spec but when put back to specification the bike was straight back to full speed and excellent MPG. (like the bike wont go past 55 mph or if I am getting 60mph but the fuel consumption is much higher) the valves are adjusted with screw type adjusters but you don't need the special valve tool because it is trash and doesn't have clearance to fit on some of the valves so I use needle nose pliers and a high quality set of feeler gauges because whats the point of doing the job if your feeler gauges are cheap and aren't accurate. also if you fit an aftermarket exhaust you will need to adjust your valve clearances more frequently.
I changed my tyres to Michelin pilot street radial (make sure to use radial they are higher quality than cross ply) this was the best upgrade I have ever made to a bike they work so well in the wet and the dry I really appreciate these tyres especially as I have crashed twice in the past when more expensive tyres lost traction in the wet (pirelli and bridgestone) There is a small toolkit attached to the bike its actually pretty good I have made good use of it twice in situations where I might have had to call someone for help otherwise it also includes a tool to adjust the rear shocks preload which is pretty nice.
Buying experience: bought mine from a dealer with 6000 miles on it for £2750 but it had been customised with Redbull decals which I removed after a while (I thought it looked horrific) dealer "Zenith motorcycles" in Tottenham is primarily a repair shop with 3-4 bikes for sale but after sales service was fantastic significantly better than my experience at 4 different main dealers.
I am a tall rider, use my bike for commuting to work. This is the perfect bike for nipping in and out of traffic. Seat height is high bit that is a massive plus for me. Deals will my weight fine as well, easy to flick through the gears and pulls enough for ease of use around town.
Great ride, longer travel than most learners so rides over potholes and speed bumps with minimal fuss. Brakes are sharp and responsive, but not to aggressive for a learner
Once run in runs like a dream. Quiet which is good but would be nice to hear it a little more. Would also help in traffic to let cars know you are there
Never had a problem with it
Loses a mark for high purchase price but I get over 125 miles from one tanks. Fill up costs £6.50!
It's basic, gear indicator would be nice but it does the job I put hand guards on which really help deflect wind off the hands in the colder months.
Buying experience: Can't fault the garage I bought it from, great service from the guys at A2 Motorcycles in Gravesend
Version: WR125 R
Annual servicing cost: £50
Really nice bike feels really smooth and love being above all the traffic around me. the previous owner had lowered it slightly and I find that its a bit too low for me im about just over 6ft and long legs and I sit on it with my feet flat on the floor. The bike is great for getting around and I just love going out riding it. I have been riding it for over a year and am an all around year rider and I can say it handles well in all weather conditions. if I had to change one thing about this bike it would be the weight. its not ridiculously heavy it just seems a bit heavy for a 125. but for me its a 5 out of 5 in the 125 category. I have experienced problems with it which I don't think is due to unreliability I think it was just down to being unlucky.
the bike is a decent all around bike. obviously handling better in dry and more fun to ride because your not too worried about it slidding out. I could easily ride this bike hours with no breaks. at first I thought the brakes were a bit soft not being sharp... but new brake pads were put in (which I needed anyway) and they were excellent
As you know my engine did brake but I don't think the bike is unreliable. only thing I think I don't like about the bike is the sound from behind to me it sounds a bit tinny but you would probably find this with all 125 4 strokes
The bike is built absolutely great the looks of it dominate the roads. only problem I had was the oil stopped flowing some reason to the top of the engine and caused the piston to seize up. I don't think this bike is unreliable I think it was down to unluckiness. I now have another engine out in and still runs perfect.
fuel is amazing on it i can easily last betweeen 100-115 miles on £5-£6 of fuel depending on wind direction...
The standard tyre is a bit too bold for my liking I changed them to a more motocrossy tyre because I like to do a bit of green lanes and off-roading every now and then ;)
Buying experience: I payed £1750 for mine and id say I got it on the cheap side! the previous owner was selling it for a while (because he had other bigger bikes) so I think he didn't mind it going for a few hundred £ less... originally he was advertising for £1900 and I think he had brought the price down then aswell.
Have had my Yamaha WR125X since Nov 2010 and have clocked up over 3,000 miles so far. Its a great package overall - decent power for around town and A-roads, proper tires for grip and traction in all conditions, plus sharp, stylish looks. The large frame is quite unusual for a bike in this class with many people are quite surprised its only 125cc. The tall seat gives a rider plenty of leg room as well as a terrific view over traffic. The WR125X is also quite light so you can pedal it easily through traffic and blast off first in line at every red-light. The practical tool tool kit under the seat comes in very handy when you need to adjust or fasten those mirrors on the go. Overall, I'd say this is the best 125 Supermoto out there. The bad points: short riders will struggle with the (dare I say, KTM-style?) seat height of 920mm! The lack of a tachometer will bother those who want to know when they will red-line. Even though it'll do 68 mph or so, stay away from Motorways on this one - the combination of its high centre of gravity and meagre 137kg mean that you will get sucked into a lorry in windy conditions. The seat is also quite narrow, so rides longer than 50min can get quite uncomfortable.
This is my second bike and I love it. The handling is amazing and just falls into corners. The engine is good and will hit about 75mph at a push. The only downside is the seat height which for a learner bike is quite high. However it's great fun and leaves you smiling after every ride.