‘Even an engine this solid can only take so much’
“The problems with all used 125s are down to the previous owner. If you get a sympathetic owner, the bikes are strong, but how many mechanicallysympathetic 17-yearolds are out there? I’ve seen so many 125s that have come in for a service with virtually no oil in their engines and the owner still arrived at 70mph with the motor on its rev limiter!
“When viewing a used bike, look for signs that the previous owner has a degree of mechanical ability. Ask them how you check the engine’s oil level and what oil to use. If you get a blank look, then be concerned. You will struggle to kill an air- cooled 125 like the XT, but even an engine this solid can only take so much abuse. Always inspect the chain and sprockets, I’ve seen 125s arrive with broken chain links and the owners didn’t spot it – and one was even coming in for an MOT!
“When it comes to the chassis, you have to expect the bike will have been down the road, so it is a case of how hard. Bent bars are very common, so check for this on a test ride, and occasionally wheels and headstock bearings will need changing, but this isn’t very common. In general, 125s don’t wear bearings or suspension units as they don’t do that many miles, but forks can get bent or twisted in the yokes. “Nine times out of 10 the electrical systems are OK on a Japanese brand, but the Chinese 125s can have huge electrical issues. Always check the lights, horn etc work and personally I’d avoid a cheap Chinese bike as the spares supply can be an issue. If you buy a Yamaha you can always get the spares, something that isn’t always the case on a random Chinese brand bike. “If you want a bargain, look out for one with a blown engine, buy it cheap and then get a used motor for about £200. Swapping them is easy and there are loads of 125s out there this can be done on.”
‘I’ve seen so many 125s that have come in with no oil in their engines’
Mechanic at Stevelin Motorcycles in Ramsey