Top 125cc Dirt Bikes for Moto and Trail Riding

125cc dirt bikes have long been a favorite choice for many motocrossers and trail riders alike. Their recognizable sound and lightweight design is known among most dirt riders.

From lightning-fast 2-stroke beasts like the KTM 125 SX and Yamaha YZ125, to the torque-happy 125cc 4-strokes include the Honda CRF125F and Yamaha TT-R125LE, the options are fascinating.

Join me as I cover test results and list my favorite 125cc dirt bikes for motocross and trail riding, where power meets precision and adventure awaits at every twist of the throttle.


125cc dirt bikes offer a unique combination of power and agility, making them popular among riders seeking high-performance capabilities.

The unique 2-stroke sound that these lightweight models make, is well known and attracts even the most seasoned riders out there. On the other hand, the 4-stroke engines are able to produce great amounts of controllable torque for the gnarly trails out there.

Well, which of the 125cc dirt bike models are the best for motocross or trail riding? Well, that’s where I can help.

Most of the models listed here will include the following criteria:

  • manual clutch
  • manual gear box / manual transmission
  • electric start
  • kick start (except KTM and Husqvarna)

I have tested all except one of these models personally over the past few years and can provide a general understanding where they excel and what to consider when making your choice.

Next, I will focus on the top 5 motocross models.

Top 5 125cc Dirt Bikes for Motocross

I have personally tested 4 out of these 5 models on a motocross track in recent years. The TM racing was not available at the time, so it’s the only untested version on this list.

My personal favorite for motocross is the KTM 125SX. While the Husqvarna is basically identical, for some reason the KTM engine tune was better for my riding style.

Here are my top 5 choices for the best models for motocross.

1. KTM 125 SX

KTM 125SX won the title for the best 125cc dirt bike for motocross

Introducing the KTM 125 SX – a formidable motocross machine designed to dominate the track. With its impressive specifications, this 125cc 2-stroke dirt bike is built for speed and performance.

Sporting a compact frame and weighing in at 204lbs (92.4kg), the KTM 125 SX offers remarkable agility and maneuverability. Its powerful 2-stroke engine delivers exhilarating acceleration and responsive throttle control.

With a price tag of $7,949, the KTM 125 SX offers an exceptional motocross experience for riders seeking top-tier performance. You also get that legendary 2-stroke sound everyone loves!

2. Husqvarna TC 125

Husqvarna TC 125 on a factory floor on a white background

Don’t underestimate the Husqvarna TC 125, a top-tier motocross bike engineered for adrenaline-fueled performance. While the Husky is almost identical to the KTM above, small differences include improved suspension, mapping switch, new plastic designs and coloring.

Weighing in at 203.9lbs (92.5kg), the Husqvarna TC 125 offers exceptional cornering performance. Its powerful 2-stroke engine delivers explosive power, allowing for lightning-fast acceleration and precise throttle response.

Priced at $8,049, the Husqvarna TC 125 is a testament to uncompromising performance and exceptional craftsmanship.

3. Yamaha YZ125

Yamaha YZ125 on a factory floor on a white background

Third place goes to the Yamaha YZ125, a legendary motocross bike that embodies Yamaha’s commitment to performance and reliability. This 125cc 2-stroke dirt bike is a legend and well know for its blue coloring.

The Yamaha YZ125 has a seat height of 38.6″ (980mm) and weighs in at 209lbs (95kg). With the potent 2-stroke engine, the YZ125 delivers exhilarating power and instant throttle response.

Priced at $6,999, this motocross machine offers incredible value for its performance and reliability. Great option for the taller riders out there!

4. TM Racing MX 125

TM 125 on a factory floor on a white background

TM Racing MX 125 showcases Italian engineering prowess and performance.

Featuring a sleek design and a seat height of 37.4″ (950mm), the TM Racing MX 125 offers excellent control and handling. Weighing in at 204.8lbs (93kg), it strikes a perfect balance between lightweight maneuverability and stability.

Packed with Italian craftsmanship and priced at $10,195, the TM Racing MX 125 offers motocross enthusiasts a great choice outside the traditional big brands, although it comes with a hefty price tag.

5. GasGas MC 125

GasGas MC 125 on a factory floor on a white background

The GasGas MC 125, is a dynamic motocross machine that pushes the boundaries of performance and style.

The GasGas MC 125 weighs 193lbs (87.5kg). This relatively light GasGas is equipped with a powerful 2-stroke engine, which offers explosive acceleration and precise throttle control. The open cartridge XAct front forks are superior to many others on this list and are tuned stiffer for motocross, something most riders will learn to appreciate in bigger jumps.

Priced at $7,349.00, it is a great contender for GasGas fans.

Top 5 125cc Dirt Bikes for Trail Riding

Next, I will explore 125cc dirt bikes for trail riding. I have personally tested all of these dirt bikes on the trail in the last few years, mainly around Texas trails.

While I maybe bias to KTMs, the KTM 125 XC is my personal favorite for the option for trail riding in the 125cc category. The simple reason is the popularity of the model as well as the stock suspension performance combined to a lightweight design, and an impressive engine. All small 2-stroke engines lack low end torque, but this KTM makes great controllable power and thanks to great gearing ratio, is easy to handle even in gnarly trails.

Here are my shortlisted top trail dirt bikes in the 125cc category:

1. KTM 125 XC

KTM 125XC is one of the best 125cc dirt bikes for trail riding shown here on a white background

The 2024 KTM 125 XC is a powerful 125cc 2-stroke dirt bike specifically designed for enduro and trail riding. With its impressive power and agile handling, this bike easily conquers even the toughest trails.

Featuring a 124.8cc 2-stroke engine, the KTM 125 XC is peppy and responsive. The unique 2-stroke engine sound is present with a touch of low end torque. This one likes to run on the higher rev area!

This super light and nimble dirt bike with a weight of just 194lbs (88kg), the KTM 125 XC strikes the perfect balance between maneuverability and stability.

The robust gearing and stock suspension can tackle even the most gnarliest trails out there. But as most smaller engines, you will need to learn how to use the clutch well to avoid stalling and to control rear wheel spin.

Priced at $8,399, the KTM 125 XC offers great fun and excellent value for money. They are easy to find second hand and are typically well kept.

2. Yamaha YZ125X

Yamaha YZ125X is a 2-stroke trail dirt bike shown here on a factory floor

The legendary Yamaha YZ125X is a powerful 125cc 2-stroke dirt bike designed for cross country, enduro and trail riding. With a 125cc 2-stroke engine, the Yamaha YZ125X delivers raw power and recognizable sound for all Yamaha fans. This is one of the most popular dirt bikes you will see out there and for a reason.

Priced at $7,099, the Yamaha YZ125X is one of the cheapest 125cc dirt bikes you can find new, which makes it a great option for beginners and riders with a budget. They are also widely available second hand.

3. Honda CRF125F

Honda CRF125F is one of the most popular 125cc dirt bikes for motocross

The Honda CRF125F, a versatile 125cc 4-stroke dirt bike provides smooth power delivery and excellent handling. With its lightweight construction and responsive performance, this Honda bike is ideal for riders of all skill levels although it’s most popular among beginners.

Low seat at 29.1″ (740mm) and weighing just 194lb (88kg), it makes a great option for women, shorter riders as well as beginners. Equipped with a reliable 125cc engine, the CRF125F delivers ample power for all riding conditions.

Priced at around $3,399, this Honda dirt bike is a great entry level option and can easily be sourced second hand.

4. Yamaha TT-R125LE

Yamaha TT-R125LE on a white background

The Yamaha TT-R125LE, is a great option for trail riding. With a responsive 125cc 4-stroke engine, the Yamaha TT-R125LE offers much more low end torque and control.

The low seat of 31.7″ (805mm) and weight around 198lbs (90kg) ensures that shorter riders are also well positioned to learn trail riding with this dirt bike. The electric start, manual gears with a manual clutch make this model an excellent choice for a first dirt bike.

Priced at $3,399, the Yamaha TT-R125LE is affordable and reliable choice for beginners and shorter riders.

5. Beta 125 RR

Beta 125 RR is a racers choice for trail riding

The Beta 125 RR is racers choice!

Powered by a 124.8cc 2-stroke engine, the Beta 125 RR delivers massive performance and very responsive power. I frequently ride in a group with this dirt bike and I can tell the Beta apart by sound. The engine is very throttle responsive and likes to rev high. It also provides great low end torque for the size and is very controllable.

With a relatively low seat of 36.6″ (930mm) and weighing 207lbs (93.9kg), the Beta 125 RR is a comfortable easy to ride.

The suspension is to par and offers better dampening than the rest on this list. Beta traditionally relies on KYB suspension and it does impress on this one as well.

Priced at $8,599, the Beta 125 RR offers great value for money. I would choose this one for the races, basically because it seems to outperform the others in engine power as well as suspensions performance.


In conclusion, 125cc dirt bikes offer an exciting and accessible entry point into the world of off-road riding. With their balanced power, maneuverability, and versatility, these bikes are suitable for both beginners and experienced riders.

Popular brands such as KTM, Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, and Husqvarna provide a wide range of options to cater to different preferences. Whether it’s for trail riding, motocross racing, or recreational adventures, 125cc dirt bikes offer an exhilarating experience for off-road enthusiasts.

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