YZ144 WOODS WEAPON
In late 2020 we picked up an old and beat up 2000 YZ125 to turn into a woods racing bike. Specifically for hare scramble races and riding single track style trails. The bike was purchased from a small town in Minnesota for $1300. These YZ125s have had an explosion of interest in the last year or two which has driven the price up substantially. A few years ago, we could have gotten a similar condition bike for sub $800. As they say.. beggars can't be choosers!
This is what we started with, notice the permanent marker art that reads "The Beater"? Its name at the time was spot on because this bike needed every part that it received. The first thing that was done the night after bringing it home was tearing it completely apart. It took us around 4 hours to fully disassemble everything from front to back. For powder coating, all the bearings and seals must be removed so that the oven doesn't melt anything. Only metal allowed!
PS. big thanks to Quinn & Zeb for making these photos possible.. Proudly sponsored by Miller Highlife. The nectar of Milwaukee boys and girls alike.
Pictured above is most of the parts from this bike ready to be sand blasted. We use a large room sand blaster with 80 grit aluminum oxide media for all of our powder coat prep. We coated everything from the motor parts, wheels, frame, and even the forks!
As most of our bikes go they are very dark, metallic, and fit perfectly into the urban environment of brick, wood, and metal commonly seen around Milwaukee. For this reason we chose Silk Satin Black as our frame color with gloss black, gold, and bronze to accent them. Assembly had finally begun with new suspension pivot bearings, linkage bearings, and steering head bearings all replaced it was time to bolt this thing back together.
In the photo above, we had to replace the kicker shalf and spring because someone had broke it at one point then continued to have it mig welded back together so that the spring had absolutely no tension.. Needless to say, that part was replaced for fear of serious motor damage. New motor gaskets were installed and the motor was wire brushed clean before reassembly.
The next step in the process involved rebuilding the top end. We decided to go with something with a little more grunt and installed an Athena YZ144 big bore kit. Huge thanks to Andy Pickett for bringing his tools over and sharing his incredible knowledge of two strokes with us! Once the top end was rebuilt, the motor cleaned up, and the parts powder coated we topped this beautiful little powerhouse off with a Lectron carb. We have been interested in these carbs for a while because they DO NOT HAVE JETS. No longer would we have to change jetting for elevation, temperature, or different riding conditions. Boy.. was that a great investment. The response is impressive, the motor can lug along at low rpms and again.. NO MORE F*CKING JETS!
Alright, this one is kind of funny.. The hottest looking custom expansion chambers are $300+. For a bike that we planned on beating the snot out of it, dropping it, and flipping it end over end, we just couldn't bring ourselves to spend that kind of money on a new one. So we used the original one, cut slots into it, hammered out the dents, sonic cleaned it, and brought it over to our friend , Connor, to have him weld it up. After it was welded we powder coated it in high temp grey, let it cool, sprayed high temp black over the top, and wiped the welds to resemble a fancy expansion chamber that we dreamed about and drooled over.
Another special part of this build was the wheel set. If you know our shop,
we LOVE building custom spoke wheels. To start off we did some trade work with a friend to score a 18" rear rim, called up Dubya and ordered new stainless spokes. We went with a trendy nardo grey, inner rim color with gloss black on the edges. The nipples were done in gold to match the top end and graphics colors. Satin spokes laced to gloss black hubs made for a great contrast in texture. We installed IRC heavy tubes, rim locks, Michelin tires, and new bearings to finish off the wheel set.
Time to address the elephant in the room. Most people don't give a f*ck about all the other stuff, but "how did you do restyle plastics on an old YZ125?". We will expound.. First thing that had to be done was order the new plastics. We chose a restyle kit designed for '02 and up YZ125. That being said, we could not use the original subframe, seat, or air box with the plastics kit. We sold the old parts and found a subframe on eBay for around $160, bought a new seat pan and foam, and refinished it with a Thrill Seekers cover. We installed an Acerbis oversized tank meant for a newer YZ '05 and up. First we made a new left lower bracket for the subframe mount (see photo above of left motor side), the subframe had to be ground about an 1/8" to fit up to the frame on top. Once those minor changes were made we build tank brackets and mounted everything on the bike. We found that the air box and plastics fit awesome with very little issues. This was another reason why we chose to rebuild a YZ125 as they are the "Honda Civic" of dirt bikes. After all the plastics were mounted we ordered custom matte graphics from Rival Ink. Their design team nailed the look we were going for, and really tied the whole thing together.
After installing the plastics and big stuff it was time to get to the real "meat and potatoes" of this build.. The protection parts! For this bike there is one brand that had it all, so we went with a Devol skid plate, aluminum rotor guards, and a rear caliper guard. We already had some bark busters from the original bike, so we refinished them in gloss black powder coat and purchased some Zeta triple clamp mounts, new hardware, and new Acerbis hand guard covers on the cheap. We do plan on installing a pipe guard, but for the photos sake we wanted to show off the work.. or hack.. whatever you wanna call it.
If you have made it this far.. You've completed the challenge! Stop in for your #1 Moto-Fied Fan sticker and a Highlife with the boys. But seriously, thanks for your interest in this build. We are all very proud of the turnout, its performance, and the light weight -"mountain bike feel" that these smaller two strokes give you.I wanted to give a huge shoutout to dudes that helped out with this build: Andy Pickett, Zeb Rausch, Connor McElvain, Tony Corrao, and Quinn Reynolds. If you have any interest in making your bike into a custom please reach out to us at Motofiedcycles@gmail.com. If you'd like to find a way to support us, we do have hats and shirts for order on our site!