Mini Shoot-out

By Jerry Matta

This pic is from the internet.  If it's your, please email me and I will credit you.  Thanks

My goal is to list each bikes attributes as well as pitfalls.  I am not going to say or conclude which one is better, because that is 100% subjective.  But, you will see some bikes have a much longer list of attributes than others, but you can't deduce it means it's a better bike, because only you can be the judge of  things like weight vs. limited mods vs. likes to rev, etc.

Yamaha TTR125

The TTR125 has become a classic and the go to bike for minis.  It is probably the most popular and I would bet it is the bike that killed the CRF/XR100.  Well, that and the short sidedness of Honda. 
 

List of good things:

  • Electric Start - All bikes are getting an electric start.  Why not? Cars have had them for a 100 years.  But, not just street bikes and trail bikes, 450's and 250's pretty much all have them. 

  • Front Disc Brake:  Gotta have it.  It's simple, light, and works a million times better than drum brakes.

  • Aluminum Swingarm:  Light and trick.

  • Reservoir Rear Shock - Rear Travel 6.6 inches

  • Handles extremely well - 

  • Front Travel: 7.1 inches 


List of pit falls:

 

  • Weight - Wet 198 lbs - 

  • Not full frame - needs Cradle

  • Slow reving 

  • Not a lot of available mods

  • Steel Rims -

  • No real Chain Guide - Nothing worse than losing a chain on uphills.  Real Chain Guides cost $40 - $60


Basic Mod list:

Pipe, BBR Filter, BBR 150kit, cam, pretty easy fork swap, valve the rear, pretty easy to balance the rear for the fork swap, Lighten Flywheel, chain guide, New CDI to raise the rev limit.

CRF/XR100

The CRF100 is probably the most iconic of all the mini.  It all started with the XR75 in 1973.  Followed by the XR80 in 1979, and finally the XR100 in 1981 and changed names in 2004.  Unfortunately, the mighty XR100 has not kept up with the times thanks to Honda doing very little updates over it's 33 year existence.  The biggest one was in 1985 when it went from a dual shocker to a single shock and all new body design.  With some changes here and there - mainly color schemes, it stayed the same until 2001.  Although, it did go to CDI in 1992. It also updated the head a bit around 1994/95.  In 2001, they redesigned the plastics, added a valve guide seal to the intake and changed the linkage.  In 2004, they changed the plastics again, but not much else.  In 2009, they did another plastic redesign, but again not much else. By this time, the writing was on the wall.  With no disc brake, no electric start, aluminum swingarm or wheels, and the same old shock from 1985; the XR100 line which started in 1973, ended in 2013. 

List of good things:

  • Lightweight motor - The motor is probably the best 4-stroke motor ever designed. It's light, super easy to work on, and very easily modded.

  • Revs to the moon.  The motor can rev past 14K, but stops making power at around 10k.  

  • Lightweight bike: 165 lbs Dry.  That's about a 20 lb difference between the next lightest bike. 

  • Every motor mod possibly available - You can even make it a dual overhead cam motor if you want.  You can put into a CRF85 frame or CRF150RB frame.   Literally the sky's the limit at a reasonable price or not so reasonable, but it is available.

  • Availability of parts - They sold thousands of these and there are plenty of parts on ebay. 

  • It's Red - Not only is this a good color, it's a fairly bullet proof motor. 



Pit Falls:

  • Pretty much everything but the motor.  

  • The suspension doesn't work well 

  • No Full frame - Needs Cradle

  • No disc brake 

  • Steel Rims

  • Heavy Clutch

  • 27mm forks 

  • No electric start 

  • No Chain Guide - How many thousands of XR100's have had the chain come off and go into the engine case and break it and possibly ruin the stator as well.  All because of a chain guide that all bikes should come with.

Basic Mod list:  

BBR Cradle, 120 kit, Cam, Carb, Pipe, bars, pegs, shock, fork swap, chain guide.  After this, you can literally build the motor into a monster.  

Suzuki DRZ125

The DRZ125 has a long history like the XR100.  It started in 1983 with the DR100 and DR200.  I'm not a Suzuki aficionado, so I don't know the ins and outs of the DRZ.  I did however, acquire one and I'm

in the midsts of a build. 

The good list:

  • Front disc brake -

  • Handles really well 

  • Aluminum rims 

  • Real Chain Guide

  • Cheap Price - You can find these between $600 - $1000 all day long. 

  • Easily modded - Add forks, rear shock, cams, multiple bores to choose from, carb, exhaust.  You can build a monster petty easily and affordable. 


Pit Falls:

 

  • Weighs about 196 lbs - 

  • No Electric Start -

  • Steel swingarm -

  • No Full Frame  - Needs Cradle 

  • Big heavy Motor - 

  • Signs off around 6500 rpm - 


Basic mods: 

You can build a monster petty easily and affordable. KX or RM Piggyback Shock,  KX85/100 or RM forks, cams, multiple bores to choose from, carb, exhaust.  A DR200 motor bolts in!!!!!!!

Kawasaki KLX140

The KLX140 has been around since 2005.  I don't know much about it, but after you see the good list, you can see why it'll be my next build.

The Good List: 

  • Aluminum rims -

  • Aluminum Swingarm -

  • Rear Disc Brake -

  • Real Chain Guide -

  • A Real Frame  - No need for a cradle

  • Electric Start -

  • Front Disc Brake -

  • Piggyback Shock -

  • Motor has Potential - 

  • KX100/85 forks bolt right on

  • Unlimited Motor mods available

  • Cheap Big Bore kits Available

  • Removable Subframe (one bar)  


Pit Falls:

  • Heavy - 209 lbs wet

  • Heavy Motor - Not very powerful for 144cc

  • Used ones seem to be very expensive  The average price starts at about $1800 - $2200.  I have seen them cheaper, but very rarely and I wish I would've bought one of them. (I just bought one)


Basic Mod List: 

170cc Big Bore, Carb Conversion, Pipe, cam, KX100/85 Forks, pegs, bars.