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TTR125 Mikuni VM24 Carb Swap: Is It Worth It?

Looking to upgrade the carburetor on your TTR125? The stock carb gets the job done, but it provides underwhelming performance, and it can cause a lot of problems.

Swapping a Mikuni VM24 carb onto your TTR 125 is not that difficult if you have a little bit of time and some basic tools.

Why change the TTR125 carb?

Not too often will you see me devote an entire article to a “Make My Dirt Bike Go Faster!” article, let alone on a bike that is meant for beginners. However, there are numerous advantages to this modification on all Yamaha TTR125 models – especially if you’ve already done some other performance mods.

If you’ve bought a used TTR125 or have owned one for a while, chances are that you’ve had some problems with the stock carburetor. This may be a bad choke, sticking float/needle, or jetting problems that make it hard to start or not run right.

2003 TTR125 2 TTR125 Mikuni VM24 Carb Swap: Is It Worth It?

You can try different pilot and main jets in there, and even fine to the needle position, but it just never seems to run quite right, and it get worse with time. Some parts of it are just poorly designed and they don’t work right after so many years.

Fortunately for those of us that like to fix things, these problems can be cured with a better carburetor. Even better yet, a new one can be found for under 100 bucks!

Mikuni VM24 Carb vs. Stock Carb

So, why is the Mikuni VM24 round slide carb better than the stock Mikuni on Yamaha’s TTR 125 four stroke dirt bike? First of all, it’s not as finicky and is easier to jet.

Once you get the jetting dialed in, you shouldn’t have to mess with anything other than possibly an air screw adjustment in the cooler riding season.

Want more power? Because this carb will give you that, even if your TTR 125 engine and exhaust are stock.

It will make a bigger difference if you have intake, exhaust, and even engine mods (big bore/cam), but with a stock set-up you’ll get better throttle response everywhere and it will rev out much further, making it feel like a different bike.

TTR125 Mikuni VM24 Carb Swap Best Bang For Your Buck 1 TTR125 Mikuni VM24 Carb Swap: Is It Worth It?
Junk Stock Carb

If you’re tired of messing with the dumb bar-mount choke on the TTR, you can throw that out as well with this new carb conversion. The choke is mounted right on the new carb itself.

In fact, my TTR125’s and many other owners of this carb swap say that it usually doesn’t even need the choke to start, even when the engine is cold.

What Do You Need For This Swap?

To replace the stock TTR 125 carb with the Mikuni VM series carb, you need these simple tools to make it easy:

  • Mikuni VM24/ss carburetor
  • Screwdriver
  • Pliers (needle nose)
  • Drill with 5/16″ drill bit
  • New jets (Depending on where you get the carb)
  • New 6mm Fuel Line (1′ is plenty)
  • File or new clamp?

How Do I Install The VM24 On A TTR125?

Technically, I wouldn’t call this a ‘bolt-on’ swap because there are a couple of modifications you have to make.

However, this is one of the easiest conversion projects you will find when swapping dirt bike parts. Total time should be 1-2 hours if you have everything ready, and even less if you’ve done it before.

The first thing to do is take off the throttle cap from your new VM24 carb, as well as the one from your stock TTR125 carb and remove the cable/adjustment screw so all you have left are the bare caps.

You will be using the stock TTR throttle cable, which will require the metal elbow off of the stock carb cap. It’s held in place with a locking clip, so just pull that out with some pliers.

Drilling The VM24 Carb Cap

Now you will need to drill a larger hole in the new VM24 carb cap so the TTR cable/elbow can fit through it. Some people say they used a 1/4 drill, but the TTR elbow fitting measured .285″, which is about 9/32″.

That drill might work, otherwise, you can go up to a 5/16″ drill (.312″) to make it fit. If you are wondering about the threads, yes they will be gone after you drill through it, but you don’t need the adjustment screw from that cap for it anymore.

Drilling a larger hole in the VM24 carb cap for the TTR125 carb swap

Now you can put the elbow assembly on the new cap and hook the TTR cable up to the slide.

Some owners of this conversion mentioned that the new carburetor is shorter in length, requiring you to stretch the inlet-side boot to make it reach. I did not have this problem when I swapped it onto my 2000 TTR125L, however, you can buy a new aftermarket intake boot (Amazon) that will stretch and fit a little better, especially if your stock boot is hard and cracking, which can cause an air leak.

The clamp on the inlet fits without modification, but the engine side of the carb boot didn’t clamp down far enough on mine. You can either get another clamp or just file down the spacer in the stock clamp so you can tighten it down more.

Routing New Gas Line

After you have the carb bolted in, the only thing left is the gas line. You will more than likely need a longer one to reach the new carb.

You can either wrap it around the back of the frame to keep it out of the way, otherwise, you can just route it underneath the frame, which is a shorter distance.

If you haven’t already, you can completely remove the stock TTR125 choke and cable because it isn’t needed anymore.

Also, for those of you that have the newer model TTR125’s with the two-cable throttle set-up, just use one of those cables with the new VM24 carb and remove or tie up the other one, as it doesn’t use two cables.

TTR125 Mikuni VM24 Carb Swap Best Bang For Your Buck 2 TTR125 Mikuni VM24 Carb Swap: Is It Worth It?
New, Better Carb

Just turn the gas on now and fire it up! Adjust the idle screw knob when it’s warmed up and it purrs like a mountain lion.

What Jets Should I Use?

Depending on what mods have been done to your bike and where you live, your results may slightly vary. If you’re buying a new Mikuni VM24 from Sudco or from an eBay seller that sells new ones, they come jetted fairly close, although you may need to swap out a jet.

As I mentioned above, if you’re using a VM24 carb from a 65cc 2-stroke then it will require different jets to run properly. The 65’s need much richer jetting compared to the small-bore four-strokes, so you’ll need to change the main jet for sure, and possibly a pilot, depending on what comes with it.

Don’t worry, jets are only a few bucks, and they share the same jets as most other Mikuni VM and TM carbs.

TTR125 VM24 Carb Swap 2 TTR125 Mikuni VM24 Carb Swap: Is It Worth It?
Swapping the jets on my VM24 carb

Below are the average starting points for the two different VM24 carbs you can put on your TTR125. These are based on an elevation of about 1000 feet, and a temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The engine is stock, but it has an aftermarket exhaust.

With that said, if the float height is not adjusted properly to factory spec, your jetting will be thrown off and will result in some head-scratching confusion.

The float height directly affects all other jet circuits. This will be discussed more in-depth in a later post.

New VM24 Jetting For TTR125:

  • Main Jet: 105
  • Pilot Jet: 17.5
  • Needle: 1st or 2nd clip position from top

Used VM24 Jetting From KX65 For TTR125:

  • Main Jet: 155
  • Pilot Jet: 27.5
  • Needle: 1st/top clip position
  • Air screw: 1-1.5 turns out

Troubleshooting the needle jet circuit

The needle is about the only thing that may be harder to tune. It runs a little rich, especially with a bone stock TTR, even at the leanest position.

I haven’t found any leaner needles you can buy for it, but after riding the bike for a little bit and allowing it to fully warm up I didn’t even notice a hesitation.

Other than that, this bike runs great now from bottom to top with more over-rev due to the larger bore size.

Was that too much reading to remember? I’ll give you a quick low-down on what this swap entails…

Bottom Line

  1. Remove stock TTR carb and throttle cable/elbow
  2. Remove VM24 throttle cap and drill hole up to 5/16″
  3. Install the stock elbow onto the VM24 cap that you just drilled
  4. Adjust your needle clip while it’s out, then hook up the throttle cable and scew on the cap
  5. Install new main and pilot jets if needed
  6. Remove the old choke cable and one of the throttle cables if you have a newer model TTR
  7. Fit the VM24 on (making necessary boot/clamp adjustments if needed)
  8. Route new fuel line onto the carb.
  9. Turn the gas on and fire it up!

Where Do I Find The VM24 Carburetor?

Fortunately, these carburetors are very easy to find and buy. You can buy a used carb from certain bikes, or you can buy one that’s already jetted for a TTR125 so that you can skip most of the work that I did and go ride right away!

Are you ready to swap out your poor-performing stock carb for a better starting & running Mikuni VM24 carb for your TTR125? To order yours on Amazon that is pre-jetted for a TTR125 click here.

Tips for buying used if you have more time than money

Sudco and eBay are common places to buy them new. You can also get a VM24 off of a 65cc 2-stroke motocross bike, such as a KX65. They require different jetting, but once they are dialed in, it will run just as well.

They pop up on eBay all the time, and can be had for as little as 30 bucks or less for a used one. You might be able to get away with buying a new jet or two and giving it a good cleaning.

If it has a lot of hours, though, it may require a rebuild kit. This isn’t so bad, but it will end up costing almost as much as a new carb.

New carburetors have come down in price if you don’t want to mess with cleaning and possibly rebuilding a used unit. On a side note, I recommend not buying a Chinese knock-off carburetor.

They make inferior parts and will more than likely cause problems down the road; just the opposite of what we are trying to do with this swap.

Have A Big Bore Kit?

The Mikuni VM24 is a great addition to your stock or lightly modded TTR125 (exhaust/intake mods). However, if you have a big bore kit and invested into making a truly powerful TTR 125, you’ll want a bigger carburetor to give the engine the extra air that it needs.

Mikuni has a VM26 carb that is 26MM and fits the same. So if you have an ultimate TTR125 build, click here to get the bigger Mikuni VM26 carb setup for a TTR125.

Grant Youmans

Friday 15th of March 2024

I bought a new VM24 off of Ebay. Put in a 105 main and 17.5 Pilot jet. Had to drill out the cap as explained above with 5/16ths drill but. Bike runs great with Choke on but revs HIGH with choke off and shuts down after 10 seconds or so. I have taken the carb apart and cleaned twice. Everything looks right, installed correctly. Seems to be no air leaks around intake boots. The only thing I can really see is that there is a lot of play/movement around where the throttle cable goes through the cap potentially leaking air? Any suggestions?

Grant Youmans

Friday 15th of March 2024

@Kelley Fager, so try a 20 or 22.5?

Kelley Fager

Friday 15th of March 2024

Sounds like it's just running lean. I'd recommend getting the next size (or two) bigger pilot jets and seeing what it does. Bike runs great with choke = too lean.

Mark Danner

Friday 5th of January 2024

Thank you so much for your excellent article. I have the 2 cable throttle setup on my 2015 TTR125LE. Of course the carb is garbage and and have aleady ordered using your Amazon link the VM24. My question is since I did not start with the old single cable VM20 how do I connect the cable to the carb? Mine didn't come with the angle piece your referred to that is normally swapped out onto the VM24. Do I need to order an extra part? Thank you so much for any help!!

Best, Mark D

Mark Danner

Tuesday 9th of January 2024

@Kelley Fager,

Hi Kelley! Got the new Amazon link VM24 in yesterday and it included a 40 degree angle piece! So slapped it together and the bike started right up and purrs like a kitten! Thank you so much for all your advice and help. I really appreciate you!

Best, Mark D

Kelley Fager

Saturday 6th of January 2024

Hey Mark, thanks so much for your support! You can just remove/not use the return throttle cable since it's not used on the VM24 carburetor. So are you saying that the new VM24 carb doesn't have the angle piece?


Sunday 16th of July 2023

Just got a VM24-512 from Niche and it came with a 120 main, 30 pilot and needle at 3 from top. My 2004 TTR125LE was running so rich it fouled the plug almost instantly. I am going to try the 105, 17.5, and top position like you are suggesting. I am at 1000ft and it is hot. Are these shipped expecting a modded bike? Mine is stock.


Monday 24th of July 2023

@Kelley Fager, I should have checked my compression before assuming I was having carburetor problems. I only have 90psi and that is why the old carb was acting so funny and the new one couldn’t be tuned. Not enough vacuum being generated. Time for a top end and then I will take another shot at getting this carb dialed in.

Kelley Fager

Monday 17th of July 2023

Hard to say, Chad. Is it one that's made for the TTR125? It might have been pre-jetted for a 65cc 2-stroke. Definitely try that smaller pilot jet - that'll make the biggest difference for starting, idling, and throttle response.


Sunday 29th of August 2021

Can I use this for my 2017 ttr125L?

Kelley Fager

Wednesday 1st of September 2021

Yes, you just won't need to use the return cable on the throttle. Thanks for reading, Timo!


Sunday 29th of November 2020

Hi Kelley, Thank you for going to all the trouble to write this up and post it. The only head scratching confusion I'm having here is how a USED VM24 carburetor from a KX65 (155 main jet, .01887 cm2 area) can flow more than twice as much (210%) air at wide open throttle into the same motor as a NEW VM24 carburetor (105 main jet, .008659 cm2 area). Could you explain that please, or or do you even understand what I'm talking about?

Kelley Fager

Tuesday 1st of December 2020

Hey Jon, thanks for the comment! Are you saying that a 155 main means it flows over twice as much air over the 105 main jet? The main jet size simply meters/controls how much fuel flows through it to get the correct air to fuel ratio. An engine is basically a pump, and a KX65 requires a larger (155) main jet because the air velocity is much lower. The higher the engine velocity, the more fuel it will suck through the jet. Does that make sense?