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XR100 Vs TTR125 – Best Beginner Trail Bike?

The XR100 vs TTR125 is a popular battle among the best beginner bikes. Why? Because they are easy to ride, have a clutch, and require very little maintenance compared to a motocross bike.

Change the oil and filter regularly, as well as lubing the chain, and these trail bikes will last virtually forever. So the question is, which one is the better bike?…

There’s No Replacement For Displacement

As you would imagine, the Yamaha TTR125 has a little more power than the Honda XR100 or CRF100. It has quite a bit of torque for being an air-cooled engine, but nothing that will scare you.

The Honda is very smooth and has a linear power-curve, so no surprises there. The flywheels are heavy on both engines, so they are slow to rev and harder to stall, making it great for someone learning how to use the clutch.

Both bikes have a five-speed transmission with about the same ratios, so not much to dispute there. First gears are very low, so you may want to change the gearing (sprockets) once you’re used to riding the dirt bike.

2003 TTR125L
2003 TTR125L

Some people may say the TTR is a bit finicky when it comes to tuning the carburetor. We’ve had a couple of these bikes and the only problem we’ve had is when they sit for months at a time (this happens on any bike when gas is left in it). Just pull the carb off (which is very easy), clean out the jets and passages with compressed air and/or carb cleaner, and we were up and running again!

Suspension – It Is What It Is

Not much to see here, as both dirt bikes are using suspension components that are decades old in technology. This isn’t necessarily bad, especially if you are just a casual trail rider, as it makes these cost very little to buy and maintain.

Comparing the two, there’s not a lot of differences in fork and shock set-up. If you weigh over 140 lbs, you’ll want to get heavier springs no matter the kind of riding you’re doing. Jumping is not recommended unless you make some modifications to the frames to strengthen them, but that’s not what these bikes are for.

For a younger kid that just wants a dirt bike to ride around and have fun, either is a great choice, as they will teach you all of the controls and skills needed on a motorcycle.


If you’re brand new to dirt bikes, handling on a dirt bike won’t be as big of a factor as ride-ability and reliability. However, there are some differences between the XR/CRF 100 and TTR 125 as far as handling goes. The Yamaha weighs a little more; particularly if you get the LE model with the larger wheels and Electric start.

After riding both bikes, the 2001 and newer Honda feels a little slimmer handles a little better in the tight stuff. The 2000 and older XR100R’s have a wider seat and tank, but are more comfortable on your butt. The TTR front-end isn’t the greatest, as it wants to slide out a little more, but that’s probably because we were pushing it too hard (that’s what happens when you put an adult on a bike like this!).

2000 XR100
2000 XR100

So Which Bike Would I Buy?

Honestly, I would buy either dirt bike if I found a good deal on a clean one, which is the most important thing when looking for a used bike. If I could choose one over the other, it would probably be the Honda. Not because it’s red, but because Honda just knew what they were doing when the built the XR/CRF-F lineup. They’re easier to find, the engine is simple, and aftermarket parts are widely available.

TTR 125 vs CRF 125

Honda quit making the XR/CRF100 a number of years ago and now offer a CRF125 to compete with Yamaha’s TTR125. Click here to see that comparison.

How to become a better & safer rider quickly

It’s easy to ride over your skill level by going to fast on the trails, but there’s one thing that can help make you safer. It starts with your riding technique, and I want to help you get started. Want to learn the basic techniques so that you stay in control and on the bike by taking a few minutes to read my free training guide? Click here to learn more.

kaeden grimes

Wednesday 25th of September 2019

i have an 85' xr100 and i love it im looking for a bigger bike like a ttr125 i just want an opinion on what a 13 year old that wants to trail ride but wants power. it has to be 4 stroke

Kelley Fager

Tuesday 31st of December 2019

A CRF150F or CRF230F would be a good upgrade. Otherwise a TTR230 if you like Yamaha.


Saturday 1st of August 2015

U should get the 100cc its more of a trail bike i have one and im 11 it is perfect for a tral bike