The word “underestimated” can only begin to describe the SSR 125. Although it is one of the most popular pit bikes in the market, this Chinese-made motorcycle isn’t exactly a crowd favorite among veteran off-roaders. Get to know more about this wheeler in this article, and decide if this quasi dirt bike deserves a shot at your approval.
Among the most economical pit bikes around, the SSR 125 boasts a simplistic, sporty design and is as exciting to ride as a full-size dirt bike. Featuring a spring-loaded throttle, a double-arm steel frame, and a torquey 22-mm Mikuni carb, this small wheeler guarantees you thrills on cleared trails.
From specs and features to highlights and pitfalls, this guide will cover the most sought-after details about this underrated but highly capable pit bike.
About SSR 125 Pit Bike
It is no secret that the SSR 125’s frame and general design takes after a fashion – the Honda CRF50, to be exact. But to say that it is 100% imitation of the latter would be incorrect. Despite the noticeable similarities between off-brands and big-name bikes, Chinese-made two-wheelers like the SSR 125 have an identity that helps them get recognized amid the multitude of options available to the general consumer.
The 125-cc pit bike is an upgraded 110-class motorbike specifically designed for young adults and nouveau riders. Powerful, nimble, and light, the SSR delivers top-notch performance – whether that be in a racing tournament or the comfort of your self-made mini MX track. Its range encompasses base models to sportier trims replete with SSR 125 performance parts such as ASV Replica Levers, Motion Pro Turbo Throttle, and Big Gun Muffler. The SSR has been part of many rider’s off-roading experiences.
SSR 125 Specs & Features (Grandfathered vs. Current Models)
Depending on model or trim, this pit bike may come with either a YX™ or BangEn™ 4-Stroke power mill based on Honda technology – both mated to a 22-mm Mikuni carb. SSR pit bikes have either a two- or three-position manual petcock that controls fuel feed from the gas tank to the SSR 125 carburetor and assists with cold starts. Two-position petcocks are positioned on the left side, while three-position ones are on the right side of the carb.
(TIP: To avoid pinging (a.k.a. spark knock or pre-ignition), never use fuel variants with a Pump/Research Octane Number lower than what the manufacturer recommends.)
|Engine Type||4-Stroke SOHC||4-Stroke, SOHC YX™ engine
SR125 Auto: 4-Stroke, SOHC BangEn™
|Carburetion System||Carburetion, 22-mm Mikuni x 1|
|Engine Cooling||Air cooling|
|Engine Fuel||Unleaded gasoline of at least PON 90, containing < 15% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol|
|Fuel Capacity||3 L (0.8 US gal)||3 L (0.8 US gal)
SR125TR/TR-BW: 5.5 L (1.45 US gal)
|Bore x Stroke Ratio||54 x 54 mm (2.13 x 2.13 in)|
|Displacement||124 cm³ /7.6 in³|
|Horsepower||7.3 hp (7.4 PS/5.4 kW) @ 7,500 RPM||7.3 hp (7.4 PS/5.4 kW) @ 7,500 RPM
SR125TR/TR-BW: 8.5 hp (8.6 PS/6.3 kW) @ 7,500 RPM
|Top Speed||38-50 mph (61-80 km/h) – owner’s claim|
|Engine Oil & Quantity||SAE 10W-40 4-stroke oil w/ API grade of SJ+
Alternative: 20W-50 motor for ambient temp not dropping below 50°F or > 95°F
While this setup is already plenty, you can equip your two-wheeler with an SSR 125 big bore kit like Athena 58mm 144cc Big Bore Cylinder Kit (view on Amazon) for that much-needed boost in performance. Get a Big Gun Exhaust Eco Slip-On Spark Arrestor (view on Amazon) to improve your SSR 125 exhaust system – while you are at it. These minor additions are sure to increase your SSR 125 top speed more than the stock SR125 bike in this video by We Try Motorsports:
Power travels via a 4-speed manual or automatic transmission inclusive of reverse. Shifting gears require fully disengaging the clutch – this is to avoid severe damage to the clutch assembly or transmission. Likewise, never downshift at high speeds to prevent similar repercussions.
|Transmission Type||4-speed manual||SR125: 4-speed manual SR125 Semi: 4-up semi-automatic SR125 Auto: Automatic SR125TR/TR-BW: 4-up manual|
|Gearshift Pattern||1-down 3-up (1-N-2-3-4)||SR125: 1-down 3-up (1-N-2-3-4)
SR125 Semi, SR125TR/TR-BW: 4-up (N-1-2-3-4)
|Final Drive||420 O-ring chain, 102 links|
A 102-link 420 O-ring chain handles the final drive. If it ever stops catching on to the front sprocket, you may replace it with any of the following – another 420, a 438, or a 520 chain (choose X-rings for better wear resistance). Otherwise, you may need to change your front sprocket to 17T to make the 1st gear usable.
Except for the fully automatic trim, all SSR 125 pit bikes are kick-start only. The kick-start lever is on the right side of the engine case (to the rear of the right footpeg). Depending on trim, you will see one of two engine-off switches on the SSR 125 – an ignition kill button close to the left handgrip or an on-off thumb switch in the center of the handlebar.
|Ignition||Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI)|
|Starting System||Kick-start||Kick-start; SR125 Auto: Electric|
|Idle Speed||1,400 RPM ± 100|
|Spark Plug||0.6–0.7 mm (0.024–0.028 in) gap
Torque specs: 1/8–1/4 turn after it seats (old); 1/2 turn after it seats (new)
|Generator||Flywheel magneto w/ 5-pole stator|
|Battery||12V 3Ah/(10 Hr) Maintenance-free, YTX4L-BS format|
|Battery Dimensions||114 x 71 x 86 mm (4.50 x 2.81 x 3.38 in)|
Tires & Brakes
Special trims like the SR125B2 Pro (grandfathered) and SR125TR/TR-BW have 60/100 – R14/12 front and 80/100 – 10 rear tires from the factory. All other models (manual and automatic trannies alike) have 2.75 – 14 front and 3.00 – 12 rear knobbies. Stock rubber remained unchanged except for the current SR125TR trims, which changed to tubed 100/70 R17 (front) and 100/90 R14 (rear) tires mounted on steel wheels. As for brakes, it is not clear if the stock size is 190 mm. Research results suggest you can have disc sizes anywhere from 190 mm to 240 mm – this depends on if you will swap out factory tires.
|Front Tire||SR125A1, SR125E2/E4: 2.75 – 14 SR125B2+/Pro, SR125PF3, SR125X3+: 60/100 – R14/12 SR125PF2: 60/100 – 12||Others: 2.75 – 14 SR125TR/TR-BW: 60/100 – R14|
|Rear Tire||3.00 – 12 – SR125A1, SR125E2/E4
80/100 – R12/10 – SR125B2+/Pro, SR125PF3, SR125X3+
80/100 – 10 – SR125PF2
|Others: 3.00 – 12
SR125TR/TR-BW: 80/100 – R12
|Off-road/road air pressure (F/R)||172 kPa (1.8 kgf-cm2, 25 psi)|
|Front Brake Type||Wave rotor hydraulic discs w/ floating brake calipers|
|Rear Brake Type|
While the front hydraulic fork is non-adjustable for some models, the rear shocks compensate for this by providing 6 inches of wheel travel that makes for bike stability and consistent wheel alignment. Standard SSR 125 pit bikes have an A-type alloy swingarm, while sportier models have a straight-type swingarm. Except for the SR125TR and SR125TR-BW models, the rest has 275-mm mono-shocks.
|Front Suspension Type, Travel||Others: Hydraulic, conventional SR125B2+/Pro, SR125PF3, SR125X3+/Pro: Inverted hydraulic fork w/ double-adjustable coilover mono-shocks SR125PF2: Inverted hydraulic fork||Others: Hydraulic, conventional SR125TR/TR-BW: Inverted hydraulic fork|
|Rear Suspension Type, Travel||SR125A1, SR125B2+/Pro: A-type alloy swingarm w/ adjustable 275-mm mono-shock, 152 mm (6 in) SR125E2/E4, SR125PF2/F3, SR125X3+/Pro: Straight-type alloy swingarm w/ adjustable 275-mm mono-shock, 152 mm (6 in)||Others: Straight-type steel swingarm w/ 275-mm mono-shock SR125TR/TR-BW: Straight-type steel swingarm w/ 290-mm mono-shock, 850 lbs/in|
|Ground Clearance||Others: 286 mm (11.25 in)|
SR125B2+/Pro, SR125PF3, SR125X3+/Pro: 254, 305 mm (10, 12 in) SR125E4, SR125PF2: 254 mm (10 in)
|Others: 267 mm (10.5 in)|
SR125TR/TR-BW: 305 mm (12 in)
|Wheelbase||1,194 mm (47 in)||Others: 1,194 mm (47 in)|
SR125TR/TR-BW: 1,219 mm (48 in)
There is hardly any difference in the vehicle dimensions between grandfathered and present SSR pit bikes. If anything, it was only the seat height that changed a lot across trims. The SSR 125 is a pretty small bike and is only ideal for riders shorter than 5’11” and lighter than 200 lbs.
Out of all the SSR 125 trims, only the SR125TR and SR125TR-BW designs had a sub-frame. That aside, all models come standard with hand grips, front and rear fenders, skid plate, exhaust guard, handlebars, and an aluminum top crown. Both SR125 Semi and Automatic bikes have redesigned plastics and race-type mufflers. Except for SR125TR/TR-BW body panels (black and white with red accents), all other plastics were made available in red, blue, black, white, green, and orange.
|Frame||SR125A1, SR125E2: Steel backbone SR125B2+/Pro: Tubular Chromoly steel SR125PF2/F3: Alloy perimeter SR125X3+/Pro: Billet CNC machined aluminum||Others: Double-bar steel|
SR125TR/TR-BW: Double-bar steel frame w/ sub-frame
Youtuber JakesPlace12Vlogs gives an honest review of his 2016 SR125 pit bike. A few minutes into the video, he makes recommendations to change SSR 125 parts like the stock chain and stiffen the front forks for heavier or taller riders. According to him, doing these help ensure a hassle-free riding experience.
SSR 125 Pit Bike Cost
Depending on trim and model year, MSRP for the SSR dirt bikes ranges from $1,089 to $1,664 (sans $99 destination charge). In total, there are 14 models released under the SSR 125 series. However, nine of them have already been discontinued – to make way for the five current models that are still available in the market today. Three of the current models have a manual transmission, while the other two are semi and fully automatic ones. The SR125A1 is the cheapest of the lot, while the SR125TR-BW is the most expensive.
|Model – Trim||List Price|
|SR125A1 (Discontinued 2013)||N/A|
|SR125B2+ (Discontinued 2007)|
|SR125B2 Pro (Discontinued 2007)|
|SR125E2 (Discontinued 2011)|
|SR125E4 (Discontinued 2011)|
|SR125PF2 (Discontinued 2005)|
|SR125PF3 (Discontinued 2005)|
|SR125X3+ (Discontinued 2006)|
|SR125X3 Pro (Discontinued 2006)|
|SR125||$1,089 – $1,234|
|SR125 Semi||$1,089 – $1,234|
|SR125 Auto||$1,115 – $1,274|
|SR125TR||$1,470 – $1,599|
|SR125TR-BW||$1,470 – $1,664|
Reference to the list prices of the discontinued versions is a bit obscure. So, I can only assume that their values are within the same range as that of the current SSR 125 models.
SSR 125 Reviews
For its avid following, the SSR 125 series is better than Coolster and Monster Joe dirt bikes, and the extensive support for SSR 125 aftermarket parts is just one of the many reasons behind this popular opinion. But like many off-road motorcycles, it does have its fair share of drawbacks. Youtuber David Armenta covers some of the pros and cons of owning the two-wheeler in his video:
Below is a list summarizing the bike’s highs and lows that David covered – plus a few more:
SSR 125 Pit Bike Pros and Cons
- Doing bike maintenance is convenient.
- Its aftermarket parts and the bike itself are very affordable.
- A full tank of gas translates to 4-5 hours of straight driving.
- Maintenance is not as time-consuming compared to that of a dirt bike.
- For a pit bike, the SSR 125 is considerably light – making it easy to transport.
- It is quick, and acceleration is seamless, even with a heavier rider on the saddle.
- Compared to full-fledged dirt or MX bikes, you can take it to and enjoy it in tighter trails.
- The SSR is a tad bigger than same-category dirt bikes such as the KLX110L, giving riders more knee room.
- Front tires, discs, and brake pads hold up surprisingly well on mud, dirt, asphalt, and other untamed riding conditions.
- The SSR is torque-heavy and impossible to stall – great for teaching beginners how to ride a manual.
- All nuts, bolts, and spokes need Loctite.
- The rear axle bolt is prone to bend even when doing only singles.
- Pit bikes like the SSR are not meant for rougher terrain or more aggressive riders.
- The point where the muffler and exhaust pipe connects tends to rattle when riding.
- Stock tires do not bring out the optimal performance of the bike on berms and jumps.
- Rear tires are better swapped out for MX knobbies – the latter allows the bike to hook up a lot better.
- 2019 SR125 Auto units have been recalled due to reported injuries caused by the failure of the front fork assembly. Although the issue has been repaired, the front fork issue seems to carry over newer 125-cc models.
- Heavy riders can easily bottom out the front suspension after a year of riding. Even out of the crate, many off-roaders find the front shocks soft.
- Stock footpegs, shift levers, and handlebars are a bit flimsy. For handlebars, it is best to replace them with 7/8” Pro Taper handlebars (view on Amazon) for more solid handling.
Sadly, the SSR 125 is getting a lot of hate on bike forums – partly due to former owners’ legitimate experiences with the wheeler and the other half due to groupthink. However, this should come as no surprise. It is understandably difficult to recognize champs like Jeff Willows acing bike tournaments on a buffer SSR when the majority of what average consumers get from the motorcycle are bottomed-out shocks, clutch problems, and weak parts.
Nonetheless – if you are dead-set on buying this small but capable pit bike, you have to consistently be on top of getting the right SSR 125 upgrades and doing maintenance.
SSR Motorsports has come a long way since its founding in 2002. From importing and distributing pit bikes, the firm now has scooters, mid and full-size dirt bikes, street bikes, and Enduro motorcycles included in its product line. The maker of the SSR 125 pit bike has also included highly optioned ATVs, UTVs, and side x sides in its vast selection of powersport vehicles. In 2015, SSR Motorsports signed an agreement with Q.J. to be the main distributor of the Benelli product lines in North America. With this most recent addition to its distributorship, SSR has strengthened its foothold as a key player in the powersports and off-roading industries.
Conclusion – SSR 125 Pit Bike Review
In summary, the SSR 125 Pit Bike is one impressive and capable motorcycle that is sure to meet your expectations while ranking high on the fun factor. It is economical and low-maintenance, with an aesthetic that is both sporty and practical. While there are mixed opinions about the two-wheeler, driver skill, preference, and intended use ultimately determine its performance. With proper upkeep and the right mods, you can turn this discredited pit bike into a dream ride.