The sight of a Yamaha Breeze 125 would make anyone who grew up in the ’80s feel nostalgic. Because unlike today, where a slew of models readily awaits consumer purchase, there were only a handful of youth ATVs in the market from which to select. You would be extremely privileged if your quad came with Electronic Power Steering and an automatic transmission – all of which were included in this vintage four-wheeler.
The Yamaha Breeze 125 was a recreational sport youth ATV produced from 1988 to 2003. It featured an electric starter, EPS, optional rear racks, and a powerful engine, making it perfect for kids of all ages and sizes. It was also the first Yamaha quad equipped with an automatic V-belt transmission.
Despite not being meant for the racetrack, this noisy, squeaky, underpowered mini quad still favored youth riders and those young at heart. And it was not because the vehicle was more affordable. Nor was it because children of yesteryears only had few options. Curious? Read on to discover what makes the Yamaha Breeze 125 truly remarkable.
The First Automatic
The Yamaha Breeze 125 is among the popular youth models in the ’80s that are still prevalent in the ATV market. It is tenth in the line of Yamaha quads since the introduction of YFM200 in 1985. This mini-wheeler launched in the same year as the Yamaha Pro Hauler. But unlike its sibling and counterparts, it offered an easy-to-operate automatic V-belt transmission. This feature was a first for Yamaha and was instrumental in securing the Breeze’s place in the hearts of enthusiasts.
It made perfect sense for the Japanese firm to implement the new systems on a youth vehicle. With an automatic transmission, youngsters did not have to worry about manually shifting gears while having fun in the yard. Parents need only adjust the throttle speed to limit the maximum speed the Breeze can hit. Electric Power Steering made for a smoother handling experience, boosting the young rider’s confidence. Because of this new technology, the small beast instantly turned into a no-frills quad that children can enjoy.
Yamaha Breeze 125 Models
The Breeze 125 had 15 different models and separate model versions released within and outside of California through the course of its production – from 1988 to 2003 (for 1989 to 2004 model years), namely:
|1989 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1W|
|1991 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1B|
|1992 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1D|
|1993 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1E|
|1994 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1F|
|1995 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1G|
|1996 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1H|
|1997 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1J|
|1998 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1K|
|1999 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1L|
|2000 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1M|
|2001 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1N/C (Riva)|
|2002 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1P/C|
|2003 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1R/C|
|2004 Yamaha Breeze 125||YFA1SC|
Yamaha Breeze 125 Specs & Features (1988 YFA1W Model)
- Engine – The Breeze 125 uses a four-stroke, air-cooled, single-cylinder SOHC engine. The forward-inclined powerplant has a bore-stroke ratio of 49 x 66 mm (1.93 × 2.60 inches). It has an engine displacement of 124 cm3, a compression ratio of 9.0:1, and a wet-sump lubrication system. An 18-mm Mikuni VM18SH carburetor and a wet-type air filtration system handle the air-fuel mixture. 1.85 US gal/7 liters of regular gasoline with 87+ pump Octane and 91+ research Octane is enough to fill the vehicle’s tank.
- Lubrication – The quad’s oil capacity at disassembly is 1.53 US quarts/1.45 liters. And at oil filter change, it is 1.32 US quarts/1.25 liters. Depending on ambient temperature, you may use SAE 5W-30, 10W-30, or 20W-40 Yamalube 4 4-stroke oil or equivalent with an API grade of at least SJ (and no anti-friction modifiers or additives) to prevent Yamaha Breeze parts or engine damage.
- Drivetrain – A single-speed automatic V-belt transmission and a dry, centrifugal automatic clutch system deliver power to the wheels. It has a primary helical gear with a reduction ratio of 43/14 x 40/17 (7.226). A 520V-S/Daido O-ring chain delivers the final drive with a reduction ratio of 32/12 (2.666). A 9.52-feet turning radius allows for smoother handling and better cornering.
- Ignition – The Yamaha Breeze 125 uses a CDI ignition with an electric start system and auxiliary mechanical recoil backup. It has a CDI-magneto generator system that powers up electronic accessories. It requires a 12V, 12 Ah, 12N12C-4A-2 battery with assembled dimensions of 5.35 x 3.19 x 5.59 inches (136 x 81 x 142 mm – L x W x H) with a 5-Amp main fuse. All model years require an NGKC7HSA/DENSO U22FS-U with a 0.6–0.7 mm (0.024–0.028 in) gap.
- Tires – Tubeless, Dunlop KT536A AT20 × 7-8 front tires and Dunlop KT537A AT22 × 10-8 rear tires mount on steel panel wheels. Front tire pressure should be 20 kPa (0.20 kgf/cm2, 2.8 psi) and the rear should be 25 kPa (0.25 kgf/cm2, 3.5 psi). Do not go beyond the range of 2.4 psi/17 kPa (0.17 kgf/cm²) to 4.0 psi/28 kPa (0.28 kgf/cm²) when airing tires. Similarly, 36 psi/250 kPa (2.5 kgf/cm²) should be the maximum pressure when seating the tire beads.
- Brakes – A right-hand-operated 110-mm dual-drum front brake and a left-hand-operated 130-mm rear sealed-drum brake comprise the Yamaha Breeze 125’s engine braking system, which provides it stopping power.
- Suspension – Enclosed in the vehicle’s steel frame is a swing axle front suspension with coil spring shocks and swingarm rear suspension with coil spring shocks. Wheel travel is 70 mm (2.76 inches) and 80 mm (3.15 inches) for front and rear, respectively.
- Dimensions – Overall dimensions are 64.6 x 38 x 38.6 inches (1,640 x 965 x 980 mm – L x W x H). The minimum ground clearance is 5.7 inches (145 mm), while the vehicle wheelbase is 42.5 inches (1,080 mm). The curb weight is 144 Kg/318 lbs. The seat height is 27.2 inches/690 mm, making for a lower center of gravity that reduces the machine’s tendency to tip over or be out of balance.
- Exterior – The Breeze 125 has a steel tube frame (with a 6° caster angle and 15-mm trail) and plastic body material. Standard inclusions are hand grips, front and rear fenders, and full footwells to protect smaller feet. A 25-watt pod headlight, a 3.8-watt tail/brake light, and 3.4-watt indicator lights provide the quad light distribution. Models released in Canada had 7.5-watt tail/brake lights. It is best to convert lighting to LED lights for improved visibility since stock lights are incandescent bulbs and may not provide ample illumination at nighttime.
Youtuber 2vintage shows the progress of his Yamaha Breeze 125 build in this four-part video (this one is the last installment). The presenter completed most of the mechanical, body, and frame restoration and is just doing some polishing touches with the brakes and tires, along with some other parts of the quad:
Yamaha Breeze 125 Cost
The introductory list price of the Yamaha Breeze 125 in 1989 was $2,999, which remained unchanged for all its model years until 2004. However, the cost of the quad could change, depending on mods and condition. An additional $350 would allow some creature comforts, such as a red- or green-colored fairing, 12V accessory plug and receptacle kit, universal hour meter, and rear cooler rack.
Auction listings are priced between $259 and $1,699 and are usually 1997 to 2002 model years. Units that are typically up for bidding come from the midwestern U.S. region and the United Kingdom. These vintage wheelers have recently been fully serviced, with new tires, new chain, rebuilt carb, a tow hitch installed, and recent axle bearings. Due to the age, however, expect normal cosmetic wear on these quads. The average retail price is between $350 and $2,405, with some rare stock finds in perfectly working condition.
Yamaha Breeze 125 Top Speed
The Breeze 125’s top end is not race-quality speed but is more than enough for most kids. It may even be passable for 180-lb adults. In reality, there is no definitive advertised figure, but a stock Yamaha Breeze 125 top speed is around 43 – 50 mph. If you intend a younger child to use the four-wheeler, you can adjust the throttle screw at the handlebars to slow it down to 20 mph – perfect for beginner riders. The only thing that may reduce rider confidence in stepping on the gas and gripping on that throttle is the vehicle’s short-travel suspension, which would feel stiffer for experienced adult riders.
Watch this video by Moto Migs to see what a stock Breeze is capable of, as he takes it out on the pavement for a test ride:
Issues to Breeze Through
Engine Does Not Work
You have to complete two procedures when narrowing down the cause of difficulty in the startup. The first is to inspect your vehicle’s starting motor, battery, starter relay, and wiring connection. You will need to remove the seat, covers, and front and rear fenders to access components for inspection. Ensure that your battery has clean terminals (and is fully charged), as these may affect your engine’s operation.
If the motor runs when connected to a terminal and your battery condition checks out, you can pinpoint the probable cause of a faulty starter relay or wiring connection. When this happens, you may need to inspect additional components like the fuse, main switch, start switch, and neutral switch for connectivity. Replacing coils, stator, CDI box, and starter may be part of the solution.
Hard or Faulty Gear Shifting
Shift cam and fork, transmission, and transmission oil are areas you need to examine if you encounter this problem. A seized transmission gear or shift fork is sure to cause difficulty in shifting gears on your Yamaha Breeze 125. Impurities in and deterioration of these components are probable causes too. Sometimes, simple things like an incorrectly assembled transmission and using engine oil with the wrong viscosity (quite often overlooked) triggers this challenge. Do not forget to check on the shift cam groove and gear dog, and ensure they are not worn out.
Probable causes for an overheating engine may overlap with that of electrical or carburetor problems, but with the addition of flaws in the compression and brake systems. Here is a summary of steps that you need to do to single out the problem source:
- Verify that your quad’s spark plug gap and the temperature is correct and within the heat range.
- Make sure that the CDI unit is not defective.
- Check that the main jet is set properly.
- Adjust the fuel height according to spec.
- The air cleaner should be clog-free.
- Take a dry and wet compression check. Additionally, get rid of carbon buildup.
- Maintain the right engine oil level. Use only engine oil with the proper viscosity and oil quality.
- Scrutinize your brakes and rectify them right away if you observe any drag.
Poor Mid- or High-speed Performance
When examining the gas tank, petcock, carburetor, or air cleaner, the first thing you will need to do is check for any obstruction in these parts. A clogged fuel filter, hose, air filter, or main/needle jet are usual culprits for restricted engine performance. If you find no blockage, then check for deterioration next. This is, perhaps, the more straightforward issue to fix as the affected parts will need replacement. A deformed float bowl, improperly sealed valve seats, and incorrectly adjusted fuel level or jet needle clip position are other common causes.
Transmission or Clutch Failure
If your vehicle does not move while the engine is working or when you work the clutch, it can only point to a problem with the V-belt or the primary sheaves. Check that the belt is not worn, damaged, or slipped and that the primary sliding sheave and collar are not seized. Likewise, the clutch housing spline and shoe spring should not be worn or broken. During repair, check for proper operation of primary and secondary sliding sheaves, and ensure that the V-belt is not overly greasy. Otherwise, you will rectify the transmission failure but may have an outstanding problem with vehicle acceleration and climbing ability.
The abovementioned issues are but natural for any four-wheeler taken out to different kinds of terrain. However, bear in mind that these flaws are not customary for all Yamaha Breeze units available for sale. Some are garage-kept and in mint condition, which again proves that a vehicle’s overall condition depends more on its upkeep and proper care than age. Nevertheless, a thorough inspection is still a must when buying a secondhand machine. Things you will need to examine further are the A-arms, motor mounts, bushings, sticky brakes/cables, and whether the engine stalls when fired up – as this may easily indicate a need to replace plugs.
Since its founding in 1887, Yamaha Motor Company Limited has been making gigantic leaps in the automotive industry. The famous Japanese firm almost single-handedly spawned the ATV industry barely three decades after parting with its parent company. Not only is Yamaha currently a highly-esteemed piano and reed organ manufacturer and the maker of Yamaha Breeze 125, but also a recognized world leader in motorcycles, off-road vehicles, personal watercraft, speed boats, and outboard motors.
Conclusion – Yamaha Breeze 125
Thanks to its automatic transmission, the Yamaha breeze remains very much relevant today as it was three decades ago. It continues to be an excellent choice for first-time riders who would like to awaken their sense of adventure and experience the world from four wheels.
With its squealing power mill, simplistic but ergonomic design, and modest but useful features, this youth ATV was built with fun and safety in mind. Never mind that it cannot go on extended trips or extensive yard work – people will still find this mini quad a joy to ride. And by the time you decide to purchase one, you will, too.