Coming from a highly-engineered line of Grizzlies, the Yamaha Grizzly 125 comes second to none. This four-wheeler may not be as massive as its 700-cc sibling. Nor is it regarded as the Workhorse of Utility Vehicles. But it does hold its own in a category where reliability, capability, and fun are all important. Learn more about this 4×4 that isn’t quite what you would consider a kid quad in this guide.
Introduced to the market in 2004, the Yamaha Grizzly 125 is regarded as the entry-level version of the Grizzly 700. Boasting an UltraMatic™ V-belt transmission and chain drive, rugged bodywork, and 2WD system, the Grizzly is an excellent training bike for new to intermediate riders.
Straightforward, sporty, and uncompromising, the 125-cm3 Grizzly surpassed expectations, competing head-to-head with bigger-displacement ATVs like the Arctic Cat 150 and Kymco MXU 15. Had it not been for the industry’s shift to 300-cc machines, the Grizzly would have enjoyed a much longer production run.
Wondering what makes this 4×4 such a popular choice among beginner and skilled riders? Read on.
The Mini Grizzly
“A rebadged Yamaha Breeze” – this is how most riders refer to the Yamaha Grizzly 125. Whether this is true or not, there is so much more to the 124-cm3 wheeler than being a spin-off of some other legendary off-road icon. Yes, the 125-cc Grizzly does have the same fully automatic transmission, gear ratios, and wheel-and-tire assembly as the older machine. But it also has utility racks, a CVT belt, and a slew of other features that make it unique as a rec-utility quad.
Thanks to its responsive steering, straightforward controls, and work-oriented design, the 4×4 can traverse diverse terrain and climb up steep inclines in style. Sealed drum brakes – both front and back – bring the brute to a halt. Safety features such as a throttle limiter allow youngsters to gradually learn how to operate an ATV while giving parents full control of the permissible speed their kids can do on the quad. The Yamaha Grizzly 125 is as much a mid-sized power machine as it is a safe yet exciting beginner-friendly ride.
2005 Yamaha Grizzly 125 Specs & Features
This rec-utility vehicle, produced from 2004 to 2013, released a total of 10 models and two (2) trims throughout its production period – all 2WD models in blue, red/black finish, black, Hunter Green, and Camouflage color options. In this section, we will cover the specifications of the 2005 Grizzly.
Yamaha Grizzly 125’s power mill speaks the same superior engineering as its bigger-displacement sibling, the Grizzly 700. The engine of this entry-level machine is bulletproof, robust, and has excellent low and mid-range performance. It has a Yamaha Grizzly 125 top speed of 35 mph, is user-friendly, and is the ideal ride for beginner riders. Some secondhand Grizzlies may have carbs that feel a bit underpowered. Luckily, it only requires your Yamaha Grizzly 125 service manual, a thorough carb clean, and a rebuild kit to fix.
|Engine Type||4-Stroke OHC|
|Cylinder Arrangement||Forward-inclined, Single-cylinder|
|Carburetion System||Carburetor, Mikuni VM18SH x 1|
|Engine Cooling||Air cooling|
|Engine Fuel||Unleaded gasoline, PON/RON rating of at least 87/91, containing < 5% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether), < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol|
|Fuel Capacity||7.6 L/2 US gal (reserve – 1.3 L/0.34 US gal)|
|Bore x Stroke Ratio||49×66 mm (1.93×2.60 in)|
|Displacement||124 cm³ / 7.57 in³|
|Horsepower||8.7 hp (6.5 kW)|
|Top Speed||35 mph (56.3 km/h) – based on forums and ATV publications|
|Starter System||Electric starter|
|Air Filtration||Wet type element – Engine; Dry type element – V-belt compartment|
|Engine Oil & Quantity||1.25 L/0.33 US gal of SAE 10W-40
Options: SAE 5W-30, 10W-30, 15W-40, 20W-40, 20W-50 w/ API grade of SJ+ meeting JASO T903 MA/MB, “Energy Conserving II” motor oils are prohibited
Although the Yamaha Grizzly 125 is an entry-level version of the same-name 700-cc behemoth, the 4×4 shares the same powertrain as the Yamaha Breeze 125. Power travels to the wheels via a single-speed UltraMatic™ V-belt transmission and a dry, centrifugal automatic clutch system. A primary helical gear and 520V-S/Daido O-ring chain, coupled with an Ackermann-type steering system, makes for the vehicle’s ease of operation, regardless of the terrain.
|Clutch||Dry, automatic, centrifugal type|
|Transfer, Transmission Type||V-belt, UltraMatic™|
|Gearshift Pattern||F-N-R (left-hand operated)|
|Drive System||Chain drive|
|Primary Reduction Ratio||Helical/Spur gear, 7.226 (43/14 x 40/17)|
|Secondary Reduction Ratio||2.666 (32/12)|
|Transfer Gear Ratio||Reverse – 26.902 (49/14 x 49/15 x 40/17)|
Like most Yamaha quads, the Grizzly 125 is brought to life by an electronic CDI and an electric starter with auxiliary mechanical recoil. An A.C. Magneto and YB12C-A battery like BikeMaster Performance Conventional BB12C-A Motorcycle Battery (view on Amazon) charge the vehicle and power up electronic accessories. The manufacturer recommends NGK CR7HS as the standard spark plug. But this can be replaced by a DENSO U22FS-U (it has the same heat range of 0.6–0.7 mm or 0.024–0.028 inches) should there be a need to replace the plug.
|Ignition||DC-CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)|
|Spark Plug||NGK CR7HS, 0.6 – 0.7 mm (0.024 – 0.028 in) gap
Torque specs: 12 Nm (1.25 kgf-m, 8.85 ft-lb)
|Battery||12N12C-4A-2 12V, 12 Ah/(10 Hr), YB12C-A format|
|Battery Dimensions (L x W x H)||134 x 80 x 175 mm (5.31 x 3.56 x 6.88 in)|
Tires & Brakes
Tubeless front and rear Dunlop® tires mounted on panel steel rims remained as the factory tires throughout the Grizzly’s production. These knobbies provided ample traction and reduced rollover in slippery situations but required replacement for more aggressive riding conditions. Recommended tire pressure is quite similar to the Yamaha Breeze and most 125-class Yamaha four-wheelers. When airing down tires, do not go below 17 kPa (0.17 kgf/cm2, 2.5 psi) for front tires and 22 kPa (0.22 kgf/cm2, 3.2 psi) for rear ones.
As for brakes, the vehicle has hand-operated sealed drum brakes on all fours. TIP: Activate the parking brake at all times before starting your engine. To use the parking brake, squeeze the rear brake lever and depress the lock brake. To release it, push down the rear brake lever again.
|Front Tire, off-road/road air pressure||Dunlop KT536A AT20 x 7-8, tubeless, 20 kPa (0.20 kgf/cm2, 2.9 psi)|
|Rear Tire, off-road/road air pressure||Dunlop KT537A AT22 x 10-8, tubeless, 25 kPa (0.25 kgf/cm2, 3.6 psi)|
|Tire Tread Depth (F/R)||3 mm (0.012 in)|
|Front Brake Type||Right-hand operated drum brake|
|Rear Brake Type||Left-hand operated drum brake|
A steel tube frame encloses the 4×4’s short-travel suspension system. Plus, the Grizzly’s comfortability and throttle responsiveness more than makeup for its restricted front- and rear-wheel travel. Improvements in the front brakes (from sealed drums to double disc brakes in its last few years) supplemented the quad’s already reliable suspension system.
|Caster, Trail||6°, 15 mm (0.59 in)|
|Turning Radius||2.9 m (9.51 ft)|
|Ground Clearance||145 mm (5.7 in)|
|Wheelbase||1,080 mm (42.5 in)|
|Front Suspension Type, Travel||Swing axle/independent wishbone, coil spring, oil damped, 70 mm (2.76 in)|
|Rear Suspension Type, Travel||Swingarm type, coil spring, oil damped, 80 mm (3.15 in)|
Dimensions & Capacities
The Yamaha Grizzly 125 overall dimensions are slightly larger than the Breeze or any other 125-cc competitor. Conversely, it shares the same payload capacity with same-category quads. Front and rear racks come standard with the vehicle. However, do not expect to carry heavy loads with them as their capacities are quite conservative. Seat height is comfortably low, supporting rider comfort during all-day trail rides and improved machine handling.
|Length||1,710 mm (67.3 in)|
|Width||990 mm (39 in)|
|Height||980 mm (38.6 in)|
|Seat Height (Unloaded)||705 mm (27.8 in)|
|Weight||139 Kg (306.4 lbs – dry); 152 Kg (335.1 lbs – weight)|
|Vehicle Load Capacity Limit||105 Kg (231 lbs) – combined cargo, rider weight & accessories|
|Carrier Capacity (F/R)||5 Kg (11 lbs) / 10 Kg (22 lbs)|
The Grizzly 125 consists of a tubular steel frame and plastic body panels in red, Steel Blue, Hunter Green, black, and camo. Standard inclusions are front and rear fenders, handlebar and hand grips, front and rear bumpers, and full footwells. 1.7-watt warning indicators, a 21-watt brake light, and 30-watt dual-beam headlights provide the quad superior light distribution.
For more experienced youngsters (especially 16-year-old and above), you may want to equip the quad with more protective gear such as shocks and boot covers, swingarm skid plate, and radiator guard.
|Engine Stop Switch|
|Headlight||Halogen, 12V 30/30 W x 2|
|Brake Light/Taillight||12V 21/5 W x 1|
|Indicator Lights||12V 1.7 W x 1 (neutral, reverse)|
Grizzly 125: Highlights and Lowlights
Perhaps, the biggest upset enthusiasts have over the Yamaha Grizzly 125 is the absence of any significant mechanical or design improvements despite its 10-year production run. Setting that aside, here are other pros and cons of the Grizzly – a must-consider (non-exhaustive) list for those intending to buy the quad secondhand:
- Handsome, Grizzly-700-style aesthetics
- Big saddle seat providing riding comfort
- Easy-to-operate automatic V-belt transmission eliminating the need to shift
- Mid-sized chassis fitting a wide range of riders
- Combined 33-lb carrier capacity – front and rear
- Flare fenders and full floorboards providing ample mud and splash protection
- Effortlessly selection of forward, neutral, or reverse – thanks to its gear selector knob
- Easy-to-use, push-button electric start – perfect for young riders
- Muffler and USFS-approved spark arrestor for quiet vehicle operation
- Extended engine life and reduced maintenance due to automatic cam chain tensioner
- Rear-wheel drive and small knobby tires may not be ideal for mud bogging
- The engine tends to rev up when the bike gets hot, which could coincide with putting the vehicle in gear
- Suspension is too stiff, and wheel travel is too short
- Fully automatic transmission may not appeal to more experienced aggro-riders
- Instrumentation is pretty primitive – it does not include a speedometer
- The absence of a foot brake makes the quad unsuitable for very young drivers
Yamaha Grizzly 125 Price
The original list price of the Yamaha Grizzly 125 in 2004 was $3,099 for the base (2WD) model and $3,299 for the Camouflage trim. There were minimal changes to the quad’s MSRP throughout its 10-year production, as the 125-cc lineup did not have fancy features like a differential lock or Independent Rear Suspension (IRS). The table below gives a full rundown of the list prices for all Grizzly 125 ATVs released until 2013:
|Year – Model – Trim||List Price||Retail/Trade-In Values|
|2004 Yamaha YFM125S||$3,099||$650 – $855|
|2005 Yamaha YFM125GT||$3,099||$715 – $940|
|2005 Yamaha YFM125GHT, Camouflage||$3,299||$765 – $1,005|
|2006 Yamaha YFM125GV||$3,099||$775 – $1,020|
|2006 Yamaha YFM125GHV, Camouflage||$3,349||$830 – $1,095|
|2007 Yamaha YFM125GW||$3,099||$880 – $1,160|
|2007 Yamaha YFM125GHW, Camouflage||$3,349||$880 – $1,160|
|2008 Yamaha YFM125GXGR||$3,099||$935 – $1,230|
|2008 Yamaha YFM125GHX Hunter, Camouflage||$3,349||$960 – $1,260|
|2009 Yamaha YFM125GYB||$3,399||$1,260 – $1,655|
|2010 Yamaha YFM125GZGR||$3,499||$1,520 – $2,000|
|2011 Yamaha YFM125GAGR||$3,599||$1,560 – $2,055|
|2012 Yamaha YFM125GBL||$3,599||$1,605 – $2,115|
|2013 Yamaha YFM125GDGR||$3,699||$1,780 – $2,340|
On the other hand, auction listings show values between $1,610 and $3,570, with earlier models retaining their pricing better than later-year models. Units worth over $2,000 is almost guaranteed to be decent machines with just the right number of mileage and hours. These pre-loved Grizzlies usually have well-kept plastics and composite racks, functional lighting, and slightly weathered tires. Although the 4×4 is partly a workhorse, you will seldom find quads with Yamaha Grizzly 125 parts such as lawnmowers, mini trailers, or aftermarket cargo boxes (view on Amazon).
Founded in 1887, Yamaha Motor Company Limited did not start in the automotive industry. Rather, it traces back its humble beginnings to music, manufacturing pianos and reed organs. It then ventured into the production of motorcycles, and in 1955, parted ways with its parent company. Today, Yamaha is known not only as the maker of the Yamaha Grizzly 125 but also as a world leader in water vehicle sales and a pioneer of the ATV industry.
Conclusion – Yamaha Grizzly 125 Review
Despite its huge similarity with its higher-displacement namesakes, the Yamaha Grizzly 125 has managed to stand out due to its functionality and performance. It has the build and torque of a mini workhorse and the sportiness of a sport-utility quad. Its ease of operation and unpretentious appeal make it ideal for ripping through easy or slightly technical terrain. Plus, its low-maintenance nature and superb handling mannerisms make it a dream to ride. All in all, the Grizzly 125 is one of those few machines you or your kids simply cannot live without!
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.