design with a Nissin master cylinder and a Brembo
caliper (this is strange, because it is not uncommon to
see AMA National riders run the opposite combination
of a Brembo master cylinder with a Nissin caliper). The
rear is a 245mm unit, also from Galfer, with Nissin/
Brembo components. Both the front and rear offer great
feel and modulation with more stopping power than a
lightweight two-stroke requires.
Q: WHAT DID WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Height. The TM 144MX is too tall for the average
rider. The subframe needs to be cut down.
( 2) Price. At $8400, this is a very expensive two-stroke.
( 3) Gearing. The stock 13/50 gearing is too tall. We
went with a 13/52 combination.
( 4) Rear sprocket bolts. There are nine bolts on the
rear sprocket. We only use six.
( 5) Race gas. For the TM 144MX to sing, not ping, it
needs a dose of C12 mixed with 91-octane pump gas.
( 6) Front tire. The Mitas front tire is not consistent.
Well, it is consistent, but it is consistently bad. Switch it
Q: WHAT DID WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Outsourcing. We like TM’s top-quality, outsourced
components: Moto Tassinari reeds, Brembo calipers,
Nissin master cylinders and Kayaba forks.
( 2) Powerband. The TM 144MX has broken the mold
with a big-bore 125 engine that doesn’t actually have a
about Kayaba SSS forks with Yamaha valving specs.
In the past, we have hated TM’s setup on its Kayaba
forks. And while the 2016 Kayaba forks are virtually the
same units we tested back in 2013, they were night-and-day different. Although stiffer than Yamaha’s YZ125
setting, they were fluid and workmanlike on rough chop.
Our testers felt right at home within a few clicks from
the stock settings.
Q: HOW DID THE HANDMADE TM SHOCK
MATE WITH THE KAYABA FORKS?
A: The one-off, handmade TM shock is a thing of
beauty. We liked it a lot more than the last time we
tested a 144MX. After we lowered the sag by gargantuan
proportions and went in on both the compression and
rebound, the bike tracked straight and didn’t do anything
out of the ordinary. It wasn’t flawless rear suspension,
though. And, it wasn’t helped by our being forced to
lower the race sag so much that we ate up available
travel, but it was workable.
Q: HOW WAS THE CLUTCH?
A: Most MXA testers absolutely loved the easy
pull and self-adjusting nature of the TM hydraulic clutch.
TM uses a Brembo master cylinder mated to a
TM-designed slave unit.
Q: HOW GOOD ARE THE TM BRAKES?
A: This year TM switched from Braking to Galfer
rotors. The front disc is an oversized 270mm Wave
Technology: More of a
boutique builder than a
manufacturer, TM hand
builds every bike in their
40-man factory in Italy.