Q: FIRST AND FOREMOST, IS THE 2018 TM
MX125 BETTER THAN THE 2017 MODEL?
A: We haven’t tested a TM MX125 in over a decade.
Although, we did test the 2013 and 2016 TM MX144s. You
might think that the TM MX144 is the same as the TM
MX125 save for a bigger piston and cylinder bore, because
that would have been the path of least resistance in developing a 144. After all, both KTM and Husky adopted this
plug-and-play style for their 150s over a decade ago. It is
the cheapest and easiest way to add another model to the
lineup. But, almost every MXA test rider chooses the KTM
125SX to race over the 150SX. Yes, the 150SX is faster and
produces over two more ponies than the 125SX, but the
oversized piston and short stroke deliver a punchy style
of power that is hard to manage. That is why TM took
the long road and built two different engines with similar
powerbands. We applaud the bean counters at TM. We
imagine they ride.
TM importer Ralf Schmidt brought out a 2017 TM
MX125 for us to compare to the 2018 MX125. This convinced us that the 2018 TM MX125 is head and shoulders
above the 2017 model.
Q: WHAT CHANGES WERE MADE TO THE
2018 TM MX125?
A: TM does not have a four-year production cycle like
the Japanese manufacturers. The company makes changes
when it feels they are needed. Some years there are small
revisions, while other years the bikes get a big makeover.
The 2018 TM MX125 may look like the 2017 model to the
naked eye, but it is vastly different internally. The engine and
suspension components have been upgraded for 2018.
For 2018, big changes were made to the TM MX125.
(1) Crank. The weight of the crank has been changed
to create a better balance.
( 2) Cylinder. The cylinder has an updated design. The
port timing has been changed, and the cylinder head is
( 3) Pipe. The HGS pipe was developed to complement
the new engine.
( 4) Forks. The Kayaba forks have different settings and
components, and the upper tubes are now silver instead
( 5) Frame. The frame got beefed up in some areas and
made lighter in others. The engine has also been moved in
the chassis slightly. Overall, the frame is lighter for 2018.
( 6) CDI. The new CDI programming and carburetor setting maximize the TM’s electronically controlled exhaust
Q: HOW MUCH DOES THE TM MX125 COST?
A: It is the most expensive 125cc machine you will
ever come across. At $8295, the TM MX125 is $1196 more
than the Husqvarna TC125, $1296 more than the KTM
125SX and $1796 more than a YZ125. It is expensive, but
TM only produces about 2000 motorcycles out of its small
Italian plant in Pesaro, Italy. That is peanuts compared
to the more than 100,000 units the Austrian KTM factory
pumps out each year.
A TM buyer is very much like a Ducati buyer. He will
pay the extra money for something that only a few have.
And, we are talking less than 200 TM motorcycles per year
coming to America. TMs are handmade bikes that have
ultra-trick parts on them. Why doesn’t TM sell more bikes?
It’s because TM doesn’t want to get big. TM only wants to
produce a certain number of bikes every year and doesn’t
want to go over that number. The goal is to keep the operation small and manageable. TM wants to be a boutique
brand that remains different from the masses.