Yamaha XTZ125 farm bike review

The Yamaha XTZ125 farm bike offers comfort, function, and style, making it an ideal choice for farm transportation. Check out our review.

As I’m sure you will agree, a cowboy is nothing without a good horse, and the steel horse/motorbike has become the practical choice for many farmers throughout New Zealand. I can certainly vouch for the latest offering from Yamaha, the XTZ125; it proved its worth around the farm as an economical mode of transport to get through daily tasks.

The XT model is not actually new to the Yamaha brand; it was originally released in 1976 as the XT500 and has models from the XTZ 125 we have tested, right up to 1200cc dual purpose adventure models.

XTZ125 test

With the frustrating spring weather we have been getting of late – more wind and rain, less sunshine and heat—I had no trouble finding suitable testing conditions around the dairy farm at Matamata to test the Yamaha XTZ125. The XTZ is an excellent mode of transport to get from A to B. The 124cc four-stroke engine is more than adequate to get the job done. It scoots smoothly along the lanes thanks to the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, well-weighted front shocks, and single rear monocross shock—not motocross grade equipment – but it’s not a motocross bike.

Comfort also rates highly in any machine you will spend a lot of time on. The XTZ has a wide, firm seat for long days in the saddle, with low seat height and low overall weight, making it suitable for a wide variety of riders. The riding position is comfortable with the bike well weighted and responsive to braking. The front disc brake and the drum brake at the back provide stopping power. The weather helped in providing slippery, muddy conditions for testing.

The DOT-approved knobby tyres are not the most aggressive you could choose to fit but still tackle wet grassy hills after the cows pretty well, without lowering the pressure to give extra traction. The benefit with these tyres is that they can go on the road and also wear well on everyday farm race use.



Efficiency is the name of the game with the Yamaha XTZ125. The 124cc four-stroke engine runs on the smell of an oily rag, and despite all the farm work I did, I didn’t ride far enough to know how long the 9.8L fuel tank would last in terms of kilometres travelled.

A three-stage fuel tap on the side of the steel fuel tank should see you right for days so long as you remember to top up after switching over to reserve. Since the engine capacity is only 124cc, the noise and vibration is minimal, which is good for mustering and other jobs where you still need to be able to hear what is happening around you. Electric start certainly gets a big tick.

The two-stage choke on the left-hand side helps with ignition on colder mornings, and the backup kick-start option provides a piece of mind that you can still get the job done should the battery fail.


The gearbox and transmission are strong features of the Yamaha XTZ. The clutch operation was smooth, and it was easy to shift the six gears. The shift pattern is down for first and up for the remaining five gears. With neutral being between the first and second gear, it is slightly harder to select for gate opening or other jobs, however, the addition of a clutch lock (which can be purchased for around $30) would get around this.

The farm kit includes a gear reduction kit to suit farm situations and DID O-ring chain to ensure long service life. With only a guard on the chain to prevent things getting caught in it, mud can get dragged through and around the front sprocket between the cases. Removing two 10mm bolts will allow you to remove the cover, which is the only difficult bit for cleaning. A snail cam adjuster makes chain adjustment easy.



The cost difference of owning a two-wheel bike over a quad or side by side is huge. From the initial purchase price to annual servicing costs, savings from owning the likes of the Yamaha XTZ125 stack up well. Daily checks with tyre pressure, brake function, and the oil dipstick on the right-hand side of the bike should take less than a minute.

Yamaha suggests a six-month servicing or 3000km, whichever comes first. In dusty or muddy conditions, as we are experiencing at present, cleaning the air filter regularly would be a good idea. Servicing and preventative maintenance are always a better option than breakdown repairs.

The verdict

Being road ready with DOT approved knobby tyres makes the Yamaha XTZ tick the boxes for a cheap, reliable transport for those with staff living at a short distance from off-farm or runoff blocks located just around the road.

Otherwise, the Yamaha XTZ stands on its own, bringing modern comfort, function, and style to the lower price bracket of farm transportation. Priced any cheaper, and you will be in the market for a new push bike or would have to resort to shanks pony.


  • Smooth gearbox and clutch
  • Halogen front light set-up
  • Not too heavy for smaller riders
  • Road registerable
  • Comfortable riding position with a low seat height
  • Efficient 124cc four-stroke engine


  • No clutch lock, but can be added
  • Only single kickstand
  • Gearing still a little fast for cow following
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