Yamaha YZF-R125 Wheels and Tire Specs
Yamaha YZF-R125 was first launched in 2008, and it was Yamaha’s first four-stroke sports bike with 125cc displacement. It’s design borrowed heavily from the company’s R6, and though it shares its aggressive geometry, the R125 is a much lighter bike. The relatively lower weight of the R125 immediately emphasizes the importance of road grip to ensure that the bike will perform well in all situations — including cornering.
The bike ships out with Michelin Pilot Street Tires as OEM, and for most people, they’re the best possible choice. However, some want more performance out of their tires or are perhaps dealing with budget constrictions, which is why a different model might be selected when choosing a new set of tires.
Yamaha YZF-R125 runs on a 100/80/17 front and a 130/70/17 rear tire, beginning with the launch model up to 2019 models. In 2019, the company changed the size of the rear tire to a wider 140/70/17 rear tire but considering the sheer popularity of this bike and the availability of parts and aftermarket modifications, the riders began swapping out the original 130-width tires for wider 140 -width ones back in 2014.
So, regardless of which year model you’re riding, it’s fairly easy to switch out rear tire sizes, which grants riders a somewhat broader selection of tires to choose from. It’s also worth pointing out that upsizing the rims by more than 3% isn’t usually recommended, but some users suggest that it’s perfectly safe to upsize from the default 17-inch rims to 18-inch models. We haven’t included any 18-inch tires in our list for safety concerns.
Best Tires for Yamaha YZF-R125
The tires are twice as important on bikes since there are only two of them. This implies that the tires are in charge of transmitting twice as much engine power, steering, and braking. Thus, bike tires don’t last as long as car tires do, and changing them frequently dramatically increases the true costs of owning a bike. Therefore, choose your tires carefully, inflate them properly, and inspect them frequently. So, without further ado, here are the best tires for Yamaha YZF-R125:
Michelin Pilot Street Tires
Michelin Pilot Street is the default tire set for YZF-R125, and Yamaha chose this set for a reason — their substantial grip — which is really important for models from the small-displacement category, as these usually run narrower tires.
The rubber on these is softer and stickier, which contributes to a fantastic overall grip in dry-road conditions, even during cornering. In addition, their architecture improves the overall response and handling compared to the competitors. But they’re not all about performance; the Pilot Street is derived from Michelin’s Sport Touring, which adds a layer of sporty appearance to the set, and by extension, to the bike as well.
Performance on wet surfaces is unparalleled in the category, thanks to the improved 100% silica compound — or at least that’s what Michelin claims. The truth is somewhat different since these provide a good grip on wet surfaces, as long as you’re riding appropriately. Going over 80mph during heavy rain isn’t something we would recommend with these tires.
Longevity-wise, the rubber on these is quite thick, which contributes to the overall life span of the set, with most users reporting getting approx. 8,000 miles before the front tire starts to cup. However, it mostly comes down to your riding style and the conditions of the road because some riders bragged about getting north of 11,000 miles on these before the wear indicators “appeared.”
We believe that it’s also worth mentioning that some users suggested a noticeable difference between the Stock Michelin Pilot Street that come with a bike and the aftermarket ones — the latter of which offer significantly longer tread life. For anyone interested in a Michelin Pilot Street tire set for their Yamaha YZF-R125, you can find a set at Revzilla or Cycle Gear — both stores are currently offering the set at a discount.
- Good grip on dry surfaces
- Wet performance not as advertised
Pirelli Diablo SuperSport Tires
When it comes to sports bikes, it’s safe to say that tires are consumable items that have a profound effect on your ride’s performance and feel on the road. So, it also stands to reason that you really want to pick a set that matches your bike and your riding needs and style. Pirelli Diablo SuperSport is another addition to Pirelli’s offering of sports bike performance street tires that are best suited for commuting and riding out on the open road.
Supersport are developed using Pirelli’s latest proprietary tire technologies, which were the culmination of years of development invested in their SuperCorsa DOT racing tire. This means that, at least to an average rider looking to get the most out of its bike, the tire offers track-level handling performance for a street-level price and hits all four major checkboxes you’d want to see in the performance department — dry grip, handling, wet performance, and the overall balance of the rubber.
Unfortunately, we can’t list anything about the compounds used in Diablo Supersports since Pirelli opted to keep the recipe a secret. Still, the company states that these contain the maximum silica content, which supposedly increases performance across all metrics. Still, the compound is soft and grippy on all surfaces, from what we can tell. In addition, it warms up pretty quickly and works quite well over a wider temperature range.
The increased silica content is great for the grip, but it can’t be solely credited for the increased wet performance. There are things to be said about tread and pattern shape and depth that eliminate water from the tire and the contact surface, providing a much cleaner contact between the rear tire and the riding surface. So, how do they perform? Well, as expected from a World Superbike Championship supplier.
They’re quite stable and will keep the bike planted and pointed in the right direction during the course of your ride. Steering speed is somewhat slower and a bit heavier compared to other products from this category, but it remains within the acceptable margins. There’s plenty of traction and braking in straight lines and during corners, keeping the bike in a precise line. And the last thing we want to discuss about these is longevity.
Usually, grippy tires tend to wear out faster; it only makes sense since the compound is softer. Well, considering that Pirelli opted to keep the compound recipe and the tire’s internal construction a secret, we can’t say for sure what gives these tires their fantastic mileage. Miles accumulate on the tire’s profile, especially the rear tire, which usually squares off, with a pretty detrimental effect on the bike’s handling.
Users running their bikes on Pirelli Diablo Supersports reported getting upwards of 8,500 miles on heavier bikes, with displacements in the range of 1000cc, while those with lighter bikes may comfortably get up to 12,000 miles from these tires. However, this mileage and overall performance aren’t cheap, and you can expect to pay anywhere between $160 and $310 for these. Luckily, Revzilla is currently offering them at a pretty big discount.
- Top-shelf performance
- Extremely durable
- Heat up pretty fast
Bridgestone Battlax BT46 Sport Touring Tires
Bridgestone made BT64 specifically as the replacement for the 22-years-old BT45, which is one of the most iconic touring tires ever made. The company hasn’t subtracted anything from the previous design but has added upgrades that improve performance — most specifically, the performance in wet conditions.
Dry condition stability, grip, and handling in both straight lines and cornering haven’t changed much from the previous iteration of the tire, but it still performs admirably. So why change something that isn’t broken? The Bridgestone Battlax BT46 offers a good balance of tread longevity and good grip in dry conditions, thanks to the sticky sports rubber compound used in the tire’s build.
Of course, just like with any new tire set, these do have a “break-in” period during which they run a bit loud, but once they settle, they’re actually a very quiet set with a rounded profile that offers a neutral feel and an outstanding grip. The inverted-V tread pattern is also based on the predecessor’s acknowledged design that distributes working forces on the tire, reducing its wear.
The biggest advancement over the original BT45 is the wet performance — Bridgestone implemented several proprietary technologies that improve the overall performance in wet conditions to a level, and dare we say, where the tire performs better than on dry asphalt. Bridgestone achieved this by employing the Silica Rich EX technology, which increases the amount of silica within the compound.
Special was dedicated to the rear tire, where the enriched grippy compound was further optimized with Bridgestone’s RC Polymer construction. This optimizes the distribution of silica within the compound and increases tread flexibility, allowing better contact with the road in all conditions, not just wet roads. In addition, of course, the reduction of molecular friction implies a better resistance to rolls and better fuel economy.
Lastly, the BT46 are made for UM applications, which means they’re tubeless by design, but can be used on tube-type rims provided that you’re using tubes — a design feature that adds a layer of versatility to these tires. If you’re interested in purchasing a set, both Revzilla and Cycle Gear are offering Bridgestone Battlax BT46 at a discounted price.
- Didn’t subtract anything from the original BT45
- Increase performance in wet conditions
- Easy mounting
- None that we could find
Pirelli Angel GT Tires
The first version of Pirelli Angel GT was actually called the Angel/Demon ST — a pretty solid performer that was accompanied by Pirelli’s gimmick that these transcend from a demon to an angel as the miles accumulate. The updated version, the Angel GT, has no gimmick of its own but comes with some pretty significant improvements over the original tire.
Usually, the GT in the tire’s name signals that the tire was primarily designed for heavier bikes, but with Angel GT, the GT actually states the base model of the tire. There’s also a sub-categorization that caters to different bike displacement ranges. For example, an A-Spec Angel GT is aimed at heavier bikes or riders who usually ride with a passenger for most of the time, while a D-Spec caters to solo riders.
The exact difference between the specs isn’t something we can claim with certainty, so we’ll let Pirelli’s brochures speak for themselves while we discuss tire construction. However, the body of the tire uses a 0° steel belt that enhances the body’s strength and provides a pretty consistent profile shape. This profile shape further influences the size of the contact patch, and no matter the lean angle, the contact patch of Angel GT doesn’t change and always provides the largest contact surface possible.
This offers a fantastic gripping performance, and the enhanced strength should account for better performance across a wider range of riding conditions at longer distances, which is perfect for commuters. Angel GT also uses a dual-component compound that has plenty of silica, which aids warm-up and longevity, resulting in a tire specifically aimed at riders that pack mileage so high that it necessitates a weekly oil change.
When it comes to a groove pattern, the design adheres to the common practice on modern tires, where the front tire pushes the water away from the rear. In addition, the front tire has some pretty serious sipes that start narrow and get wider as they approach the tire’s edge, allowing the tire to displace more water in wet conditions. Not only that, but it allows more rubber to maintain contact with the dry surfaces, especially during maximum lean angles.
The specific design of the front tire allowed Pirelli to make the rear tire without any sipes and cut down the centerline. This increases the longevity of the rear tire, which usually wears out first but also deals with much less water while leaning. The result is an outstanding grip in both dry and wet conditions, especially considering that the body of the tire is generally stiffer and provides plenty of feel and feedback without compromising comfort.
- Good dry/wet performance
- Great value
- Wear indicator is practically useless
Avon Roadrider Mk II Tires
A proper rubber is essential to any bike, and Avon Roadrider Mk II builds on the performance of the original, offering authentic aesthetics paired with ultimate performance facilitated by contemporary technologies. Admittedly, they’re more oriented to the 300cc displacement market, but that doesn’t mean they don’t perform well on smaller displacements, like that of Yamaha YZF-R125.
Due to their intended use on smaller displacements, grip performance takes points across all metrics, including acceleration, cornering, and braking. Avon specifically gave this set an entirely new construction, enhancing the tire’s stability. The new sidewalls were designed to better withstand ozone exposure, leading to a significant decrease of ozone-induced degradation, which adds a layer of longevity to the tire.
Regardless, the mechanical durability isn’t as great, which is clearly a trade-off for the incredible grip these tires provide on both wet and dry roads. However, this performance increase is due to the higher silica content within the compound, paired with a special tread design and a somewhat aggressive shoulder contour. This also means better responsiveness.
The main advancements over the original Mark I Roadrider lie in reduced wear and shorter braking distances, though the former isn’t really noticeable, considering that Avon itself stated that the durability took the back seat when it comes to this set. Avon is trying to cater to as many riders and rides as possible, which is why they made Roadrider Mk II available in more than 30 sizes. If you’re in the market for a new set, you can find Roadrider Mk II on Revzilla.
- Incredible grip in all conditions
- Improved resistance to ozone degradation
- Not as durable as competitive models
Pirelli Diablo Rosso III Tires
Pirelli’s Diablo Rosso III is the right set for all riders looking for a sports bike’s tires with a maximum grip, and these are aimed at bike enthusiasts who spend most of their time commuting on public roads with an occasional track day. Its main selling point is the superb performance in both wet and dry conditions, enabled by using proprietary technologies developed by the World Superbike Championship’s 12-year tire supplier.
The Rosso III supersedes the Diablo Rosso II in every aspect by a margin but delivers better overall performance due to marginal accumulations. We’re trying to say that Pirelli took Rosso II and tweaked it to appeal to commuters, and occasional track days, offering superb performance across a wide spectrum of temperature and conditions. The new, larger profiles for both the front and the rear tire are the most noticeable upgrade to Rosso III.
These are more than just for aesthetics, though. The tire circumference has grown by 5%, and the profile radius by 7%, resulting in more than just increased handling — the Rosso III also offers a larger contact area with the surface at maximum lean. Pirelli stated that the previous iteration, the Rosso II, had a maximum lean angle of 45°, and the company now claims that Rosso III has a maximum lean angle of 52°.
We don’t usually take a protractor with us while riding, but the leaning grip is noticeably better with Rosso III. The tire carcass’s progressive belt hardening originating at the tire’s center enhances the grip facilitated by the fantastic compound mixture and adds a superior bump compliance feedback during cornering as well. However, the body’s increased rigidity helps the treads warm up faster while also maintaining consistent wear and increased tread durability.
The use of a 100 percent silica compound in the front, as well as a dual-compound rear with a high-silica mix across the center, has enhanced grip. Previously, using a 100% silica compound meant good wet performance but limited consistency at higher temperatures for longer periods of time; however, a new combination offers performance in all weather conditions and surfaces – even track – while improving mileage by 15% over the Rosso II.
Pirelli Diablo Rosso III is best aimed at riders looking for all-around 50/50 track/road tires since they allow you to ride circuits and enjoy a day of riding on the road. So, if you want a solid overall performer, Revzilla is currently offering these at a discount.
- Excellent performance
- Decent mileage
Metzeler M9 RR Tires
Regardless of what type of motorcycle you’re riding, the tires are the essential component that ties all the ingenious engineering and connects it with the pavement. Of course, the more advanced the bike, the more power it can output, and with modern tires already coping with being versatile, durable, grippy, and an excellent cook (an obvious joke to illustrate the point), we have to wonder: how much more can we add to their load?
The overbearing power modern tires have to cope with even pushed competitors into working together to create a responsive tire that provides fantastic cornering grip across all conditions and has increased longevity. To achieve those results, Metzeler listed the help of Pirelli, and the pair developed a new compound and construction methods that were implemented into Metzeler M9 RR tire sets.
The M9 RR utilizes a whole new construction. Admittedly, it’s not a novelty among tire manufacturers, but it’s the first time Metzeler has ever used a dual rubber compound in one of its tire builds. A softer compound is used on the tire's outer edges to provide a better grip during leans, which is supported by a harder central strip that helps stabilize the tire’s temperature and increase the tire’s longevity. According to Metzeler, the M9 RRs now offer 10% better tire life than their predecessor, the M7 RR, which was durable by all accounts.
To be entirely honest, the performance and durability of these are mostly tested on 1000cc displacements, where the 10% increase in durability was quite noticeable. Considering that M9 RR comes in sizes appropriate for Yamaha YZF-R125, which is a much lighter bike, it’s safe to assume that the 10% increase can be measured in hundreds, if not thousands of miles.
Performance-wise, these operate above all expectations and provide great grip and stability even at more extreme angles. The increased footprint will keep your bike planted throughout your ride, and the increased stability and an enhanced grip can be felt on both tracks, but also on the road. This can also be said for the tire’s wet performance, as the set is able to warm up quickly, thanks to the tread pattern that allows more tread movement, while the grooves channel water more effectively.
With everything said, anyone looking for a tire sat between the sports touring, and track rides will be happy with M9 RR’s overall performance. This fantastic set can be bought online at Revzilla.
- Dual compound for better performance
- Good grip
- Avoid painted sections of the road — you’ll crash
Pirelli Sport Demon Tires
Pirelli advertises the Sport Demon as an X-ply tire for touring bikes that feature a multi-radius profile that, according to Pirelli, promotes unprecedented traction in both wet and dry road conditions, paired with long mileage wear.
The tread pattern on Sport Demon’s front and rear tire features a particularly styled rain groove that channels the water away from the center strip of the tire while simultaneously increasing the contact patch for better tread longevity and wet performance. These have a pretty short break-in mileage, and after about 200 miles, you can feel the tires better as they become more predictable during all kinds of maneuvers.
The dual-compound and the improved profile really shine when it comes to grip, as Sport Demon offers impressive and consistent grip in all conditions. The same can be said for both straight lines and cornering at reasonable speeds, especially on dry, warm pavement. Of course, cold roads can pose a problem when cornering, but only if you’re a throttle-happy rider; otherwise, they perform really well, so you shouldn’t have any issues as a commuter.
As previously stated, Sport Demon becomes predictable as it breaks in, and control and stability while braking and braking and cornering maneuvers are pretty good, even if you’re riding a pre-2014 model of YZF-R125, which has no ABS braking system. It’s worth noting that some users reported a loss of stability on grated pavement that’s due to maintenance and some sliding on loose gravel. However, both are pretty reasonable and within margins, considering that we’re discussing a sports streets tire and not an adventure tire type or one that’s specifically designed for off-road use.
When it comes to longevity, well, that’s where things get a bit tricky since longevity mostly depends on your riding style and several other factors. In numbers, users have reported a very varying mileage with these, with some stating they got only 5,000 miles out of them, while others bragged about 12,000 on the rear and additional 5,000-10,000 miles on the front tire. While the latter claims are pretty impressive, finding the middle ground is usually the best practice — in this case, 8,500 miles would be an average lifespan of a Sport Demon.
- Good wet/dry performance
- Good longevity
- Take caution during frosty weather
Ultimately, choosing the best tires for your Yamaha YZF-R125 depends on your riding needs — track or commute? Our unbiased recommendation lies with Pirelli, as their products tend to offer the best performance across different metrics, but for a pretty steep price. Most users tend to replace their stock tires with an aftermarket version of Michelin Pilot Street, though those living in more humid areas tend to avoid them due to their subpar wet performance.
About THE AUTHOR
Russ currently owns a Yamaha FZ6N and KTM RC 390. When it comes to vintage bikes, his favorite motorcycle is the feisty BMW R32. He also holds a particular interest in the LAMS segment and triple cylinders. Himself a riding enthusiast, Russ has had experience with racetracks from around the world including Willow Springs Raceway in California and the Imola Circuit in Italy.Read More About Russ Crowley