Wondering about maintenance costs...


May 3, 2007
hey everyone,

as the summer approaches my interest in getting a dirtbike increases. I've been looking at 2 stroke 125's and I was just wondering what maintenance costs are like. I've been trying to find as much info as i could. Because i know that aside from every day maintenance (filter, oil, tire pressure, controls, etc) there is additional maintenance for things like pistons, clutches etc. Based on my plan for non-mx use around my field and trials, can anyone help me out with general things i'll have to fix, how much i can do myself, and how much it'll cost.



Aug 8, 2000
You should do the piston and rings whenever you notice a significant drop in compression. I'm willing to bet you could get atleast 1 season, maybe 2 out of a top end if you aren't riding it hard and have it tuned right.


Apr 12, 2007
Are you serious? That's insane! How many hours do you equate to a single season? 1000?

I've had mopeds, scooters, and tons of other 2-strokes that NEVER needed new pistons/rings and they had over 5000 miles on them!

The bike I have now is completely stock (93' RT180) and it runs amazingly. When you think about it, when have you EVER in-your-life changed the piston or rings in a chainsaw or weed-wacker?

Something just doesn't sit right with me with having that information be true.

Say it ain't so.



May 19, 2006
He speaks the truth, especially for 125s. If I bought a used 125, the first thing I would do is pull the cylinder off and be prepared to intstall new piston, rings, wrist pin and bearing. A general rule is that the bigger the dirt bike engine, the longer between top ends. Now, I do know people that have gone 5 seasons or so on a top end, but the bike was pretty much trashed after that. It just isn't that expensive or difficult to occassionally replace a piston.


Jan 16, 2006
Lets remember, he is new to dirtbiking, when learning to ride he will not be pushing it to its limits (not even close) to justify a race maint schedual. As far as normal maint you should as follows: Clean and oil the air filter every ride or two, lube the chain every time you ride, adjust the chain as needed and change the oil every four or five times you ride. Keep in mind this routine maint may sound like allot but takes less than 45 min. If your just play riding in fields and trails you can probably get a couple years out of a top end because your not riding it balls to the wall each and every time you throw your leg over it. As for the clutch, replace the plates when it starts slipping. A 125cc 2-t is a good low cost bike to get started into the sport compared to some alternatives.


Lifetime Sponsor - Photog Moderator
Apr 9, 2002
I don't have the manual handy but I believe Suzuki spec's to replace the 125 piston at 10 hours. For fulltime racing up here we usually put a new ring in after 4 racedays and change the piston after 8 racedays. This inlcudes an untold amount of practice hours as well as the races. This means for use the bike starts the season on a fresh topend, gets a new ring 1/4 way into the season, a new topend at the halfway mark, another new ring at the 3/4 mark and then a fresh topend for the start of the next season. For the casual rider I don't know any of them that replace the piston more than once per season or every other season.


May 19, 2006
If you are mechanically, inclined, you can replace a piston yourself for about $130. For trail riding, if you are jetted correctly, elcam is right and you shouldn't need to replace it all that often. However, if you are not jetted right, this time will decrease significantly. Don't try and wring every ounce of rpm out of a field/trail bike by excessive leaning the carb. And figure a set of clutch plates every 2 years, if you change your transmission oil regularly. Those will cost you about $80 or so and you can do them yourself even if you not mechanically inclined. Now if you buy a used bike that hasn't been taken care of, all bets are off.


Apr 18, 2006
crazytimski said:
there is additional maintenance for things like pistons, clutches etc.Thanks!

If you do the top end BEFORE it seizes then the cost of the repair is a lot less. If you are a serious racer than you seriously need to keep the top end fresh.

As far as the causual rider goes, everyone will give you a different answer.

If your objective here is to establish how much it will cost you to operate the bike then the discussion gets a little more complicated because it will depend on how many times you crash and how hard!

I have broken brake levers by simply having the bike fall over without anyone on it.

I cartwheeled down a gnarly hill and destroyed a radiator, handle bars and clutch perch.

I cut a little too close to a boulder and bent the rear brake pedal. A few too many somethings took their toll on the shift pedal. Laying the bike down in a turn a few too many times has torn my side plastic panels.

I am about 20 good rides into a set of tires and they are getting to the point that they need to be replaced.

I have been spending about $100 a month to keep 4 bikes running.


Top Bottom