The goal of this build, was to see just how rad you could make a nearly decade-old moto bike, without spending more than the cost of a new one. Somewhat ballin on a budget, while still getting some trick parts all around. So here is the result; a Kawasaki KX125 completely gone through, and with enough coin left in your pocket to go racing.
See a few more pics of the build on Instagram: #pipedream2
Insta some pics of your 2 Stroke: #pipedream
From the backwoods of Craigslist, comes this little diamond in the rough: a 2004 KX125 covered in years’ of mucky exhaust sewage, multiple loop-out lacerations to the rear fender, a little bit of hillbilly ingenuity keeping the bodywork in place, and totally-bald Dunlops from rippin up & down the frontage road. Needless to say, the work was definitely needed, to get this little steed back in race-ready condition. If you squinted your eyes just right, you could see the potential, which gave inspiration for the resto.
Once I got the bike to the shop, the first order of business was to spray as much of the grime and years of neglect off, as possible. This was done with tons of moto-clean, and a gnarly Honda pressure washer. After all, you don’t eat Cheetos just before going to the dentist; similarly, you don’t start messing with the inner-workings of a motorcycle without first a good deep-clean.
Once the scum was washed away, the bike began to come to life (anyone out there remember The Dirtbike Kid"?). It looked surprisingly fresh under the hood. If you could see past the completely bald tires and messed up bodywork, there lay a nearly unscathed bike. Apparently, the years of dirt and grime protected everything underneath. The result - factory clutch cover was barely touched, even the frame rails showed little evidence of wear. After the clean, the bike was pulled down to the frame. Every bearing, bushing, and grommet were removed/extracted. Once the bike was disassembled, the frame, subframe, and swingarm were immediately sent to out to powder coat for a satin black finish. The suspension was also immediately boxed up & sent to Race Tech for a full overhaul, complete with personalized springs & revalve. While the main components of the motorcycle were gone, and the rest of the pieces lay on the bench, it was time to begin sorting out the rest. It was looking as though EVERYTHING needed to be replaced.
Starting with the billet goodies, I hooked up with the guys at Topar Racing, manufacturer of high quality race parts right here in the good ol U.S. of A. Not only does the Topar stuff look trick, it also does a fantastic job protecting crucial parts on the motorcycle - the brakes! The disc guards are very well engineered, and the fit was spot-on. The rear brake setup is actually an integrated disc guard, carrier, and caliper guard. If you look closely, there is also a Topar rear master cylinder reservoir extension, which adds brake fluid volume and has cooling fins to keep things from overheating. The green ano triple clamps also came from Topar. Word has it, they also stock some sick purple ano clamps for the Hondas.
Once everything was done at powder coat, I replaced every single bearing and bushing with brand new ones from All Balls Racing. The quality from All Balls is unmatched. These guys know bearings. Everything fit perfectly, and really gave the motorcycle that brand new feeling. I highly recommend replacing those sacked-out bearings with some freshies. It’s not a very glamorous upgrade for your bike, but totally necessary to keep things performing like they should. Most new bikes roll off the showroom floor with very little grease in the crucial pivot points. After riding & pressure washing over the course of the season, they get torched.
The suspension came back from the pros over at Race Tech, completely revalved & re-sprung. Race Tech’s award-winning Gold Valves create better flow through the piston providing more traction, an extremely plush feel, and drastically improved bottoming resistance. Especially since the suspension dates back to almost a decade-old, Race Tech’s services are exactly what the doctor ordered to bring rider confidence back into view with this this machine.
Given the overall condition of the bike, I was surprised to find that the motor already had a 144cc cylinder and piston installed, and not to mention gobs of compression. You read that correctly - this barn find already had a freshly rebuilt motor with a big cylinder - bonus! We were able to leave the motor together, and also get some huge gains by way of the Mototassinari VForce, coupled with the FMF Fatty & Power Core II silencer. The new intake & exhaust combo made this little powerhouse come alive. When installing the Vforce, you can leave the factory spacer ( the aluminum block, that’s roughly ¼” thick) to give the bike some additional boost down low. If you're on the fence about a VForce upgrade on your 2-Banger, the seat-of-the-pants difference is noticable, and the throttle response is CRISP!
The Flying Machine Factory setup moves the exhaust away from the engine in such a way that really brings this quarter-liter mill to life. It's hard to imagine life without FMF, period.
In the performance/aesthetics department, Pro Factory supplied the build with blue radiator hoses, as well as the trick looking wave brake rotors.
We chose Acerbis to keep things shiny. Green out front, transitioning into black in the back. The front number plate, and front fender originate from the 2009-2012 KX-F, and they installed on the 2004 with just a smidge of fab work on the number plate.
Taneum Industries, Idaho’s finest moto graphics supplier, printed up the Darius designed graphics kit. The graphics installed easily, and everything lined up perfectly (save for an extra cut-out on the right side rad shroud).
The Tag T2 “McGrath Bend” were the bars of choice, and we went ahead and upgraded to the Tag "Pinnacle" bar pad, which fit perfectly over the Topar triple clamps (which had a one-piece top clamp for the bars).
The drivetrain features a “Works Finish” 51-Tooth rear sprocket, and 13-Tooth up front, which is stock gearing for this model & year. The Sunline SL-4 Clutch Perch & Lever is a magnificent piece of art, and looks right at home with this build. Sunline rotator clamp for the front brake master cylinder - blue in color to mix things up. Black front brake lever from Sunline keeping things feng shui in the controls department. Down low, I opted for the Sunline shift lever, paired with the Sunline SL-1 arched footpegs. *Note - The SL-1 footpegs are not available for the 2004 KX125, so I had to modify a set for a 2004 KX250.
Wheels are a freshly-laced setup from Pro Wheel Racing from Washington. The blackmoto rims are of excellent quality, and the green anodized billet hubs look great. I opted for their black carbon spokes - which are naturally black, and a little more price-conscious. Not to mention the fact that since they are naturally black, the added weight of powder coating doesn't play a factor here. I've also heard it said that powder coating your spokes can actually change the temper of the spoke, resulting in failure. No bueno - black carbon is the way to go, if you want to gangster-out your moto wheels.
Once the build was complete, fluids were flushed & replaced. We used Motorex G48 coolant; and use the Motorex CrossPower 2T for the PreMix. For the initial couple hours of use, we ran Motorex Formula 4T Semi-Synthetic 10/40 through the tranny, to flush out all the bad juju. After the initial oil change, Motorex TopSpeed 4T Full-Synthetic 10/40 will be used.
Pipe Dream 2 sits atop a white Matrix M2 stand, with a custom Darius-designed, Taneum -printed inlay.
Special thanks to Leo’s South in Minnesota for supplying the OEM ‘Kawi parts.