Future status for the CR125 Sprint shifter class

What is the future status for the Honda CR125 Sprint shifter class?
Do we see any future in karting for the current Yamaha YZ125?

There’s not a whole lot to discussion really given HPD no longer supply parts for the CR125, Yamaha dropped support for the YZ probably 15 years ago? Which leaves support for these at the regional\local level only, spread sporadically around the nation.

Road racing is the last bastion of the CR125 “spec Moto” as a class by itself. Unfortunately these are CR125 only and 99 cylinder only, so you’d have to talk with the org to see if a YZ would be accommodated in that Spec Moto class, or if it will be entered with the unlimited class.

Some clubs run an open shifter or an open\outlaw class that one could run a YZ or CR in.

So at this point it’s entirely down to drivers at clubs getting together to build a class at the local level, but with some difficulty given parts are no longer being made. That’s not to say they can’t be acquired of course, likely still a good bit of used and NOS inventory around in peoples garages.

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The reason I brought up the YZ is Yamaha continues to produce the 2 stroke YZ125.

…for how long? I totally agree with what James said above, there are many other reasons as to why it’s a bad idea to put a dirt bike engine in a kart. I can expand on it but to narrow it down to your specific topic of current availability, keep in mind the dirt bike industry is getting a lot of pressure to walk away from two strokes. We can debate on fair vs unfair but it comes down to their numbers depend on mass production and karting is the least of their concerns whereas TM, Iame, Vortex etc are fully committed and work outside those logics

Yamaha bought out a brand new developed YZ125 in 2022.

There’s pressure, but in terms of general average joe sales the 2-strokes hold up pretty well. The issue, as ever, is getting hold of the engines. Usually you have to break bikes to get an engine which isn’t ideal from a cost perspective


Yeah that’s true, I’d forgotten about Yamaha coming back.

KTM have outright said they won’t sell engine separate from their bikes, and those that were brave enough to pull an engine from one have ended up on a carb setup anyway after numerous failures.

I guess someone could call Yamaha with a proposal. But in a world where a RoK Shifter is $3500 it’s going to be hard to beat. (Actually it’s closer to $4300 now)

The problem (and it’s as old as the sport) is that motorcycle engines don’t necessarily lend themselves well to karting application, especially when it comes to parity. Karting
Is more engine performance dependant compare to moto, and the operating RPM range is very different too.

By the time you make a good package, you’re at or above the $3500 (cough it’s 4300 now) price point with a manufacturer that really has its eyes outside of karting.

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+1 There is simply not enough in it for the big manufacturers, all things considered. Even if you get a supply, how long will it last? Takes a small nudge to the production schedules or scarcity of a component and the faucet for karting is going to be turned off, as they will redeploy capacity towards the motorcycles, where they actually make money at a global scale.

And let’s not forget the Honda packages were going for almost $6K, excluding shipping and taxes. Take the radiator out, it’s $5.5K. On an engine that Honda was probably selling for what, less than $2K to their importer? The entire supply chain does not make any sense and it’s been proven to fail over time because the relationship is too asymmetric.
Of course, unless somebody stockpiles engines by the hundreds in one shot, along with enough spares to sustain the next 5 years of racing for the entire US, which is financial suicide for anybody especially now…even then, it’s a finite play.

I think ROK shifter and KZ pretty much cover the entire spectrum, I see no future in a “spec moto V2” concept

  1. Honda is very, very done with 2-strokes. As a company they’ve always favored the 4-stroke engine and whenever the rules weren’t ridiculously unfavorable to them they switched immediately. They haven’t made CR125s since 2007. They haven’t made CR125 parts since 2017. There are a dwindling and finite number of parts left.
  2. Yamaha isn’t. They make 2-stroke motocrossers - YZ65, YZ85, YZ125, and YZ250. The 65 was a new design for 2018, the 125 new for 2022. They will sell engines separately from motorcycles, especially in volume.
  3. Billy and Willy Musgrave at Factory Karts decided that cadet and junior drivers should race karts with a powerful, watercooled, reed-valve linerless-block engine. The 65cc prototype cadet karts and 85cc junior karts ran within 2 seconds per lap of the senior KZ/175 drivers at Adams this season.
  4. They have over 250 engine packages on their way to the factory. It is very much a “bet the company” deal.
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Just to clarify something, when you say “Honda Sprint Shifter”, do you mean generically a CR125-powered kart on any type of kart track?

It could be that, but “Sprint Shifter” is also a specific term used by the Road Racing karters, to describe a class of sit-up shifter karts, that run their events on the same full-sized road circuits that cars normally do (like Daytona or Mid-Ohio).

The reason I bring this up is if you’re referring to the Honda shifters run on the big road courses, this is definitely a budding problem for that class of shifter karting. And I’m not sure if the KZ motors can resolve this issue on its own.


Oh, I see it I think we all read it as CK-FIA type of racing on dedicated kart tracks. Good point, road racing on those tracks is a different thing altogether

I will counter that a tad and say they lend themselves very well. I think short and long circuit gearbox karting was never healthier than the days it relied upon road-derived engines up until the the 80s. This very much isn’t replicable in the modern context but it’s worth noting. Parity is less important than accessibility (I actually think the quest for parity has been an overall net-negative). Being able to go to your local scrap dealer and pick up a RD250 or whatever back in the day was far more influential on a scene’s general health than the parity between engines.

As soon as gearbox karting went towards bespoke engines there’s been a downward pressure on entry numbers. I think for twins it started with the 256 and went from there. Of course it’s not the sole factor, but a big one.

Of course in the modern context I don’t think relying upon road-derived or even MX engines is a strategy that is stable because naturally you’re reliant upon outside forces dictating the state of play with regard to supply of parts etc… but it’s worth noting that grid sizes peaked when the gearbox scene relied upon them as the road-bike scene was full 2-stokes etc…

That’s exactly what we had to do in the 80/90’s for 250 national class, buy a bike KTM, Honda etc to get the engine then sell off the rest of the parts. I think you could buy Honda engines but for an outrageous price.

I’m pretty sure the 125 won’t displace KZs in racing - it’s going to be 15 horsepower short. It’s ideal for the shifter kart drivers who run on practice days on takeoff tires and 91 octane gasoline and want something that runs well all the time and doesn’t have any fragile unobtanium parts in it.