The MXA winners through the 1980s and 1990s.


These are the two-strokes that we hand-picked as our 125cc and 250cc Bikes of the Year from 1980 to 2000. Did you have any of these winners?

1980 Yamaha YZ125. The Yamaha YZ125 was Bike of the Year six times from 1980 to 2000.

1980: YZ125…YZ250

Suzuki’s RM250 won the Bike of the Year award three times in two decades. The 1981-82 Full Floaters were obvious choices, but it wasn’t until 14 years later that Suzuki was able to score again with the new-generation Roger DeCoster-inspired 1996 RM250.

1981: RM125…RM250

1982 Full Floater Suzuki RM125.

1982: RM125…RM250

1983 Honda CR125. 

1983: CR125…CR250

Here is the 1984 Kawasaki KX125. The KX125 was tied with the YZ125 for the most 125 Bike of the Year awards from 1980 to 2000 (at six a piece). In the ten year span from ‘84 to ‘93, the KX125 won best bike 60 percent of the time.

1984: KX125…CR250

In the 250 class, Honda held the longest winning streak–from 1983 to 1987. During that five-year period, Honda produced some of the greatest 250cc motocross bikes ever made.

1985: KX125…CR250
1986: CR125…CR250
1987: CR125…CR250

The 1988 Kawasaki KX125. 

1988: KX125…YZ250

 It’s commonly believed that the Honda CR125 won every MXA shootout win the ’80s and ’90s, the fact is, Honda won the least 125cc Bike of the Year awards (4). And, Honda did not win the award at all in the ‘90s. Honda’s last win was in 1989. Suspension and handling woes held the CR back.

1989: CR125…CR250

The 1990 Kawasaki KX250.

1990: KX125…KX250
1991: KX125…YZ250

The 1992 Suzuki RM125 in action.

1992: RM125…YZ250

 Honda’s last win was with the highly regarded 1993 CR250. This is the bike that Jeremy McGrath raced during his whole time at Team Honda. With every new model year, Jeremy would dust off his ‘93 frame and keep on winning. When Honda introduced the aluminum frame in 1997, Jeremy moved on.

1993: KX125…CR250
1994: RM125…KX250

The 1995 Yamaha YZ250. 

1995: RM125…YZ250

Suzuki earned the 125 Bike of the Year award five times from 1980 to 2000. The first was the omnipotent 1981 RM125X Full Floater and the last was the high-revving 1995 RM125.

1996: YZ125…RM250

The KX250 won the 250 class five times–most notably during a three-year win streak from 1997 to 1999.

1997: YZ125…KX250

The Yamaha YZ125 was bike of the year in 1997.

1998: YZ125…KX250
1999: YZ125…KX250

The YZ250 won the Bike of the Year crown six times from 1980 to 2000, but spread them out over those 21 years. The YZ250’s longest dry spell was from 1980 to 1988. Yamaha was the 2000 Bike of the Year recipient in both classes.


How many times has the same manufacture won both the 125 and 250 Bike of the Year awards in the same year from 1980 to 2000? Nine times. The CR125/CR250 combo did the deed four times (‘83, ‘86, ‘87 and ‘89). Yamaha and Kawasaki doubled up twice each, while Suzuki had to settle for the glory with the 1981 Full Floaters.


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