The Yamaha TW125 is one of the oddities of the motorcycling world. It’s short, high-ridin’ and underpowered.
It doesn’t sound promising—but over the past 15 years, the TW125 has built up a strong fan base. And if you’ve ridden a fat-tired TW over the sand dunes, you’ll know how much fun it can be.
Despite its trifling capacity and 11 horses, it feels like a ‘big toy.’ And that’s the spirit Le French Atelier decided to amp up.
LFA is a new workshop based in the western suburbs of Paris, near Versailles. It’s run by three young friends with a knack for upgrading older bikes (like this spectacular Suzuki GSX-R) and giving them a ‘neo retro’ vibe.
“For the TW125, we wanted to keep the ‘big wheel’ look, but contrast it with a smaller body,” says Vincent. So the first job was to fit a compact Honda XL125 tank and modify the back of the frame. It’s now got a perky, kicked-up angle, with a quilted custom seat providing just enough absorption for off-road adventures.
The convoluted exhaust piping of the standard bike has gone, replaced by a simple custom system with a larger diameter header. And the motor has been upgraded with a 175cc kit, which boosts power to around 17 hp. That might not sound much, but the stock TW125 weighs only 118 kg (260 pounds).
Under the seat is a box containing the battery, the CDI, the relays and the key start system. Up front are flat track handlebars and a long-range spotlight stolen from an old rally car. After a complete repaint, the little TW125 was finished and it’s now ready to blast down the beach again—or along twisty forest tracks.
Le French Atelier has only been operating for a year, but they’re in it for the long haul. “We’re growing and improving our workshop,” says Vincent, “and buying more materials so we can improve our work and our bikes.”
This funky little TW is just the starting point. We’re looking forward to seeing what comes next.