Yamaha DT125MX – Field of Dreams

Back in 1981 it was not unusual for a 15 year old kid to have a ‘field-bike’ to muck about on. In theory using private land, but many did bend that particular rule just a little! In the case of my old mate Andy it was a Yamaha DT175MX. As field-bikes go the thing wasn’t in too bad a state. However an MOT and Tax were a distant memory.  He enjoyed many hours hacking round a couple of local fields, dreaming of when he could take to the road legally on the Honda CB50J he had already bought in readiness for the big day.

In The Beginning

Generously he also let me have a go on his DT. This was the very first time I ever rode a motorbike. Well, I say ride, neither of us were exactly a budding Dougie Lampkin, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely. He knew what he was up to: I bought a Honda C50 off him I had enjoyed myself so much!

He continued to hack about on the 175 for a few more weeks but what he did with the DT has been lost in the mists of time. Sadly he doesn’t even have a grainy picture of the 175 for posterity. Stark contrast to more recent times, where we all seem to have hundreds of pictures on our mobiles of everything.

Left a Real Mark

Both of us ride to this day and have enjoyed many biking adventures all over the UK and Europe in the subsequent years.  But that 175 left a real mark on him. Like so many of us he looks back, misty-eyed, on the days of his youth and yearns for the uncomplicated joy that biking gave us all back then.

Back to The Future

Fast forward over 40 years: Out of the blue a friend announced he was having a major clear out and had a 1979 DT125MX up for grabs at a good price. The DT had not been used in over a decade and was in need of some ‘weekend-work’ as they say! It was in a poor state. That didn’t matter, a deal was struck. OK it was a 125 rather the 175, but close enough for the nostalgia bug to kick in.


The bike had to be collected from the south coast near Portsmouth. This called for that great tradition; a ‘boys day out’ to collect the bike! Andy headed south in his camper van with another lad, Mick for company and a bike trailer wiggling along behind

On arrival the DT was found to be ‘as described’, as we say when giving feedback on EBay! The Yamaha really was as rough as bear’s posterior! Ah well, it will look great when it’s done! The deal was sealed, the bike dragged from the back of a cold lock up and strapped to the trailer ready for the return trip.

A path had been cleared to the DT. This one’s day had come!

‘Honestly Andy, the priest just used it for visiting local families on a Sunday after mass’ 

The deal was done

A quick celebratory pint was in order before the long haul north. A drama free run followed apart from reaching base only to find the seat had gone west on route. Amazingly Andy recalled going over a severe speed bump a few miles from home. He doubled back and found the seat. I love a happy ending!

The deal appropriately sealed 

‘We’re being followed!’

The Assessment

The first stage of any rebuild is assessing the scale of the task at hand. This can be summed up easily in this instance: BIG, like really big. But the clean up and strip has got underway and the parts ordering began. The real question at this stage: Go to the ‘Full-Monty’ on a pukka restoration, or go for a fun bike with a bit of so called patina?

Well, Yamaha is spelt correctly…

The first new part of many…

More in part two..

Story: Andy Preece

Words: Tony Donnelly

Pictures: Mick O’Brien