On the pipe: Custom two-stroke dirt bike from Oregon…
The Yamaha YZ125, introduced in 1974, boasts the longest production run of any motocross bike in the world. The liquid-cooled, 125cc two-stroke has evolved over the years, earning a reputation as one of the best-handling motocrossers ever built. The current version weighs ~190 pounds dry and makes some 32-35 horsepower at the rear wheel — a true ripper.
Enter Max Miille of Hillsboro, Oregon, who shares a fabrication shop with his father, the owner of Sandragon Motorsports — builders of custom ATVs and ATV parts for drag-racing and play-riding. Max works as a welder/fabricator and fell in love with customizing bikes after building a Yamaha XS650. He’s since become obsessed with dirt-biking. So it wasn’t too long before he melded the two loves into the gorgeous custom dirt bike you see here. The donor is a ’93 YZ125, which Max bought from a friend for only $500! Says Max:
“It looked like shit, so instead of restoring it I decided to make a custom build. A custom dirt bike is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time…”
Max admits that, for 90% of the build, he was worried he would hate the end result, but he persevered and ended up very happy with how it turned out. When we saw this bike at the 2019 One Moto Show, we went slack-jawed and starry-eyed with love. And this is no show queen or piece of mere garage art, either. Max built this bike to ride:
“It’s an original looking bike that nobody’s really built before. It looks cool and it still rips on the track.”
Given it’s something of a black sheep among dirt bikes, Max dubbed it the “Blue Duck.” Below, we get the full story on this custom dirt bike, along with some stunning photos from Zachary Quiring (@zquiring).
YZ125 Custom Dirt Bike: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My name is Max Miille. I’m 26 years old. I’ve always been into dirt bikes and all kinds of motorcycles. My dad and I share a fab shop. His company is Sandragon Motorsports, and he builds custom ATVs and a bunch of different parts for drag racing quads. Learning from him and having a job as a welder/fabricator I’ve done a lot of metalwork and welding. My first build was my XS650 and I really fell in love with customizing bikes. Lately I’ve been obsessed with dirt biking. Living in Oregon I can ride sand dunes, trails, and a lot of good tracks.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
Yamaha YZ125, 1993.
• Why was this bike built?
I built the bike for myself. I borrowed the bike from a friend and fell in love with riding it so I convinced him to sell it to me for only $500. It looked like shit, so instead of restoring it I decided to make a custom build. A custom dirt bike is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time and I thought this bike was perfect cause it was an older cheap 2 stroke.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
My initial plan was to just get rid of as much plastic as possible so I could design and make the bike look the way I wanted it to. I knew I was gonna actually be riding it like a dirt bike so I wanted everything to still be functional. The gas tank, seat, and the fenders couldn’t prevent me from riding how I would on a normal bike. The paint and colors I wanted to be traditional Yamaha style with the blue and the designs.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
Aluminum number plate. Aluminum gas tank. The subframe was chopped and I made a new tail section on the frame. Aluminum rear fender. Aluminum roost guard. Aluminum air intake. Stainless airbox with a blue mesh screen behind it. And a custom seat from New Church Moto.
My dad helped me make the custom spacers for the new set of wheels. I did the welding and heat anodizing on the pipe to give it that look.
• Does the bike have a nickname?
The blue duck. ‘Cause it’s kind of like a black sheep dirt bike. And I’ve never seen a blue duck before and I wanted to see a blue duck.
• How would you classify this bike?
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
It’s an original looking bike that nobody’s really built before. It looks cool and it still rips on the track. The whole thing was a big challenge for me to design and fabricate. 90% of the build I was worried that I was gonna hate it when I was done, but I’m very happy on how it turned out.