Donít Ask: Dirt Bike Tech Questions Answered

Feb. 01, 2011 By Rick Sieman
If you choose to email a question to this forum, then you must conduct yourself accordingly. Therefore, the following rules are in order:

1. Do not write your email to me IN CAPS. If you do so, I will print out your question and do terrible things to it.

2. Do not request a personal e-mail response. Since I get thousands of questions each month, trying to answer them all would cut deeply into my leisure time, which I value more than your current state of confusion.

3. Try to spell at least in a semi-correct fashion. If you choose to mangle the English language, expect no mercy from this quarter. You might be mocked severely.

4. Do not ask for me to send you copies of my many manuals and literature. I am not in the library business, nor do I want to spend the bulk of my day at the copy machine just because you're too lazy to ask your dealer,  or look around a bit.

5. Don't bother me with truly stupid questions, like how to get 50 more horsepower for a buck and a half

6. Now that you know the rules, think carefully and have at it!

Oh yes Ö Iíll leave your e-mail unedited, for what itís worth.
More Donít Ask Columns:
January 2011

December 2010

November 2010

Hi, i have a 85 suzuki lt 250 r, it has been seating fora long  time .i pulled apart the carb, and cleaned it ,it runs fine, but when i have the gas wide open. it starts brakeing down and not running right.  also my manual said the oil mixing ratio should be 20 to 1  every motocycle place tells me to use differant ratios,   what is the best ratio to use with the new oils? i want to make sure i am useing enough oil, but not to much,  thank you if you can help  also i have a lot of gas and oil in side my breather filter.
I have been using a 32-to-1 gas/oil ratio for about 50 years and that has served me well. A huge number of motorcycle manufacturers do recommend 20-to-1 ratio because they have no idea where the bike will end up and what kind of oil and gas the motorcycle will be subjected to. Even with our modern gas containing ethanol and such, I find that if I put a little bit of octane booster in high test pump gas and then run the 32-to-1 ratio, it works fine for me. Your breaking up problem could be from the fact that youíre using old gasoline, or your spark plug is very old and cruddy. Checked these two things first before you look for a problem that may not be there.


Rick Sieman

On of this months questions concerned light (250 cc) bikes under 200
lbs. To the Ossa Phantom you mentioned, you can any of the current Gas
Gas, Beta, Scorpa, Montesa, and Ossa 250, 270, and 300 cc observed
trials bikes. All weigh in the neighborhood of 160 lbs


I realize that an entire generation of trials bikes (above) is under 200 pounds. So are speedway bikes (below). I was referring to normal motorcycles in my reply, and I don't think that trials bikes and speedway bikes are what you would find in a typical rider's garage. I realized that trials is a great sport and has a small, but vocal following.

This email from a person named Regina drew a bunch of responses from our readers. Hereís one of the emails we got, and weíre re-printing Reginaís letter and our response to her, mostly for your amusement.

You told her Rick.
Why are people so sensitive these days.

She probably was lurking the dirt bike scene, trying to remember what a life worth living was.

People with backbone (like you) are what is missing in this country today.

I have read your work for many years, and it is honest and appreciated.
Let's go riding, my friend!
Perfecto Garcia

Good afternoon "Mr. Dickhead",
I couldn't help but notice that your enlarged cranium is a bone sack for useless and offensive sarcastic comments. I am uncertain if you went to Prick college to aquire such talent, but you seem to have graduated just fine. If you and I were the last two people on earth, I would not ask you to help me, even if I were on fire.
You insult people for their speech, country, lives, and existance. I wonder if the cause of your bitterness and distasteful slander to others is a result of your own self loathing, or were you simply born to pour vomit from your mouth upon others.
Thank you for your time, I look forward to further discussion, also you have been such a "huge help" that you should get a cookie.

My dear Regina, why don't you just take the cookie and place it where the sun don't shine. The reason I give sarcastic comments to certain e-mails is because they don't even try to communicate like a human being. It's one thing to misspell, have a typo or two or three, or even fail to capitalize, but when your entire e-mail is a pigsty of sloppiness, I have no room for that. People who send in trash expecting an answer get back another form of trash from me. I don't expect perfection, but I expect people to at least try. In this day and age of letting crap slide by and trying to make excuses for everyone's failures, I feel that DON'T ASK is a beacon of light. If you would rather not find out the truth about things, by all means continue to wallow in that pigsty that I pointed out. Now go away please and don't bother us anymore. By the way, please note that I did not rag on your few typos.

Been off road riding for over 30 years and really enjoy your articles. Got a buddy who owns a bike shop for 29 years and he says you really know your stuff too.
I currently ride a 2006 CRF 450X and just picked up a 2006 CRF 230F for the wife to replace her 2003 TTR 225.

I read with much interest about the mods you did to your project CRF 230 and was curious to know that if you replace the stock 13 tooth front sprocket with a 15 tooth as you advocate, will the stock chain be long enough ?

Also she thinks the Honda will be too tall in the saddle for her compared to her 225 TTR, so what are your thoughts on using a lowering link in the rear suspension and dropping the triple tree a couple of inches on the forks to level the bike ?

Thanks in advance,
Long-time Fan, Doug Martin


I have not used one of the lowering links on my project bike, simply because the height is about right for me as is. I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work. You definitely can raise the forks up in the triple clamps a bit and it doesn't seem to hurt the bikeís handling at all. When we did our project, the stock chain was removed and a Sidewinder chain was installed, and we didn't have to go through the hassle of dealing with a no link rear chain. I took a look at the adjustments available on the CRF230 and it looks like there's enough adjustment in there to allow for the bigger sprocket with no problem. However, it's just a simple matter of adding one link if it is a bit too short. Let me know what works out for you.


I have been told that it was an factory or dealer experiment since the next year they came out with the mx.

I recently came into a 71 Yamaha DT1 F 2550 Enduro.
It had been sitting for 4 years I was told.

Its a strange bike, no battery, no ign. switch, just 2 toggle switches on the headlight(looks to be factory), 1 gives the bike fire and the other is for the headlight. No brake light or anything else you might expect on a enduro.

I have found several DT1 E's but hardly none of the F's. Can you tell me the difference between the E and F? and anything else you might know of my bike?
I'm retired and haven't ridden in 30 years and just got a wild hair when i found it. Enjoy reading your opinions.


1971 DT1F is the last year of the GYT KITTED Enduro Line, also known as the DT1MX. Someone put a lighting coil in it, because the MX was devoid of one. Look at Matt Cuddyís write up in Features or Checkpoint  ( on the DT1F.

The 1972 Reed Valved Enduro carried an engine number that began with DT1F also, so Yamaha was using the old cases for the new top end, with a shorter rod, and the piston pin moved up (for the reed valve).

You really should have known ...
SUBJECT: 77 YZ 100
I have a 77' YZ 100 that is being a pain in the A$$. I am not getting a spark when kicking it over, however I had the plug out and actually watched it stop working.(Kicking it over to check and getting spark, then kicking it again and nothing over and over... nothing.) I have checked the coil and have the right resistance, the wire coming out of the cdi and into the coil registers 30-40 VAC when kicking it over. Now here is the weird part, if i reconnect that wire to the input coil wire and then squeeze my voltmeter + up the sleeve until I can see it touching and try kicking it again I get nothing ( 0 VAC), Same thing between 3 different ignition coils that all tested good. So I humbly hand over a diagnosis to you.
P.S. I was reading this old article on and have been trying to find part 2. I don't think it was ever made ... wish it was though.

Your best bet is to take the entire electrical system apart and start from zero. I would sand all the grounds completely, especially where the coil mounts to the frame. On a bike that old, it's not uncommon for corrosion to develop between the coil itself and the ground. So take a bit of sandpaper and give yourself a good fresh ground. Then check each and every connection to the entire electoral system. Every wire should be checked for shorting out on the frame, or some other metal piece. Once you do this, the intermittent problem should go away.



I had the fastest bike around..but i wanted faster. So i mounted the biggast power band i could bi. then i changed it from a 2 stroke to a 4 stroke and it wont start anymore. i already tried puring gas strait into the spark plug hole till it was pooring out and it just caut fire. i think its probably the cdi or distrubuter..shoud i advance it? or go back to the regular power bands. heres a picture of it. 


It's always good to start the day off with a healthy laugh. Thank you, Mr. Painhead, for the grins.
Get the first four years of DIRT BIKE Magazine on discs. Those early copies are getting hard to find and the ones in the first year (1971) are going for big bucks. Hereís what you get:

*   Every issue from June of 1971 through all of 1974. That June í71 issue was the very first issue. I worked on all of these magazines until that last issue in 1974. Youíll see a big difference in content in that last issue and the ones that preceded it.

*  Every issue has every page included. All the color pages are reproduced in color. You can print out every page if you want to, since the issues were produced in Picasa 3 format.

*  Or you can put it in your computer (or CD/DVD player) and simply enjoy a slideshow of each and every year. There are seven discs included in the package. Each disc contains one-half of a year (six issues) in order. This comes to about 4400 pages total.

Hereís how to work the discs: Pop a disc in your computer and open it. An icon saying PICTURES will appear. Left click it.

Another icon will appear naming the disc (ex: DIRT BIKE 2nd HALF 1974). Left click it. This will bring up a bunch of dates/icons. Left click on the first one.

This will open up Picasa 3 and the first page of the magazine. Go to the bottom of the photo with your cursor and this will reveal the tool bar for Picasa 3. Itís self explanatory. You can make the page bigger or smaller, rotate the page, edit the page in Picasa, advance to the next page, make a slideshow out of the magazine by clicking the arrow in the middle, or simply print the page out by going to the down arrow (far right), click it and follow the directions.

The seven disc set costs $70 plus $5 for priority mail.  So get your very own piece of history.   go the STORE for  details. Newsletter
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