Donít Ask: Dirt Bike Tech Questions Answered by "Superhunky"

Feb. 15, 2012 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.
Have a dirt bike questions for Rick "Super Hunky" Sieman? Send an e-mail with your name, vehicle year, model and a detailed description of the problem to Don't Ask at Donít forget to be as complete as possible with the description of your bike and its problems.

Other Donít Ask Columns
January 2012

December 2011

November 2011

Just finished "The Last Ride". Very good. Popping caps in a bike thiefs kneecaps Might make him consider another line of work. I always thought breaking a thief's fingers was pretty good, too.
At any rate, I told you about this (fiction) book I read in my grade school's library I have been trying to find. This was 7th. grade in '67/'68 when I rode my first bike...a Yamaha  55 or 80.  It was about these boys who find a large bore 4 stroke single in an abandonded barn/building. Ex-WWII bike, I think it was. Sounds like the story was in England. They take it apart, clean it, get it running and win a scrambles race on it. I thought maybe you might consider doing an American fiction version of it. Maybe some kids find a TT or Elsinore or even a Maico (pick an interesting bike, just not a Triumph Cub,  Sears "twingle" or something)  and do the same thing and vintage race it. How cool would that be?
I sure would like to locate the book I was talking about. Maybe in the next "Don't Ask!" or somewhere on, ask if anyone remembers the name/author of the book. I must have checked that book out of the library a dozen times. I shoulda swiped it!
International Dave
Thanks for the feedback.  Your idea for a book is solid, but I have two other books Iím working on before I can even think about another one.  Suggestion: Why donít you write the book?  Iíll buy a copy.
I get customers with oil ratio questions. Most are something like: "My 1948 McCulloch chain saw manual says 10 to 1 oil mix. Will this (Shindaiwa or Echo) oil work?" See, I sell oil mix in 2 bottle sizes (3 if you count the gallon jug) Small bottle for 1 gal. can; large for 2.5 gallon. I don't know (or care) what the ratio ends up being. I just ask them "What size is your gas can?" and sell appropriate bottle.
Some still want to know what the ratio will be. I don't want to or care to pick up the calculator and figure out what the ratio is. I just say: "It'll be fine."  If I try the Super Hunky "32:1 is a good ratio," I get the clown who says "Well, the manual for my 1923 McMurphy saw calls for 2 to 1!"  I try to explain that oil has changed since Wilson was President and 32:1 is a good  basic rule.
If they still hem and haw, I end up screaming: "If 32:1 is good enough for Super Hunky, it's good enough for me!"  Most hit me with the bottle of oil and stomp out. It boils down to this: If their manual calls for 20:1 (50 years ago) how do I explain that 32:1 is the norm? Am I correct in saying the oil does nothing but LUBE the engine? Has nothing to do with power, fuel etc. (by the way, I run mix gas in ALL my equipment, 2 or 4 stroke and I don't Give a fart WHAT the ratio is...eliminates 2 seperate cans)
Dave again
I've run 32:1 for decades in just about every two stroke made with no problems.

hello i have a 2001 ktm 300exc bike got stuck in creek motor filled w mud had total rebuild new crank. bearings. piston cyl was perfect just honed done by prof shop all work should have been assembled with no problem. my problem is bike starts right up idles fine will rev a few thousand rpm just fine but will not make upper rpms been thru carb three times now put new reeds repacked silencer new air filter. good gas new plugs what am i missing im 41 been taking care of manny bikes thru the years thank you for help
sam chester

As long as there's nothing wrong mechanically, thereís one thing and one thing only left, and that is timing. You can get a bike start very easy and it wonít rev out properly because the timing is off. Before you go any further, check that timing and make sure itís up to specs and that might solve your problem.
i have a 1999 xr 100 and i was riding it and it started to bogg down and i tryed to crank it and it wont crank does it have a timming
Ethan Cook

Considering the astonishing amount of information you included in your e-mail, itís truly amazing your e-mail somehow managed to make it through the Internet in one piece. Every motorcycle ever made has a timing mark somewhere in the system. Yours should be no different. However, based on the rather slipshod way that you communicate, chances of you finding this timing mark are borderline slim. 
look for motor for 1971 Rt 360 or kick start side case.
Herb Blashock

Go to the automotive section on eBay and chances are very good that you'll find what you need. The last time I went to eBay searching for Yamaha DT1 items, I saw everything from complete motors to wheels to miscellaneous bits and pieces. If you can't find what you want there, do a nationwide search on Craigslist.

On my 09 crf230 i have a FMF pipe only. I have a 120 main and 45 pilot which haven't been put in yet. I don't plan on any other upgrades, do i really need to change the stock power needle out? I'm at 800 feet elevation

The main thing youíre changing is the entire jetting. The power jet kit makes the bike run better with more power overall. If you don't put everything in as recommended, chances are you may have a flat spot somewhere in the rpm range. Just about every savvy Honda shop around knows about the power jet kit and you know what should you do. Do it right and youíll be happy. All the information on how to install the correct jetting is in the PROJECT BIKE section in

Anybody knows the ratio for an 86 honda cr-250

Now this may come as a shock to you, but there are also a whole bunch of different ratios in any motorcycle. You can have the internal transmission ratios, the countershaft to rear sprocket ratio, or even varying compression ratios in the engine. Take your pick and get back to me.
This is probably one of the funniest things Ive read i loved the way you described these old pieces scrap metal i could actually imagine myself bouncing down a trail out of control heading for a tree lmao.

That piece that we ran on the 10 worst dirt bikes ever made drew a tremendous amount of mail. Shown here is the 1971 400 Suzuki Cyclone which was at the top of that list. If you really want at an exercise in pure terror, locate one of these beasts and take it for a ride. Right after that, you might want to become a Gregorian monk.   

i have a rm80 2001 and it doesn't want to take neutral but it takes all the other gears. whats wrong with it ?

Chances are that you have a dragging clutch. If you would just adjust the cable properly, you would probably be able to get neutral. To check this, you should be able to push the bike on level ground in gear, with clutch in. If this canít be accomplished, then your clutch is not working right. Give it a try.


Do you know if a 1993 yz 250 front end will work for this application? I found a roller cheap- and can't seem to find a newer one in my area. Thanks for the help

You should be able to modify the front end to work okay, but you might have to modify the length of the steering head to accommodate the steering stem. I don't see a real problem here.

I stumbled across a older 49cc mini motorcycle at a garage sale this week. i bought it for $100 the guy believes its worth $4000. but i have no idea what it is. its got a number on the motor, but the tranny and throttle cable was gone the tank, light, and speedometer are plastic, but its got a nice pair of solid metal forks and handelbars. its kinda harley lookin in style but he said something about it being an indian, the speedometer goes up to 60mph and its got a pretty good red and white paint job on it. if you know anything please let me no. thank you very much

Minarelli made quite a few smaller bikes under the Indian label in the early Ď70s. The most popular one was the 70cc unit that was more motocross than anything else. They also made a 50 and a few other sizes. As far as them being worth $4000, somebody is dreaming. A pristine 70 cc Indian might, just might, be worth  $1500 or so to someone who was a collector.
I have a 75 Can am bike that looks exactly like the one at the top of the page.. But i was told it was a 350? Im leaning more towards a 250. But the throttle cable broke on it and i need a new one. Anyone have any good ideas about how to get one?

CAN-AM made not only a 250 and a 350, they also made a 370, which in my opinion was their best bike. As far as getting any throttle cable for any kind of bike, try Terry cables.

ive got a malagutti grizley 12 i kick start it it starts up then borks out some times i can ride it for 1 minuite then it borks ergen ive checked evreything i can but to no ervail ive had the carb apart iz it getting starved ov fuel
Dean Thoms

So your Malaguti borks out, does it? Well, any time I bork out, I reset the borkometer until it reads 0.0007. After that, it all seems to work just fine.
I am sure you have seen this. Perhaps even ridden it, but just had to send.
Ignorance is bliss. Unfortunately, I am surrounded by alot of very happy people........
DT Salek

If you look close this is some BS motor that doesn't even run. Check out the compression release behind the two-stroke looking barrel, and it looks like the top end cam case cover was made from an aluminum cooking instrument. It has a big del orto carb, which leads me to believe someone took an old TT500 Yamaha head and wired it on; also, judging by the condition of the TINY countershaft sprocket, this thing hasn't run in decades. A fake, like the pimblin man, or some other circus freak put together with old dead parts.

Maico indeed. I did a search of ALL Maico four strokes, and came up with some stuff back in the 1930s. That pic is a fake. Or some one-off Italian monstrosity that would blow up if it got above idle, with "Maico" stuff taped to it.
Bah, indeed.

Matt Cuddy

I have seen this before, it is a "one-off" that uses a 78 Maico Mega lower end with a modified top end from an Italian 4 stroke single (appears Italian, maybe Benelli) grafted in place. They use an adapter plate to combine the two and it appears to have a 2-valve overhead cam arrangement. The oil pump has been added behind the cylinder and is driven by the crank from the same area where the timing chain/belt is driven... this looks like Puui's handiwork but I am not sure who made it ... it probably makes 10-20 horsepower less than when it was a 2 stroke but it gets a lot of looks!!!

Keith Lynas
See! I told you, a Maico lower end with an Italian POS top end grafted to it. With Marelli electrics, that old crusty DelOrto and Italian valve geometry it should get about 2-3 hours of easy riding in a Safeway parking lot before it explodes. Should come with a scatter shield like the old '54 Vetts had around the clutch. I would love to have it, so I could pack it with my experimental explosive to see how high it gets after it blows up.

Matt Cuddy

Hi Rick,
I have been attempting to get a color match (somewhat close) for my PE175N project.  I have attempted it a few times with little success. I have attached a photo of the bike in current condition.

You can see that I have too much orange in the rims and swing arm.  The old style DG/Sum Rims was more mustard gold. 

Do you have any suggestions.

Note:  Attached is a DG ad that I am trying to match.  This was the bike I always wanted, but couldnít afford. 

If your rims are already anodized in that odd color, you're stuck with it unless you choose to paint. You can go to O'Reilly Auto Parts and pick up a can of Krylon spray paint billed as Sun Yellow.  This is a dead ringer for all the PE and RM colors. The paint holds up really well and I used it on plastic parts over the years. I have no doubt that itíll work for a limited time on wheels. Take it from there.
Super Hunky
Any chance you know the where about of a 1971 Ducati R/T for sale ?
Hope the years have treated you well. Your fan from the 70's.
John Waller

Lots of luck on this one, as they only made 1700 of these bikes, and only a portion came to the US.
Hi Rick,
I wish I still had my 81 Maico 490, but I was seduced by the disc brake on the 84 CR500. I bought the Maico at an auction in 1985, for $375.  

Speaking of the 84 CR500, that was the last air cooled model. It had a right hand kick start and 5 speed trans. The 83 CR480 was a 4 speed, with a left side kick starter. I never tried one.

Thanks for years of entertainment and advice!
Mark Morland
San Carlos, CA

The 83 CR480R had a five-speed box, a dual leading shoe front brake, and a left-side kickstarter. It was one of the best open class dirt bikes Honda ever made (except for the horrible head shake) and was competitive up until the early 1990s. It was the bike that made me sell my Pursang and get off the MX track.

The 1985 CR500 was the last year of the air-cooled Honda open class MX. You could see the castings in the right side case for the water pump in the next year model. 

Also, Honda was going to ditch all gasoline powered motorcycle production in 1985 and start building solar powered plastic framed scooters, but a minor riot at the Hamanaka plant by rivet-gun-wielding samurai types stopped that idea in its tracks.
Matt Cuddy 

I have a Yamaha It 175 and the number on the steering yoke is 2w6-003024 and i cant figure out what year it is for the life of me. Also, what do you think it might be worth to sell someone as a project bike. I have no idea so far.

Your bike is a 1979 IT175 and if itís in excellent shape, it should be worth about $1000 or so.
My new book, THE LAST RIDE, is at now out. It's fiction and starts in 1969, when an 18-year-old kid just out of high school gets a chance to ride his Yamaha 250 DT1 from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles Ö all off-road. His adventures are truly amazing. The book then jumps 40+ years where the same person, now in his 60s, wants to get that old Yamaha back in his possession and return it home by riding it all off-road across the country again.  The book is $15 plus $2.75 for mail anywhere in the US (or $5 for Priority Rush mail), and for more information, the email is: Newsletter
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