Donít Ask: Rick Sieman Answers Your Dirt Bike Questions

Jan. 02, 2014 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 question for Rick ďSuper HunkyĒ Sieman? E-mail questions to editor@off-road.com, Attn: Donít Ask.

Previous Donít Ask Columns:
December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


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SUBJECT: WHERE CAN HE GET GOOD CIGARS?
Just found this site. Two questions:
1. Will you please tell me where I can buy Marsh Wheelings in the U.S.?
2. Are you still in touch with Vic Krause and what is he up to these days?

Sorry, I guess that's three questions.
Thank you,      
Sidehack
 

Excellent questions. Marsh Wheelings mild stogies are manufactured by the National Cigar Corporation in Frankfort, Indiana. To find out just where theyíre sold, you could try one of these two numbers: 800-321-0247 or 765-659-3326. These are excellent cigars and a five pack is very inexpensive.

As to the whereabouts of Vic Krause, he has basically retired from business and spends most of his time flying around in one of his two airplanes.

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SUBJECT: FEEDBACK FROM A NON-FAN
Just who the hell do you think you are anyways? I donít recall seeing you winning a national motocross championship or anything in the past, so where do you get off telling people all about motorcycles and usually in a bad way. Your opinion is just that, an opinion.

Larry M.
LA California

 

Iím nothing more than a semi-retired guy who has been in charge of dirt bike magazines for about 40 years. I was the original editor of Dirt Bike magazine back in 1971, took over Modern Cycle and Dirt Rider in 1975, returned to Dirt Bike in 1979 and wrote for numerous other magazines. During that time, I had a chance to ride virtually every motorcycle made from 1970 onward, so I think that gave me the right to have some sort of an opinion on dirt bikes. During that time frame, I had over 1500 races on these very dirt bikes youíre talking about, so I think I know what Iím talking about. Is that enough?

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SUBJECT: 1971 MAICO 250 BASKET
I have a 1971 Maico 250 all in parts. What is it worth? My dad bought it for me brand new. It needs someone to restore it.
Randy Berkeley
 

If your Maico is all there and the parts are in decent shape, Iíd say itís probably worth about $12-$1500. I canít tell you who to take it to have it restored because I have no idea where you live. If you would include that information in another email, I can recommend someone in your area. But one thing I can say for sure, if you get that bike restored properly, it will be worth over $2000 easily.

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SUBJECT:  QUICK, HIDE  YOUR SNOWBLOWER!
Hellose I am selling my dirtbike ... I've always wanted one but could never afford one so I was forced to make my own. It's an 80cc frame with a 6 horse Tecumseh out of my dads snowblower .. I'd like to trade it before the snow comes so he doesn't notice the motor is missing on his snowblower ... Christmas is coming and it would make a great present for a loved one ..........It runs and drives as it is could use a new syntrifical clutch or run it into the ground I would like to trade it for a old beater quad 3 wheeler to ride in the snow running or not
thankyou
No name given
 

Good Lord! Just about when you think youíve seen it all, here is something that will take your breath away. My advice to all the off-road readers is to hide your snowmobile motors before itís too late.

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SUBJECT:  YAMAHA SC 500 FEEDBACK
you didnt do your  home work you F-ing knucklehead , ya it didnt last long ( THE TOP END) but it would smoke any of those CZs and GD MACOS, and slow ass f*****g Huskies, AND ALL on your list. I had 2  of these SCs + all the DTs MXs and YZs  and went threw many top ends but thats what fast bikes do , dont last long just like top fuel dragsters,      jerry powers, fastest guy ypsilanti, mich for many years in early 70s, field, Hills , drag, motocross , and hell ya flattrack flat track racer 74-78 with 35 wins rode with some of the best old crew  Mich Mofia crew at Auto City,  Victor Park, Millberg, Niles.   ya you did piss me off alittle ,  just change some of your wording about the SC bad ass out of control, scary hairy,   beast alittle and then I might like you............... some Dog.         you never rode one did you , did you .........you  meathead . great website ;-)   though
Jerry Powers

Apparently Mr. Powers took great exception to my summation of the Yamaha SC 500. When I was editor of Dirt Bike and given the bike to test, I took it out and entered it in a European Scrambles desert race. While the bike was indeed very, very fast, it was also a genuine piece of crap to ride. I stalled the bike no less than a dozen times in the first 50 miles of that race, and often restarting took a dozen or more kicks. I ended up near the back of the pack and feeling like I had just done a 200-mile race, instead of  1-1/2 hours. At best, the handling was slightly below average, but combining that with a powerplant that was nothing more than a light switch, turned a bike into something that I wouldnít want to have in my garage. You might take your SC 500 and run through the gears a few times, and say wow, this thing is quick. But in the real world of actually racing the bike, it was a genuine disappointment and one that will go down in history as one of Yamahaís poorest efforts.

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SUBJECT:  KEEP ON KEEPING ON AMIGO
Dear Rick:
 
Donít know if you remember me; I sent you the black-and-white pictures from my time in Europe. Anyway, you sent me a Super Hunky Sweat Shirt and I wear it a lot around the garage and yet, last week, was the first time I took it out on the town.
 
I got more looks just walking down the mall courtyard than I could imagine.
 
Two sets of maybe 20 year-olds wanted to buy it from me! You are obviously cool with the younger set. I explained it was a gift and not for sale, but they could get one on your website. I explained the photo was not me, but of the most influential bike journalists of the Ď70s.  I think they thought it was a sweatshirt some kids bought for their grandfather for a reunion so his feeble mind could remember the old days.  Like your stuff in VMX.
 
I am staying alive and getting better slowly, very slowly.  I bought a í13 KTM 200 for the elec start, since I have more or less 25% of normal red blood cells due to my lupus and disease induced anemia.  I am riding again, slowly, but love it as much as ever if not more.  I have four CZís and dream of vintage racing if I keep getting better.  Seems funny to say now, but thank god for elec two strokes.  I can barely touch the ground, have bad knees, knee braces, and no way to kick start a bike on a difficult part of the trail, if I stall or fall, so it has made riding possible. In the old days I would have thought elec bike when I just want to go to her writing on any motorcycle was cheating, funny how we change over 60, soon over 70 years old.
 
Hope you are well.
Mike Baker
 
Yep, I know what you mean. Since I have an artificial right knee, I gravitate toward my electric start bike when I want to go trail riding. Old age is no fun, but if you accept the limitations and still go out to capture a little bit of what it used to be like way back when we were younger, that ainít half bad.

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SUBJECT: I CONFESS
Hi Rick,

Are you the realio trulio original "Super Hunky" ?From the Dirt Bike mag of my youth??Suh-WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET   !!!

Best Moto Regards,

Rapid Ralph


Yep, itís me. A whole lot older, but still alive and still riding.

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SUBJECT: MODERN CYCLE DECEMBER 1975
Hi Rick,

Iíve always been a big fan and even read your articles about the 4x4 also. Iím looking for the article you wrote for Modern Cycle December 1975. I have one missing the cover. The great article you wrote on drugs and motocross. I saved it all these years but want a better copy.

Larry Zagalik

That particular article that I did back in Modern Cycle almost got me fired from the magazine business in general. There was a tremendous amount of drug usage among the flat track guys, and like a fool, I tried to blow the whistle on it. What I got was a reaction from the major manufacturers that was just short of a lynching. I was lucky, very lucky, to survive that particular article. Just recently, I have decided to make those years of Modern Cycle available, so hereís the info.

Modern Cycle from Dec 1974 thru Aug Ď77
8 CD set from Rick ďSuper HunkyĒ Sieman
 
When Rick Sieman left Dirt Bike Magazine in late 1974, he took charge of Modern Cycle. Those magazines were some of the wildest issues ever produced. The mags were scanned to 8 CD discs and are in PDF format, which means you can not only access every page, but you can print out the entire magazine, or a single page.  Nearly 3000 pages were scanned!  Cost for the entire 8-CD set is $50, and that includes postage anywhere in the US. Lottsa good stuff in here. 
www.superhunky.com in the STORES section.
 
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SUBJECT:  ORIGINS OF DIRT RIDER MAGAZINE
Rick -- Mike Bishop here. I just read your take on the origins of Dirt
Rider magazine and Dave Ekins' involvement. You're wide of the mark, and
I'd be happy to fill you in on the real story should you care to hear it.

BTW, I enjoy your writing in the down-under vintage motorcycle magazine
-- good energy and fun, much like your work in Dirt Bike many years ago.

All the best . . .

Mike Bishop
Santa Rosa, California
 

Mike,
I was editorial director of Challenge Publications and had Dave Ekins working for me as editor of DR at that time.
Rick Sieman
 

Rick,
Thanks for the prompt response.

Dave and I created Dirt Rider near the end of 1972. The first issue was March 1973. Dave's title was Associate Publisher, mine was Editor. Dave and I wore almost all the "hats," producing 80+ percent of the editorial content, photography, and all of the design, layout, and paste-up; Challenge provided photo lab costs, typesetting, production camera work, printing, and distribution. Ed Schnepf was a rather reluctant publisher and we had to re-sell the idea nearly every month, in spite of relatively healthy ad revenue right from the start. The magazine was well received and Dave and I were proud of our youngster in spite of the toll it took on our personal lives. We were also producing Modern Cycle at the same time (Gordon was on extended medical leave from MC), and received no additional compensation for Dirt Rider. 

We began developing some promising talent around issue number 3 with Brad Zimmerman taking a big load off our backs with his well-written articles, and Rich Cox assuming some of the riding duties. Things seemed to be going nicely . . . right up to issue 8 or 9 (can't really recall), when Ed began making sounds of pulling the plug. Dave and I talked it over and decided to try to find a buyer for the package.
 
I had an informal dinner meeting with a potential publisher who expressed interest and promised to get back to me. This was on a Friday. Dave, Rich Cox, and I had a full day of riding, testing, and shooting on Monday so didn't get into the office until the end of the day, at which time Dave was summoned to Ed's office where he was asked for his resignation. No explanation. I was told I could remain with DR if I chose to, working for the new AP, Bob Braverman.  I quit on the spot.
 
Two 'phone calls the next morning and I had my first book assignment from Clymer Publications which would extend for 30-plus titles over the course of eight years. I was done with motorcycle monthlies for good and moved to Colorado where I could write Clymer books and ski and fish to my heart's content.  I had very little contact with Dave during this time, which seems to coincide somewhat with the time he worked for you at Challenge. I can certainly understand Dave's unhappiness with the work, as a subordinate on a magazine he had created, and I appreciate your clarification of the situation and timelines.
 
RESPONSE:
When I took over the motorcycle magazines at Challenge Publishing as editorial director, Dave Ekinís was indeed in charge of Dirt Rider.  While I hold a genuine respect for what Dave has done throughout the years, I didnít agree with how he was handling Dirt Rider. We sat down and had a meeting and I told him the thoughts I had on the publication and he disagreed rather harshly. At that point, it looked like a bad situation that could only get worse. A few weeks later, Dave gave his resignation and disappeared into the sunset.

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SUBJECT: YAMAHA VINTAGE DIRT BIKE ID GUIDE
I have an old Yamaha with a 351cc 2 stroke engine. I am trying to figure out the year, model and engine size etc. Any info would be great! I would like to restore it back to original. Serial # 365-020282 on frame and engine
Derek
 

 
Your bike is a 1974 Yamaha MX360A and the engine number started  at 365 Ė 020101.
 
 
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SUBJECT:  YAMAHA TTR125 TIMING MARK
i have a 2004 yamaha 125 dirt bike ttr i cant find the 2 timing mark is it on the case or what i have seen the one on the mag
Clifford
 
 

Weíre talking cam shaft timing only. On the left side of the engine case there are two ports with removable plugs. Remove the small upper one and then you can see the timing mark inside.  Thereís a little pointer inside you can see and you line this up with the mag, recalling that this is strictly for cam timing.
 
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SUBJECT:  RATTY OLD 360 MAICO
I'm the owner of that ratty looking 68 Maico 360, and it's currently undergoing a complete frame off restoration -- couple of more months and it should be finished. Bought from a guy on the west coast...The bike was a basket case and I paid entirely too much for it, but that's how it goes sometimes in the vintage world. In 1977 (at age 12), I bought a 68 Maico 360 GS which came equipped with an up pipe and a 3.2 gallon metal enduro gas tank (very rare) for 200.00. I sold it about 2.5 years later for the same price. The bike was indestructible. Anyway, with the help of other square barrel maicophiles I've been able to amass some decent info on these bikes. Sounds like you had an early 68 model. Most of the pics of bikes I've seen from that era have a down pipe. So your bike is rare indeed. I'd love to find my old 360. I can direct you to many other sites that would probably be helpful with your questions as well.
John Hubbard
 
 
Like I said in my Maico vintage bike guide article that appeared in Off-road.com, the first really great Maico was the 360. There was a guy my club that used to ride a Yamaha and I could beat him pretty easy. Then he bought a 360 Maico and the very next race he lapped me. I got the message real quick.
 
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SUBJECT:  MAICO FANS RESPOND       
Re: Ultimate Vintage Maico Guide
Thanks for the article Rick. I wish I had kept all 3 of my old Maicos. Especially the 501!                                   
Mr Maico
 

I got a tremendous reaction to that ultimate Maico guide that I did. It just seems like there was so much confusion out there that this was really needed.


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SHAMELESS PLUG
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 and for more information, the website is:  www.superhunky.com Paypal address:  superhunky@gmail.com.

Have a question for Rick ďSuper HunkyĒ Sieman? E-mail questions to editor@off-road.com, Attn: Donít Ask.

Previous Donít Ask Columns:
December 2013

November 2013

October 2013

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