Donít Ask: Rick ďSuper HunkyĒ Sieman and Your Dirt Bike Questions

Dec. 01, 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.

Send your questions to [email protected], Attn: Don't Ask.

Previous Donít Ask Columns:
November 2014

October 2014

September 2014




Want to see the first Husky ever built? Here it is and the year was 1903.


I have a 1996 RM 80 I rode the bike though a lot of puddles while it was raining a ran into too deep of a puddle I got it stared after awhile then quite running its so hard to kick start there's oil coming out of the muffler too
When you take a bike through any kind of water like that, you better go through the entire unit. That means that you should take the carburetor apart and clean out any water in the float bowl and the jets, clean the filter and make sure all the water is out of it and check all the connections for water. That oil that you mentioned coming out of the muffler is probably mostly water, so take it from there.
Project Lowbucks Ö curious how well the paint will hold up on the tank: I've never had luck painting plastic tanks, with any paint from a spray can to two part with flex agent & adhesion promoter. much like decals lift from the fuel vapors, so does paint. sealing the tank from the inside might be worth a try, but I've had bad experiences with tank sealers in plastic tanks.

When using paint on plastics, always use a good quality paint. We use Krylon and it works just fine. Prepping the service to be painted is the key to having the paint stay well.  I make sure that the surface is cleaned properly with contact cleaner and then lacquer thinner. Once this is done, the paint seems to hold up nicely.  Of course, it will rub off with use, but then another coat will make it look good again.
I agree with Dan, the fuel vapours simply cause paint to bubble and peel off.
No Name
Not if you prepare the surface of the plastic as I outlined. Actually, the only part where the bubbles tend to appear at all is the fuel tank. Fenders, number plates and side panels will stay looking good for a long time

What i have found to work is using a Karcher high pressure hot wash, which melts off a layer of the bleached out plastic and then using wet and dry sandpaper in gradually finer grades and then finishing with cutting compound, you end up with pretty close to original shine.
Good idea. A lot of work, but you do end up with a good looking finish.
I have a 2002 Yamaha yzf426 just put a different bottom end on it and got it all back together and now it wants to lock up Also it had no,compression it has hotcams installed and it's is locking up as the two lobes on the hot cams push the two valves Down any suggestions??
Yep, put the stock parts in and your problems will go away.
Being an old fart I heartily agree with the article I just read on your site about 2 strokes, their demise and the introduction of the highly complex 4 strokes of today.  The last decent four stokes were the HONDA XR's.  Problem is they did nto break, too reliable and too easy to fix.  Answer discontinue.

Now we have the new CRF F for foolish to buy one.  Not at all like the legacy HONDA CR Elsinore. I even bought one and joined in on the foolishiness  bandwagon. 2008 CRF450X.  Sold it three years later as I did not like it and it just sat and sat.  I always found myself riding my 2004 XR250R and having a blast.

Other bikes in my stable, a 1976 MR250 Elsinore and a 1977 Suzuki PE 250 both fun easy to ride and relaible 2 strokes.  I also have several of the "enduro's" (aka today's dualsports).  I loved that time and the bikes of the past. All of my bikes run and have been either restored frame up and or run as is from back in the day, complete and cosmetically eye candy.

I wish one day I could shake your hand.  I have read your articles since I was 18.  I turn 60 11/11/2014.
Take care
My bikes:
1972 HONDA XL250 (3) and one motor in work to stuff into a C&J frame.
1974 XL350
1975 XL350
1976 TL125
1974 MT250
1972 TS125, TS185, TS250 and TS00J
1971 TS250R
1972 SL125
1970 SL100
1973 DT3 250
1974 DT360A
1977 XL350
1971 SL350
1974 XL125
1974 XL175
2005 XR60L
2004 XR250R
2014 DRZ 400S
Part of the reason that the new generation of four strokes is unreliable is that they make their power at crazy RPM. Itís not unusual for a brand-new 450 single motocrosser  to turn 13,500 RPM at peak power. No way did those great old bikes you mentioned make that kind of power at those RPM.



Hi Rick,

Although I never met you personally, I feel like I know you from all your columns in Dirt Bike magazine. You made me laugh so hard my stomach would hurt. I know you probably won't remember this but in one of the early 70's viewfinders grand prix's at indian dunes we had an encounter. I came down a steep hill and saw a rider on the side of the trail so I stopped to see if he needed help. I said " need help?" And you said " nope, want a beer?" So we drank a beer, shot the breeze then went on to finish the race.
You brought a lot of real joy to a lot of us expert wannabes. We are all praying for you to get well.

Dick Pearson
Novice #660 1974 BV finisher (placed 922)
I donít remember that incident exactly, but if we shared a beer together, weíre old friends. And thatís a fact.

I need some wisdom concerning my Hi-Per-Kinetics 650 thumper (Yamaha TT/SR/XT) 500. I've got it down to 1 to 2 kicks to start. I learned to crack the throttle a tad which tells me the enrichener circuit isn't functioning correctly. All my other TT's start first kick and idle with the enrich lever down. It runs great until I turn the enrich off. When I lift the lever to turn off the enrichener, it acts like the gas delivery is strangled.
1) Does the excessive bore/stroke (97mmX88mm vs 87X84 stock) affect the vacuum operated petcock, not allowing it to open fully?
2) Does it sound like a simple case of circuitry plug?
3) Could it be a minor adjustment (unlikely)
4) It doesn't idle...plugged idle circuit causing the entire problem?
5) Does the enrichener circuit feed off the idle circuit?
I can't just pull the fuel line from the carb and check flow what with the stupid EPA vacuum petcock.
Remember, the bike sat about 27 years but w/o fuel. I opened the carb and it was spotless inside but I still completely, and I DO mean "completely" took it apart and soaked it in a new 1/2 gallon can of carb medic soak for a week. I know how you always ream the idiots who "clean" a carb by taking the float bowl off and blowing into it a few times...or spraying the outside with a can of ether.
When I "clean" a carb (and I've cleaned hundreds in my mechanical career) I know all about the tiny, screw-in jets that are easily overlooked by the idiots. I'll pry out any circuit "freeze plugs" IF I have replacements.
When I'm riding, as long as it's on "enrich" on the Mikuni, it runs strong and hard but after a few seconds, dies unless I let off the throttle and reapply it which is fuel starvation.
It's got a VM36mm with 3.0 slide, 6DH3 needle, 2nd from top "lean", 159-P5 needle jet, 30 pilot and 260 main jet. It has a 5120 H.P. Megacycle camshaft.
Kind of weird having someone actually provide more info than: "dude my 1980 or 90 dirt bike spatters and crops out whats wrong dude?" I'd mention the year of the bike but the engine in it is of unknown vintage #2J2-003618
Hopefully, this is one of the better "Don't Ask!" letters you've received in a long while.
Hope you can help, Rick.
Dave Fruhling

Chances are very real that your pilot jet is clogged or partially clogged. First thing I would do would be to replace the pilot jet.  In fact, I would go two sizes bigger to a size 40 instead of the 30 you have in it right now. If that doesnít work then the only thing left would be the circuitry itself leading up to the pilot jet. Try this and let me know what happens.
I don't know what way the gas is on reserve, on, or off on a 2001 suzuki rm80
C Henderson
On the left-hand side youíll find some letters that say OFF.  Even a dummy like me can figure out thatís not the ON switch. Straight down will give you the ON position. And that only leaves one place where the reserve might be.
Hello my name is Chris. I recently purchased an 1978 yamaha dt100. I'm not getting any spark to the plug visually but crazy thing is if u hold plug in hand and hold other hand on engine it will shock u randomly. I've checked all wires for damage. Any ideas. No visual spark.
The chances are very real that you have one or more connections on your wires loose. Whenever you hold the plug wire in your hand, the connection becomes momentarily correct.  Check all of your wires, and I mean all, and make sure all the connections are clean, solid and corrosion free.


Here is a picture of my first dirt bike ever, modified from a Honda 55 dream. Note the Groovy pinstripe bell bottoms, and the $5 swap meet blue metal flaked helmet.

Riding motorcycles changed my life for the better, and gave me a sense of freedom that I think is missing in most young people's lives today. Back in those days youcould ride just about anywhere you wanted to in the hills around Southern California. It was "sort of" illegal to do so, but back then, if the cops chased you, you just ran! They rarely ever caught anyone, (because they couldn't) even on a Honda 55! If you did get caught, (nobody I knew ever did) it would be a tiny fine, and not the life ruining felony that resisting arrest (for the fun of riding) would be today.

Riding motorcycles taught me to work on and fix things, and I can now fix just about anything. Back then, I didn't have the money for a mechanic, so if I wanted to ride, I had to do everything mechanical my bikes needed.

Dirt Bike Magazine also changed my life, as I would buy every issue, and read it cover to cover, learning from the Tech tips, and laughing my ass off at the From the Saddle columns. I even used your story Rick, "Sabre Toothed Jackrabbit" as a public speaking project in High School, to the enormous laughter of my classmates, who couldn't believe that the shy kid gave suck an awesome presentation.

Back in those days, I lived, ate, and breathed motorcycles. I watched "Then Came Bronson" every week!

Unfortunately, really good bikes eluded my grasp, until my short lived but completely awesome adventure with a 1974 Maico 400 Radial, with forward mounted shocks. Broken transmission parts I could not afford halted my fun, but not before experiencing what I had seen on the cover of Dirt Bike Magazine many times, - stuffing the bike into a corner, and coming out of the corner doing both a slide, and a wheelie! Just the most awesome feeling in the world on that Maico 400!

Never got to race, even though I always wanted to, but I sure had fun riding, and riding hard, considering my machinery.

I used to be a flagman at race tracks like Muntz, and Bay Mare so I saw a lot of that action.

John Barmettler

We all had to start somewhere.


hi, i came across your article about the yamaha jt1 on your website..  i recently picked up a 1971 at a flea market. this one is green and white. it looks completely original. doesnt look like a repaint at all.  i havent been able to find any definite information as to the option of green. it would be nice to see any ads or yamaha  paperwork.  any help is appreciated.  
thanks, Dan

The colors that we showed last month were the only things that we could come up with. However, that doesnít mean that other countries didnít get different colors.



Donít  laugh, because weíve all seen people like this.

Super Hunky Lives!!! I met you in Ensenada on my first trip to the Baja 1000 in 2006! I am a huge lifetime fan and have read practically everything that you wrote for Dirt Bike! You a true Icon in the sport and a huge influence on me!!!! I learned a lot of what I know from your compositions and the magazines through the years! I actually got on a TM400 Cyclone and pinned it to see if it would kill me! I lived but man! what a ride! Thanks and Good Luck!
Stephen Thomas
Hope to see you at another Baja 1000.  The beer is on me.
Dear super hunky, I ran across your book on the strictly hodaka website, bought it and had a great read. I saw the name "super hunky" and said to myself, I wonder if this guy is from PA. That question was answered in the first few paragraphs. I am also from PA, but the eastern side, and another coal mining area.
I grew up riding Hondas in the mountains and in areas filled with mine tailings. Then in college rode a CB750f. Went overseas for a few years after that and lost touch with riding until recently when crap health has given me enforced leisure time. Started putting together hodakas, probably as a way to recapture what was, and having fun learning to ride again.
Thanks for the advice re-modern four strokes. I don't know if you have the time or inclination, but I would love to read a book about your riding adventures, antics and friends. I have not much interest in battles with the govt. . At 53, and having numerous now socially unacceptable hobbies and opinions, and living in NY, I realize it is by the rich, and for the rich, and hate to spend time thinking of the futility of trying to change things.
Yes, just looking for escapist entertainment that I can relate to! Thanks for taking the time to read this. I still love the smell of premix, thanks again, Bob

I remember playing in an abandoned coal mine as a kid.  Dumb as a brick.



Rick, I've been seeing these television commercials about how to increase the male libido with certain "supplements" and so forth. I was thinking...if I tossed a handful of Viagra in the gas tank of my Bultaco, would I increase it's "Lobito"?
Just wundrin...

David Fruhling

Itís worth a try.


During the 1980s, the publishers tried to take advantage of the popularity of the Dirt Bike staff and were trying to make some humorous videos. This is one lame attempt.



Thinking about getting a project dual-sport machine to ride after the government engineered collapse of our great nation, so I want an old school air cooled rig (thinking that coolant will be outlawed by the global warming Nazis).  Would like 6 speeds, dirt worthy but street legal.  What say you about a Suzy DR350??  I like the dry sump oil-in-frame aspect of it.  Is it decent enough on the street?  Better than XR400?
Your idea on the Suzy is good.  All things considered, the XR is a slightly better bike, but it does have a clutch problem.  When it gets hot, it starts to slip. You could put Barnett plates in it, and that solves the problem, but they are not cheap.  The Suzuki shifts better and vibrates less. Yes, the XR is a bit faster with more low end torque, but the Suzy starts easier and you can find one for a better price.



That racer on the Harley Baja is non other than the Victors MC's Mike Hayes.



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 email is:  [email protected]

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