Don’t Ask: Rick “Super Hunky” Sieman Answers Your Dirt Bike Questions

Oct. 01, 2015 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 … I’ll leave your e-mail unedited, for what it’s worth.

Send your questions to [email protected], Attn: Don't Ask, or leave your questions in the comment section below.

Previous Don't Ask Columns
September 2015

August 2015

July 2015



Bizarre photo. Thought we'd share it with you.


My latest Motorcycle Classics Magazine has an article titled" Under the Radar" featuring this two-page story: "Just Right: 1972-1977 Honda XL250."

They have a few quotes from Cycle Magazine who tested one in it's April, 1972 issue. They claimed: "Attached to the Ceriani forks was 21-inch..." Honda used Italian forks? I always thought they were Showas...

It goes on: "the XL250 was an impressive hill climber...maybe the best." (I'm not making this up!) "...vastly powerful brakes..." front being "extremely progressive"..."a delight to jump and charge on", "...we'd guess that all the Honda dealers will ell all the XL250s they can get."

Now, isn't this the same bike you Dirt Bike referred to as a "turkey" and Honda pulled their ads?
David Fruhling

I checked a 1972 Dirt  Bike for the test and those were definitely not Ceriani forks. On the bottom of each fork leg there are two bolts. Cerianis never had that configuration. That magazine is out of business and you can guess why.



Hey Rick -
I'm sure you get a ton of letters (messages) like this, but I needed to reach out to say Hi. I've always been a fan. My all time favorite is your column, I believe called "dirt bike dog" about a good dog who never sits on tools or cowers when a bike is fired up, etc. I'm not old and I'm not young, I'm 40 yrs old, but remember the 80's fondly. Love off-road history, that I love to this day. Funny enough, I grew up in Medford, NJ, that was right next door to Medford Lakes, NJ, where Clipper lived for a while. I'm an off road guy, not MX. I'll stop rambling, just wanted you to know I loved your stories and just listened to an old pod cast with Steve Mathis, it was so great. Loved hearing about Dirt Bike Mag, and your Macio 490... Great stuff... Thanks, I loved your writing....

Matt Curran

That story about the dog is true. In fact, many of the stories and columns that I did were based on things that actually happened. That may sound hard to believe, but that's it. Thanks very much for the kind words.



Greetings, Rick

Did Dirt Bike or Modern Cycle Magazines ever test the Hallman-Lundin HL500? I'd never heard of it until I stumbled upon it via The Vintage Spoke then YouTube. They made 400 but Pro-Fab provided frames so to make your own using your TT/XT engine(s). They claimed 50hp with only a 0.040 overbore and no stroking. Sounds far fetched.

Wonder how one would go with my Hi-Per-Kinetics Stage Two 650 engine in it.
Ever test or ride one, Rick?

B/W picture of first prototype with Torsten Hallman, Sten Lundin, Bengt Alberg & Steffan Eneqvist.

David Fruhling

I heard about those rather exotic bikes, but never had a chance test one.



Great story for you, Rick:
Leslie and I went on the dreaded "Wal-Mart run" today. It turned out rather nice. I didn't see one obese whale making the electric motor smoke on the Wal-Mart cart.
Leaving the store, ahead of us were an older couple. The male half was wearing an old, blown-out Maico T shirt. They ended up unloading their cart just a few cars away from my truck so I stopped and asked: "I see you have a Maico T shirt on. Own one?" That's all it took. He revved up like an RM400 with a stuck throttle about his two Maicos, a Bultaco, a Hodaka Ace 100 and a Road Toad! I could hardly get a word in edgewise! He told me the time he couldn't afford a new Kawasaki H1 triple and found a used one for $650. I knew he wasn't pulling my shorts when he quoted the exact price and color of a new 1969 H1: "$999" & "white". Only a true motorcycle enthusiast would know those two little tid-bits. 
He claimed to have been born in 1947 and spent his "Golden Age" of dirt biking in the San Francisco Bay area. He mentioned his daily ride is a Harley and that he never rides the Maicos anymore. I thought, "Yeah, at our age, riding a two stroke rocket like a Maico would only foul the plug unless it was ridden correctly (WFO) and there's not too many Mojave deserts up here in southern Oregon."
Well, we had to part ways before his meat went rancid but I gave him my card and told him to call me so we could swap some more lies. I'd also like to see his bikes & he see mine. (I did cut in long enough to tell him before he split: "Wait here." and got my latest Motorcycle Classics Magazine (Sept/Oct; pg. 6) from my truck to show him the 1/2 page spread of my 1979 Yamaha SR500/650, it's third magazine!)
I guess I'm writing this for a couple of reasons:

1) If you got an old T shirt or jacket that's motorcycle related but you are caging it (driving a car) wear it to let other enthusiasts know you're still alive and walking the earth and:
2) If you see some old, graying fart wearing one, stop and talk to him. Swap a few lies and try to get together. It's good for the soul to find a like-minded person who grew up and rode during "The Golden Age of Motorcycling" (1965-1985). We're like Vietnam Veterans, all slowly dying off. Soon, we'll all be gone...
If you're younger and dirt ride, stop and chat. Just leave out those dreaded three words us old farts hate: "radical", "awesome" and "bogus".
Why not drop the T.V. remote, get out into that garage again and invite that old graybeard you met over for a visit or ten? Let him ride your bike...if he can start it of course!
I hope to hear from my new friend soon.
David "TT500" Fruhling

This looks a lot like the Dave memorial issue, but he sure made some excellent points. Let's share all those great old memories.



Hello Super Hunky,

I am a long time follower of you, at age 55.Read you during the Dirt Bike era. Got back to following you a bit on I wrote a post to you something like, ‘Jesus, you’re still alive?’ ...Respectively.

My folks house (in Las Vegas) was right next to the original Barstow to Vegas route so I saw most of the B to V era, finishing at the Islander bar, then 76 Truck Stop.  My dad had to boot the course markers off his property so 3000 dirtbikes didn’t race across his five acres. Pretty funny.

Just an old story of mine of where you were around at that time. My folks have since passed and I sold that lousy piece of dirt for big bucks. Strange how time moves along.

I don’t hear much of you these days, and as a reader and follower, I hope you are getting along ok. As a fan, its been good reading some of your stories, articles and what have you.  I hope my grammar and punctuation are ok. ...Always enjoyed your ribbing to those with poor writing ability! Cheers,

Ernie H.

Believe it or not, I'm almost 76 and still riding stupid dirt bikes. It doesn't make a lot of sense, but what are the options?


Hey Rick, how about putting out the plans for the Bike Work Bench you guys published. I was over at Lane Leavitt's house last week, and he was showing me his that he built. I'm sure there would be plenty of interest!

Tom Van Beveren

Do it Yourself Workbench Tech

Material list:
· You'll need 1 1/2 sheets of 4' x 8' x ?" plywood. Note: Buy three sheets with a friend and eliminate left-over material.
· 2x4s. Two cut to 70 1/2 inches, two 22 ? inches and one 19 1/2 inches. One 22 ? inch 2x6.
· Four sturdy hinges, approximately 2 inches by 4 inches on each plate of the hinge. At least three bolts per plate.
· One hook-and-eye latch.
· Assorted nails, screws, bolts, nuts and washers to attach hinges.

Note: Lengths of the 2x4s may need to be adjusted slightly to match the plywood pieces.

From one sheet of plywood, cut out the two sides and the two end pieces. Save the 12x96 section for later. Build the base from the two 70 ? inch 2x4s and from the 19 ? inch 2x4 and the 2x6. Bevel the top edge of the 2x6 to match the angle on the side pieces. Note: It's best to use screws for assembly.

Assemble the sides to the base, making sure the ends of the base are flush with the ends of the sides. Install the two 22 ? inch 2x4s as shown. Be sure the back edge of the pivot 2x4 is aligned with the angle where the top and the ramp cutout meet, or the top will not pivot properly.

Install one of the 18x24 plywood sheets onto the end, forming a box. Now attach the other 18x24 sheet to the 96x24 sheet with two hinges. Use nuts and bolts, with body washers between the bolt heads and the plywood.

Rest the assembly on top of the box with "A" flush with the ramp end of the box. With the box on its side, you can then place and mount the two pivot hinges. If you do not align the hinges properly, the top will not pivot. Turn the stand upright with "A" perpendicular to the base. The top should be parallel to the ground.

If everything has been done properly, you should be able to turn the "A" piece until it's parallel to the ground. The entire top should then pivot to form a ramp the bike can be pushed up. As the bike's center of gravity passes the pivot point, the top should return to a horizontal position and "A" will fold in, preventing the top from swiveling.

Note: Build a front wheel stop so you don't push the bike off the end. It's best if the stop is positioned so the front axle is a few inches past the end of the box. Use eye bolts, or cut a hole in the sides, for tiedowns. Install the hook-and-eye latch at the angled end of the box to prevent "A" from pivoting unexpectedly!

Extra Notes: Cut holes in the sides for storage underneath. Use only top grade plywood. You can add 3/4 inch angle iron down each side of the top (screws every 6 to 8 inches) to prevent the top from flexing with heavier motorcycles. You might have to add some weight to the underside of the pivot end so it will stay in the down position when rolling a bike up on the stand. Make the front wheel stop moveable for different length bikes. Use oil base paint for the top. You can also add two 19 ? -inch 2x4s to the base for added strength. To make the stand look really pro, you can put some sheet metal on top, and this makes clean-up easy.


Hi from down under(as in Australia not "down under" like your penis has suddenly developed a voice).I was having a browse thru the net and saw your comments re IRZ carbies. You mentioned what a piece of crap they are(and I totally agree)however I've very recently discovered something worse than an IRZ and than being an IRZ that's been cleaned by Hydro-Aqua blasting. Talk about dumb, but I'd never had anything cleaned using this method. Pick them up and wow,they were clean and I was stoked. Guy says to me "oh you MAY need to pull them down and clean them out to remove any STUFF that MAY have found it's way in" "Cool" says I as that was always the plan.
Normally they would have gone straight in the bin but as I'm restoring a Yankee I thought that I'd keep it original. You mention they are a bit tricky at any time,try pulling one(or two)apart after they've had the clean. This is the funny part,I didn't know that other than hi pressure water there is TA DA,ultra fine glass bead abrasive also. My carbies where seized up solid with stuff that MAY have found it's way in. You will know my frustration when it came time to just take the top off the carby,drop out the slide and clean out the Stuff. Two days of trying every trick known to man and I was finally reduced to butchery to get the top off the carb and finally using a drift from the bottom and hammering the slide and jets out. Partially destroyed carbies and slides that look like they are splined. Now the hunt begins for parts to replace the items I've damaged and the end result is that I'll end up with two crap carbs just for the sake of "keeping it original". I know what a stickler you are for getting punctuation correct so I hope this email meets with your approval.(I had my little brother write it LOL) Cheers from Oz.

Feel free to have a chuckle,I only thought I'd mention it due to your "glowing opinion"of them(IRZ).
Lew Hammen

Now you know how not to clean a carb, especially an IRZ.


Hey Hunky, been a long, long, long time. Think last time I saw/talked to you was when we were still down at 10600 Sepelveda Blvd. -- Guessing early 90's-ish?

* Remember I was in the F'ing Cubby-Hole w/Faulk, just outside Shoop + Jane + Carla and ??? (Forgot his name), and you guys were on the other side of the 3&4 Wheel Action/Dirt Wheels divers, right before going into the lunch-room, that briefly had a Foozeball table! Think/thought I'd heard you moved South O'-de-Border?

Hope you're digging it man. Rubber-side down!
Brian Roberts
aka: Harvey

Wow, that takes me back. I moved to Rosarito Beach in Baja and lived there for about 15 years. Now I am in Arizona and doing quite well.


. . . thx for the reply 'hunkman',,, appreciate the response. me retired motohead from socal, Whittier hills, diamond bar, Brea area. Raced almost everywhere starting with taco mini bike at Saddleback's mini course. The Dunes, AME in '77, CMC, SMX, DCR, CRC, etc. on a '74 cr250 Al Baker tweaked for me.

Raced with Invaders in 83 on new IT490, then back to  moto with new '86 CR500 from LeBard & Underwood, La Habra.  AVDRA in '08 on a '72 CR250 Husky, Traded for RM500, then Lymphoma slow'd me a bit, now playing with this '87 C5.

The two best bikes I've owned and raced have to be a 1987 CR250 and a KX500 bought from Paul Kraus in '88. He and Larry used it as a mule for breaking 'werks parts and flogging pre production pieces, so when I got it,, it was all new with some Kawi 'Irvine 'Factory tweaks. Third gear holeshots, consistently.
Anyway, most all of this 'bovine flatulence' is true and my mom still thinks I'm kinda cool, although, she says I'm slipperier than a frogs elbow, whatever the hell that means. If your around sometime and need a hand with some'pn,,,, call or comeby, I mtnbike almost daily and, I'm always look'n for something fun to do. c'ya, Ken

Isn't it astonishing how much we relish those good old days. We were very fortunate to have actually lived it.

SUBJECT:  WHEN ARE YOU TOO OLD?                                         
I would like all of your opinions on something. I am a old racer pushing 70 next May. I raced a lot in the 60's-70's and started play racing again when I turned 60. That didn't last very long because I had a modern bike that was more than I needed and I had a couple near misses so I hung it up. I collect and restore Bultacos and I want to try to ride vintage after I turn 70 and retire from my job. I have a garage full of the best Bultacos models ever built and I want to race again. I am in good health but I also know that a bad get off could mean the end at my age. (broken hip, etc.) Do you think I am nuts? My wife and kids do.
Mike Linbeck

I'm almost 76 and still ride. I cut back on the racing a bunch, but every time I walk through my garage and see my favorite bike sitting there, I get the urge to fire up and go riding. Luckily, I have 4 acres and can just open up the garage door and go for it. I made myself a little homemade track and every once a while, push it real hard. Every now and then, I scare the hell out of myself and then back off. Then I roll bike back in the garage and relive the memories.


Hello, Stranger!
I was going through some recent "Don't Ask!" articles and reread the one I sent Hunky about the DT400. He referred me to you. I had a numbered list of questions trying to make it easy for you to answer but instead of answering them, you responded with what you described as a "child-like response".

Well, it's rather late for me to utilize the four responses anyway.

However, I noticed you said you had "over 40 years experience with about every Yamaha Enduro ever produced."

You ended with a compliment on my SR500/650 but said they're "...kind of impossible to hop up...". You did know that mine has been rather "hopped up", didn't you?

It's running a Hi-Per-Kinetics Stage Two 650 (out of four) stroker.

You can search: "Cycle Magazine May 1979 Hi-Per-Kinetics article" and read all about hopping up the XT/TT/SR engines.

Rather than go into all that can easily be done, I'll just say mine is putting 43hp to the pavement (at the wheel) almost double stock.

My first TT, a '77 had the minor 540cc bore, head/cam/exhaust/carb work. I've owned 3 TT's so far by the way.

Anyway, anything can be "hopped up" if your pocket$ are deep enough, Matt.

On a sort of different note, check the September/October issue of Motorcycle Classics Magazine and see my SR featured on page 6, it'sthird magazine!


David Fruhling      

We sent Dave's email to Matt Cuddy for his response. Brace yourself:

The DT 400 was a pig, pure and simple. My F7 175 Kawasaki could put it to a yellow tanked 400 with ease. I had a 1976 TT550 Yamaha with every go fast mod ever produced for it, and all it made it was almost impossible to start.
The 1975 Green tank DT360 had a 30mm carb, and enough detonation to cause catastrophic black outs and solar spikes. If you didn't hole a piston, you had it parked in the garage.
Now Dave, can I call you Dave? You probably think I'm a real axxhole and all that, but I don't care. Both bikes you picked to restore and hop up are about as desirable as a 15 pound zit.
I had a 1976 Black SR500 that was one of the nicest street bikes I ever owned. The black paint with the gold pin striping made it an instant classic. STOCK. I regularly rode it from NAS Oceana Virginia to Pier nine at Norfolk Naval base to fix up our PR shop on my boat for the next med cruise. It never missed a beat, and if you lined up that little red dot on the left hand side camshaft doohickey it wouldn't blow your ankle into smithereens when it kicked back.
Sorry, but I stand by what I said.



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 … 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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