Don’t Ask: Rick “Super Hunky” Sieman Answers Your Questions
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.
Have a question for Rick “Super Hunky” Sieman? E-mail questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, Attn: Don’t Ask.
Previous Don’t Ask Columns:
SUBJECT: MAICO/MIKUNI JETTING SPECS
Hello,ive got an 83 maico 490 like yours and the carb has never been
right.What carb and jetting did you go with that would help me?
I’ve done this to my ‘83 490 when I installed a 38 mm Mikuni carburetor on it. After playing with the jetting quite a bit, I ended up with the following numbers:
pilot jet … 40
main jet … 380
needle jet … R6
needle … 6DN8
With this jetting, the bike has become easier to start, is much faster, especially at the lower rpm range, and even gets better mileage. I’d recommend this to any Maico owner.
SUBJECT: GOOD OLD DIRT BIKE FRIENDS
This is my best friend a whiling co conspirator and riding buddy he has 65 dirt bikes ,some run ,some fix, all are old like us but with still a lot of fun in them!!!
If this guy has 65 dirt bikes, he can’t be all bad. Hang on to this friend.
SUBJECT: DEATH MACHINE?
Was this the car you used before the GYDBT?
I’m sure some kid will buy this and send you an email asking:
What model is it?
How do I adjust the power band?
What is the gas to oil mix ratio?
Looks like something Mad Max rode as a kid…
That definitely was not in my vehicle ownership around that time. Back then, the only people who drove VWs were hippies. Still, you gotta give the guy credit for a lot of imagination. I just wouldn’t want to be behind him on the road
SUBJECT: 1973 Honda XL 125
I’m not looking to race a vintage bike. Just interested in having one in my garage if I can get one for a bargain price. I have a shot at a 1973 Honda XL 125 with only 1500 original miles. It is in mint condition. What is a fair price for something like that? Should I buy an XL?
If the bike is in mint condition, then you could expect to pay between $1000 and $1200 for it. However, let me warn you that the XL 125 was a painfully slow and very boring bike to ride. If you’re going to get something, and ride it once in a while, then you should definitely get something with a little steam in it.
SUBJECT: THE BEST OSSA EVER BUILT
I grew up in the ‘60s and ‘70s trail riding and racing dirt bikes (mostly Enduros), and had a variety of bikes (BSA, Yamaha, Penton, Kawasaki and Ossa). Generally, the Japanese bikes could be built to run strong but they didn’t handle all that well. The Penton had great handling and power, but my all-time favorite was a 1972 Ossa Pioneer as a woods bike. In the last few years I have acquired three 1972 Pioneers that bring back a lot of great memories. The one in the middle is bone stock with the one on the right set up for strickly dirt and the one on the left, set up for road riding. They aren’t show pieces as I ride them regularly and the unique styling gets a lot of comments. I have resolved the IRZ carb issues by replacing them with 28 mm OKO carbs. They are simple to tune and the bikes run great with them.
Fort Wayne, IN
I never really appreciated the Ossa Pioneers until I entered a national enduro on them. My buddy Tom I got a pair of them to ride and came away very impressed as to how good those bikes were. All things considered, I have to rate it as one of the best all-around enduro bikes of the ‘70s.
SUBJECT: NAME THAT DKW
I saw the attached picture on a DKW website (with your name on it) and I just bought one just like it yesterday and wondering if you can tell me what year and model it is with the VIN number?
It was a barn find and it's obviously not restored, but all there - all original parts. Wondering if I can send you a couple pictures of it and see what you think and how much you think it's worth.
Also if it's worth restoring or just selling as is?
Your bike is a ‘71 or ‘72 and is worth restoring. Selling it for a profit is not quite as easy, as there are a limited number of hard-core Deek guys out there.
SUBJECT: STOLEN BIKE SAGA
I thought you might get a laugh or two out of this true story. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my tetanus shot.
I have enjoyed reading Rick Sieman, a.k.a. Super Hunky or simply “Hunk" to most of the dirt biking population, from his early days at Dirt Bike Magazine through his stint at Modern Cycle, to today's official Super hunky. com.
If ever one singular person did a better job at communicating with, and I must quote Rick here, "honest to Gawd, down to earth dirt bikers named Fred", well.... I suppose I'd rave about them as well. But we're not talking about imposters, are we? Several years ago I bought a copy of Rick's book Monkey Butt and proceeded to read it about 35 times. Some of the articles I remembered well. Others were new to me. All were enjoyable. I absolutely loved the one about Enduro Heaven. Loved even more the one about Enduro Hell.
I laughed my ass off when I heard some of the combinations he described….. TM400’s with wildly ported barrels and 44mm carbs…. Bikes with “electrics by Lucas decals”….
I’ve been dirt riding for nearly 37 years now and I’ve seen some pretty stupid stuff. Having caught the vintage bug years ago I have drug home many project bikes with some questionable modifications. Common things like welded on kick starters and shocks. At times one can almost understand these radical repairs. Your kick shaft is stripped and you just have to ride that day. Stupid things, sure, but they do happen. The air cleaner element I found on a 1974 DT250 I picked up a few years ago wasn’t one of those. Sorry, but a black, ratty Towncraft black dress sock just won’t cut it.
But wait, I was talking about Enduro Hell, wasn’t I? Surely it doesn’t exist… Well comrades, it not only does exist, it’s worse that we were led to believe!
A little background: Back in the day, 1976 to be exact, I made the mistake of leaving my ratty old Honda 100 outside on a work stand in my father’s backyard. The bike wasn’t my primary ride and was pretty much something I tinkered with trying to learn how to service a bike. This particular day the bike was perched on a stand sans front wheel, seat, and tank. I went to bed that night figuring it would be safe. Hell, it was 1976 and we lived in a small Midwestern town. Plus Mom’s poodles lost their God damn minds anytime someone walked past the house. No sense wrestling the old beast in the shed, I thought.
Well, I was wrong and the bike disappeared. The dogs must have had the night off or something. I racked my brain trying to figure out who the thief was and felt very sick to my stomach. It’s a terrible feeling, let me tell you, especially after slaving on a paper route for two years to come up with the funds to buy the old girl.
I heard rumors at school about who the thief was, but I had no proof. One of the guys in questions was a real winner named Jimmy. Jimmy always was shady when it came to his acquisitions and we all knew he was a thief. The local police knew it too, but old Jimmy must have been slicker than the average bear having never been caught. I remember paying him a visit shortly thereafter with my stolen Honda’s frame number written in ink on my hand. After some small talk Jimmy invited me into his shed where he had several bike related items along with his DT360. I looked as closely as I could without tipping my hand and saw a silver frame in the corner that was definitely a Honda. Shoot, what to do now, I thought.
Then I caught a break – Jimmy’s mom hollered out the back door that he had a phone call. That was all the time I needed to check the V.I.N. on the steering column. The frame, which was indeed an SL100, wasn’t mine after all. Looking back I should have beaten a confession out of the little sneaky bastard, but I didn’t.
Fast forward to 2005. During a visit to my sister's house she asked me if I knew a guy named Jimmy that was into dirt bikes. I said yeah, he stole my first motorcycle and I’m still gonna get him back someday. She said “Well, you’re in luck. He moved in across the street.”
Sure enough, the thieving bastard had set up shop across the road in a run down looking dump that featured several ratty sheds in the backyard to compliment the half dozen or so junk cars sitting in the driveway. The kind of neighbor you just love to see move in near you. Well, I wasted no time thinking about it and made a beeline to Jimmy’s front door. I banged a few times and the half dozen or so yard dogs he had staked out in the backyard began howling. Getting no response other than the hounds I figured he wasn’t around and turned to leave. As I stepped off his crumbling concrete stoop the door opened. A gray haired, older version of Jimmy the Sneak opened the door and recognized me right off. After asking how I was his first question was what kind of bikes I have now…. My defenses went on alert and I proceeded to lie about everything I could. False address, you name it. Thoughts of an old Jimmy sneaking up my driveway and into my garage popped into my mind. I wondered if my dog would be as worthless as Mom’s. No sense taking that chance, I thought.
So after some evasive small talk I asked him if he had any bikes or parts for sale. I guess down deep I hoped to find my little Honda sitting all alone in a run down shed waiting patiently for daddy to rescue it. Visions of me swinging open a squeaky door while brushing away cobwebs popped in my mind. And there she would be, exactly as she was so many years ago. In the perfect world this would have happened and I would have turned and kicked the living shit out of Jimmy before lofting her on my shoulder and carrying her to safety. But that stuff only happens in bad movies, (or bad stories it seems).
Instead I found an odd collection of things that inspired me to write this rambling piece.
I saw a row of bikes, six total, laying on their sides as if one had been tipped over and the other five had fallen like dominoes. Tall grass had grown between them and had fallen over. All of the bikes were rusty and decrepit looking. I could tell from a distance what some of them were. A Honda step through 90, an early Husky water cooler, a mid seventies enduro, a street Yamaha… a couple of Gold Wings. I figured that out of the entire heap I’d be able to find something of value that I could use. As I got closer I became unsure of what the hell these bikes were. The Honda step through wasn’t even a Honda. It was a Yamaha of unknown vintage. I think the paint scheme threw me – it was white. All of it. Frame, tank, seat, wheels. Even the tires. Gee, wonder if that one was stolen? That always seems to be the case. Hey, let’s steal a bike and paint the whole damned thing white. Don’t worry about ID numbers! No one will pay any attention!
The Enduro? Oh yeah. That thing. It turned out to be an old Hodaka Thunder Dog enduro. At least some of it was a Hodaka. Jimmy had a penchant, it seems, for grafting parts from other makes on the bikes. Maybe he did it to throw the would be bike rescuers like me off the scent. Maybe it was because he was a dumbass and thought a gigantic instrument cluster from a Yamaha Virago would look great on an old XT500. The Hodie had a speedo from an unidentified street bike and a chrome fender from a Honda CB to compliment it. The taillight was provided by Suzuki and the wires were spliced together using masking tape. The motor looked complete and promising until I saw that the spark plug was missing. As a matter of fact, all of the bikes had open plug holes. Maybe Jimmy felt they needed to be preserved inside? Both wheels were rusty and refused to budge.
At first I thought the Husky may have some value. Wrong again. The forks were from an XL Honda from the ‘70s and were pitted all to hell. The motor was broken in more than one place. The rear shock was a lump of rust. The tank and seat were nowhere to be found. The tires – worn to the cords and brick hard. To my amazement, the rear sprocket looked brand new. The choice of handlebars was top notch – ape hangers.
Jimmy could see my disappointment. Maybe it was my wrenching, dry heaves. I can’t say, but he was sharp enough to keep me moving. He must have really needed some cash or something. “Over here is a good one. In this chicken coop.” I started to make my way over when he reminded to me watch out for the little dog to my right. The dog seemed friendly enough, I said. “Nope. She’s about twenty years old and will bite the piss outta you if you near her. She’s blind and hasn’t had her shots, too.” Jimmy had several dogs tied up like this one and like his bikes they all seemed to be very pale shadows of their former glory. I probably should have pulled my Glock at this point and shot him in the ass for principals sake, but I didn’t. First I’d see what else he had. The bike in the wire cage was yet another Gold Wing with weird things attached. The straight pipes were a nice touch, I thought, but not for me. I also wondered how he got that pig of a bike through the tiny door. I mean, why even bother? The thing had no roof to protect the bike from the elements.
Jimmy saved the best for last. ‘Up here on my porch is my baby.” I could see wheels showing from under a tarp. At least this one was covered. Jimmy gave this one a hell of a buildup. It was almost like being on the set of Lets Make a Deal. With all the fanfare he could muster he pulled back the tarp to reveal what was once an XT500 Yamaha. This one, he said, ran. Well, it used to. Hell Jimmy, THEY ALL USED TO RUN.
Like the other prizes on Jimmy’s island for misfit toys, this bike was seriously screwed up. Cut off wires everywhere. A huge, red headlight without a lens. Speedo from something I couldn’t identify. All I knew was it was huge and ugly. Chrome rear fender with a Suzuki TS tail light the size of a basketball, unwired, of course. The pipe was nothing more than rust holding hands and the heat shield looked like it fell off an old Nash Rambler. It was wired in place with old Romex electrical wire, 12-2 I believe. The carb appeared to be something more modern. “Yeah, it’s a pumper carb, a 40mm unit, but I just can’t get the bike to run with it,” said a puzzled Jimmy. Recalling the bikes came stock with a 32mm, I nodded as if I gave a shit and turned my attention to that glorious seat. Jimmy was most proud of the seat cover, it seemed. It was bright red and I’ve never seen anything like it offered to the sane seat cover buying public. As I wondered what company that had to be insolvent now would even dare to market such an item Jimmy said he’d had it made custom. I wasn’t a bit surprised by the comment. And to think I could have owned that fine unit for 400 hard earned bucks.
I’d seen enough. I thanked Jimmy as I walked through the obstacle course he called a backyard and headed back across the street. The last thing I heard was Jimmy asking if I had any carbs that would work on the XT. “The size won’t matter as long as I can get it to slip into the manifold,” he said. I waved and kept going.
In my eyes old Jimmy has paid for his crime against me a thousand times over. While my little Honda he stole only cost me 140 bucks, his pitiful life seems to be a combination of Rick’s enduro hell and the Island of Doctor Moreau.
I imagine I’ll return again someday to see what abominations Jimmy has created; just out of curiosity knowing what I will see will be more of the same. I’ll also keep that tiny bit of hope alive that maybe I’ll get my bike back.
Wow, you could’ve done a whole book on that guy. It’s just too bad that you couldn’t find your Honda. That would’ve been the capper on the story.
SUBJECT: TWIN OR SINGLE SHOCK YZ?
I,m trying to peice together a 250 yz for vintage racing. I
have both a 75 & 74 YZ250 frames. The 74 is all rusted but not bent.
hae 75 is like almost new. I`m thinking about making the 75 a twin
shock, yes I have the skill`s. Do you know if the frames have the same
steering head angle? Are they geometry wise about the same except for
the mono shock system? thanks for any help.
The YZs you’re talking about have just about the same rake and trail. It might be a half degree off, but you could compensate for any differences by lengthening or raising the forks in the triple clamps. It would be simple enough to check the rake on both frames before you start working on them.
SUBJECT: WILD BULTACO! OR IS IT?
Hoping you can help me identify this bultaco that's going for bid at a local estate auction this coming Saturday. Kind of looks like a Sherpa S 200 from what i researched. I have not seen in person but these photos the auctioneer posted almost makes it look like a twin.
Thanks in advance.
This is not a Bultaco engine. It is made by IZh ( Izhevsk Machinebuilding Plant) and the model is the "Jupiter" 350cc twin cylinder engine mounted in a Bultaco chassis... this one was produced 1956-1962, it is a Russian company. These are good solid transportation machines, not much emphasis on performance, but very tough and reliable. The company is part of the Kalashnikov concern (gun company). Someone spent some quality time putting this engine in the Bultaco! IZh is the company, Jupiter is the model.
SUBJECT: NOTHING LIKE CASUAL TRAIL RIDING
I just rode around on my CRF230F yesterday, just simple plonking around, like when you left Dirt Bike and rode the Ossa around the hills in Monkey Butt. No hurry, no destination, no goal, just simple trail riding. What a joy.
Totally agree, amigo.
SUBJECT: ACCELERATION EXPLAINED
Ever wonder why a Top Fuel dragster gets a rebuilt engine after each run?
Stay with this - even if you aren't a 'car nut', this is stunning.
* One Top Fuel dragster outfitted with a 500 cubic-inch replica Dodge (actually Keith Black, etc) Hemi engine makes more horsepower (8,000 HP) than the first 4 rows of cars at NASCAR's Daytona 500.
* Under full throttle, a dragster engine will consume 11.2 gallons of nitro methane per second; a fully loaded Boeing 747 consumes jet fuel at the same rate but with 25% less energy being produced.
* A stock Dodge Hemi V8 engine cannot produce enough power to merely drive the dragster's supercharger.
* With 3000 CFM of air being rammed in by the supercharger on overdrive, the fuel mixture is compressed into a near-solid form before ignition. Cylinders run on the verge of hydraulic lockup at full throttle.
* At the stoichiometric 1.7:1 air/fuel mixture for nitro methane the flame front temperature measures 7050 degrees F.
* Nitro methane burns yellow. The spectacular white flame seen above the stacks at night is raw burning hydrogen, dissociated from atmospheric water vapor by the searing exhaust gases.
* Dual magnetos supply 44 amps to each spark plug. Which is typically the output of a small electric arc welder in each cylinder.
* Spark plug electrodes are totally consumed during a pass. After 1/2 way thru the run, the engine is 'dieseling' from compression and the glow of the exhaust valves at 1400 degrees F. The engine can only be shut down by cutting the fuel flow.
* If spark momentarily fails early in the run, unburned nitro builds up in the affected cylinders and then explodes with enough force to blow the cylinder heads off the block in pieces or split the block in half !!
* Dragsters reach over 300 MPH +... before you have completed reading this sentence.
* In order to exceed 300 MPH in 4.5 seconds, a dragster must accelerate an average of over 4 G's. In order to reach 200 MPH well before reaching half-track, at launch the acceleration approaches 8 G's.
* Top Fuel engines turn approximately 540 revolutions from light to light!
* Including the burnout, the engine must only survive 900 revolutions under load.
* The redline is actually quite high at 9500 RPM.
* THE BOTTOM LINE: Assuming all the equipment is paid for, the pit crew is working for free. & NOTHING BLOWS UP, each run will cost an estimated $1,000 per second.
0 to 100 MPH in .8 seconds (the first 60 feet of the run)
0 to 200 MPH in 2.2 seconds (the first 350 feet of the run)
6 g-forces at the starting line (nothing accelerates faster on land)
6 negative g-forces upon deployment of twin 'chutes at 300
An NHRA Top Fuel Dragster accelerates quicker than any other land vehicle on earth… quicker than a jet fighter plane… quicker than the space shuttle… or snapping your fingers!!
The current Top Fuel dragster elapsed time record is 4.420 seconds for the quarter-mile (2004, Doug Kalitta). (I think the time is now closer to 4 seconds, M.)
The top speed record is 337.58 MPH as measured over the last 66' of the run (2005, Tony Schumacher).
Let's now put this all into perspective:
Imagine this...........You are driving a new $140,000 Lingenfelter twin-turbo powered Corvette Z-06. Over a mile up the road, a Top Fuel dragster is staged & ready to 'launch' down a quarter-mile s trip as you pass. You have the advantage of a flying start. You run the 'Vette hard, on up through the gears and blast across the starting line & pass the dragster at an honest 200 MPH.... The 'tree' goes green for both of you at that exact moment. The dragster departs & starts after you. You keep your foot buried hard to the floor, and suddenly you hear an incredibly brutally screaming whine that seares and pummels your eardrums & within a mere 3 seconds the dragster effortlessly catches & passes you. He beats you to the finish line, a quarter-mile away from where you just passed him. Think about it from a standing start, the dragster had spotted you 200 MPH.....and it not only caught, but nearly blasted you off the planet when he passed you within a mere 1320 foot long race !!!!
That, my friends.....is acceleration.
We don’t normally talk a lot about cars here, but this was one of the best written most powerful things I’ve ever read about pure acceleration. Pass it on to a few friends. I don’t think it’s something you’ll easily forget.
SUBJECT: HELP KEEP LAND OPEN AND FREE
I am enjoying your book monkey butt. Because of your fight for the B to V I have join the blue ribbion coalation. Thanks for all you have done for all of us.
When the Phantom Duck and I ran the Sahara Club, we found the folks at the Blue Ribbon Coalition to be helpful and very friendly. Right now, they’re just about the only folks doing anything to keep land open for dirt bike riding.
SUBJECT: YAMAHA IT250J 1982
I was wondering if you knew what kind of oil I put in the engine and what kind of spark plus it uses. Im new to the while bike world so please excuse my lack of knowledge any information would be greatly appreciated.
Nobody minds someone new with serious questions about a bike. It’s just the jerks who think they know something but don’t know anything at all. Your question is most welcome. I would run Yamalube R at 32 to 1 in your Yamaha and when you’re learning, I would run an NGK B8E spark plug in it, and when you get faster, consider running a B9E.
SUBJECT: WHICH BIKE FOR AN OLDER RIDER?
As I approach my golden years I’m looking to buy a project bike to restore that has a little lower seat height than the modern KTM I ride now. I am 6 ft tall but I predict I’ll be several inches shorter and stiffer in about 10 years, or at least feel that way. I want to keep riding 2 strokes until the EPA bans me. I was thinking of a PE250, IT200, or KDX200 (air cooled version). I have a water cooled KDX in my quiver right now, but I’m looking for some classic style and simplicity, from a looks standpoint the PE does it right. Which bike would actually be the most fun for a (then) 70 year old New England woods rider who has been spoiled by modern bikes?
Mr. Plan Ahead for retirement
One of my favorite bikes in the whole world would suit you just fine. That bike is a Kawasaki KDX 200. It has a six-speed gearbox, turns well, goes straight and has plenty of power to take you most anywhere. You can cut the saddle a bit and it will fit your needs.
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 (or $5 for Priority Rush mail) and for more information, the email is: email@example.com
Paypal address: firstname.lastname@example.org