Don't Ask: Rick "Super Hunky" Sieman Answers Your Questions

Apr. 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:
March 2014

February 2014

January 2014

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SUBJECT: ONE-OFF LETTER FROM MONOSHOCK STORY
I really like to read about obscure history of dirt bikin'-thanks.This brings back fond memories of how we strived for making every improvement known and completely original on our machines in the 60's -80's.

Bruce Bodenhofer

I genuinely miss those days from the '60s to the '80s where we could and would work on our own bikes in our own garages and make improvements for little or no money. The bikes of today virtually defy any self working to make them work better.


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SUBJECT:  KAWASAKI KX 250 SHAKER
ive been a big fan for years i have a 1987 kx 250 im 50 yrs old i am not getting another bike this is it. i would like to put another front end on it i woods ride mud sand rocks i heard conventional forks are the best for this type of riding your help would be welcomed. i get a lot of left to right shake in mud and sand no headshake oddly. what is your input on this kx? i hear it was awesome but the front end sucks. let me know what you think

Kevin Stearns



The 1987 KX 250 is a good bike except for the shifting and the clutch. There, itís clunky on the shifting side and the clutch wonít take any abuse at all. As far as swapping forks, forget it. Instead, try a lighter fork oil up front and reduce the preload on the shock in the rear. This will reduce any tendency to load the front end and will genuinely reduce any headshake you might encounter. Try these tricks before you spend any sort of money.

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SUBJECT: A LOAD OF GREAT MAGS
Superhunky you have been in my life since the beginning of Dirt Bike. I can't express how you have molded and shaped my life. Now 66 and still riding offroad a couple times a week. The new dirt bike crew has moved into my area. Agua Dulce. Now I have help expanding the single track in my area.

Sorry for the rambling. I have a question for you. I am the proud owner of all the DB and DR mags since their introductions. Yep even the quarterlies and shootouts. Seems a shame to just toss them. Since they still  hold a wealth of info and entertainment for those that weren't lucky enough  to watch this great sport grow and change. Do you have any ideas?


If you donít need them, Iíd be more than glad to put them in my files.  Some of my older mags are getting a bit tattered due to heavy use. Let me know and Iíll be more than glad to pay the postage.
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SUBJECT: YAMAHA VINTAGE DIRT BIKE ID GUIDE
I have what everyone may want I blew the motor recently and lookin to rebuild it don't no the exact year please help. 3R8-000919 got pics

Followup comments:

I've thought it was a 465J but sum say 490 and none of the pics match year's. Dam it a 1980 426g.  spaded420s


The bike you have is a 1980 Yamaha IT425G. The serial numbers started with 3R8000101.

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SUBJECT:  ANOTHER YAMAHA VINTAGE
hay man, do all Yamaha MX100G start with 3T0
for i have a Yamaha with the vin 3T0-067403, the seven may be a one
Greg


All the 1980 MX 100s start the numbering with 3T0. The serials start at 3T0-000101 and go from there.

 

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SUBJECT:  PROJECT HONDA CRF230F Ė PART 11
I was looking online for the sidewinder sprockets. It says it offers a 520 pitch to 428 pitch conversion kit. I'm not entirely sure with this terminology, is this the same as getting a 15 tooth sprocket?

Thanks guys, this project build has been a huge help for me doing my own modifications to my 230.

Nick

 

Not only did we go to a 520 pitch chain on the Project Bike, we swapped the wimpy rear wheel for one from a CR250. Big difference and rear brake was worlds better, too.

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SUBJECT: STRANGE BIKES
I BOUGHT A HIRO 250 2 STROKE TWINSHOCK 20 YRS AGO SRTIPPED IT DOWN STARTED BUIDING IT UP LAST MTH ITS IN A MTR CROSS FRAME THE BARRELL IS A BIGGER STROKE THAN THE ARMSTRONG TRAIL BIKE THAT HAS ALSO A HIRO ENGINE IN THE FRAME SAME BTM END DIFFERENT STROKE OF BARRELLS AND DIFFERENT ELECTRICS ITS ABOUT 78 TO 80 THE ERA DO YOU ANTHING ABOUT THESE MACHINES AND ANY CONTACTS WHO MIGHT DO THANK WOULD APRECIATE SOME INFO

Tommy



The Hiro is plenty rare and parts are virtually unobtainable. I found this bit of information on the web:

ďI own a 320 Hiro, great bike too, but as everybody says bit are hard to get for the engine's. I actually found some pistons and clutch parts brand new on fleabay italy, just get someone to translate (the engine's where Italian.) I would say the Armstrong is a very competitive twin shock and it was the last twinshock to win the British championship!Ē

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SUBJECT:  STILL KICKING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS
I used to enjoy your tackfully written, humorously degrading responses waaaaay back when I was a teenage rider/reader &  your column was in Dirt Bike Magazine. Here's the skinny:

After not riding for more than 25 yrs, I'm looking to get back into off-road riding.  Would like a reccomendation as to what machine I should pursue.  I recall the 2 stroke bikes I used to ride (RM100, KX125) would last & last with w/marginal upkeep.  I've heard the modern 4 stroke racing bikes require alot of top end rebuild & are quite pricey. I'm definately looking for something used, for aggressive trail riding, & hoping to spend between $1,500 - 2,500.  Is there something you could suggest to put me in the ballpark?  I'm 6'3", 230lbs and used to ride somewhat aggressively although not positive just how hard I'll ride now that I'm in my 40's & I break alot easier.  I'm Florida w/the sand & heat.

Set me straight, thanx

Gary



Iíve said it before and Iíll say it again, one of the best all-around dirt bikes ever made was a Kawasaki KDX 200. I bought one when I was living in Baja for $1100 and it was a 1990 model. I rode it for almost a dozen years and only put tires and brakes on it. The bike was fantastically reliable; it had more than enough power  to pull my 200 pounds and I entered it in a bunch of races and did quite well with it. Itís light in weight, has a six-speed gearbox, and will pull gearing that will water your eyes. I cannot recommend this bike enough. I have no idea why Kawasaki was stupid enough to drop the KDX from its line.

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SUBJECT:  OLD JAWA/CZ STUFF
Vintage Dirt Bikes: Four-Stroke Jawa CZs

The 4 stk (400 cc) conversion is pretty cool - if it was refined that would be even better! Bring back CZ!

Bruce Bodenhofer



I have the feeling that if CZ would reproduce all the wonderful old bikes from the late 60s to the mid-70s in their original form, they would sell every one rather quickly and for premium dollars, too. Those old bikes were very reliable and a lot of fun to ride. A bunch of people grew up with these machines and would love to relive those years.


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SUBJECT:  LEARNING TO LIVE WITH AN XL600R
well in 2001 i got offered this 1985 XL600R for £300.was a bit scarred but ran ok once you knew how to start it,first trouble i had was the kickstart snapped off while 10 miles from home.£72 later!!!!!and i had a new one on it!!the original one last years of abuse so i guess it was worth it.decompession cable snapped next.£21!!!but without it you had to bump starrt in 4th gear and wear the rear tyre away from skidding.haha.

next was lack of sparks,an old stator was found on ebay for £5.sent that away and for £80 it was rewound and guaranteed too.

a small rattle turned out to be camchain.engine out,struggling through my terraced house to the workbench and,next page of the manual,two man lift.hah!

so now after 78000kms(50kmiles)i still have the bike,done all sorts of road trips,two up,trails.been asked if i would sell it but it would be hard to replace,and i know if anythings wrong just by the sound.

also here petrol costs are ludicrously high.at this time around £6.20 a gallon.($10!)

the bike always does 60+mpg whatever its doing so it costs peanuts to run.  most of these are in europe,theres a facebook group for them too.ive never found it hard to get spares,but if you find new genuine parts they're pricey.

now i am coming up to 54 and the granddaughter is 5.she goes on it now,(with a quick footrest modification!),so another generation begins,like its done with my two sons years previous. the honda is a real part of the family.thanks for reading.

tony wilde
u.k.


The Honda XL 600 was a decent bike, but I had one bad experience with it. I took it for a long desert ride one day and the battery fell out of the box it was in and derailed the chain in the process of falling to the ground. Other than that, it was fine. The XRs and XLs of that time Ö virtually bulletproof.
 

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SUBJECT:  NO TITLE?
Like you I have never bothered with titles. I currently have a bike I bought in California. I am sure the bike was not registered in the passed and I am only the second owner. 

In your article you mention getting a bond... From who?  What company?

Thanks for your help
Carlos Ramirez


Letís get something straight right away. Depending on the state you live in, the laws vary greatly. I donít like to get bikes that donít have titles. A lot of people sell bikes to others with just a bill of sale. This means that they sometimes have to get a bond and all sorts of paperwork to make sure it is not a stolen bike. This can cost a lot of money, again depending upon the state you live in. You stand a much better chance of getting a title for a bike if it is really old. For example, if you show up at the Department of Motor Vehicles with a 1970 dirt bike and say you got it from a barn without any paperwork at all, chances are theyíll accommodate you and get something going. Again, itís still probably going to cost you some serious money Ö Probably in the range of 250 or more dollars.

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SUBJECT: LONG-LASTING FOUR STROKE
Read your article on 4 stroke dirt bikes. I had  a 2003 crf450r honda for ten years....rode the can off that thing....over the years i was told the valves would give out and top end would need to be done.

All i did after five years was shim one valve which the dealer did the others didnt need it apparently and replace fork seals which started leaking... also the factory chain stretched about a mile and i went with  an o-ring instead after the first year. That was it. I almost forgot the clutch did blow after 7 years. I put new one in myself.

I sold it for $ 2300, paid $9000 recently.

I would add that i replaced the oil just once each year with castrol four stroke motorcycle oil. Tires did need to be changed occasionally obviously.

So after reading your dialogue about 20 hrs of riding its worn out...is simply wrong. Most dirt bikes will go long time without any problems at all...


I rode ten times per year, for 2 to 3 hours each time for decade out of vernon, british columbia, canada.  In my opinion your asking dealers about perfectly tuned race bikes that might need tweaking for optimized performance to maintain track times, and confusing that with regular offroading fun.

I do agree with one thing you said , the price they ask for these bikes is ridiculous!  For a machine you occasionally ride and mostly teenagers would enjoy not retired people who can actually afford to buy one,  i dont see how they sell at all , the price should be more like 5 grand tops for brand new.  I am glad i had one though it was a blast !
john jackle


John, I disagree with you. My good friend, Keith Lynas, has a shop in California and he does dozens of new bikes each month for complete rebuilds. In fact, he has about  twenty 55-gallon trash cans full of Honda 450 heads. It sounds like the kind of riding you do is mellow trail  riding, and thatís fine. But when you go to the track every weekend and spend several hours practicing and racing on your bike at peak speed, the bike will wear out rather quickly. Consider this: these new four-strokes make all their power at 13,000+ rpm, right at the limit of metallurgy speed. A typical rebuild on a 450 four-stroke is over $3000. Take it from there.

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SUBJECT: WEIRD BIKE FEEDBACK
Hello Rick,
Long time since I dropped you a line - I used to debate the merits of the AJS Stormer with you a few years back (and like everyone else I was a huge fan of yours back in the DB days).

I've just seen the piece about the "Wild Bultaco" in the December "Don't Ask" column.  I can see why you'd think it was an IZH Jupiter engine, particularly with the way the finning on the barrel goes back towards the carb, but I actually think it's a Jawa engine.  The 'giveaway' is that it has the weird combined gearshift-and-kickstart lever that I think is unique to Jawa and CZ road bikes of the 1960's onwards.  The lever is pushed in towards the engine then rotated back into a kickstart position to get the bike started, once running it is pushed forward again where it "pops out" to take up duties as a shift lever. It explains why the bike has a shift lever of kickstart proportions !

Example photo here:   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jawa_250_typ_353_100.jpg

Great to hear that you're well again and still riding.  I'm currently recommissioning my '70 250 AJS Stormer Y4 that has been untouched in the back of my garage for 13 years, with a view to resuming classic Pre-74 motocross this year here in the UK.  I can't think of a better reason to lose some weight and get fit again!

Yours in sport.


That particular bike drew a bit of email and yours was the most provocative. If anyone else would like to chime in on this, feel free to use this forum.

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SUBJECT: TOUCHING BASES WITH INTERNATIONAL DAVE
Finally got my custom made side panel stickers made. Only took 3 months!

Just applied them and clear coated the panels. Notice the rifle bayonets are now Yamaha tuning forks? "Burmingham" is now "Southern Oregon"
 

What do you think, Rick?



Once more, Dave does something thatís better than the original.


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SUBJECT: CHECK OUT THIS 501 MAICO

Hello Rick,

I have a Maico 501 frame# 501529 Motor# 501164.

The bike is setup like a GP bike and Iím not sure what it is.

I can send pictures if requested. The bike at one point was in the showroom of NW Maico.

Regards,

Lee Atkins



Obviously, the 501 shown here is set up for racing, probably for the longer GPís. The swing arm is moved up as in the first Maicoís and the rear is in the 7 ½  to 8 inch travel range.
 

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SUBJECT:  ANOTHER FAN LETTER
Hey just who do you think u are anywyay. You rote me a dumbassed answer to my question and I think you suck so there.

I think u are a ********* peckerhead and shuldnít be allowed to rite for this colum.  I donít drive or ride yet but when I do Iíll go exakly the opposite of what you say ÖÖ. So there.

I live in LA but u cant have my name.


Oddly enough, Billy, I was able to get your name from your email address. I then printed it out and did terrible things to it. So there.


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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 (or $5 for Priority Rush mail) and for more information, the email is: superhunky@gmail.com

 Paypal address: superhunky@gmail.com

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