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

Jul. 07, 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
June 2015

May 2015

April 2015


Thanks! I lived for every Dirt Bike issue and loved your article's and you have no idea how shocked I was to be on the starting line in the desert and maybe either saddleback or Carlsbad or maybe both I think I was 14 or 15. Great stuff. Great times. Glad to see you've been able to stay with it. Your a big part of dirt bike racing in my mind. Thanks again
Terry Toews

Genuine thanks for the kind words. Way back when the magazine was first started, I was lucky enough to be able to go to all those great places and race. Even luckier, I was able to share all these experiences with the riders of that time.


Who cares what magazines you wrote for 40 or 50 years ago? I sure don't. I have a modern bike and I race in the modern world on modern tracks. I could care 2 cents worth about Saddleback Park and Indian Dunes. They are gone and as far as I'm concerned, I'll be happy when you're gone too. You are nothing but an old fart who just happens to be alive in this day and age.

Billy G.
Los Angeles, California

You see, Billy, the stuff that happened all those years ago means a great deal of people who lived in those times. Since you have no idea of what it was like, that explains your attitude quite clearly. But I feel sorry for you, as you did not have a chance to experience those phenomenal times. Someday, about 40 years from now, you're going to look back on the times that you had back in 2015. It's called history.


You know, when I think all is gone and get lonely and scared, I just pop in one of my many "DIRT BIKE MAGAZINE" or "MODERN CYCLE MAGAZINE" DVD's and I feel good again.
Thanks, Rick. You probably know how some of us feel out here. The other day while shopping, I leafed through a Dirt Squirt Magazine and saw nothing but advertisements for "paint factory explosion" riding gear ... and they say "you can't go back." Bull! I'm still doing smoky burnouts on the 1970 Steen's Taco 99...forty five years later!
David Fruhling 

Perhaps Billy G ought to read Dave's email a few times and then think long and hard about the present and the past.


Hello, a little guidance here would be appreciated i have a kdx175 engine 80-82 i believe that i have swapped into a chinese framed go cart. Question is i didnt get a exhaust gasket with the motor so i finally managed to find two a thin copper and a thick rubber o-ring i bought both hoping to find something online to explain it but to no avail. Can you tell me the reason for the two different types and whether or not they are to be used together or how it works.
Thank you
Mike Gambling
We referred to Keith Lynas about this and he had the following to say:
The exhaust port in the cylinder of the KDX175 has a pocket that the exhaust pipe fits into (about 25mm deep). The copper gasket goes in base of the pocket, sandwiched between the end of the exhaust header pipe and the base of the pocket. The o-ring goes in the specific groove in the header pipe of the exhaust and this seals against the wall of the pocket (some models use two o-rings in two separate grooves.)

This is really a pretty common method for Yamaha and Kawasaki.
Great idea! I use a drill press and bathroom scale to test front suspension springs for snowmobiles but it wouldn't work for the huge dirt bike springs. I love the Simplicity!

Letter Sparked by Make Your Own Dirt Bike Spring Tester
Most dirt bikers have a few springs laying around their shop and they forgot what they were for or what the actual spring rate was. That's why our basic Spring Tester is so important.
I really enjoyed reading this!

Letter Sparked by Steve McQueen’s Other Husky

It seems like anything we do about McQueen or his bikes is very popular with the readers. We have something special coming up in the next few months that you'll really like.
Fantastic story. i wouldnt even hazard a guess to what thats worth now!!
Save your money, Bert, because you know it won't be cheap.
Great column this month Rick! I'm closing in on 50, and still get as excited when I see "Don't Ask!" come up on this website as I did when I got my copy of Dirt Bike magazine in the mail several decades ago … more or less.
You're concerned about 50? Wait until you hit 75 years like I have, then 50 will seem very, very young.
I followed everything as described above. The issue that developed is when I roll the throttle quickly it bogs and or dies. Any advise for this issue?
Roy Hulsey

Letter Sparked by Project Yamaha TTR230, Part 3
From what you described, I would hazard a guess that it's too lean right off the very bottom of the rpm range. Try a larger pilot jet and also move the needle up one position if the pilot jet doesn't solve the problem.
I don't mean to be a real *******, but the advice you give to people is usually wrong. You base all the advice you give from stuff you learned years or decades ago. This is 2015 not 1815. Maybe you want to get rid of all your old bikes and pick up a new 450 four stroke.  Then maybe you'll see just how wrong you are. Just my thoughts.
Oakland, CA
Decades ago, I learned a lot about dirt bikes from people who knew more than I did, and they were usually much older.  At that time, I was on the cutting edge of what dirt bikes were. Throughout the years, things changed dramatically and are continuing to change. I don't care for the new generation of four strokes for the simple reason that they are overly complicated, horribly expensive, and most people cannot work on them. I can go in my garage and do a top-end job on one of my old dirt bikes in a few hours for not much money. I challenge you to do the same with one of your new 450 four-strokes. By the way, your email was basically polite.
I loved my '73 TM 400 and that crazy power band. I have to admit it would sometimes surprise you but I could sense when it was coming in. I only got in trouble one time during a race when it kicked in as I was ascending a jump and it reared on me just as I was clearing the top of the jump. It scared me some at the time but I recovered and was never thrown because of the power band or hurt by this bike.

Letter Sparked by Suzuki TM400 Cyclone - Most Dangerous Bike Ever?

I recall testing the TM four hundreds and they were indeed a handful. One thing in my mind does stick out. I recall seeing an ad in one of the cycle newspapers for a used TM400.  It read: CLEAN 400 SUZUKI TM. POTENTIAL INJURY FORCES SALE. I think that says it all.
Can a yz 100 motor fit on a Yamaha rt 100 bike?
Yes it can, but you'll have to fabricate new motor mounts. And don't plan on using the stock pipe or pipe hangers.
That bike is so awesome... great job... God bless you!
Jimmy Ricardo

Letter Sparked byProject Lowbucks, Part 5
Our Project Lowbucks series has proven to be very popular with the readers. Not everyone has a lot to spend on a new bike, and this provides a way to get riding on a real budget. Glad you enjoyed it.
How's the health hangin', Rick?
Me? Leslie has me working so hard messing with firewood. Cutting down dead trees, tossing the rounds down the hillside, gathering them up, loading them in the ole five-nine, driving to our firewood pile and unloading it. She stacks it...thank God.
Anyway, I have a health-technical question: Our little black Pomeranian dog is getting old. He just turned 15 last month and his entire head & ears is snow white. Anyway, here's his problem. He has this persistent cough-like noise he makes about 5 times in a row. I swear it sounds just like some dumb kid frantically trying to kick start his YZ490. I have to hide my mug so Leslie can't see my reaction.
Anyway, any ideas? Here's my take on the noise:
1) He's flooded because he makes the noise usually after getting a drink of water.
2) His flywheel key is sheared (next comes his hair)
3) His spark plug is fouled.
4) His powerband is way out of adjustment.
5) Worn rings?
I mean, our vet cannot figure it out. He's even X-rayed the little bastard. He just keeps giving Leslie antibiotics which she has to shoot down his throat like some sort of epoxy mix.
Any ideas?
Dave Fruhling

Any dog people out there who could pass advice on to Dave?  Since I don't have a pet license, I'm prohibited from advising.
I have a 2001 kawasaki kx250 2 stroke that cracked the piston I just replaced the piston and the rings after it sat for about a year I put new gas and cleaned the carb, It was kicking over and acting like it wanted to start but wouldnt now its leaking oil from the motor where the exhaust hooks in at the front of the bike, Now the bike aint even trying to kick over like it has no compression and does sound like its starting over. Do you have any ideads what the problem could be, Please email me back asap thank you

Kenny Kurlin

Take into consideration that the bike is about 15 years old and if the bottom end has not been touched, chances are very good that the crank seals are leaking badly. Oil pouring out of the motor is very good sign of this.

Rick, just read your column No Trespassing and laughed hard, I bought this issue because my son bought a 400 radial to go vintage racing with. We picked up the big Maico in Fresno for the incredible price of $3200!  Being a Bultaco guy my whole life I have to admit after riding the beast its absolutely the greatest motorcycle I have ever ridden. Okay you were right. Breathtaking power, turning, jumping, and this particular Maico is well set up. All I can say is your a funny guy and I cant understand why your not writing a column for Dirt Bike now?
In honor of the Maico I painted the logo on my shop. If you allow visitors out there Maricopa way I'd love to come visit, ill bring you some mx prints I painted.
Steve Voita

Now you see what talked about all those years.

In the ‘70s, Ake Jonsson won every race in the US against the best riders in the world on his Maico.  Here he already has a ten-bike lead on the pack going down the Saddleback Park downhill … on the first lap!  After that, Yamaha signed him up and he never won another race.

He even went so far as to put Maico forks on his YZ, really pissing off the Yamaha people. When he wanted to go a step further and use a Maico frame on his YZ, the Japanese went nuts.  Even though he had a contract into the next year, Yamaha refused to show up at the races with the YZ-AICO. Needless to say, they parted company as less than good friends.

The poster is 12 x l8 inches and is printed on heavy 120 pound stock;  shipped in a stout protective tube. Cost is $12, which includes free mail in the US.

Just send a check or money order to:
Rick Sieman
49818 W. Val Vista Rd.
Maricopa, AZ  85139
Or if you use Paypal, that address is: [email protected]
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