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

Super Hunky warns: Go ahead and ask, but if your question is stupid, you’ve been warned

Sep. 04, 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
August 2015

July 2015

June 2015



Hi Rick,

I purchased two 1974 1/2 Maico 400's from the original dealer. One was never started and the other still on original bore but clutch nut came loose causing damage to a couple of gears. These were two of three bikes for sale and all came with 3.00x21 front and 110/90x18 rear Metzeler Motocross tires all date coded with a 4, 4th year of the decade. The tires match the wear on the bikes including a never used on the never started bike.  He claims they have never been changed but he did have employees who robbed the points off both bikes, a petcock valve and the exhaust off one bike. Is this possible or did Metzeler never produce metric tires in 1974? The earliest I remember, was in the early eighties.  Any help would be appreciated.
Thank You, Dave Szalkowski  Ash Grove, MO

We contacted Keith Lynas for this info.  He can be reached at: [email protected]

Okay, unless H.G. Wells was the original owner, these tires have been changed, Inch size tires with no profile info were used up to about 1987 when they were replaced by the metric sizes.
The actual model of Metzeler may help narrow the year range.....the date code should have 4 numbers....for instance 0404 is fourth week of 2004.
So from the from the stone age through 74 and up to around 87 this type of MX tire be would have a 4.00 X 18, 4.50 X 18 or 5.10 X 18, after this it would be metric.




My favorite story you ever did was about getting all screwed up working on your bike. Any chance of printing that here?

No Name


By Rick Sieman
(Over the years, I've written variations on this theme, but this was the original one. And yes, most of the stuff is true. I know. I have the scars to prove it.)
The week started off like a pagan sacrificial rite. At 7:41 p.m., I slashed my left index finger with a razor blade while removing some dried-up duct tape from my helmet visor. It wasn't a bad cut; just the kind you suck on for a moment and forget about … until you dip your dirty filter into a bucket of gasoline to clean it. Then you howl loud enough so that the dogs run out of the garage and the vertical hold on the TV starts to roll.

An hour later, while shortening the new bars by exactly one inch on each side, I let the hacksaw blade slither along the back of four knuckles on that same left hand. It was the kind of cut that didn't bleed. Just sort of got down to that white stuff about two layers under the skin.

By the time the ten o'clock news came on the garage radio, I had also whacked my right thumb with a hammer, pinched the little finger of the left hand in the vise, and had taken a dime-sized nick out of my thumb joint, on the bench grinder. All things considered, not a very good start.

Tuesday was even worse. That evening, while working on the bike, I somehow managed to sink a drill bit into my right thigh while creating four new holes in a plastic fender. Next time, I promised myself, I'd use the vise or maybe ask one of the kids to hold the fender. Kids heal fast, they say.

An hour later, while welding a heat shield onto an exhaust pipe, a large, fat, hot spark leaped inside my tennis shoe and charged right through the nylon sock, onto my instep. In my haste to get the flaming ember out, I hopped around the garage on one foot, like a madman, clutching at the smoking tenny and then creased my forehead on the end of a bare handlebar, taking yet another piece of meat out of my suffering body.

I was so shaken at this point, I shut off the lights and called it quits for the night. I opened a can of suds and lit one last cigar. When I put the cigar in my mouth backwards and burned my lower lip to a Frito-like consistency, I knew that I was in for a “One Of Those Weeks.”

You know the kind - where you can't do anything right. Where everything you touch causes you considerable grief. Or pain. Or both. Every move you make is clumsy. You drop wrenches, snap bolts, stab yourself with screwdrivers. Slam knuckles into hard fins. Rap your shins on protruding axle nuts. Pinch tender bits of flesh with the handles of pliers. Run a few staples into your fingernails. You know - the usual stuff.

By Wednesday, I had the bike almost ready to race, but my body was looking like I'd just spent considerable time in a Turkish prison. My right palm was blistered from picking the bike up by the hot exhaust pipe. Gasoline had splashed into my eyes and I'd sat down in a shallow pool of oil on the garage floor. My right big toe was throbbing because I dropped a shock on that particular foot. The left big toe was throbbing because I somehow managed to set a large, red Craftsman toolbox down on it.

The left knee was swollen and red from accidentally kneeling on a master link. The right knee was swollen, red and blistered from kneeling on a hot welding tip. I had also managed to get gasoline, contact cleaner, chain lube and fork oil on each and every open cut and wound on my body. No wonder nothing got infected...the chemicals killed all the germs!

By the time I closed the garage door and turned off the lights that Wednesday night, I promised myself that I was not going to report to the starting line the following weekend looking like a loser of a Lions/Christians semifinal. With only an hour or so of work left to do on the bike, I figured I'd take it super easy. No cuts, bruises, burns, scrapes, contusions or soft-tissue injuries.

So, the next evening, with caution being foremost in my mind, I wrapped up the machine for race day. By working very methodically, no skin was sacrificed to the Wrench Gods. I used only ratchets and box-end tools and turned only one flat at a time. Working slowly, patiently and carefully, I managed to complete the bike in two hours, with no additional injuries.

Things were looking up.

Friday was spent quietly watching television. I didn't even watch violent shows. Lawrence Welk. The Muppets. Oriental Wok Cooking, on Channel 52. Really low-key.

Saturday I spent mostly in the house, taking it easy, letting the wounds heal. It looked like I might be a whole man by Sunday. The most dangerous thing I did that Saturday was to go shopping and fight over a chuck steak with a fat, old lady at the local supermarket. She gave up after I pinned her cleanly with a frozen turkey and a small mound of Canadian bacon. No sweat.

Saturday night, I sat around quietly picking scabs and mentally preparing for Sunday. At that point, my body was about 95 percent healed and I was looking forward to a pleasant, no-injury race day.

With nothing good on the tube, I retired to my office and decided to kill a few hours before bed, by catching up on some paperwork. Nice, safe paperwork. After paying a few small bills, and straightening out a messy desk, I decided to send my entry in for the next District enduro. After all, post- entry costs five bucks more than pre-entry, right?

So, I filled out the entry, wrote a check for the club and stuffed the whole works into an envelope, with a stamped, self-addressed envelope. I stifled a yawn. Sleepy-time was near and I'd made it through the last few days without any more injuries.

Satisfied, I folded the flap on the envelope, ran my wet tongue along the length of the glued surface and immediately paper-cut both corners of my mouth and the whole top of my tongue. I ran to the bathroom and stared into the mirror, horrified! Blood streamed over my chin and dropped into the white basin of the sink. The only sensible thing I could do was put bandages over the cuts and duct-tape my jaws shut for the night.

Oh, sure, I raced the next day. After all that, wouldn't you? 



Hello..I just bought a  71 Yamaha JT1 mini Enduro pretty needs a little work but in real good shape..desert orange with headlight..I was wandering if its worth restoring or just sell it.Could I send you pictures to get your opinion?

Tony Weber
I was absolutely blown away when I went to eBay and checked the prices on the JT1 Mini Enduro. One decently restored bike was going for $1295. But the most amazing going thing was that all the parts were going for monster bucks. If you want to keep the bike and restore it, that makes sense. But if you want to just make money, all those parts are commanding mighty dollars.



Hi Rick,

Some time ago I bought some of your books and I have long been a fan of yours. I sent you a copy of the movie “why we ride”. Thats not so important I just wanted to let you know who i am. I hope you are well. I have a few friend who love you Book “Monkey Butt” I gave a copy to my son Alex who is the one son who loves dirt bikes. He love the story of the Triumph Desert sled that smooths out at mach 3 !! It just takes balls of steel to get past mach2!

Well I would like to ask you a question about a Baja Trip. Chris Haines runs a tour company and onOctober 29 thru November 2 I will ride northern Baja to Mikes sky ranch and back toward Ensidnata. Have you heard anything about Chris Haines trips? It all included. A bike , a guide, hotels ,food . I just would love to hear from you about the Baja. I am from Nebraska I am 58 over weight and I have ridden in trees for years slowly. I real want my son Alex to come with me. I remain after all these years glad to hear your consull. If you could please let me know how you are doing?

Chris Nelson

Chris Haines has an excellent reputation and most people who go on one of his trips have reported being very happy. When I lived in Rosarito in Baja, Chris would stop by my place occasionally and introduce his riders to me. All things considered, this guy is a real winner. 


Mr Sieman,

Love your writing stye.  I am researching a 86 MStar 500.  I have located one and have done all the background (google) research I could.  In your article,, you mention the MStar in closing.  Do you have any experience and or knowledge of this model compared to the 81 Alpha model?  Is it just a continuation of the last Maico 500?  I love the twin shock Alpha, but that model is extremely difficult to loacate.

Mike Anderson

MSTAR Dirt Bike

When Maico went out of business in 1984, a small distributor named Ted Lapadaki took over the name and produced a bike called the MSTAR.  It was nothing more than a 1983 model with slightly different graphics and a changed name. The dealers of that time had experienced a great number of problems with Maico, and very few of them decided to handle the MSTAR.  Shortly thereafter, the MSTAR disappeared. About a year passed, and another company tried to produce the Maico. They failed and another tried, and then another, and then another.



Hey,Hi, Hunk,

My grandma said I could buy this bike, so I did. I found it in a back bedroom in an old house in Phoenix, where I live. The owner's name was Harry, and man, was he dirty. It's all stock and original but still runs like new. I'm having difficulty starting it in my slippers and would like to install a de-comp button in the head. Is this a good idea? Charlie Lawlor just honed the std bore for new rings and said "ya got a good one kid". He's a good guy.

Anyway, thx in advance for any advice and thanks also for all the tips thru the years from DirtBike Mag. Me likes!
Ken Waxwerks

Somehow, the photo of your bike was misplaced. But if I recall correctly, it was an open class Honda CR from the early 80s. Yes, you could install a decompression device on the head and it would make starting easier. But whatever you do, don't try to start the bike in slippers, either way.



Didn't you actually end up getting arrested for riding the Barstow to Vegas course way back when?

I  was around 14 or 15 years old when that happened and living in North Carolina. Being that young, and that far away from anything to do with government controlled riding areas or the B.LM., I had no knowledge of the interaction of the government and our rights to ride. It was the first eye opening event that I had and one I will never forget. I do not know the amount of times you have been thanked for doing that but I hope it was many. It was an event that started me on my path as a young adult to do what I could to make things better and to try and be as active as I can to protect our rights not only as riders but as citizens of this country as well. I am now in my 40's and it is something that has stuck with me from my childhood to now. I have no way of knowing your motives for what you did but I know the outcome of it. It opened my eyes and I am sure opened the eyes of a generation.  For that I thank you. 

Jeff Roman

Sure did. You have no idea how powerful the government is and can be until you go up against them in federal court. The Phantom duck and I spent many years fighting them.




I just read a little blurb about you in dirt bike mag.just had to write.i used to read you're column and the rest of the magazine like the gospel.i worked at a Honda dealer in Maryland in pretty sure I had the 1st cr125 on the east coast.been in the motorcycle buissnes ever since.i still remember 2 things I believe you said back the test story of the cr 125 .the brakes where so good that they pulled the goggles off you're face and in the how to ride column u said and quote the faster you can stop,the faster you can go.pretty good old stuff.hope it gives you a good. Ole chuckle.thanks for the entertaining writing.


Yep, I discovered what brakes really could do when those first Elsinore's came out.



Dear Super Hunky,

I've been reading your articles since 1980 when I bought the October 80' issue of Dirt Bike.  In that issue was the review of the G model YZ465, and Rocket Rex Staten with his OW41 works bike.  That same year, I watched the USGP at Carlsbad featuring Marty Moates on a modified stocker YZ465.  It was then I knew I had to have one of those machines.

Being without much fiduciary means 35 years ago, it took me a year or so, but I got a barely used H model 465 for $1400.  My first ride on the beast, while enjoyable and a big step up from my previous bike, a 1977 RM 370, the YZ blubbered and smoked, obviously in need of some jetting work.  I got it in good shape and raced some MX which was ok, but the YZ felt out of place on a twisty MX track.  Where the bike was a real kick in the butt was after going up a tooth on the countershaft sprocket and to ride cross-country GP races.  Oh what fun!

Well that was many years ago, and now, the old horse has spent too much time sitting in the garage.  No, I never sold it.  I have included a pic, I think it still looks good.

My question: What would be the optimum jetting for an altitude of about 3,000 feet?  Also, I've seen new products for these old bikes like a three stage reed cage, would this be a good purchase?  Any other advice for getting this machine ready to ride after 30 years?

Many thanks Super Hunky, and for all the laughs through the years.
Steve Tanska

Yamaha 456H

I checked with a few shops and this what they suggested:

Needle jet Q2
Jet Needle 6F16
Clip position 3
Main Jet 390
Pilot 45
Slide cutaway 3.0


380 main
50 pilot
4.5 slide
You also might have to go a point or two leaner on the Main jet for your altitude.



Mr. Hunky:
I thought that the modification commonly known as transfer boost ports came from the late, great Eyvind Boyesen and was deemed “Boyesen Ports”.  I understand that Mr. Boyesen even had patents for his work in this area from the early 1980s.  However, I recently saw an old article about late, great Don Jones’s porting of the 73-74 250 Honda Elisinore and it used this porting technique.  The article was by Barry Watkins in Cycle Guide magazine from the mid- 1970’s.  The article can be found here (eighth article down) :

Can you expand on the history of the porting technique?

Moto Pete

Mr. Boyesen was famous for his reed valves, which he patented and were used by many companies. His dual stage reed valves added a tremendous amount of low and midrange power to most two-stroke motors, while not eliminating any of the top end power. He also had several patents on porting techniques, but certainly did not invent the transfer port. He was a fantastic engineer and I spent many a day with him, just listening.




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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