Don't Ask: Rick "Super Hunky" Sieman's Dirt Bike Q&A

Super Hunky on brake issues, engine starting trouble, Maico and Yamaha identification and more

Oct. 06, 2014 By Rick Sieman
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.
Send your questions to
[email protected], Attn: Don't Ask.

Previous Donít Ask Columns:
September 2014

August 2014

July 2014


I used to hang around Will Pfitzenmeier's (sp) shop on San Fernando RD in Glendale. He built his own  dyno and flow bench and had the factory service work for Montesa Motors. You even came by a time or two to do some testing. Brian Fabre did a lot of work there before he built his own dyno. We used to solve a lot of problems there, the 501 maico wasnít one of them.

I lost track of Will when Western Airlines merged with Delta and I was transferred to Dallas TX, was also the end of my dirt riding carrier.
I will be 70 years old next month and am riding a WR250R, now split my time between Las Vegas in the winter and Marysville WA in the summer.
Good to see your still active, I was a Dirt Bike subscriber for years. It was the only magazine with truth in it.

John Young still in Las Vegas

We used to test all of our bikes at Willís shop back in the good old days.  He was never too busy to get the work done, and many is the time we spent long evenings at his shop and drinking lots of beer after work

He now has a shop in the back of the service department at Bartels Harley Davidson  in Marina Delray. Great guy.

Bultaco is back! They're going to or are manufacturing an electric motorcycle. Can you imagine? Should be an okay bike if they can keep parts from failing or falling off.
BSA just tried a comeback with an electric motorcycle but it (wait for it) never saw the "light of day."

You know, "Lucas-Prince of Darkness"?

I have a nice old bike I picked up last winter and would like to up grade
to disc in front can you recommend a good donor bike/ year
I have been riding it and it is a beast but I need some real stopping
power with the 500 and 5 speed it can really fly.
Steve Cassell

The only logical thing you can do is pop the entire front end on from an í84 or newer bike.  And yes, you will have to change the front wheel and forks. You certainly should have included more information on the model and so forth on your bike.

Hi rick my name is David Hurley! We emailed back and fwd some time ago  and I have bumped in to you one time. What are your thoughts about there not being a hopetown reunion this year? Pls give me your thoughts !
The first year they had the reunion was good, but that next year was truly spectacular. They not only had tons of American motocrossers, but they had international stars as well. The Zimmerman brothers, who put on the Hopetown reunion, did a great job and never made a dime on it. Itís my guess that the reunion number three didnít happen because of the insurance liabilities that reared their ugly head. With so many people around, the chances of someone slipping or falling, and thatís all it took - in my humble opinion - to make the event a liability rather than a celebration. Again, thatís just an opinion.

Now that I repaired the back drum brake it squeals what is wrong
Wanda Sizemore
What is wrong my dear Wanda, is that you gave me no information for me to go on. No make year or model of bike? How the heck am I supposed to make an opinion on that? I will, however, make some assumptions. If you just put new brake shoes in the drum brake and the drum itself is out of round, you could be getting a squeal from that.  Also, it may take a few hours of riding until the shoes wear in to the drum properly.

WANTED Yamaha YZ80-A, YZ125-A, YZ250-A & YZ360-A brochures. This series of brochures are incredibly complicated. There are so many variations for the General market brochures. I need any General market or USA market brochure(s).
I will pay up to US$300* for the following brochures:

(1) YZ80-A USA market ( cover image: start line scene)
(2) YZ360-A USA market (cover image: unknown)*
(3) YZ 80-A General market (cover image: studio picture)
(4) YZ250-A General market (cover image: outdoor playing in the mud)*
(5) YZ360-A General market (cover image: studio picture)*
(6) YZ360-A General market (cover image: outdoor playing in the mud)

Interestingly we have have found Germany to be a great source of the English language General Market brochures. There is no logical explanation for this, especially with the brochures being printed in English, perhaps someone knows why.
John Boote
This email really was amazing. Here is a man willing to pay premium dollars for Yamaha brochures and he did not include his email address. Sort of takes your breath away.

Got a yamaha dirt bike vin is 2A7-013324 need to kno what year and size thanks
1978 Yamaha DT175 E
Your bike is a 1978 DT175 E.   The numbering started at 2A7Ė 000101. Actually, it was a pretty good little bike.

my 2 stroke 80cc overheated after 5 minutes and seized up, ive up jetted the bike, cleaned out the rad and blead it, ive changed all the gaskets and the last thing is that I have even put it back to a 50cc head. I recently had to slit the engine and rebuild it because of the seizure, I changed the big end bearings and seals but doing all this, it done the same thing after 5-10 minutes please help
Anthony Capo
Once again, we have email with almost no information. No make, year, or model. Added to that, is the fact that the owner put a different size head on the bike in apparent attempt to fix the problem. Based on the information that was given to me, I can make the following recommendations. First, make sure all mechanical parts of the bikes are correct and in proper working order. If this is done, then the heating problem will be caused by no water flow through the system or no air going through the radiator. Simple as that.

I loved reading some of the recent historical articles about Maico, yes if you really raced Maico's , the old saying "Maico's Breako's " really was iritating but until you rode even the old 71 through 73 400cc square barrels or the 501 cc you never experienced a scooter that handled like god , always short shift and roll the throttle and blow a berm! Of course the clutch had to be restacked every ride and forget about brakes, but it still is and always be the greatest of open class MX scooters of all time.
My 71 1/2 had Vic Krause rework the swingarm and new "at that time" gas Bilstiens shocks, in Illinois District 17 some will still remember that old beast. I had since then bought a radial 400 Maico from Pierce motorcycles in Peoria, and later a 250 82' Husky in New Orleans and an 82' ATK, all raced in various tracks in Missisippi, Lousiana, Florida. I wish I could contact riders from that era, Mike Parks, Keith Leathers,"Jesus Joe Lambert". Vic Krause, etc.
Dennis Shannon
My motor starts with 3E0 and frame starts with 3F0 can anyone tell me what this is?
Brian C
I think youíre reading your frame number and engine number wrong.  The closest thing I could come to a number that makes any sense at all is a 1981 250 MX.

Old Ellis Ginnini... 3weeks ago in his shop

Vic Krause

Old Ellis Ginnini

Old Ellis Ginnini
Well, at least someone is still reading Monkey Butt after all these years.

my Klx 110 2011 wont start. it has gas oil.and a good spark plug what do i check to find the possible problem.


Take this one step at a time. First of all, does the bike have spark when itís kicked through if it doesnít start? If it does have spark, then itís probably a matter of timing. If  the timing is off, the bike will start hard or not at all. If the bike doesnít have any spark when you kick it through, then you have a little problem and must check each electrical component one step at a time to see if it works.


I played in the desert with a CZ 250 mostly. I must have had a completely different model from yours as mine held up very well. I only had one break down where I had to be towed, a broken chain that I fixed when I got back to the truck. The guy that came and got me though, sheesh, I wasn't sure I would live.

He had a 360 yamaha and I swear that at times he went much, much faster than it should. He cut the corners so many tight that I got burns from letting the rope slip out. One point he hit a cut back that I couldn't have made, I let go and beat him to the bottom but not on a trail I'd like to ride again..

I gave it up in '73 and the man I gave the bike to still has it last I talked to him.

I rode a BMW off road in Germany a few times, not much fun Zundapp was better. There was another bike I rode while over there back in the early sixties, don't remember what though.

John Myers

Actually, the CZ was a pretty good bike except for their so-called ENDURO version.

Check out the story here: 10 Worst Dirt Bikes of All Time


I bought a 78 yz250 and when I put it in gear it goes like its in reverse can anyone helpme out with a solution


No problem at all. If you let the timing get closer to top dead center (TDC) than it should, the bike will sometimes start in reverse motion, rather than in a normal cycle. Letís say that your timing is 2 degrees before top dead center and somehow your timing is now .04 before top dead center. Often, the bike will start very easy, but every so often it will actually start the engine motion in reverse. So double check that timing.


My 1981 Maico 490 is very hard to start too, I bought it new and still have a very hard time getting it to kick over. I am always the last to get on the trail embarassing to say the least. Some times it takes me 45 min and 75 kicks to get it to start up. I have plenty of spark and gas...I even prime it directly into the spark plug hole at times.

Any advice?


Maico 490

The Maico 490 will start first kick every time if you know what you are doing. Plug the two overflow hoses and depress the tickler for three seconds. Crank the throttle to one quarter and kick hard. It will start first kick every time.


Perfect for running from the campsite into Mojave & back in the middle of the night for a beer run. Sure would beat 12 miles round trip on a light-less 2 speed Honda QA50!

David Fruhling

Triumph Dirt Bike

No question about it Ė that is one staggeringly beautiful Trumpet.



Great article, Rick., However I wish you had gone back to about 1962 when I had my first experiences with Maico, a 175 at a scrambles in Tulsa. I got to ride the bike at the track, although I didn't get to race it, that little Maico could certainly make things tough for a lot of 250s! It was a day of seeing two other rare racers, even in those days, a couple of G50 Matchless scramblers.

In 1966, a friend of mine was a Maico Dealer in Pensacola and he offered me chance to ride a 360. I could barely ride it a mile, the vibration in the handle bars was so bad, I couldn't hang on for any longer! I got another opportunity to try a 400 in 1969 with the same experience. then a couple of years alter I got a Six Days MZ250. I could hang on to that one for about three miles. Something about those German bikes just did not suit my body!

Just so you don't think I was a real wuss, from '65-'72, I owned and raced a GoldStar, 250 Pursang, T100 Triumph, Cheney Triumph, American Eagle 405, American Eagle 250, 1970 CZ 250, Grumph 500, BSA B50MX, Rickman Hodaka, and a Husqvarna 360 8-Speed. None of these bikes ever caused me any discomfort from vibrations. I finished my racing "career" in 1985, winning my class at the Viewfinder's Grand Prix. At that point I couldn't reach the ground on any of the competitive bikes any more!


Wow, itís like youíve been there and done that. Congrats.




I just bought a old yamaha , the guy taught it was a '75 125 enduro xt , the only serial number looking thing I found was that : 15w-000759 on   the frame next to the fork


This is a very strange Yamaha for numbering.  The 1982, 83, 84 XT 125 all shared the same numbering cluster and thatís what you have.



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