Don't Ask: Super Hunky Answers Dirt Bike Tech Questions

Mar. 06, 2012 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.

Previous Don't Ask Columns:
February 2012

January 2012

December 2012



Have you ever tested the 1971 or 72  250 mxer called the grey ghost model,motor shifts on the right,i ve also seen a few of the same motors in the earlyer rickman frames,thanks rick,ps i still show off my 1 st issue of dirtbike mag that you signed for me.

The only grey Montesa we tested was the 125.



Dear Rick,
Thank you for the great article on Danny "Magoo" Chandler. Danny was my hero as a kid motocrosser while growing up just outside Pittsburgh, PA in the late 70's and 80's.  It seemed as if I was the only one that knew much about him as a kid. At the time, I guess fan attention was easily absorbed by popular rider's like Hannah, Lackey, Bailey, and O'mara.

Unlike the rest of my peers, I was roosting Danny "Magoo" Chandler from every drop of sweat, every ounce of blood, and every tear I cried while tearing up the track.  I believe it was because I understood his riding style and I rode in a similar way. As I look back, I believe I was a crazy kid that did not know what was fast enough. Unfortunately, that is why I couldn't win. 

There wasn't anyone on any sized motorcycle that I felt I could not beat. I would start dead last and pass everyone in the first lap, crash, then do it all over again. Jumps? I would jump higher and farther on my 1980 Suzuki RM60 than most would on a 125. My Dad knew nothing about racing and spoke very little English. He only shouted go! go! go!...and go I did. Strangers would always seek me out to give me advice. I often was told that jumping high and far is not the fast way around the track. Also, I was told I needed to slow down to win. None of which made sense to me at the time. Heck, at the age of seven I broke the frame on my 1978 Suzuki Jr50 because I was always jumping it too high for the suspension. The good old days.

Crazy fast and elegantly out of control was Danny Chandler. The difference was that he could win and that is why I loved to watch him race. He gave me hope that maybe someday I would win a race. Unfortunately, I was forced to stop racing dirt bikes because we could no longer afford it.

Twenty years later and with a fist full of dollars, I started road racing motorcycles. I won my first race and every race as a novice my first year. Also, in my first race I passed all the novice and expert riders in the field. As I passed the final expert rider, I got pushed wide and into the grass. The throttle was pegged and I was already on one wheel. With my front wheel several inches in the air, I rode my machine into and off of the grass while putting the front wheel back down onto the pavement.

Surprisingly, the pass stuck and I literally left the other racer in the dust. Later on that day, the racer I left in the dust found me in the pits. He wanted to know where I came from and how in the hell did I learn to ride like that. He was baffled as to how I passed him accelerating through the grass and on one wheel no less. The one thought that went through my mind as I made the pass and the answer I gave the racer that left him scratching his head as I walked away smiling was... Danny "Magoo" Chandler.


No Name

Danny was a special person. I knew him well and he never ceased to amaze me.



i have an old yamaha dirt bike and the only number i can find on it is ct1-087557 what year model and size is this bike

According to the ID chart, your bike is a 1972 175 CT2.



I own a 2010 CRF230f it runs great but am looking for a cheap way to make it perform better. what would be my best option?

In the pages of ORC, you'll find a section for project bikes that we have done. In there, youíll find all the information  on modifications we did on a 2005 CRF230F.  All of these mods apply to the 2010 model, as well.  In there, you'll find the part number for the power jetting kit for this particular bike.  This is the single best modification that you can do.  It literally makes the bike come alive.



I have a 00 kx 125 that will not start and the clutch wont disengage, the bike only has around four easy hours on a new top end. I also just replaced the clutch, basket, and inner hub along with a new spark plug. It has spark, great compression, and fuel but will not start. It was running perfect then just choked down and never started back up, do you have any idea what could be causing this?
Thanks for your time.
Aaron Rutledge

Why don't you just take the top end apart and see if anything is wrong mechanically?  Score marks on the cylinder wall should give you a clue. The information you gave me is not enough for me to even make an educated guess.




I washed my cr80 yesterday and now it won't start could you tell me what could be wrong with it please?

Thank you.
Liam Humphrey

Let's see now. You sprayed your Honda with water and now it won't start. This may be a very long shot, but you think that possibly you got some water in an electrical connection somewhere? Nah, that couldn't happen.



Need help, I have a 1980 kdx175 and cannot get con rod kit for it , I am told a kx125 air cooled con rod kit share the same part number and should go straight in .Also could I bolt a air cooled kx125 bottom end to my kdx175 barrel and piston
Please help .

John Webster

While I pride myself a great deal on knowing a lot of things about many bikes, my mind is not a storehouse of parts changeability. Might I suggest that you contact your local Kawasaki dealer? He has a rather sizable parts book and can see if the parts are indeed interchangeable.



I have a what was supposed to be an 81 KDX175 but the vin says its an 80. Not sure which engine is in there. I noticed they both have the same carb MIK 34mm (I think), but the 81 uses 152-162 main jets, while the 80 uses around 132-142. Why the difference? I want to open up the air box, and drill out the silencer a little bit, and bump up main jet. Any prediction on how this will work on my bike?

Even though tag on the steering head might say it's an 80, chances are it's 81 and most of the 1981 models were built in 1980. As far as drilling your air box out, you will have to bump up the main jet at least one and possibly move the needle one clip richer. Play it by ear.



Hi Rick,
I just bought a Yamaha JT1 for restoration. The California title list as a 1971. The vin# is JT1-063247. My service manual says its a 1972 JT2 and so did Yamaha Corp, the color should be Mandarin Orange & is not a MX..They state that the vin on my bike is above the start vin (050101 for this model. Your chart on the website has the JT2 reversed with the MX model. Yamaha did say that the MX vin started at 300101-330000. I really need some help before spending alot of money on paint and a restoration. Thank You

Your bike is most assuredly a JT2 COMPETION model.  The serial numbers on that model went from JT1-050101 thru 071150.



Hi, sorry I don't know your name. I have a vin number for a enduro (yamaha) and i'm trying to find the year and size of the engine would you be able to help.


Greatly appreciate any help.
Jake Waltrip


Yet another CT ID state of confusion.  The bike in question is a 1971 CT1C 175.  The engine numbers start with 032101.



I have a engine serial number L2-517366 could you help me out with year and sieze Thank's
Robert John Jimenez

The Yamaha L2 is a motorcycle produced by Yamaha in Indonesia from 1976 until 1979. In 1980 it was replaced by the L2 Super. The 97 cc two-stroke engine used a lubrication system called Autolube, with separate oil and fuel tanks.



hi i need to know what jets i need to use in my carb while using a fmf gold series gnarly pipe. i got a 93' crf 250.
Adam Nichols

Gee, have you ever considered contacting FMF, the makers of that particular pipe? They would know better than anyone else the proper jetting.



Picked a Yamaha 80cc Enduro that appears to be from the '70s or '80s, but I don't see the numbers in the chart. The frame is 393-114137 and the engine is 393-20207. Any help? Thanks!

Ken Kittleson

From the numbers, we can deduce that the bike is a 1974 model and is a GT80A.



Dear sir(s),
I own a 1973 Elsinore 250, stock condition. While riding in the desert on New Year's Day and noticed that my swingarm was wobbly. After disassembly found the swingarm bushings oversized. Should I replace them with the stock carbon/graphite, plastic or whatever they are made of, or machined bronze, or find roller bearings that fit?
John D.
Salinas, CA

1973 CR250M
1981 XL185s
1969 CT90k1

I bought a 1973 250 Elsinore when they first came out and was impressed with the bike.  Then, on my fifth or sixth ride, I heard a clicking sound come from the frame.  A closer inspection revealed that the crummy plastic swingarm bushings had failed, and the swingarm was literally flopping around inside the frame.  Luckily, I was able to find a savvy Honda dealer who made bronze bushings to replace the stock trash bushings.  I recommend that you do the same.  A simple search on eBay motors should be able to locate the proper bushings.



my name is jacob crain and i have a 03 yz250f and it when u go to nail it to get the front wheel up it bogs down unless u like pump the throttle but it runs like a champ if u leave the choke on any thoughts?

Jacob  Crain

First off, you have to understand that most of the modern four stroke racers will bog at the worst possible time. You will bog even worse when the bike is running on the lean side, especially on the pilot circuit.




I enjoyed the January edition of donít ask ď Best aircooled two stroke motors of all timeĒ Here are some photos of my 83 sandspider cylinder that I had Eric Cook of maico only modified a few years ago. Every port was modified, including the head being milled & the squish band altered. The base transfers were enlarged as well as the boyeseen ports, I had to modify the base gasket and crankcase so they would match the boyeseen ports. The main transferís were reshaped, the boost portís got a large channel ground in front of them.

Last but not least, the exhaust portís were widened. The expansion chamber is maico only torque pipe with a short mo silencer. Gearing is 15/52. I run both a stock bing & a 40 mm type 55 magnesium bing. The type 55 carb workís great, you just have to use a different airboot, 98 Ė99 ford tauraus c.v. boot cut down.  I haventí tried a mikuni yet, what size are you using on your bike? I use this bike for playriding, and plan on showing up at some half mile flattracks this year.

When I first got the cylinder back in the mail, my first thoughtís were man, this thing is going to be pipey and hard to ride, yz 490, tm 400? But Eric was true to his word, he told me the power would be broad & have a tremendous increase in torque. The bike donít rev out  as high as the stock spider, but you can ride it a gear higher in the lower edge of the power curve, and itís actually pleasant to ride until you quit short shifting, and then Itís time to hold on!

Im looking forward to drag racing a new kx 450 this year, if I can get a decent start, I think this bike will win handís down, another plus is the wide raitio 5 speed tranny this bike has. I havenít measured the top speed yet, but I expect at least 85mph. The other 2 photoís are of my 81 490 I hope to finish this year. The weather here in western p.a. is cold and damp, so it will be a few more monthís untill we have decent riding weather. I started reading your columns and articleís in dirtbike magazine in the late 80ís, when I was 12 years old. Thankís for the great stories then & now. Shawn Ryan, Wampum Pennsylvania.

Wow, you have tuned up some good modifications to your 490.  I have a 1983 490 and I run a 40 mm Mikuni carb on it.  When I go out and run the bike against modern four strokes, it pulls them through the gears.  I would expect yours to do no less.



Dear Rick,
Long time fan of you and Dirt Bike. Like you my brother and I have always had a fascination for the monstrous 501 Maico.  We recently acquired a very nice 72' 501 ....which we are getting back into shape For  some play riding.    How can we know if this bike has the "detuned"engine?
Any help appreciated!
Jon Wang

Actually, most of the 501s that were sold registered only about 37 or 38 hp on the dynamometer.  But with some slight modifications, we were able to get 20 more horsepower of the beast. The best way to tell if your 501 is unmodified, is to remove the barrel and see if the ports have been tampered with. Also, a stock 501 will have the intake side of the piston skirt uncut, whereas modified ones were cut.



Hi Rick,
I am thinking about getting back into dirt riding after a 25 year hiatus (I'm 43) and I have my eye on a 1986 Yamaha IT200. The engine and suspension are bone stock with a recent top end refresh.  My question is what are your opinions of this bike for general trail riding?  I may eventually enter into some armature cross country, hare scramble type events.  Anything in particular I should watch for when inspecting the bike?

I thought about a newer model like a ttr230 but I prefer 2 strokes over 4 strokes, besides I've been lusting after the IT since I was a kid. (I rode a DT125 as a kid).

Anyway, I've been enjoying your recently discovered (by me) website and articles in the online magazines. Glad you are doing well.

Your advice is appreciated, tell Rondo I say hi.
Brett Wilson
Dallas, TX

That IT200 that you're considering is just about perfect for what you want to do.  It has decent horsepower and can be easily massaged into having a whole lot more horsepower.  The only thing that you should keep an eye out for is the stock shock doesn't seem to hold up very well over a long period of time.  It's a good thing you didn't get the  TTR230, as in stock configuration, it's dreadfully slow.





Ever hear of the "Garage Fairy"? What happens is Leslie and  I spend 2 perfectly  good weekend days cleaning/sorting/organizing/consolidating the garage/shop. Looks GOOD when done. Well, that night, someone/something comes in and messes it back up. Must be like a garage fairy or something. I know it ain't me! Here's my perfect example:

Dave Fruhling

This looks much like my garage the very next day after I clean it up.  Apparently the Garage Fairy gets around a lot.


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:

Previous Don't Ask Columns:
February 2012

January 2012

December 2012 Newsletter
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