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

Apr. 11, 2013 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
[email protected], Attn: Donít Ask.

Previous Donít Ask Columns
March 2013

February 2013

January 2013


Hey Rick,
I have a 04 rm 85 for some reason when in 1st and 2nd gear it seems to miss but all other gears are fine powerband and all it has a gold series pipe I do not know if it's jetted properly or if that's the problem it does not slip its just missing the first 2 gears what could it be?????
Joseph Schmidt


Iím going to try to answer your e-mail in spite of some truly wretched communication on your part. From what I can glean, your bike breaks up in the lower two gears then starts to run cleaner. This to me is an indication that you are jetted way too rich and the excess fuel is not burning cleanly, hence the missing. Once you get into the upper gears, most of that excess fuel seems to have burned cleaner and the motor does seem okay. My guess is that if you get the carburetor jetted just about right, your problem should go away. Get back to me on this after you have investigated and please have someone help you with the writing.

Confused Ö
Where is Mr. Sieman? Haven't seen any input from him since last year? Hope he's doing alright. An old fan.

Chances are you have been going to the wrong place. All you have to do is hit and youíll see my smiling face glaring out at you each and every month. And by the way, thanks for being a fan.
Hello Rick,
I have a 2001 ktm 125 when I crank it wants to try and bog out at first then you give it some gas it will hit first gear perfect almost everytime then the rest of the gears want to bog out but the main problem is when I pull clutch In it revs way high I've tried adjust both air and gas adjustments not much of a change I've also cleaned the carb out everything looks as in order and clean any suggestions an the throttle cable isn't hung up anywhere also

It definitely sounds like you either have an air leak or are jetted too lean. An engine that is way too lean wonít pull a proper load, but when the clutch is pulled in, then the load on the engine is much less and it tends to rev out. Combine this with an air leak and you have the situation that you described. I donít know where youíre located or what altitude you live at, but you should contact some sort of local KTM dealer and find out what setting works there.

hi can you please help i have a yamaha dtlc mark2 is the vin and engine numbers are 35A010626 matching but no regestration plate. how can i found out the reg plate,been to dvla and they say they have to do a check on the bike is there any other way as i do not weant the hassle of having to take it to a check out place thanks paul

This was the most miserable Yamaha I.D. session Iíve ever had. All of my records show bikes sold in Canada and the US. As it turned out, your bike was sold only in England. And thanks to savvy Keith Lynas, we were able to determine the numbers that belong to a 1985 DT 125 LC. Please, the next time you write, let us know what country youíre in.
I have a dt125 engine number
could you tell me what year and model it is??
Kind Regards
Mark Keane

According to my records, you have a 1978 Yamaha DT 125E. The serial number starts with 2A6-000101.
Looking to restore 1976 YZ 125 with serial number 537-008-937 need both cylinders,parts bike, or any lead or help.
Thanks so much,
Andrew Combs

Youíre not even trying. I went to eBay and click in on 1976 YZ 125 and instantaneously located over 3200 parts. Everything from gasket sets to pistons to hard parts and plastics. Get off your butt and let your fingers do the walking.
I have a Yamaha that I just bought and I have no idea what year or model it is.  Thereís are some numbers on the bike up on the area behind the number plate.
It reads 510-000118.  So what is it?

What you have is a 1975 Yamaha MX 400 B. If you got it for a very good price, hang onto it, because itís going to be worth a lot more money as years go by.
Just where do u think ur coming off at, huh?  I read ur WORST DIRT BIKES EVER MADE thing an you ragged on my bike the Yamaha yz490.  Jisst where do u get off slamming this fine bike. Huh?  I donít race but I can climnb most any hill with my 490.  So what do you say about that.  Huh?
Billly J.

Donít race, eh? Well, I did two 45-minute motos at Saddleback Park on a 490 Maico, and at the end of the races all the calluses were torn on both hands. The 490, while powerful, is a vibrating fool thatís nearly impossible to keep jetted correctly.  Plainly put, itís a pig.
What oil/fuel ratio would be the best for the rm85l

Since I never heard of a Suzuki RM 851 before, I will therefore assume that you meant a Suzuki RM 85. I have answered this question probably 45 times in 15 years of doing this column. In each and every one of these answers, I told the people that you canít go wrong with gas oil ratio of 32 to 1. I have used this successfully in all of my motorcycle throughout the years and have never had a problem with it. What kind of oil? I prefer Yamalube in my race bike, but will run any ordinary two-stroke oil in my trail bikes. I use high test gas of at least 92 octane with my mix. Hopefully this for once and all answers that eternal fuel/oil question. But I doubt it.

Hey Rick, love your column! I took your advice and bought me a 2001 kdx 200. I got it from Brenny's Motorcycle Clinic in Bettendorf, IA. I live in Louisiana. The bike has been great. Thanks for the recommendation.

The Kawasaki KD X200 should go down in history as one of the greatest trail bikes ever, if not the greatest. I had one when I lived in Baja that I bought for $1000. I rode and raced that bike for 15 solid years and only put on fresh tires and changed chains and sprockets. I had no mechanical problems whatsoever. Nothing. I eventually sold the bike for $800 when I moved to Arizona. I now have a Kawasaki KDX220, which is no faster than the 200 but does have more midrange. It, too, is a great trail bike and will probably have a home in my garage for many years to come.


I have a 1978 Maico 400 that I use for vintage racing and I think itís one of the greatest motorcycles ever made.  My riding partner has a 1981 Maico 490. Well, one day he came up to me and told me that Maico used to make cars. I told him he was nuts. We have a six-pack of beer bet on this. Got any information on this?
Don in Reno

I hope your buddy enjoys the beer, because heís right.  Maico did indeed produce a small number of cars many years ago.

The Maico 500 was a car that evolved out of the Champion and that looks like a microcar offspring of a 4CV and a Beetle. Youíre probably not at all familiar with the Maico 500 Sport coupe prototype shown in these photos that Greg Steinmayer found; neither were we, so we turned to Charles Gould, who in turn asked ďfountain of microcar knowledgeĒ Peter Svilians for his input. Peter responded:

Your Mystery Maico was the very last gasp of the Maisch brothersí venture into automobile manufacturing. By this time they were dodging the 238 creditors who were owed some 21 million deutschmarks. But they forged ahead with a new car.

Youíre no doubt familiar with the Maico 500 Sport cabriolet, with the black/red two- tone divided in sweeping curves down the side.  It was built in fiberglass by the Swiss coachbuilders Beutler. Five were made. It debuted at the Frankfurt show in 1957.

This was joined at the same time by a Maico 500 Sport prototype with an ugly body in steel by Wendler (with tailfins), which was never officially presented to the public.

Your mystery car, the Maico 500 Sport, was an elegant prototype coupé on an extended chassis incorporating 14 chassis improvements. It was built once again by Beutler in Switzerland out of fiberglass, with the idea of bringing down the weight of the standard steel 4-seater sedan, which had evolved out of the old Champion. It was still on the same backbone chassis and still powered by the standard Heinkel 452cc two-stroke twin making 20 hp.

The desperate hope was to market it in America, and the coupé was shown at the New York Auto Show in the spring of 1958.  A number of brochures in English were produced. These showed a photo of the coupé , and drawings and specs of both the coupe and standard sedan.

At the bottom is printed:
ďAmerican Importer: Whizzer International, 350 S.Sandford Street, Pontiac, Michigan.Ē Yes, THAT Whizzer!

Payments from the US were not forthcoming, the banks got nervous and bankruptcy proceedings were initiated. Otto Maisch went to jail for 20 months, brother Wilhelm had a serious heart attack, several company people were jailed and/or fined. The cars were done, but the motorcycle division carried on.

Itís a shame, then, that such a pretty little car would be tied in with so much misery. Then again, Iím sure if we peered into every pretty little carís history, weíd find some sort of misery.





Yamaha made this 1 ½ hour movie back in 1970.  While nowhere near the quality of On Any Sunday, it has a whole bunch of great footage from the Ď60s up to 1970.  Most of the movie covers off roading, but there is chunk of road racing and flat tracking.  The best stuff is the old desert and scrambles/motocross  racing. Excellent! 

 Even though itís a Yamaha promo, thereís a lot of shots of J.N. Roberts and other legends of that era.  Itís a neat DVD and one that youíll watch more than once.  Cost is $10, which includes postage in the US.  Paypal addess:  [email protected] Newsletter
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