DON'T ASK: Rick Sieman Answers Dirt Bike Questions

Dec. 14, 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
November 2015

October 2015

September 2015


I'm just finishing your book. It was suggested reading by Joe Gresh and I've enjoyed it immensely. So thanks! I'm through the parts about the BLM and now am looking at the list of pleasures. These were points that struck home.

I started to ride in the mid 80s. Specifically I have a memory of swapping my Honda 350 Odyssey with a guy on a brand new XR250R for a couple of hours. Flash forward 30 years and several different bikes, quads and crotch rockets and im back to the XR. I resurrected a trashed bike, plated it and have been a blast ever since. I even have raced a few vintage hare scrambles in New England. Just **** kicking around but man I it a rush.

Secondly in 1990 I joined the Army. My dream was to be stationed in Ft. Irwin and be close to the B to V action. I made my way through that post twice on a training rotation, but never lived there. Recently for our 10th anniversary I took my wife out there and drove all over. Angeles Crest, Death Valley, Vegas, the Grand Canyon, Barstow and L.A. Those places would be on my bucket list to ride some day. Baja is right on the top of the list too.

So to sum it up Thanks for the memories, laughs and insight.
Thayer Eastman

I've been lucky enough to have most of the things on my bucket list fulfilled. Near the top of the list was starting and finishing the Baja 1000, and I highly recommend it to anyone.



Hodaka's  were the best, and looking back,  I believe,

A. it's very light weight ( i think 175 lbs)
B. Seat height maybe  30"
 Moral: easy easy to ride little bikes / simple

How / where / or brand, would you say, is maybe Hodaka like ?

PS  It's amazing, no Brand, has made a "Retro' something like that  bike, damn, was it popular! I grew up, in an extremely rural area,;   my "Hodaka's" were the "greastest" to me! I considered buying a Restored DT1  250  Yamaha, they were built, much stronger, Hodakas, did have a cheap to them I must admit .
Bob Harvey

When the Hodaka motorcycles first came out, they were inexpensive, reliable and parts were cheap. It would be hard to find something like them today. Also, the nice thing about them was that you could buy one, ride it for a year and sell it for about hundred and 50 bucks less than you paid for it.


Rick, I need help! (I know, but not that kind)

I'm building a GYDBT and need pictures of the door decals. I could cut the little pictures from Monkey Butt "butt" that would be wrong, just plain wrong!
Can you refer me to a site that has picture of that fine yellow unit showing the doors? Thanks for your help in this matter and thanks for printing all my "Don't Ask!" hints, comments, bullshit and opinions.
I also forgot to mention and ask: "Who's tailpipe did the hippies have to suck at the BLM to get permission to have 50 to 60,000 burnouts have a inferno party on the dry lake at Black Rock?" Back in the 1980's, would the BLM given permission for 60,000 dirt bikers to camp out there for a week?

I think I figured out what "BLM" stands for: "BLow Me."
Catch you later, Hunky.
David "TT500" Fruhling

Here is a photo that might help you out a bit. Interestingly enough, those were not decals on the truck. I used to be a sign painter and I hand-lettered both doors.


Hello, Rick.

I was watching this documentary movie this morning on that "Burning Man" crap out in the beautiful Nevada desert and had some thoughts, ideas and opinions on it and the people involved.
It's based out of San Francisco (don't get ahead of me here, Rick) by a bunch of burnt-out hippie "Love Children", the sloppy seconds of the "Love Generation".
The "burning man" represents their hatred of men. Why? See, the "thespians" hate men and the "rock suckers" hate men...that's why they burn an effigy of Man at the end of this "Get-In". None of these people in the documentary movie appeared anything close to acting and resembling normal. Men were kissing men, women kissing women...just sickening.
The theme is to party, consume mass quantities of drugs and booze centered around the hatred to society and The Almighty Dollar. The burnouts build psychedelic floats, vehicles, bicycles...whatever, most shooting propane-fueled flames into the air. They build a wooden "Wall Street", bank and government building and then burn them in protest. In protest of what, I don't know. If it weren't for that "almighty dollar" and the government (BLM) they couldn't put on this show that draws 50 to 60 thousand paying burnouts that attend each year, for 25 years.
They use backhoes and other equipment to gouge 3 foot deep footings (holes) in that dry lake that belongs to the BLM's National Conservation Area and the BLM's NationalLandscape Conservation System which is all part of the Black Rock Desert-High Rock Canyon Emigrant Trails National Conservation Area all in the name to erect giant wooden shit to burn! That's a lot of "conservation", eh?!
You have to order and pay for tickets to gain entry.
However, I noticed there's no fences and any old burnout could just drive in. Tickets? We don't need no stinking tickets!
So, here's what I was thinking: why don't a battalion of us old, burnt-out desert riders attend? Here's what we'll do. We'll grab our biggest and most powerful open-class 500cc (and up) dirt bikes, mount up some nice, new, sticky Metzler knobbies or paddle tires and go join them! Multi-cylinder Triumphs, Nortons and BSA welcome!
I could strip my Yamaha SR500/650 stroker down and mount me a nice, fat-ass paddle tire on the back. We'll set up our own campsite a mile or so away as to not bother them while they're tripping their nuts off. Then, when the party is in full swing, we'll all ride in and roost the losers! We could all dress like blunt-nosed lizards, desert turtles, Phantom Ducks...whatever to "blend in".
We'll really blow their minds, man!
To placate the BLM, we'll ride in "squads" of ten or less. Don't forget to "lose" those Department of Forestry approved silencers, kids!
Whatcha think, Hunk?
David "Peace" Fruhling

If we did what you suggested, you'd end up with literally hundreds of crazed left-wing liberals walking into walls. They wouldn't know how to handle it. Still, it's not a bad idea.


Hi Rick,

Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate all the time you have put towards our great sport, I love reading everything I can get my hands on with your name on it. Me and my father both enjoyed your contributions to TBM in recent years. My father passed away last year at 51 years old from cancer. He grew up on 2 wheels and brought me and my siblings up the same way. I am now 25 years old, and have been in love with the sport since I first road my pw50 at 3 years of age. "The Last Ride" was a great read, top notch job on that as well!
I also attached a photo of a 72 Suzuki Trailhopper MT50 that I recently restored.

Your writing was something me and my father would bond over, I'll never get tired of reading your new articles and re-reading the old. Thanks for making a mark in our lives.
Malcolm Hett

Thanks for sharing those memories with us. The fact that you had a chance to spend some quality time with your dad is truly wonderful.


I put a much larger engine in my SL70 frame, now I need better brakes. I would like to go to a disc brake up front. Is there any front end out there that is compatible for a swap? I was looking at maybe a cr80 but don't know about the head tube length,bearing size,etc. Thanks You!
David Phillps

Your best bet is to measure the length of your steering head, see what kind of bearings are in there and bolt on any kind of front end that has a kind of brake you want.  You'll usually find it's much easier to stay with the same basic model. That is, if you have a Honda, another Honda front end will usually slip right in and get your job done. I've done this on a number of bikes it is really not that difficult.


got a 1978 Kawasaki KD100M I was told to run 100 to 1 but I would like to see what other people say

Anyone you talk with who has a basic knowledge of two strokes will tell you to stay far away from 100 to 1. I don't care how good or how modern the oil is, 100 to 1 is just pushing it. I have used 32 to 1 for most of my riding life and had plenty of good luck doing that. I recommend the same to you.


I a have a 50cc TGB 2 stroke scoot was riding along perfectly normal the next second the scooter putters, spits and turns off. it will still start but sounds really muffled then when you rev it it turns off????

Jordan Smith

I would take a small bet and guess that you have water in your carburetor. The way you are describing your problem is just how gas reacts with bubbles of water in it. Clean your carburetor completely out and chances are your problem will go away.


I can't stand you. I'll say it again - I can't stand you and anything you say. Were you a national motocross champ? I don't think so. So when you get off telling people all kinds of answers to questions having no experience or background to do so.

Go pound sand.

Mike L.

So I should not expect a birthday present from you in the near future?


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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