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

Mar. 05, 2014 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:
February 2014

January 2014

December 2013


Rick, never contacted you before, but was a motocross nut back when you were with Dirt Bike mag (think I had that 1st issue with the 3 bikes coming over the dirt hill).  Please find a pic one of my friends took of me while attending Michigan Tech in the UP of Michigan circa 1974: with a 1972 version of the TM400 that certainly lived up to it's reputation of loud, explosive, and a wildly gyrating rear end.  But still a lot of fun.  Last dirt bike was a '76 Pursang, which I loved and raced until stolen. 

My cadre of bikes included, in chronological order: an unfinished mini bike from Popular Mechanics plans made from thinwall condit, a long forgotten Italian scooter my dad dragged home that I put a chain saw engine on over the front wheel, a KIing O'Lawn J.C. Agajanian mini Bike with 4 HP Briggs and Stratton engine, a 1968 Suzuki 80CC street bike with lots of resemblance to the Honda dream, a Hodoka Ace 100 with a very inconsistent shift mechanism, a second Ace 100 I unsuccessfully tried to morph into a Super Rat with an expansion chamber I made in high school metal shop class (from Dirt Bike or Cycle World magazine expansion chamber article, a 305 CC stripped down Honda Dream (sans flowing fenders) which I took to the trails of northern Michigan's infamous 'Bultaco Hill', the aformentioned '72 TM400 (sans any form of exhaust silencer), a '73 Honda CR250 (which I loved), and the '76 Pursang which I bought new upon graduation from schooling and raced for a few years as a middle of the pack rider (I could hole shot to 3rd or 4th place, but always finished about 15th or 20th due to lack of talent/endurance).
 Lastly a short romance with a Kawasaki 500 CC triple street bike with chambers and cafe racer handlebars, for my short life of drag racing Kaw 900's down Cline Avenue in Hammond, IN.

Roger DeCoster was my Hero, although I never say him race, but did get to see Marty Smith smoke the competition once in Midland, MI on his totally red Honda 125.

I always appreciated your role in the golden years of dirt bikes: making all of us normal guys feel welcome to the sport of motocross, who had to scrap and save just to get a used dirt bike, and make it competitive by relocating shocks, adding a mikuni to replace a Bing, etc., and have fun in the process.

These days, I live in Charleston, SC, and work at Boeing making Dreamliner planes, instead of Honda Dreams.  My wife has never been a big fan of bikes, but I have been threatening to find a nice Weil 250 or maybe a late model KTM thumper, and try my luck in the Sr. class, even if I finish last.

There you go, my life with bikes.  Hope all is well with you.  Most recently, one of my relatives has, believe it or not, gotten involved with Erik Buell, in his latest iteration of Erik Buell Racing with help from financing from foriegn and local funds: they are focusing on their RS1190 and RX1190 street bike/racers, but he indicated that Erik still has the concept of his 'made in America' motocross bike in the somewhere in the back of his mind, and who knows, maybe they will some day be lining up next to the Japanese big four and KTMs with a Chad Reed or equivalent on board : stranger things have happened.  I gave him my thumbs up for the longshot idea.

Sincerely, one of your constant admirers,

Mike Brandt
Charleston, SC.

Wow, helluva email.  One small suggestion: pick up a 250 Maico and race that in the vintage class. Itís probably the easiest bike to ride that I can think of. It goes where itís pointed, does nothing weird, and has enough power to get the job done if youíre in some kind of shape at all. Good luck and keep me posted


I picked up a old dirt bike at a yard sale this past summer, it runs great, but I donít know what the engine is on it, I think itís a yamaha, the numbers on the engine are E309E-055604, if you could help that would be great, thanks
Tim Cox

What you have is a 1972 Yamaha RT 360. This bike was sold only in Japan, so I have no idea how it got over here. But itís a rare bird, for sure. The differences between this and the 1972 RT was in the selection of wheels and the way the lighting appeared on the bike.


Super Hunky,
I have a copy of ďHow To Win At RacingĒ which the Editor of Dirt Bike produced back in 1972.  On page 18, there is a picture of a race sign-up table being run by the Yuba-Sutter Motorcycle Club, my old club.  The woman running the table I believe to be the wife of Harry Johner, President of YSMC.  It looks like it may be from the inaugural ďBlack BartĒ Grand Prix that year, North of Beale AFB.  Could this have been the event?  I got a little drunk, and Ďgang dumpedí an entire load of 8,000 gallons of water in a turn where they wanted a mud hole, and got the water truck stuck (didnít creep out while dumping) and had to be pulled out by a D-6 dozer.  Ah, good memories!
Second, I now have two 1973 Yamahas, a barely street legal RT-3, 360 Enduro, and a well-restored race bike for Vintage races, a 250MX.  Pictures follow.  On the 360, I have a silenced Bassani expansion chamber for it.  If I put the Bassani on, and bump the Main Jet up by 30 and the needle clip moved down a notch (raising the needle), do you think Iíd be in the ballpark to start jetting it?  I also have a Don Vesco ĎSkinny-Fatí tank getting paintedÖ

I have always been an inveterate modifierÖ
Thanks for your time, and God Bless.  Aging IS a bitch.
Mark Hamersly
The RT-3:

I wouldnít change the jetting at all from where itís at right now, unless you feel a flat spot in the carburetion. And at that point, I would only bump up one or two points on the main jet before I did anything else to the carb.


Dear Super Hunky (Rick)
I am writing to you to see if you could help me identify a pair of NOS shocks.  About a month ago I was going through a box of parts that a friend of mine had gotten from EC Brit's Shop in Dickson TN. (Bob at B&J Racing, was friends with EC and worked with him from time to time on various projects)
Attached is a picture of the shocks and the manufacturers letterhead from the instructions sheet that were in one of the boxes from EC.  As you can see from the pictures, they appear to be from a company called Magnum Force Competition Products, but I have been unable to find any information on the Company or these shocks.
Any ideas?

Thank you for your time and attention to my request.
Pete DeSarro  
PS: I know I do not need to add this, but I guess it is obligatory when writing to someone I consider famous.....  I am a long time fan of your writing...  back in the 70's, when I was riding Japanese bikes, but I became a huge Maico fan because of your columns. In the early 70's I could not afford one, but I bought my first Maico in1978 (a 250 magnum) .... and to this day and many motorcycles later, I still consider it the best motorcycle I ever owned.
Thanks again for any information you can provide on these shocks...

After a bunch of research, I think the shocks are a Chrysler Nascar product. If anyone can update me on this, please do.


Hola Rick,
Admit it, you want one!
Jeff Chase

(As seen on Craigslist)

BULTACO 360- 1979 - $995 (WOODSTOCK,NY)


Just when you think youíve seen it all, up pops a new hybrid of sorts. Takes your breath away.


I have some fond memories of looking through stacks of these rags in Billy Payne's little shop at his "Payne Engineering" headquarters on First Street, Simi. One of his workers told me that he used to race but I had never heard of him.
I had my first TT (540) at the time.

I was out at he and Sherry's place but all I remember seeing were horses and a grand piano in his living room. Sherry's nickname by co-workers was "Iron Maiden" for reasons I never knew. I guess she was a bitch but I never saw her as anything but a decent woman who helped keep the business going.
I guess Payne Engineering is no longer.  I did field repair of his heavy equipment..  Fond memories were working on a scraper in Lancaster. The snow was coming down sideways about 40mph. Another was a job somewhere in or near Simi. A huge wildfire was near. I had no service truck yet and was using my own 3/4 ton International. I needed to lower (and raise) a splitter box for his big 4X4 articulating loader. It bolted to the back of the engine and all the hydraulic pumps and torque converter/transmission bolted to it. I rigged up cables, chains and ropes to it, over the roll cage (ROPS) and to my trailer ball. I removed the coil wire and used the truck to lower/raise it. It weighed like 600 pounds. Got pictures of it and it was hotter and windier than hell!
The truck had 12 forward,3 reverse gears so it was geared real low.
Anyway, why do I keep babbling..?    
Dave Fruhling


Billy Payne was a great racer who never quite made it to the top. He had a Maiko shop for quite a few years. Later on he had a son, also named Billy, who was a very fast local pro for a few years. Other than that, Iíve lost touch with them. Anybody out there know whatís happened?


Hey Rick-
I thought you might like to see this. It's from a Northwest Vintage mx group I subscribe to.  I recently moved to Queen Creek Arizona from Washington state and one of these days I want to stop by and say hi. My friends and I used to read Dirt Bike religiously and it would be a real treat to meet you in person.
Pete Holderbein

On Monday, January 20, 2014 2:15 PM, reese95w wrote:
Hey boys... is the address to sign the petition to dump Ralphie boy.We all know,by now,that Ralph is the worst announcer ever. So, let's make sure that SPEED knows it also.
Almost anybody would be an improvement over Ralph.They could dump him and use the money to get somebody who actually knows what the hell they are talking about.

Plenty of old retired racers out there to choose from. Think Marty Tripes would be interested? Bring back David Bailey? Rick Johnson?Art Eckman?

What the hell, go after the Big Kahuna himself and get SUPER HUNKY!or the other big kahuna, Bob Hannah...or Donnie Hansen, Steve Wise. Any of these guys would be a huge improvement over Ralph the Clueless. Maybe past World MX Champions, Danny LaPorte or even Brad Lackey.
You're welcome
Donít be too hard on Ralph. After all, he probably doesnít even ride dirt bikes, so he couldnít possibly comment on whatís happening out there in front of him.  I personally would like to see a combination of Brad Lackey and Bob Hannah doing the announcing. Hannah would be deadly honest and nasty half the time, while Brad Lackey would be quite the opposite and loaded with humor. Your thoughts?
hey you FAT *****.  why donít you go***** yourself and your pets to. You gave one of my letters a smart ass answer so you could go kiss my***

I wonít give you my name or address,  you*****

Is it possible that you were upset with the answer you got?



Hi Rick,

I am new to old bikes and I have just purchased a Triumph Bonneville T140V 1978 fitted with twin VM 34 Mikuni carbs.  I have had a problem with the bike surging, spitting and spluttering at mid range while idling through towns etc.

I had a guy look at the bike today that has been involved with old bikes for a very long time and he suggested I take 1/16 out of the carb cutaway, and he said it will be fine.
What do you think of the advice I received?

Thanks in advance Leigh Oates
Tasmania Australia

A pair of 34 mm carbs is an awful lot for an old T140. Still, you should be able to get them to work cleanly with proper jetting.  I would start by leaning the pilot circuit out about two steps and then take the bike for a ride. If this doesnít make an appreciable difference, I would then raise the needle clip (lowering the needle) and this should have an appreciable difference on the midrange. Lastly, I would start reducing the size of the main jet one number at a time until the bike runs clean. Cutting the slides is a very drastic maneuver and one that you canít reverse.


Been riding dirt bikes since 1967
Was huge fan of your "From the Saddle" column in DIRT BIKE. Bought "MONKEY BUTT !"  in 2001 and am re-reading it now.................funny, I don't remember much of it, just like a new book ! Tom Webb rode a qualifier up here in Oregon quite a while back. I won a set of knobbies from DIRT RIDER when Tom (The Wolfman) worked there. He sent them with a note, "Ride hard, take chances."
I have to tell you, a few years ago, while working in Bend, Oregon on golf courses, I ran into a couple guys at the motel I was staying at. They were riding 'Adventure' type bikes which had "Dirt Diggers" stickers on them. I had to ask if they knew you and they just laughed. Yes, they did, and they gave me a few "Dirt Diggers" stickers for my collection. They were about my age at the time, you may know them.
Anyway, thanks for the memories.
P.S. I still ride today but mostly Dual Sport  (71). I am a 'Life Member' of the LOBOS MC here in Oregon and weare celebrating our 50th anniversary this year (1964 - 2014)  ! !
Paul S. Garstka

Iím a life member of the Dirt Diggers motorcycle club and have been a member since 1968.  Even though the club has moved, I still have great memories of those better days.


My son (currently age 15) has wanted a CR500R since he first began watching them on youtube. I, myself, have wanted one always, but the bike never 'fit' into my riding needs...but we both consider the CR500R to be the Holy Grail of 2-stroke-ville.
My son bought a basket-case 1988 CR500R, Its in 4 boxes.  I'd say he's "restoring it," except that does not accurately describe the task. "Building a CR500," would be much more realistic a term.
Things are going smoothly (pretty much), but he's hit a road-block in that we can't find any documentation for the front forks. Not even the Honda manual tells us what weight Fork Oil to use, nor does it tell us about the oil volume.
Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you.
BTW: Dirt Bikes are under dramatic attack here in NH. We've lost ALL access to the state's mega trail network except for one 12-mile strip, while ATVs and Sleds can go pretty much anywhere they choose. The war on dirt bikes in an active one.

Rob Brown

PS: Have you written anything about the war on off-road bikes? The invasion of "those other machines" maybe? The fkg environment and the demise of bikes? Anything like that?

This information should help. Take the springs out of the fork tubes and pour in fork oil about six a half inches from the top of the fork tubes, compressed. Start with 10-weight oil and adjust accordingly depending upon your weight and how fast you ride.  This should get you in the ballpark. Anything you do from this point forward should be in increments of ½ inch in fork oil  level and heavier or lighter oil as needed.


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:  [email protected]

Paypal address:  [email protected] Newsletter
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