Donít Ask: Your Dirt Bike Questions Answered

Feb. 16, 2016 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.

Send your questions to [email protected], Attn: Don't Ask, or leave your questions in the comment section below.

Previous Don't Ask Columns
January 2016

December 2015

November 2015


Sorry to hear all your drama with the DMV, they need to have a better process for untitled vehicles.  I was wondering the fees involved in getting a bonded title.  Want a 1998 yz250 and no title,  they told its one and half times the value to get a bonded title.  So like 1500 to get a title??? Doesn't make sense and have not seen this anywhere online. Ugh, need help.

Getting a title to a dirt bike varies wildly from state to state. However, the only consistent thing about it, is that if you have a really old bike, getting the title is easier. I've heard about states where 1500 to 3000 for a title is not out of the question. Many riders are trying to get around this by saying that the bike was purchased in bits and pieces, along with a title. This sometimes comes under the standing of special construction, but then again, from state to state laws are not consistent.  If you think getting a title for a 1978 YZ 250 is tough, try to get one for a 2009 250 and be prepared to be treated like a criminal.


Rick, Joel Wolfson here. You don't know Me, I'm an Ex-dealer for about everything BUT, H-D, Honda, Kaw. & Polaris in Amarillo. I am writing to You because I have seen lately, some interesting looking Maico pictures on the net. Are They trying to stage a comeback? Does KTM have anything to do with ownership? Is all of this I am seeing a hoax? Those were the best handling MX bikes of their day & the only bike that I could ever ride worth a damn, so I am REALLY CURIOUS. Tell Me, PLEASE, what You know! & HNY!!

C'mon Super, I'm a MAICO nut! What is going-on there?

At my latest count, about nine companies have tried to revive the Maico motorcycle.  All of them have failed and the emergence of the  four stroke has not  helped at all.  Actually, for a company to revive the brand, all they would have to do is re-create the successful bikes of the era. That would be a 70s square barrel 400, a 400 radial of that era, a 1981 490 and a 1983 490. There's enough of a following to make it all happen.  As far as any serious company out there trying to revive the mark, it just isn't going to happen.


Well ,
I have several bikes including RL exacta suzuki , 500 cobra 1968 , IT 200 KT etc..
But still crawling on the web for finding à good source for ré building
my Mikuni carbs
Thank you for your help .
Chris Jones

Nothing could be simpler than working on a Mikuni carb. You just unscrew the four bolts that hold the float bowl on the bottom of the carb, and  remove the float bowl. Clean it properly and then turn your attention to the Jets. All of the Jets are reachable and you just simply take them out, clean them properly, replace as needed.   As far as jetting goes, most dirt bikes came jetted of the rich side. If you have access to any edition of Dirt Bike that covers the old bikes, chances are the correct jetting is in the spec sheet.
Hey Rick, this is your old friend Bret Rice Apple Trailer, Bellflower, CA.  It's been a really long time.1990 I think. It looks like you moved to the coast of Mexico (AZ).
How is everything? I'm 62 now.  Did you ever get old yet? I would like to hear from you.
Bret Rice

I moved to Rosarito Beach in Baja in the early '90s and spent 15 years there. Of the 15, 14 1/2 were wonderful years. But right around 2007, the drug cartels started pushing like crazy and the government responded by having inspection stations every few miles along the road. This would be that it sometimes took 6 to 7 hours to take the 14-mile trip to the border. At that point, my wife and I decided to move to Arizona and now reside in Apache Junction. As far as getting old, I'm 76 now is still riding in spite of both knees being replaced. Drop me an email with your phone number and I'll get back to you.

Ran the first race you did there. That first river crossing was crazy. Then the bogs. Then the muddy rocks. Then the river bank climbs. Then no brakes at the 90° turn in town. I just got over the nightmares last year! :)
Bill Malec
I really miss that race. Dave Coombs knew how to put on a truly spectacular event, and the Blackwater 100 was easily the toughest race in America.

Hi Rick ive just bought a yamaha dt 250 and would like to know what year it is the ID is DT1F-166505 it also says on fuel tank Yamaha stancity i live in Australiaive I also attached some pictures would appreciate some information  thanks

Your bike is a 1979F model. And the last DT of that series ever made.


Thank you for the book and Disc. I recently got a copy of Monkey Butt from you and it is my favorite book. It is loaned out now to another rider from the early days. I started out in about 1970 with a clapped out Honda 305 Scrambler. Supposedly a sort of dual purpose bike. It was only good for really smooth pavement. I once rode it part way across a cow pasture. Big mistake -- it almost killed me. I got rid of it and bought a used Yamaha 125 DT which had a alternator and not a magneto. I put so much money in it I could have bought a good bike new. I was newly married and could not afford much and had just discovered Moto-Cross. I got rid of it and got my first real dirt bike and one of the loves of my life--a Hodaka Super Rat.
I worried the 125 class was too much till a  sponsored rider offered to let me ride his 250 or 360 Yamaha bike at a race. Of course I Choose the 360 and WOW. I had to move up. I got a second hand Husky 250 with less than 3 hours on it. The guy that bought it only rode it once for about three hours. It was the first year for shifting on the left side and rear brake on the right side. It had a few problems that you solved in some of your articles and I did well with it.
I later sold it when my son was born and  went cold turkey for a couple of years. Then a CZ 250 right after they quit importing them. Got rid of it and bought a like new Yamaha IT 250 another really great bike. Rode an enduro with it and absolutely loved it. A couple of years later I sold it and bought a NEW IT 175 in about 1981 or so. Not a good choice for Enduro as the motor was a bored out 125 Moto-Cross engine and the internal gearing and power band were all wrong.
A few more years and at about 58 or 60 years old I bought a Honda XR400. Seat height of 39 inches. I am five foot seven inches on a good day and had to climb on it with the kick stand down. How this could be considered a woods bike is beyond me. I could barely touch one toe to the ground on one side. I have discovered that I do not like---more like hate 4 strokes. I am now 67 years old and am interested in a good (not too tall) two stroke to ride. Will probably have to trailer over a hundred miles to find a place to ride.  I really hope you read this as you are one of my hero's and made DIRT BIKE into a power house till you left it. Everyone could tell when you were gone as the Magazine went to hell in a hand basket.

Kawasaki KDX200

One of the greatest bikes I've ever owned was a 1990 Kawasaki KDX 200.  Since I am not tall myself, I cut the saddle down about 2 inches and raced and rode that bike for about 10 solid years. Other the normal wear and tear, it never let me down.


I want to thank you. My son and I asked you about Chris Haines tours. You said he had a great tour. So Alex and I on Halloween went on the Haines 4 day northern Baja tour. Boy we had so much fun. Chasing a guide named Santana we where going 45 to 85 mph just to keep up. The only reason we ever caught him was because he had mercy on us! We are tree chasers and this was a real eye opener! Baja is so vast and I had never seen the pacific ocean. So quiet and vast almost like the moon!
After reading your book I really realize what a great risk and adventure riding in the desert can be. Man in the old days your life depended on your bike and a good buddy, no GPS, no sag wagon, No SAT phone. As I age I am looking for more accomplices and willing adventurers. This world is so massive and people just sit at home and watch it go by. They think they know about it but as I discovered I had no clue!
while down in mexico I ask about Larry Rosller and other gringos form the north and they told me about Lyle Lovett. I have since be come very fond of his music and witt. He would be a great person to meet. I so much enjoyed the John Penton story. I was good to see you in it. Debbie gave  me the Malcomb Smith book and i think a great case could be made that with out You John Penton and Malcomb Smith. The world would still be on stripped 650 triumphs in the Desert and woods.
I for one am forever greatfull for those who have improved the off road motorcycle. Also I thank you for you and the duck of the desert. Because we need to keep the PUBLIC in public land! I am a blue ribbon member. I pray for your health and happyness. You have brought joy to more people than you know! 
Chris Nelson

I'm glad you enjoyed the tour. Chris is a real pro and makes sure that you get away from the cities on the border and into the real Mexico. There's a big difference.


Hi Guys

I just read your article -! I recently bought an 07 KX 450f from a Cycle shop. I just experienced the same damn ridiculous situation!  Took my new toy out for my very first ride. Soon into the first ride, I heard a heard a knocking noise.  Let the bike relax for a moment then took it for a second ride for it to completely die out and sound as if it it wanted to blow up.

Did you guys come across anything on this controversial issue?

This was such a great article to read as I was extremely bummed out this weekend when this happened.

Thanks guys!


Oh sure, those new four-strokes are fun to ride and are plenty fast. But as far as being reliable? Your email says it all. As far as I'm concerned, these new bikes have just about ruined the sport. We tried to warn the people with our articles, but many said we were just spreading rumors. Tell that to someone who has rebuilt his 450 Honda four stroke three or four times in the past year.

I raced at Canyon
Racetrack in early 70's a few times. I was stationed at Luke AFB twice in the 70's.I was actually there when DeCoster, Lackey and all the rest raced there once. I will never forget that day. They made our Experts look slow.
Thanks again for keeping up with good business.
When the first European riders hit our shores, a lot of eyes were really yanked wide open. They set a new standard of how to go fast and how to keep performing when everyone else got tired.


Hi i'am trying to find some help to id a ossa
I think it is a 75 enduro the frame number is B420299 I can't seem to find any info on this


Whenever we have an OSSA question, we always turn to Keith Lynas, who knows more about these bikes than anyone else..

This is a European market 1975 250 Enduro, similar to the US version Pioneer with differences to meet various European legal requirements... a few of these were sold in the UK. (The name Pioneer was only used for US market.)


I am guessing their is a few pounds of brass in that yard (lost Amal, Bing, Jikov, IRZ, Mikuni jets), and a half a yard of Carlsbad, Saddleback, Mojave, Indian Dunes, Arroyo, and Bay Mare dirt mixed in.....and a bunch of Busch pop-top rings too!

Keith Lynas

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 and for more information, the email is:  [email protected]

 Paypal address:  [email protected]

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