DON'T ASK MARCH
YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!
By Rick Sieman and Matt Cuddy
WRITE AT YOUR OWN RISK; YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED
BY RICK SIEMAN
DIRE WARNINGS AND THINGS YOU OUGHT TO KNOW
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 email 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 email unedited, for what it’s worth.
SUBJECT: A GOOD STORY FROM DAVE
I know you are busy, but I just remembered a good D.B. story. I was reminded of it as I read you getting body-blocked off your Suzuki by a "Public (pubic?) Servant".Dave Rigby (R.I.P.), Scott Kyle and I were at Jawbone Canyon one holiday weekend. The place was packed w/D.B'rs. Dave was on his pumped '77 TT, Scott was on his XT500 and I was on a borrowed XL250. I'm not sure of the model. Was the 4 valve street/dirt one. About a '74 or '75. I removed the taillight/license plate assy. in case I dumped it. One less thing to break, you know.
We decided to make a quick run up 395 to a dry lake they knew about. Sure, one of us was not street legal, but screw it! We went about 1/2 mile when Scott and Dave started playing cat and mouse and pulled way ahead of me on the Powroll kitted Honda. (305, Doug said...set up by his Dad who was Service Manager/Mechanic at Conejo Honda) Just about the time they were about 1/4 mile ahead of me, a C.H.P. passed me, yanked the wheel to the right and slammed on his brakes, sliding sideways in front of me yakking on his radio the whole time. Calling for backup? Well, I braked hard and turned around and headed back south and kept the 'ol speedo at 55. Chip does SAME thing! Ever have a Chrysler product sideways in front of you at 55? I didn't think so.
About this time I was almost along side where we were camped on the right, just over the hill. I braked hard again 'cause I didn't want to be riding shotgun with him while on a bike. I hooked a right into the Dez, never looked back. I went over the hill and parked, crept to the top and peeked over. There was a side road that came to 395 at an angle, and about an 1/8th. mile up it was the Chip just sitting there, facing east. About 1/8th. of a mile ahead of him was a Sheriff in a Blazer facing him, also just sitting there. W.T.F? Off in the distance, headed right towards them was Dave on the TT. He popped onto the road and instead of just crossing it, headed towards 395 ON the road! Huh?
The Sheriff knew better than to take on a Big Bore open megaphoned TT and just sat there. The Chip, however, floored it in reverse and tried to keep up! Dave then cut across the Dez towards me. I got on the Honda and intercepted him as he crested the hill. We both parked, crept up and peeked over. The law was both GONE! we waited for a while then finally rode back to the truck. Scotts sitting there and goes, "Where have you two been?" While the law was busy with Dave, he somehow snuck past everybody.
Down on the 395 was a little store. We decided later to ride down and get some grub. Up the little road comes Mr. Chipper. He is giving me the evil eye as we passed. I just kinda mosied along not making eye contact. He HAD to have known that was us, but he knew any car aint gonna catch 3 thumpers in the vast Dez. There were hundreds of other riders that weekend. I think it was about 1977/'78. At any rate, you know you can't make this shit up. All I can say is, "Thank God I had the brains to remove that plate/light assy". Otherwise Poor Doug might still be locked up! Later, Bro...
SUBJECT: REMEMBERING AL BAKER
Do you know or remember any information or articles on the Honda 1974 CR250M frame modifications by Al Baker or anyone else that made the bike work better? I enjoy the CD's very much.
Thanks and Best Wishes
Roger P. Granger
Al Baker never did any work on the 74 Honda. He started working on the Honda's with the 350 specials made into Baja bikes. He really got into high gear with the XRs.
SUBJECT: AGAINST THE ODDS
I would like to thank you for all the enjoyment you provided me all thouse years you wrote for dirt bike magazine. I rode dirt bike from 1974 to 1987, then in 1987 I fell into a grain auger at work and all but cut my right leg off. After 9 surgeries and 17 months I went to work. So from 78 to 2003 I did not ride motorcycles. Raised my kids and dreamed of the dirt. Since 2004 to now I have started riding again. I have 3 old KTM two strokes a 99 300 exc, 2001 380 exc. and a 2002 250 sx. I love to ride and for the first time in my life I do not care if what I ride is fast. I am 52 years old and have been 22 years since this accident that should have killed me. My wife and I have raised our kids and now I can ride. If I ride too slow who cares. I sometime ride with my three sons 27 25 23. God is good. I would like to write to you some more. If you can could you write back and let me know about you?
Your biggest fan
Glad to hear you're riding again. Your email is an inspiration. This February when I turn 70, I'm going to start racing the over 70 vintage class, so you know it's never too late to ride. Thanks for the kind words and stay in touch.
SUBJECT: LETTERS FROM SANTA CLAUS?
Mr Hunky, sir....
Sounds like Santa has been reading your "Don't Ask" column for inspiration!!!
From a longtime fan,
LETTERS TO SANTA
deer santa: I wud like a kool toy space ranjur fer Xmas. Iv ben a gud boy all yeer. Yer Frend, BiLLy
Nice spelling. You're on your way to a career in lawn care. How about I give you a frigging book so you can learn to read and write? I'm giving your older brother the space ranger. At least HE can spell!
I have been a good girl all year, and the only thing I ask for is peace and joy in the world for everybody!
Your parents smoked pot when they had you, didn't they?
I don't know if you can do this, but for Christmas, I'd like for my mommy and daddy to get back together. Please see what you can do.
Look, your dad's banging the babysitter like a screen door in a hurricane. Do you think he's gonna give that up to come back to your frigid, fat mom, who rides his ass constantly? It's time to give up that dream. Let me get you some nice Legos instead. Maybe you can build yourself a family with those?
I want a new bike, a Play station, a train, some G.I. Joes, a dog, a drum kit, a pony and a tuba.
Who names their kid 'Francis' nowadays? I giving you a doll instead because I bet you're gay.
I left milk and cookies for you under the tree, and I left carrots for your reindeer outside the back door.
Milk gives me the shits and carrots make the deer fart in my face when riding in the sleigh. You want to do me a favor? Two words, Jim Beam.
What do you do the other 364 days of the year? Are you busy making toys?
Your friend, Thomas
All the toys are made by little kids like you in China. Every year I give them a slice of bread as a Christmas bonus. I have a condo in Vegas, where I spend most of my time making low-budget porno films. I unwind by drinking myself silly and squeezing the asses of cocktail waitresses while losing money at the craps table.
P.S. Tell your mom she got the part.
Do you see us when we're sleeping, do you really know when we're awake, like in the song?
Are you really that gullible? Good luck in whatever you do. I'm skipping your house.
I really really want a puppy this year. Please please please PLEASE PLEASE could I have one?
That whiney begging shit may work with your folks, but that crap doesn't work with me. You're getting an ugly sweater again.
We don't have a chimney in our house, how do you get into our home?
First, stop calling yourself 'Marky', that's why you're getting your ass kicked at school. Second, you don't live in a house you live in a low-rent, ghetto apartment complex. Third, I get inside your pad just like all the burglars do, through your bedroom window.
Sweet Dreams, Santa
SUBJECT: OLDER MAGAZINES ON CD?
Good to see you on ebay. I am a long time Dirt Bike magazine reader. Subscribed from 1981 to about 1998. My ex wife pitched out my entire collection of Dirt Bike and MXA from those years (do you think she was pissed?!!!)
Anyway, I am hot into vintage/Ultima racing and really value those issues for set up, jetting and hop up articles. If you plan on scanning any of the issues between 1980 - 1998, I am a buyer for sure! Let me know.
Good to hear from you.
No plans on doing all those years you suggested, but am working on all of the old Modern Cycle magazines.
SUBJECT: SEARCHING FOR CONTROL CABLES
A question for Mr Know it all. Is there a source that you know of, for motorcycle control cable,sleeves,nipples,et al, wholesale/by the foot metre cubit or whatever? Motion pro is killing my wallet.
Try Terrycables. I've used them for years.
SUBJECT: DMV NIGHTMARE CONTINUED
i recently traded a truck for a 2xxx dirtbike. Ill leave the model number out!! I bought with a bill of sale!!!!! before i made the trade i ran the vin through az theft it said not stolen i did a car fax all it said was bike was registerd in xx in a city in az and then again in city in az !!!! next i called the dmv they said bike is clean. Long story short bike was to big for me and i went to trade for a smaller one!!!
the guy that wanted to trade me just happend to be a police officer!! he wanted to trade. he told me he was going to have friends run the vin. he called me the next day and said the bike was clean when do you want to trade i said after work!!!! later that day he called and said deal off the bike is hot. luckaly he didnt report me i guess. he told me if i didnt believe him to call the crimestoper number!!! i call the number give vin and i get where is the bike now. i gave a story im leaving the details out. they said you donot want that bike. i then called the guy i got it from he didnt belive me so he called number long story short many details left out i gave him bike back he gave me my truck back and we went our seperate ways
what i want to know why would dmv say clean aztheft say clean and carfax clean and then crimestopers say stolen????????????????
well atleast my story has a happy ending i recently sold my truck and bought a bike with a title granted my first one was nicer i am just happy i didnt get cuffed and stuffed and thats my dirt bike buying exsperence!!!!!!!!!
The DMV rules and regs vary wildly throughout the country. Arizona seems particularly confused.
SUBJECT: THE TRASH FACTOR
First of all I grew up riding dirt bikes in the early 70's when I was a kid-preteen and teen. I lived in Nevada and my friends and I spent countless hours riding in the desert around Reno and Carson City after school and on weekends. I raced a couple of times but mostly just loved to explore and ride with friends. I also loved Dirt Bike Magazine. I lost touch with biking somewhere in early college but in the past 5 or six years I have returned to riding with a series of small-bore thumper trail bikes . I was glad to find that you are still involved in the sport and I have enjoyed your articles on the many topics that you cover.
Things are different now! I can't ride where ever I wish like we did when I was a kid. In fact, it's hard to find trails to ride on. Those available are "designated" as "open to OHV use" and involve some travel to get to. I'm in relatively low populated southern Oregon so I'm sure the limits on offroad riding space are more limited in many other places in the country. I can ride just about anywhere on forest roads, of which there are lots nearby, and I spend most of my cycling time on these but I do enjoy riding faster and hard now and then and I do that in bike-only areas, where appropriate.
I am an Independent, a hiker, a "nature-lover", and a dirt biker (Yes, these interests can coexist). If you are open to some comments from someone of this ilk, here are some thoughts on the diminishing access to public lands.
I agree with your assessment that offroaders should have access to public lands and should have a fair representation in negotiating for areas to remain open. I also believe that cyclists have to adapt to the conditions of a crowded world and the obvious and real impacts to land that comes with the nature of the sports. I was shocked when I first went to a local riding area, owned by a well-heeled and well-organized off-road motorcycle association of southern oregon, when I first got back into cycling a few years ago. The place was a mess! There were piles of trash throughout and the trails were terribly rutted and eroded. I wondered why the group didn't take better care of their land and clean up the mess, even if their members weren't responsible for most of the trash, as I suspected. Other areas in the woods where I ride are often similarly trashed. Of course, much of this is not from the dirt bikers. All kinds of people dump trash, shoot their weapons leaving shells, boxes, and clay pigeons on the ground, and four-wheelers mud-bog and ride up hills and in fragile riparian areas along with some cyclists. The OHV parks that we have are severely impacted by the dirt bikes and quads that use them. Off-road bikers can and do cause a great deal of damage to wild lands and a minority of users can and do spoil the reputation of all dirt-bikers.
My point is that there are legitimate concerns on different sides of the issue of land use. Nothing is free anymore and the destructive days of "do as you please, where you please" in the dirt should be over. There are just too many users and others have a right to enjoy the outdoors unspoiled and unpolluted. We cyclists have a responsibility to minimize the damage we do and work to restore the land we use, just as the hiking, hunting, and fishing communities seems to be trying to do. We should strive to become as much champions of environmental stewardship as we are defenders of our right to public land access and enjoyment. Many are taking this approach, including our state and regional off-road cycling association, and it's a welcome and productive development. Ranting, generalizing, and name-calling don't engender intelligent thought and positive solutions. To the contrary, they are self-defeating, no matter how dishonerable the opponents. We can either take a mature and respectful approach or one of hate and defiance. The latter will not likely lead to more persuasion and open riding areas.
In the end the writing may be on the wall. Biking will never be like it was once when there were fewer people. It seems reasonable to me for us to work for responsible use of existing public roads for trail/dual-sport riding and very limited access to lands for aggressive off-road riding in OHV parks and limited designated natural areas. When these become damaged in time we should be willing (happily) to restore them, for our own future use and that of of our children and grandchildren.
Thanks for your work, wit, and entertainment!
It's my honest belief that most of the garbage and trash you see strewn about the trails are is from quad riders. These people, for the most part, are those who don't have the skills needed to ride a dirt bike. They also carry a bunch of stuff with them in their ubiquitous coolers.
SUBJECT: A YAMAHA QUESTION FOR MATT CUDDY
The patient is a 1985 Yamaha IT 200N that I purchased in pieces with a
broken kick-start shaft. Unsure if the mag/CDI would actually make spark, or if I even knew how to correctly assemble the transmission, etc. etc., I took the parts out of the bags and boxes they'd been stashed in, then cleaned, sorted and reassembled everything as per the factory shop manual.
(I didn't want to get financially married to this thing if it turned out to
be the proverbial basket case that it certainly appeared to be.)
I used new gaskets and seals, but all the hard parts were cleaned and
reused... even the rings (I know! But their end gaps were within
The piston was scuffed on the skirts so I sanded it (as the manual showed).
I also honed the cylinder, which was still the standard bore. Lo and behold the thing runs. Miraculously it shifts fine, even the tires hold air.
The problem is, it is often difficult to start hot or cold (it's
unpredictable) and it has a flat spot in the mid-range where it feels like
it's loading up. It also smokes blue like crazy (with a 32:1 mix) -- way
more than is normal for one of these bikes -- and it turns the plugs wet and
The spark is always fat and blue even when the plug is soaked in gas --
though I confess I haven't checked things with a multimeter. I went over the timing a couple times, advanced and retarded it a little to no avail.
I took the carb back apart to make sure the float or needle wasn't hanging
(or that the float was bent) but that looked good and measured out OK.
I cleaned out the pilot and the main and set the clip on the needle to the
stock spot. (someone had set it all the way lean) Same deal.
All of the jets are the original sizes (according to what the book says.)
Though I've noticed that all of the plugs that came with it are 2 steps
hotter than stock -- I bought NGK equivalents of the stock plugs. (the NGK
numbers have changed over the years, since the shop manual was printed, it
Here's my theory: The honing I did on the cylinder was enough to give the
thing a little less compression a little more blowby. When I kick away at
it, enough oil finally gets in the cylinder to tighten it up a little and it
starts. It's weak under a load (the mid-range/loading up thing) but once
it's revving, it runs pretty well.
I think the best thing to do at this point is yank off the jug, have it
punched out to whatever oversize piston I can still buy and put it back
together with a fresh top end.
The cheapskate in me would like to believe it could be solved by going to
leaner jets, but I doubt it would ever really run 100 percent or be
reliable. I mean all things being equal, why wouldn't it run fine with the
stock jetting now?
Of course this is why I'm harassing you, for moral support before I spend
more than double the original cost of the bike on a new top end. Any insight you might have and advice you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
By the way, I'm on my fourth or fifth read of my autographed copy of Monkey Butt. I'm an editor at Hemmings Motor News where we put out a few halfway decent car magazines (I consider this more or less your fault for producing Dirt Bike when I was young and impressionable!) and enjoy reading your Off-Road.com stuff as well as your column in Trail Rider -- to which I subscribe. (Clipper is partially to blame for this questionable career
direction of mine too!)
Sorry again about the Magna-Carta-like length of this thing, Rick. Take
A new crank seal on the primary side should fix it. Might as well replace the one on the timing side too. Remember, some of the NOS parts are major shop-rotted, and things like crank seals should be inspected for cracks or hard rubber before you install them, even if they are new. When you got all the good compression back, it blew the crank seals. Happens all the time.
SUBJECT: NOISY KTM FIXIT
Happy New Year Rick...!
Greg here in Gainesville, FL. I've been a fan of Super-Hunky since the days of the Sabre-Toothed Jack Rabbit. (Gawd...I hope even YOU remember that!)
I just finished reading your article on fighting a citation. In short, we received one in the Ocala National Forest...fought it and won.
My question may seem quite bizarre, looking across the United States for a cure for my noisy 4-strokes. I'm sure you've a significant opinion on the db level of today's modern off-road wonders. I simply want to install the disc-type Super-Trapp on my Katooms to shut-these things up while I still have my hearing. The effectiveness of the old style Super-Trapps will certainly lessen the chance I'll end up in court but more importantly, create a better environment for all. If there's a possibility you might know of a willing and sympathetic ear willing to construct a quality exhaust extension pipe that will connect to the KTM header pipes, it would greatly appreciated. If you would picture the Super-Trapp mounted in such a way as an old Honda XR, exiting at or around the right side of the rear fender, THAT is the configuration I'm shooting for.
I hope you assume I've beaten this project to death in and around this neck of the woods. I've begged, pleaded, sniveled and groveled. I've promised wealth and fame and an endless supply of tickets to Walt Disney World. (Guess everyone on earth HAS been to the Magic Kingdom) In one case, I promised 72 virgins without the need to leave the face of Gods Green Earth.
(He ACCEPTED that offer. I can't go back to that shoppe)
So, if lowering the bar and reaching Westward is what it takes, so be it! If this attempt at peace and serenity fails, I guess actually losing my hearing in retirement really wouldn't be all that awful. As it turns out, I've a wife.
When did that happen...?
Yep, I do remember that particular story. It was one of the first I ever wrote. Regarding putting a Super Trapp on your Katoom, it should be no problem. Just find the OD of the exhaust tip and slap on any four stroke Super Trapp. That should do the trick.
SUBJECT: NAME THAT YAMAHA
A neighbor recently gave me a Yamaha MX 175. He knows nothing about the year of manufacture or any other pertinent data. VIN #3M2-105328, it is white in color and currently does not run. If you would please give me any information as to the year of manufacture, I could buy a manual and try to get this vintage machine running again. P.S., Where can I purchase a good used manual for this motorcycle. Any help would be greatly appreciated and I thank you in advance for your time and trouble.
You have a 1980 175G model. Try eBay for a manual.
SUBJECT: FOUR STROKE COSTS
So I just rebuilt my '02 KX250, guess how much it cost just for the top end with gaskets.... $230 (Canadian $$$) I could have gotten a full rebuild with the crank and gaskets for $480. The old girl was still running strong and I used to race it when it was brand new. When I took the piston out there where no marks on the cylinder or the piston. I could have just threw a new set of rings in and it would have been good, but I figured I'm already in there I may as well do the whole top end. I was really close to buying a KLX450 cause I could have gotten it for $5600 but I'm glad I didn't. Plus 4 jokes sound like crap when you pipe them up.
Welcome to the world of stupid new four strokes that cost a fortune.
SUBJECT: FOUR STROKE RELIABILITY?
I found your site and your articles interesting. You and Matt are addressing a very interesting aspect of dirt biking, the ridiculous cost of repairing a modern 4 stroke. I've always favored European bikes because of what I perceived to be better quality materials and manufacturing techniques. Are the KTM's any better than the Jap (can I say that?) bikes in this regard? I don't currently own a modern 4 stroke but am considering it but I do have a fondness for the Husky 4 strokes from the late 80's. Do you know anything about them and how do they compare to the modern bikes. I'm a fat (270 lb.) 56 yr. old ex-desert racer that just lives in the past on my
collection of 80's era Huskies and am not interested in going banzai on some modern 4 stroke, more just trail riding with friends. If the new bikes are that fragile then maybe I'd be better of with, say, an 88 510 TE Husky. Or just stick with my watercooled 84 400WR twin shock Husky. (with Ohlins of course. :) What a Cadillac ride. SG is doing the shock for one of my other Huskies. I live in Placentia, Ca
The older Husky four strokes were reliable, with only the SEM ignition a bit suspect. The new KTM four strokes are a bit better in longevity than the Japanese models. If you want a great Husky, try a 430 sometime.
SUBJECT: MORE FOUR STROKE RANTS
I'm a long time vet of the motorcycle industry and I know that everything you guys are reporting is true. And it's a damn shame. Because it's quit being about the riders and whats good for the sport in the long run and more about profits over the short term.
What I love to hear is when the factories justify the decision to go with these high priced hand grenades based on emissions, claiming the two stroke design pollutes more than the four strokes. When you consider the play bike thumpers or even a purely stock race bike that could be the case, but how many stock race bikes do you see out in the hands of the average rider? Most have pipes and free flowing air filters and then have been re-jetted (or re-mapped these days) to flow and burn more fuel. But with the availability of modern synthetic two stroke oils that can be mixed at 50:1 easily and in some cases as much lean as 100:1 it seems to me that a modern two stroke can't be much, if any more polluting than one of these 'diesel pigs' that are being sold these days.
And we haven't even touched on the noise issue yet. My gawd but those blasted strokers are loud! Plus the noise carries further than a comparable two stroke so you hear it further away! Whatever happened to Less Sound = More Ground?!?
Then on top of all that the industry pundits can't seem to understand why business in the off road segment of the market as fallen off so much. Great googly moogly, who ever thought we'd see $9K race bikes that can't be ridden for a full season without a massive and expensive rebuild OR $10K goon buggies that are almost as big as many small cars?
*sigh* Sorry for the rant, but you hit upon a subject that is obviously a sore spot for me. Good work Hunk, this is just like the old glory days when riders could count on you to speak the truth and tell it like it is.
A big fan
Stay tuned to our site, in that we plan to keep on this track. Coming up: 2 stroke rebuild costs.
Welcome to a celebration of The Toughest Race In America, the notorious Blackwater 100. Held every year in Davis, West Virginia, the race was designed by Dave Coombs to be a real test of survival. While the race is no more, the tales of this legendary race seem to grow with each passing year.
What we have here, is a collection of hundreds photos, stories and copies of some of the actual programs. These images tell you more about the nature of the grueling course than the many tales that circulate.
Included in this great collection are stories about the race by Rick Sieman, who competed in this event numerous times. You’ll also find a story and test on the legendary 760 Maico, the first bike ridden by Rick in the Blackwater race.
The Blackwater 100 is a two CD set. On Disc 1, you’ll experience a slide show with some classic bluegrass country music to accompany the images. Just put the disc in your computer, go to MY COMPUTER and hit the BLACKWATER 100 button on your screen. Make sure you turn your sound on for Disc 1.
On Disc 2, you’ll find the same images, but these are in Picassa 3 format and literally hundreds of photos are there. This means that you can stop any image, or copy what’s on the screen, make it bigger (or smaller) and print out anything you see. Just go to the bottom of the screen and a very simple menu is there.
Cost for the CD set is $20 plus $5 for Priority Rush mail. Paypal, checks or money orders OK. Paypal address is: firstname.lastname@example.org.
36607 W. Costa Blanca Dr.
Go to www.superhunky.com for more info on other products, including posters, CDs and the Monkey Butt book