Feb. 01, 2006 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 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, not 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!

Dear Rick,

You were awful hard on the beaver lover Ward! Earth first is a first rate terrorist organization, but I believe that a condescending sense of humor will go a long way to neutralize this fungus. Most of these people are armchair environmentalists who read way too much into Edward Abbey's books. Except for Desert Solitaire, the rest of his books were fiction!

Hello! Wake Up!

I, too, was somewhat of an environmentalist, only because I was too damn poor to afford a decent dirt bike and HAD to walk. But as soon as I could, I bought a basket case BSA 441. Rode the bejabbers out of it. Then I bought an Ossa Stiletto, rode the frijoles out of it. Bought a Triumph TR5 MX. Loved that bike. Stone reliable, except for the cam chain adjuster, which broke every time I rode through a riparian quicksand area in Afton canyon. Today, I ride a 600cc Rotax powered KTM. It eats up two track roads faster than Bruce Babbitt can close them. Keep up the pressure, Rick. I've always gotten a belly laugh from your writing. It is humor that flattens even the most dour of the pinheads that occupy our world.

Sam Chicas

Actually, I was far too kind to that blazing butt-brain. He had the typical tunnel-vision view of most eco-radicals. And, as far as I'm concerned, he can slide down a 40-foot razor blade into a vat of rubbing alcohol and then tap dance his way straight into the foulest pits of hell. Which means he is not invited to my next party.



Dear Super Hunky,

I just read James Short's letter and your reaction to it in the May "Don't Ask." While I completely agree with your response (although I'm not so sure about the shorts kissing section) I'm pretty sure Mr. Short is pulling your chain. "I see the damage done to an eco-system that supports the fish I enjoy catching" and "I curse the technology that transported me and the mindless individuals to that site," are a little too contradictory to be believed. Of course, if I'm wrong and this self loathing idiot is for real ....well then have at him! One more thing. I've been a fan of you and your writing for nearly 20 years and would like continue to be. I'd hate to see you blow a gasket over some eco-twit. Please, don't let people like that raise your blood pressure. What goes around, comes around and eventually, the eco-terrorists will get theirs!

Geoff Zerbe

I'm convinced that email was real. This guy was typically twisted with his logic; just about the norm for an eco-freak.




There are many dirt riders in the SF Bay area and Silly Con Valley. However, there is not a square inch of legal public land to ride on, in spite of the fact that there are tens of thousands of acres of "open space" where the local Druids can go to worship the trees and banana slugs. The closest public riding facilities are a small Santa Clara County off road park south of San Jose and the 2 state off road parks near Hollister and Livermore. These are all fine places to ride, but they are 100 miles from SF and are usually very crowded due to overuse.

They have to use traffic signs on the trails to manage the heavy traffic. I'm not aware of any place in the area that will rent a dirt bike, but there are a number of clubs in the area, several of which have private land to ride on. Visitors such as Jeff should be able to contact them via the AMA or the web and might be able to arrange to borrow a bike from a member.

Bruce Webbon

BW2, aka Dirt Bike reader from issue #1

PS: You moved to Baja. I'm heading for the Oregon Outback to get away from the insanity that CA has become. Look me up if you're in the Lakeview, OR, area. I have 180 acres of wooded mountain land that backs up to the Fremont National Forest. I have also volunteered to Blue Ribbon Coalition to do a trail inventory to help keep it open. In spite of the fact that there are only 8,000 people in Lake County, liberal loonies from Portland are already trying to close the forest and federal grazing land and drive ranchers out of business. I find it absolutely, f ing amazing that such idiot outsiders can come into a beautiful area that has been used and managed by ranchers for more than 100 years and try to drive them out with claims that they have abused the land




I hate to ask, but am looking for an affordable machine for my two boys to ride on the nearby mountain (more like hills). It's their first crack at two wheels with an engine. Am considering a Yamaha Big Wheel 200cc. What do you think? Sorry for asking,

Drew Tyson

Actually, I think the Big Wheel is an evil-handling pile of crap. Get the kids a real bike with real normal-sized tires on it, so they can learn some proper technique. If they're big enough to ride a Big Wheel, they are certainly big enough to ride a Honda XR 100, or XR 200.



You never did answer Luke Saunders question about the value of his Gemini 80. Please let him know he can double his money if he sells it to me. I will even pay shipping.

My wife often tells a story about how she used her first paycheck after college to purchase a motorcycle and a microwave. The "motorcycle" in her story is the Gemini 80. I would love to place this machine next to my Goldwing to see how it measures up. And the next time she tells her story, she could actually take someone out to the garage and show them her motorcycle. Thanks for your informative web page.

Keep up the good work!
Jim Frankiewicz

Jim, we're running your email address here in case Luke Saunders wants to sell his Gemini to you.


125 OR 250??

Super Hunky;

I plan on buying a '00 model MX bike in a couple of weeks. My problem is that I can't decide between a 125 and 250. I'm 30 years old, 5'9, and between 150-160 lbs. I don't race, but love the race bikes. I will probably be riding just on weekends. I used to have a 1985 KTM 125 MX/C.

It had some mid-range, but that's about it. It lacked what I'm hearing today's 125's have. My question is, what are the benefits and/or differences between the 125 and 250? Besides the obvious: torque, weight, horsepower, are there things I should be thinking about? A 250 doesn't rev as much. Does this mean that perhaps the motor will last longer, or is the difference insignificant? Will a 250 clutch last longer than a 125? I understand that dirt bikes require maintenance, but generally speaking, will I be in the garage more with a 125 than a 250? Maybe I'm just majoring in the minors. I've been out of the loop for 10 years, but am dying to ride again. Please help with any feedback.

Thanx Much!!
Mike George

Good question. A 125 will require engine parts replacement about twice as often as a 250. I don't care what you manual says, or what your local dealer tells you, when you scream the hell out of a motor (as you must on a 125), things wear out with the increased revs. And then there's the fact that you're shifting twice as often with a small-bore bike. Face it, modern 250 MX bikes are so powerful, that fun riding will never stress them. Get the 250 and enjoy it.



I read the inquiry from Jeff Sutton regarding renting dirt bikes in the San Francisco Bay Area. There is a motorcycle park called Carnegie located off of I-580 just past Livermore, CA. Carnegie has a bike shop on its grounds called Skips. They used to rent bikes, and I believe they may still do so. The bikes, I recall, were pretty beat up, but the safety issues were addressed adequately. If they still rent them, one would be OK for putting around to get the feeling of the dirt bike riding, but I would not recommend jumping on the motocross or super- cross courses that Carnegie has.

I am one of the "old riders" who followed you religiously during your journalistic sojourn at Dirt Bike. I am happy that you are still writing with the same flair, and "new stuff" is available at this site. Your articles were one of the reasons I kept my dirt bike riding enthusiasm for more than 35 years.

Jim Peacock



Not always, but usually flywheel keys are only used to position the flywheel correctly on the crankshaft for timing purposes. The crankshafts are usually tapered and the key is actually not even needed, except for timing. Shearing the key usually is caused from the flywheel/crankshaft surfaces being boogered (occasionally) or the retaining nut not being tight enough (usually). You should have known. (I'm sure you did, just didn't think about it.)

Joe Waiters

Joe, if everything is perfect with the tapered setup, you are correct. But if a flywheel mag has been pulled a few times, the surface is no longer pristine and slippage occurs if there's no woodruff key in the slot. Trust me on this one. In 1973, we got some Husky test bikes with tapered counter shaft sprockets, and these were such a pain in the butt (always coming loose), that I welded a few in place out of sheer frustration.



Hello there Rick!

I thank you for your answer in the May column! Too bad the RM disappeared before I had a chance to buy it! I did end up with a nice 1993 Yamaha IT490.

Now it's well known that you feel the YZ490 of the same vintage is a worthless pile of rabid dog mucus, but what about the IT? It's basically stock, with the addition of an Answer Spark arrester and a new DG Enduro pipe. Is there anything else I can do to make this bike better for hard trail riding and amateur enduros and hare scrambles? Did you do any mods to one of these in the past while at the helm of DB? Any jetting changes you recommend would also be helpful!

How about suspension mods? Such as fitting forks off of a different bike, etc? Do you feel this bike would be competitive after modifications? How was the reliability?

Again, thanks for the answer in advance!
Michael Baum

The IT was a better bike than the YZ 490, no question about that. However, if the bike was minem I would lower the compression ratio a full point (extra gasket) and run a smaller carb by two millimeters. Once you do this and re-jet the smaller carb, the bike will run cleaner with pinging, will have a huge increase in low end power, a loss in the upper rpm range and greatly improved gas mileage. You can get the stock suspension to work by fiddling with spring rates and oil levels.



Rick, I wanted lo take the time to thank you for providing the instructions on how to properly uncork the XR650R. I was one of the first to get his new bike up here in Northern Ca. None of the dealers around here even knew what I was talking about when I asked for the intake manifold and the end cap. I was able to get it from Honda of Thousand Oaks before the bikes even arrived here at the dealerships.

The most important point I want to make is that you were the only publication that gave instructions on how to install this stuff and properly jet the bike. In fact, the tests in the other rags were absolute crap with no useful information. I am very happy to have found you still alive and kicking here on the web. Keep up the great work. How about telling us Californians how to do away with the California emissions crap.

Thanks for making me the first one in my area to make my new XR650R RIP!

Robert Ramos
Gilroy California

Thanks for the good words. In many respects, you are dead on, in that most of the magazine types have lost touch with the real world. I recall an instance back in 1989, when I was racing a Class 3 Bronco in the SCORE series, and mis-placed some rubber inserts that go between my shock reservoirs and a tube mount. So I gave my kid a twenty dollar bill and told him to pedal his bike to the local Yamaha shop for a dozen of them. He came back with the news that these little pieces of black rubber cost almost ten bucks each! I nearly fell over in shock! Since then, I have learned to take nothing for granted when it comes to dirt bikes, or dirt bike parts. Luckily, you found a savvy dealer. Many of them could care less and would rather sell another Gold Wing to some phony Sidewalk Commando.


19S2 KX 420 - SOW OR WOW?

Dear Rick,

I hope this is not a dumb request, however I have just started reading your pages and common sense just tells me that you might know what the hell your talking about! I have a KX 420 (1982) that I got last year, just as a starter bike to see if I wanted to get into riding again ( I had ridden quite a bit when I was younger). Anyways, learning to respect a two stroke again was a humbling experience, I put 92 stitches in my ass, and now it is time t think about rebuilding that old beast!! You see, the thing is that money is not a big problem but I just like the "oldies" better than the new ones. Maybe it's just that they turn heads on the trail better than, in golf terms, "buying a swing" with all the new tech.

I would like your honest opinion on this bike, as I am contemplating hogging it out to a neat little 500.

Thanks a bunch from Alberta,
" Diesel"

In blunt terms, that was not a particularly good bike. It was hard to jet right, and impossible to keep jetted with temperature changes. The bike is on the heavy side and the suspension is confused. Boring it out to a 500 would simply compound the problems. Ride the beast for a while, then get rid of it.

I agree with you that the older bikes are cool and turn heads, but there are way better old bikes out there if you want a keeper. For example, a 1981 Maico 490 is a thrilling bike to ride, and one that will gain in value as the years go by.




I loved Monkey Butt, and can't wait for the next book to come out. I recently came across two 1973 Kawasaki 250 F-lls. They have not run in five years. I just got one running after much carb cleaning, etc. It now starts first kick and runs and idles fine. My question is, what are the chances of the crank seals being bad? It needs tires, fork seals, seat redone, the tank is dented and rusty inside, etc. I dont want to spend a lot of money on it if it will need major motor work. Thanks in advance for your help.

Ron Hand

Ron, if the crank seals have not hardened, you should be OK. All you can do is keep an eye on the gearbox oil level. If it goes down quickly, you're sucking gear oil into the lower end and you will need to replace seals. If not, just keep riding the bikes.



Dear Sir/Madam,

Is it possible to get hold of an lsuzu Trooper SWB Citaition (89) workshop manual?

James Vigof-Robertson

Dear Mr. or Mrs. Vigof-Robertson...
Yes, indeed, it is possible to get one. Let me know how it works out.



I recently brought my old YZ250 out of the shed after sitting outside in up to -10 degree weather. I left the gas in it over the winter, and it has a two cycle engine. I have had trouble starting it. I bought a new spark plug and that didn't seem to do the job. I tried to let the gas out, but I am not sure where I would do that. The bike came with no manual or anything. I was wondering if you could help me with this problem. Thanks for your time.

Stranded YZ Owner

Hmmm ... let's see now. If you had a lawn mower and let it sit all winter with old gas in it, chances are it just might be hard starting. Why the, would you think that a high-strung race bike would be happy with rancid gas?

Jeez, Stranded. Use your head! The gas is in the gas tank. Under the tank is an off-on thing called a fuel petcock. Hooked to that is a hose that goes to the carb. Could it be that if you un-hooked the hose and opened the petcock that the gas might run out of the tank? Naw. That would never work. You're simply going to have to replace the tank, as it's physically impossible to empty it. Good lord; my head hurts!




I realize this sounds really stupid, but I've tried looking this small dilemma up in a couple different manuals with no success. Anyway, here it is......When they say that the jet needle should be in the second or say third clip position, do you count from top or from the bottom? Also, I would appreciate your advice on a leaking '83 Maico rear shock (OHLINS). Rebuild, or scrap for a different one all together?

Ron Morelli

You always count from the top groove on the needle itself. If you have a five groove needle and the manual calls for the second clip position, use the second groove from the top. If it calls for the 5th clip position, the needle will be raised all the way up in the carb body. Rebuild the Ohlins. Failing that, install a Works Performance shock.



I gotta tell you that I just read "Monkey Butt" for the first time and I couldn't put it down. A friend gave it to me and I thought, this is all I need, a book the size of the Bible. I'll never read that thing. Well, it took me about a week, a little at a time, and I found myself looking for more.

I was out of riding for about 15 years until last year and that #@?% book brought back all that stuff I thought I would never think about anymore.

That feeling of my first ride on that new Pursang. My first new KTM (and yeah, I was an old Dirty Harry rider - he and Dirty Harriet retired a couple of years ago and sold the dealership). Putting together my brother's new Hercules with 7 golldarned gears (a Jake Fisher special). All those stupid things we did riding....

See what you did? I hope you're happy, but I have to go prep my KTM for the first race of the year, (The old pharts class. of course)

Chuck Niederriter

Chuck, you bring back some great memories. Dirty Harry was my hero and ran a real dirt bike shop. His wife was delightful and I tried to steal her from Harry, but he threatened to give me a Can-Am and I gave up the scheme.



I don't believe it....I'm 40. You gotta be what ???? Never mind. Just glad you're still going. During the late sixties and seventies and eighties it was Dirt Bike and MXA. I grew up at Indian Dunes before it went "Hollywood" and shut down.

Progressed from the original CT-70 to Hodakas, 125 Y-zeds, Maicos, 250 AW, 440, 450, 490 then became a cop and decided I needed a jet ski. Sold my 490 to a guy who broke both his arms the first time out; bummer trying to wipe your butt, huh ?

Thanks for the memories ... the articles I re-wrote to get me through composition class in high school kept me outta jail, off drugs, etc. What is up with the current generation of stadium racers ? They got more tattoos and body piercings than a whore house. I am tired of hearing them say "dude." We were never that screwed up, ever!

Michael Griffin

Yep, I'm getting old, Mike. Last time I checked my wallet, my ID said that I was 60 and getting older by the minute. With any luck, I'll die on a dirt bike in a really lurid crash some day in the distant future.



Answer to Ron Evenson's quest for a cheap dirt bike (Suzuki 185), and some tinkering satisfaction.

First, some tools. If this prompts a dumb stare and questions such as "what tools?" then maybe Rick was right to be so dismissive of your initial email.

After thoroughly de-greasing the bike (you should be covered in nearly as much gunk as was initially on the bike after having done this properly), drain the oil from the engine, 2-stroke oil tank and forks for at least several hours. Assuming then that the engine can be kicked over, and that you can rock the bike back and forth whilst checking that you can shift into every gear, proceed to remove the seat and tank.

Give the newly discovered cobwebs and dust a gentle, yet thorough, wipe down. With the engine still in the frame, proceed to only remove the carburetor, exhaust pipe, cylinder head, and cylinder itself.

Now. ...if the piston is smooth and round, free from holes, and the 2 rings near the top of the piston do not move freely, restricted only by an obvious pin in each ring's grove, or any excessive scoring, remove it carefully, and waggle the con-rod from side to side. It should move a little, but not too much. More importantly, ...try to move the con-rod up and down.

If it can do this at all, or the piston is overly ratty, with the aluminum melted into the ring grooves, or you are able to grab and detect up and down movement in the flywheel inside the bike's left hand side engine cover, whack it all back together, and sell it for the lost cause that it is.

Otherwise: Purchase a new set of rings, and base and head gasket, and exhaust gasket ring. Get a lump of sponge foam from somewhere, roughly 7cm x 7cm. Stick a piece of WOODEN dowel in the middle. Tape a strip of 400 grade wet and dry around this (rough side facing out) 50 that it stays onto the foam, but obviously still exposes enough paper to do some good. Then put the other end of the dowel into an electric drill. Spray lots of WD-40 into the cylinder, and proceed to put the newly crafted home-honing tool (the sponge/abrasive paper set up) into the cylinder and activate the drill while pumping the hone in and out of the barrel.

Then (regardless of what you hear about this being a bad idea), with 1500 grade wet and dry, lightly rub any scores (but don't try to remove them) on the outside of the aluminum piston. With a small screwdriver, remove the hard gunk in the piston ring grooves. Then install the rings, piston back

into the con-rod, base gasket, cylinder (careful not to break those new rings. Use lots of oil!!!) and head gasket, before bolting down the head. Put lots of new 2-stroke oil on all the bearing and friction surfaces as you assemble,

Then pull off the air cleaner to clean or replace if it is too nasty, as well as the bottom bowl off the carburetor (4 screws), and spray lots of carb cleaner everywhere. Pull out and clean the jets if you've yet bothered to buy the manual and are confident you can put everything back in the right place.

Then re-install the carb and exhaust. A quick check for tightness and cleanliness inside the bike's left hand side engine cover would also be a good idea. Again, ...just spray lots of the carb/points cleaner everywhere. Then put the seat and tank back on. Of benefit to all those soft, yet valuable, parts of your body would likely include checking ALL nuts and bolts for tightness ( especially gear shifter and kickstarter levers). Make a game of finding as many bolts as you can find to tighten (or replace if they are missing) but hopefully not break.

Then. ..after replacing fork oil, gear box oil, 2-stroke engine oil, put some clean petrol in the tank, and depending on how many of the gaps I've left, you've been able to fill for yourself, and whether you've been good to your neighbors of late, it might not disintegrate into a frustrating heap of never say die potential.


Your tips were very sound and should be a solid guideline for new dirt bikers Only one thing that I disagree with: do not slather the top end with oil when assembling it. I always put a fresh top end together dry. If anyone wants to know why, drop me an email and I'll enlighten.




I'm trying to decide on a motorcycle. I've been considering either a XR-650R or a CR-500, but I have a problem....I'm 300 pounds. Will these bikes be able to hold me? I know that sounds like a silly question, but the only people I see riding normal bikes are always under 200, and the fatties always ride big-wheels or 4-wheelers. Also, I read where you said the CR-500 was violent to ride, why exactly?


David Murphy

At 300 pounds in bodyweight, all you have to do to get a bike set up for you, is to increase the fork and shock spring rate, then dial in the clickers with increased compression and rebound damping to match the increased rates. The CR-500 has a brutal hit when the throttle is cracked open, one that will put the beginning rider flat on his back without warning. Your best bet, in my less that humble opinion, would be the XR 650R, or a used XR 600.



Dear Rick;

Can you advise me? I am currently riding a good old 1975 TS185, but have concluded that I would be happier on more of low-end power type of bike (ie: the old boy won't putt up the hills too well anymore!) I have tried an '83 Honda XL 250 and liked it fine, except that it IS a tad heavy. Oh, I am a middle aged female-type person, 5'8", 140 pounds who just wants to get out in the desert once in a while). I get so confused by all the letters, that I almost went for an '86 250 YZ before a friend steered me clear. One guy says get an IT 175 or 200 if I can find one, another says an XR 200 is better. What do you think? Two stroke or four? Any recommendations about reliability? I have had the 185 for 23 years, so I hope to get something just as dependable! Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Sharon Comstock 
P.S. - Do you e-mail back or do I have to watch in the off-road column?

If you've read my column for any length of time, you know that I'm a fan of the KDX 200. If you can find a clean 89, 90 or 91 model, it'll be fun to ride, is reliable, and will take you up any hill you care to tackle. Also, it's a very light bike.



Some questions for you to consider, answer or discard at your leisure: I'm aware of "Monkey Butt." What other books have you written? Are you currently writing for any print publications, or just the Internet?

When a friend recently moved, I let him store his 19S1 KDX 420 in my garage. I felt sorry for the bike, as my friend never did a moment of maintenance on the thing, and I tore it down to the frame to clean, polish and possibly paint every grime packed crevice. Needless to say, when my friend pulled into my driveway only to see his stripped frame sitting in the entrance to my garage, he was somewhat annoyed, but half a fifth of Jack Daniels and two cans of green paint later, it's looking pretty sharp. I now have the engine, electronics and suspension back on the bike.

The problem is even though I left off all the enduro junk and other unnecessary fat, such as the dinner-plate sized chain guard, the bike still weighs a ton. Any advice on further weight savings so my buddy can whip his 420 around like I can my 2000 CR 250? I'm tired of waiting for the guy to catch up all the time. (By the way, my friend is way cheap, so please no suggestions such as purchasing magnesium hubs or a carton fiber frame.)

Have you ever ridden with people who rely on you to ride their bikes up all the hills? Any advice on breaking away (short of abandonment, that is)?

Do you still race? If so, what kind of racing do you partake in? I have a 1988 KX250 sitting in my garage, as well, which I'll have reassembled in a few weeks (plenty of new parts, including an industrial-sized chain guard). I have to sell it to pay for the 2000 CR. Interested?

My wife wants a minivan. On a scale of one to 10, one being just a little and 10 being all of it, how much of my peer respect can I toss out the window if I show up at the races towing my bikes with the suburban cruiser (two answers if the '81 KDX 420 is in tow alongside the CR and one if it's not).

What's your favorite bike of all time?

How far back can a novice level MX/hare scramble rider go and still have a bike competitive with today's rides? I would guess anything from the mid-80s on; is that true? My logic is based on the article Dirt Bike did back in 1989 or so on a 1985 YZ250 that they made competitive for races then. So, if, say, a 1990 YZ250 is competitive today, then why wouldn't a 1985 YZ250 also be competitive, which according to DB, has about the same level of competitiveness as the 1990 model?

James T. Holier

Wow! What a load of questions! One at a time:

    This is my fourth book. The others were technical in nature, like the How To Win At Racing manual. And, no, it's no longer in print.
    Most of my writing is for, but I do an occasional piece for friends who own other publications, like Paul Clipper at Trail Rider Magazine, or Davey Coombs at Racer X.
    The KDX 420 is simply a heavy, heavy bike. The frame alone (less swing arm) is around 50 pounds. You'll have to live with it.
    I've not only ridden with people who can't get up hills, I've also ridden with people who can't start their own bike.
    No, I am not interested in the KX 250, but thanks anyway.
    I still race a few times a year, with the Desert Vipers Adelanto Grand Prix being the big one on my list.
    Towing bikes behind a minivan is just fine. So is towing an older bike. However, towing three-wheelers behind ANYTHING is degrading.
    My favorite bike of all time? Street: 1956 Triumph TR-6. Dirt : !981 Maico 490.
    In the Novice classes, physical conditioning is far more important than the kind of bike you ride. Most Novice class riders are dragging their tongues half way through the race. You could win on a 15-year old bike if you were in killer shape and charged the whole race.




Sony to break my self imposed silence, but I've got to tell you this. Some guy just paid $212.50 for Dirt Bike Volume 1, # l.

He should have been reading and he would have gotten a real bargain. Check it out for yourself /eBavlSAPI.dll?Vlewltem&item=265815594

Wes Baca

Interesting, Wes. For those who missed it, I offered mint issues of Volume 1, Number 1 Dirt Bike, autographed, for $150. About ten people took me up on the deal, and Wes was one of them. I guess the guy on ebay never saw our special deal here. For the collectors out there, I have a small number of Number One DB left. Cost is $150, including personalized autograph) sent Priority Mail. When these are gone, that's it!

Here's the source:

Rick Sieman Racing
4492 Camino De La Plaza #1251
San Ysidro, CA 92173


I have been out of moto-x for 18 years (14 years old at the time) and have kept a distant eye to the sport. I must say that when I was young, all my reading skills came from reading Dirt Bike and Motocross Action. Reading your name brought back so many memories and a smile to my face. I'm glad one of us has stayed with what makes him happy.

I remember reading an article, I can't recall if it was Jody's Box or what, but I can barely remember the story. It was a story about a man who discovered he had cancer and built his ultimate bike. He rode his bike on his final day and I can recall the way He was described as getting more and more comfortable on his bike by the way his tracks were left in the dirt on the way up the mountain. Maybe you might remember this story, and if you have any way of finding the article again or can recall it, I sure would like to hear it again. If you remember the ending, it wasn't the logical thing to do, but I can surely relate to the guy and his love for bikes. I just enjoyed the story and it was supposedly true.

Believe it or not, I still have Dirt Bike magazines dating back to 1976. I just can't seem to let go of them. I really hate asking you for something but that story and that mag is long gone and for some reason that story just seems to be etched in my memory.

Best wishes and good to see your name again,

"Hurricane" Dwain

I wrote that particular story and will try to find it and run it in the next few months, so stay posted.



C.J. Falke

Because it looks stupid in print and is hard to read when you receive a long email.



Hey Rick,

I'm thinking of upgrading to a newer bike. I'm definitely going to get a CRl25. I found one that my friend has for $800. It needs a clutch, and it's an '86. That's about the year I was looking in to. I know you have bad feelings about worn out tired MXers, but I want to know your opinion about this bike, like the power, suspension, reliability. I read the thing about it on the dirt bike section of, but I wanted your opinion about this bike,

Thank you.
Derek Ward

I don't mind advising someone to purchase a used 250 MXer, or an enduro bike of most any size, but very few things in the world are more clapped-out than a 125 racer. When that bike was new, it was fast and light. Now, it's just light and more than likely worn out.



HI Rick,

Just stumbled across this. It's been great reading. I'm going to book mark your site. Many years ago I read your stuff about Maicos. I was a 16 year old MXER riding a converted DT1 at Thursday nite moto-cross in Lafayette, Colorado. I was beat by 3 Maicos one Sunday and I went out and borrowed enough money to buy my first one. A Brand New 75 ? MC250 with internal fork springs and a 5 speed transmission. Heaven! Could that baby turn! That was a long time ago. I still have a 76 AW250 and an '81 490. I even talked a guy in to being a dealer in '94 and I have a GS320 Enduro.

I started a new business called Iron Horsemen. It's a western style apparel company that I thought would be more geared to the ATVers, except a bunch of dirt bikers like it. The guys at Dirt Wheels have been helping me get the word out, but I can see how you say they are in bed with the advertisers. I'm trying to get this off the ground and they help but you always wonder about what really goes on. Check out my web site at if you have time.

Scott Nix

As with most magazines, Scott, Dirt Wheels is dependant on advertising to exist. Paper and printing costs as so high today, that traditional mags cannot make it on sales alone. Unlike, they have to bend over and kiss butt to the biggest spenders. Call Ed Wissing up at our site and he can show you how to reach a few million people for a few hundred bucks a month. His number is (702) 307-2180 extension 202. And yes, this is a shameless plug for ORC.



About 12 months ago I bought a '81 model KDX 175 off a mate of mine. When I first got it home, I took it for a burl and there was a bit of clutch trouble and it would slip out of top gear, but over all, it was pretty good. Geez there is a hell of a lot of difference between a KDX 175 and a Yamaha GT 80, which I have had since I was a little tacker and it still goes well.

I had to get the KDX 175 because I am 16 years old, 6' 1" and weigh about 100 kilograms (2201bs) and the GT 80 is just too small. Recently on my way to work, I seized the big end bearing up and I just haven't got around to fixing it up yet.

I was talking to a guy who owns a local motorcycle wreckers and he said that the KDX 175s are more trouble than they are worth. So, Rick, should I repair the KDX 175 and trade it in on a better bike, or should I repair the KDX and keep it?

The KDX needs a new big end bearing, which I already have, it also needs the front and rear suspension doing and a new set of tyres. I usually use the KDX for roaring through the bush and doing some pretty big jumps.

Laurens Jones
Victoria, Australia

The KDX 175 is a fine bike, except that some of the first few models had the shock rub a hole through the airbox. Just fix your KDC properly and enjoy it. By the way, what's a "burl" and a "little tacker?" I never learned Aussie in school.



I read your evaluation of the 2000 Honda XR650R and I was immediately sold. Your article was very entertaining and informative!

This past weekend I purchased the first XR650R available from my local (Raleigh, NC) Honda dealer. However, when I asked them about the modifications you made to the bike, my dealer was not familiar with the optional parts. Would you happen to have the Honda part numbers for the exhaust tip, manifold, and jets, or does Honda sell these parts together in a hop-up kit? Also, would you recommend that I wait until after break-in to make such modifications?

Finally, which jetting would you recommend for Raleigh, NC? Your article mentioned either 172 or 175 mm main jets, depending on altitude.

Thank you very much!
Don Schoppe

We ran the parts numbers last month, so look it up in the May issue. And if your dealer can't get the parts, you can always contact Honda of Thousand Oaks (California), as they seem to have their act together. Start with the 175 main jet first and don't lean it out until you get an hour or so on a fresh plug and take a reading. Jet the bike as soon as you can. It's no fun at all stock and a break-in period is not required to make it run right.


KDX 200 vs. 220

I used to read your columns in Dirt Bike when I was younger and just getting into dirt bikes. It was great to come across you again in the web site. I have been slowly going through your stuff from the site archives the last few months - time has not dulled your wit. I ordered and read your book, Monkey Butt, then ordered a copy for my Dad. Let me just say that few books have made me laugh out loud; yours did on several occasions.

From your "Don't Ask" column, it is plain to see that you are very fond of the KDX 200. That has me considering one for my next bike. However, there is now also the KDX 220 to consider. From reading the magazine tests, it appears that the 220 has more bottom end, but will not rev out as much on top as the 200. I was wondering which of these two bikes you would recommend?

Let me give you my background first; I live in Southern Cal, which I know you are well familiar with as far as type of riding done out here. I do some desert racing on an RM 250 and will not be giving this bike up (I have a problem selling bikes that probably should be clinically diagnosed). However, I was wondering if either the 200 or 220 would make a decent desert racer (as a back-up bike or for a change of pace) I would also be adding the usual bolt-ons like pipe/silencer, reeds, heavier shock and fork springs, etc.

One more question ( before I let you go. I recently bought a '77 RM 250 with a '73 PE 250 motor for $100. It was missing the throttle cable, so I yanked the carb and put in the carb and throttle from my newer RM. The thing had been sitting outside, neglected for several years, but I was able to kick it over with less than 10 kicks! Anyway, all missing/ worn parts have been replaced and it's a great running bike.

Could you give me your opinion on this bike (motor and/or chassis)? Anything I should be on the look out for mechanically speaking?

What were the main differences between the PE and RM motors of that era?

Thanks for the feedback,
Dru Stewart

Dru, I prefer the 200, because it's just a mellower all-around bike. You can simply leave the throttle pinned and stir through the gears. The 200 has a bigger jolt right off idle, then feels sluggish from there on to its peak revs. Also, the 200 gets a lot better gas mileage and the tanks on the 200 and 220 are the same size. For trail riding, plan on 65 to 70 miles with the 200 and barely 50 miles with the 220. I like your PE/RM combo. Basically, the bottom ends were the same, with the top end being carbed and ported differently. Both are reliable.




I own a 94 YZ 80. I was reading in a magazine that the pros shorten their carbuerators (sorry again on the spelling) to achieve better throttle response. How do they shorten it? Also, what way? Form left to right, or up and down? Or, if they really don't shorten it and it's just a saying,

Thanks for the help,

I forgive you for miss-spelling karburettooor. Quite often, I have mis-spelled carbbburooter myself, but lately have started spelling carbonuerrator properly. First off, there are no pros riding 80s. Second, what you read in a magazine is what might have been done on one particular bike for a reason. To say that shortening a carb works for everything is not sensible.




I can't believe it. I was reading some old stuff and came across your Don't Ask from August 1999 and read the item on reviving a drowned bike. Last nite after work, 'the boy' and I went riding over at the neighbors and we got into an area we hadn't been into before. Anyway, we started up this little rise and 'the boy' gassed it to catch some air at the top, went right over the top, got his air, directly into the farm pond! He got soaked to the skin and the KDX200 personally consumed several gallons of water due to total immersion.

I think maybe a small lesson about looking and leaping has crept into his pan. The bike got amazingly clean due to its dip in the pond.

He complained that the water was cold ( it's about 45F here in Northwestern PA). Ha Ha. I was laughing too hard to notice. Anyway after reading your Column, I was prepared. It was amazing to see how much water came out of the expansion chamber and cylinder.

Now, the problem is it won't kick start. Spark seems OK, it has compression, and it gets gas, so I think the carb has a plugged idle jet. We'll check tonite and see. If you've got ideas and time, let me hear what you think.

I've been reading your stuff since the early years - used to ride Ossas, then recently got back into the bikes when my son got interested. Thanks for all your good insight and advice and the laughs.

Best regards, and, thanks again!
Jim Robertson

Jim, chances are there's water in the float bowl, or clogging the pilot jet. Remember, water is heavier than gas and will settle to the bottom of the float bowl, where the main jet is trying to pick up fuel. It only takes a small bit of water to clog up jets.



Big fella,

Looking to buy a four stroke, 400 through to 650cc, for around $3000.00 for mainly off-road. What would you recommend?

Corey Werfel

Now that there's a whole new generation of trick four strokes out there on the market, you'll find the used bike market loaded with XR 400s and XR 600s. All things considered, these are pretty darned good bikes. A new trick four stroke is going to cost you over $6500 plus, but chances are you can find a well set-up 400 or 600 for $3000 to $3500. Think it over.



Hi Rick:

Being a long time Husky enthusiast in general and 430 Auto fanatic in particular, I thought I would offer some additional input for Mr. Walker based on my own experience with these machines. Your assessment of the poor clutch design was right on target. The greatest flaw of the Auto is the tremendous HEAT created by the friction of the clutch shoes slipping against the drum in the first gear clutch assembly. Since this clutch is engaged at all times, it is subject to more extreme wear than are the second and third gear assemblies.

The meager fins on the engine cases do little more than collect dirt and offer little in the way of cooling. I have seen several Automatic riders have to fabricate heat shields for the carb float bowls to remedy heat problems. Mr. Walker's question regarding what type of transmission oil to use is somewhat frightening. The single most important key to keeping the transmission in one of these bikes happy is to change the "fluid" after EVERY ride. (And I do mean EVERY ride...even if it is only a 15 or 20 mile shake down run!) The transmission fluid breaks down quickly and becomes contaminated with bits of metal from the clutch drum and shoes. (There is a reason Huskys come with magnetic drain plugs!)

Your recommendation to use only Husky's Automatic Transmission Fluid is also correct. However, I think I bought the last four bottles in the world about 3 years ago. My real reason for this correspondence is to let Mr. Walker know that Husky ATF and Ohlins shock oil are one and the same! I fear you will never find Husky ATF on any dealer's shelf, but you may order Ohlins shock fluid from any reputable suspension rebuilder.

YOU MUST MAKE SURE that it is for an Ohlins shock. DO NOT go out to your local dealer and buy a bottle of Bel-Ray, PJ-1, etc. There is a difference in the effective temperature range of some oils depending on their intended application in either steel or aluminum bodied shocks. Only the Ohlins fluid seems to be able to withstand the extreme temperatures generated by the Auto's friction clutch mechanism. You will immediately recognize this oil as it is almost crystal clear and it has a distinctive aroma that you will never forget once you have smelled it.

Any other oil that you may have been using, including ATF for automobiles, will just cause the first gear clutch to slip and thus create even more friction and heat. That is likely causing the clutch assemblies to fail prematurely. I rode one of my Autos for almost 1100 miles, including an ISDE two-day qualifier, on the same clutch assembly. The expected mileage is normally around 500+ miles for a first gear clutch. (Remember, this is a "wear item" just like normal clutch plates, brake pads or tires. It's not supposed to last for the life of the motorcycle.)

Drain the oil and put 700 cc of fresh fluid in it every time it is ridden and both the clutch life and bike performance should drastically improve. If Mr. Walker has a "few hundred spare bucks' lying around, he should invest in a "long" right side radiator from an older '85 or '86 KTM 500. It is necessary to fabricate a bottom frame bracket but the additional cooling area helps prevent the boilovers common to this bike. Be sure it is a right side, or fill side radiator, as the pipe won't clear a longer left side unit.

Finally, if you can find one, invest in an aftermarket clutch spring retainer. This is about a $12 plate that bolts directly to the clutch and holds the springs in place in the event you break one. If you have ever broken a spring, you know you are dead in the water until you replace it. The retainer will allow you to ride your bike back to the truck but it will feel like you are riding a manual transmission bike with a broken clutch lever. You can do it, but "it sure ain't no fun." Thanks for letting me sound off about one of my favorite rides!

Lynn Stump

Thanks for the insight, Lynn. Have you heard about this trick? Some riders used a mixture of half ATF and half Valvoline 20-50 four stroke racing oil. As usual, they changed the oil often.



Hey Rick,

Cool Maico. Had a 450 back in '74. Just got back into bikes after many years of messing and racing VWs. Have been searching high and low for a tractor MACIO to haul my big middle aged butt around . Would like to do a frame up resto, but so far have only come up with a nice complete front end and an expansion chamber.

Do you know of any web sites or guys who could help me out? Have come across some pretty nice restored Maicos, but I'm still pretty fond of my left nut.

Any help would be appreciated.

FN Ninja
Tucson AZ

Try a search on Maico Madness. Failing that, give Northwest Maico/CZ a call and see whaqt they have for sale. The phone is (541) 389-6112.



i was running my rm 80 on strait gas for a while and the back tire started to lock up while i was rideing and now that i got the right oil mixture with the right plug it wont start what should i do and WHAT DO U THINK IS WRONG WITH IT.

Jennie Perez

Gosh, you've got me on that one! You seem to have done almost everything right after running it ON STRAIGHT GAS for a while. I'm just confused. By the way, I left all your spelling intact so the readers could enjoy your staggering command of the English language.



Mr. Super Hunky sir,

I am 25 years old and I have been a big fan of yours for as long as I can remember. I would really like to read that real pain bit that you wrote in Dirt Bike about ten years ago. It's the story about the "PIG Horn" bike and you getting your foot caught on the rear fender down a big hill. I have never laughed so hard in my life. I am sure that everyone that reads this article will love it. Maybe you could re-write it in a future Checkpoint.

Robert Wilkenson
A fan from Missouri

You got it, Robert. One sad thing about that story is that it's true! Keep an eye open for it in the near future.




Can I get a picture of the above referenced vehicle? Please advise as to cost, if any.


Dear Mr. Zkman. Since the name of this site is, you will not be able to get any info or photo of a Cadillac here. Instead, please email a yachting site, as you certainly should have known.



Dear Super Hunk;

I have a jetting question about my 2000 YZ426F, (If you hate 4-strokes, then just ignore this question). I already called my dealer (he is an idiot) as well as North County Yamaha, who thought 'it strange that anyone would need to re-jet a YZF to begin with, so you are my only hope.

I live and ride in the desert outside of El Paso. The climate is high and dry (4400 ft. elev.). I have gone one step leaner on the main and pilot jets and have dropped the needle two notches. This has helped all around performance and led to a better looking plug (not as black and sooty).

There is still a bit of a flat spot at very low rpm if the throttle is chopped on. The air screw doesn't seem to have any effect on this problem (actually, the air screw doesn't seem to have any effect on anything, so it remains 3 turns out, which is where I found it). The manual is somewhat confusing in that it first says that there is no need to adjust the air screw, but then it offers a small chart outlining the effects of adjusting the ail screw in ? turn increments (extra ? turn out equals 10% leaner etc. etc.).

It also says in one section that the pilot air jet must be changed if the pilot jet is changed. Did I create a lean spot off of idle by going to a smaller pilot jet without changing the pilot air jet? Or does my YZ's accelerator pump mean that chopping the throttle will always cause the motor to hiccup a bit? All the two strokes I have owned ran way too rich out of the box here in El Paso, and I have learned that if the air screw doesn't seem to change idle speed at all, then usually the pilot jet is too big. Does this logic not apply to the weirdness that is the Keihin FOR carb on my YZ? If I do need this pilot air jet thing to match the size of the pilot jet, then who should I call to order one (remember, my local dealer is an idiot and doesn't ever carry plugs or oil filters for the bike he sold me)?

Yours truly,
Eric Burt

Here's the problem, Eric. This carb on your bike (retail price is over $900 for a new carb, by the way, should you ever lose yours) is electronically connected to the ignition, and quite frankly, I think it's a nightmare. No one knows how to work on them and parts are next to impossible to get.

After checking with some savvy tuners, they indicate that any major changes in jetting will require a change in the air correction jet. Lastly, the YZ 400 and the 426 have always had that little flat spot when the throttle is hit at very low rpm. Jetting for altitude will not get rid of that glitch.



i would tike you to find me a 125 in the michigan area please make it cheap because was born to ride and i will go crazy if i dent have one in the next month!

Night Flame

Dear Mister Flame. I will go out of my way to find you a great cheap 125 in the Michigan area, as soon as you find me a love-starved Dallas cheerleader with a liquor store who loves in Baja. Fair enough? By the way, as with a previous moron, I left your spelling intact so the world can have a cheap laugh at your expense.



I'm very sorry to bother! I have a question. I brought a 2 stoke used dirt bike that doesnt run from a man thinking I could fix it but I have no idea what is wrong with the bike, and I was wondering if you can tell me what is or what could be wrong with it! Well, as far as I know when try to kick start the bike it seems as if he kick isnt doing anything! The kick lever goes all the way down with no oomph! It feel as if there is no compression!

And if you put the bike in gear and try to kick it doesn't rnovel I also noticed that when you try to kick start it the piston doesn't move up or down I What can be wrong with the bike and how much do you think it would cost to fix! Again I'm very sorry to bother!

Any information would help!

Thank you!

Normally, I would have a difficult time answering a question of this nature. However, since you gave me a wealth of information, I can say with complete confidence that your problem is with the transgressor difibulator valve. You can find it right behind (and slightly under) the mizzen-spllen output shaft on the left side of the input outlet. It's easy to spot, as it's made out of metal. Or plastic. Of course, that depends on whether your bike was a Mark II or a Mark III model. You can determine this by reading the ID numbers on the fonumbler tubing. Get back to me if this doesn't solve the problem.



Dear bike god,

I have a 99 KTM 300 which is on Ks second ignition. It lost the stator windings twice and now has done it again. Is losing spark on KTMs a common problem? The windings "ohm" out OK, but ultimately prove bad. Would I be better off sending stator plate off and having it rewound vs. buying new? Also, I have the opportunity to buy a 2000 380 EXC with 200 mi on it for $4500.00. Do these models any "hidden" problems?


While the KTMs are well made a very reliable bikes in general, if you had to pick a weak spot, it would be the ignition. I would send the unit to an aftermarket company (Rick Stator comes to mind) before I would buy new stock replacement item. $4500 for a 2000 380 sounds like you're saving more than two grand on the bike. The bike is solid, but will require some fiddling with the forks and shock to get the suspension dialed in.



Hey Rick,

I own a 78 YZ 250 and have a few questions I would like you to answer. Should I air down a dirt bike tire to get premium traction like you would a truck tire?, I run a 32:1 mix ratio; is that all right, or should I change the mix?.

One more question for you: my buddy has a 1990 KDX 200 and he wants to drag me. Do you think he would beat me? My bike runs like new and it has a brand new engine crank case, gear box and other things.

Thanks a lot
Alain Coupal

If your buddy weighs about the same as you do, he should pull you a bit in a drag race. While both bikes put out about the same amount of horsepower, the KDX has a six-speed box and should edge the YZ.

As to air pressure, you can gain traction with lower pressure, but going too low will affect handling. I would not go lower than 10-12 pounds in the rear and no less than 12 in the front.



what Is better a quad or a dirt bike


If I wanted to strap a few Igloo coolers on something, ride around with shorts on and no helmet, and act like a geek, the quad would be your best bet.




I own a 1984 CR80R and I was wondering if you have to put nitrogen in the rear shock gas chamber or can you just put air? And if you can put air, what psi do you need?

Andy Peruzelka

Actually, you can use air in a pinch. It's just that air will tend to degrade the shock oil, while nitrogen is an inert gas that will not affect it. As for what psi, do you think it would be too much to ask you to check your own damned manual? I have things to do, you know.






Once again, I continue to be amazed at the spelling submitted to this venue. Are we dealing with graduates from the California School for the Bewildered here? Not only did Darren abuse numerous words, he also blew on Baja, which is close to blasphemy. For that reason alone, I have left your spelling as is, so the world can mock you.



Got your book on Tuesday. Finished it on Friday. Interfered with my sleep and work, but I loved it. Brought back so many memories and issues I have had with land access for motorcycles and now mountain bikes. Your take on the enviro-nazis is right on. Here in South Florida, dirt bikes have been excluded from all public property.

We are on an "environmentally sensitive land" preservation kick. Our tax dollars are going to pay off a bond which was taken up to purchase such land. One of the parcels is 5000 acres that was developed in the 60's. You know the type of place. The swamp the sold to northerners for $100 per month. This place was all dug up with canals and lakes.

Environmentally sensitive, my ass! Other areas include shell pits and orange groves. The first thing they do is put up a fence and keep motorized vehicles and mountain bikes out. Horses and birdwatchers are OK, however. As if the solid methane that comes out of a horse's ass is any more environmentally pleasing. All this within a mile of a major military contractor engine and helicopter factory. Please! Anyway, loved the book. Maybe I'll have to come down to Baja to remember what it was like to ride free.

Peter Malecki




I have just bought a RM 100 80 modle and im just finding out a few problems when i first got the bike the rims bad a big dint were he had hit a rock and the tyre will not stay on the rim iam not shore what to do ? what do you think i should do?

Andrew Wilson

I think you should consider enrolling in elementary school and learn how to spell at least at third grade level. And do not write me again until you get a "C" in English.



Mr. Sieman;

I was just jerking your chain. I love old stuff, and if I was given an old Vette like my old man's 67, I'd scream like a bitch and drive it 24 hrs a day. But comparing your 81 490 to my first bike, is comparing apples to oranges. Put that 490 up against a newer CR500, then ask me about how great that 490 is.

Anyway. I've never seen a Maico and I've only glanced at any 2-wheeled dirt machine with dual rear shocks. Maybe they were great bikes, but I don't know.

But why would you turn a dirt bike into a collectors item, Mine all seem to get crashed with use, but I'm not a historian. Anyway, starting that mag must be a great achievement. Good job. And like I said before: "Its kind of like the Howard Stern thing. I keep reading to see what you'll say next!"

Take it easy bro

James Garst
Las Vegas NV

James, I have seen a crisp 490 Maico run against a modern CR 500 through the gears and pull it. No joke.



Super Hunky;

I've been in the riding and racing scene for 30 years now - yeah even going back to the original Super Hunk and Great Yellow Dirt Bike Truck days and the original Dirt Bike days. I read all the rags, looked at the bikes, made up my own mind and put my money up or down as the case may be. I've never had to question anybody about which bike to buy - until now! So I've gone right to the source. My stable includes some MX bikes, 4-Wheeler's, a Harley (yeah I know - old age and all) and my sons new XR 100.

Here's the gig - I want to ride with my son in the national forest, trails, etc., but I want to trip across Mexico - either Baja, not fishing and diving this time, but ridin', or down to Creel/Copper Canyon. The dealers here have not received any 650s yet and I've only seen one KTM LC4 640. I want the new bike to be claw hammer reliable and not require a lot of work to maintain, so I can use my time otherwise.

Also I will need lights, etc., on the trip and dual sport satisfies the local park Nazi police if we're on the gravel - God forbid. I know many XR 600's were run dual sport style with Baja Designs and did not have problems that I'm aware of, so I believe the 650 would do OK as well.

The local KTM guys liked the 400 and 520, but I just read your article and I agree - usually I would want the racer, but maybe not this time. The last dual sports I owned were Yamaha DTs! The weight of the KTM is 309 dry vs Honda 277 dry, but of course, the 620 has electric start and dual sport on it. Also, what about parts in the Mexico on an extended ride - or are they all unobtanium?

My general logic says the KTM is constructed better, has better components, won't require as many parts, but dealers are far between even here in Texas and ready to go, and the Honda needs some work to get it ready, but is better in the tight woods, and dealers everywhere whether in Texas or in LA, Colorado, etc., where we also intend to ride.

You've rode em all - how about summing it up.

Kirk DeLany

I would get the XR 650 and try to make it look as street legal as possible. If you must have a street legal bike, then the KTM is the only way to go.




I've been bitten by the vintage bug, and I want to ride every pre-75 motocrosser I see. I love reading about these bikes, and talking with those who own or have owned them. Unfortunately, I have not been able to decide on a what bike to get. I'm 30 years old, 6 ft. tall, and I weigh in at 200 pounds. I figure that I'm too big for a 125, and a 400 would be too much for me. But I'm not the expert; you are. Could you recommend a few bikes that I should consider, as well as a few that I should avoid?

Ted Lemus

Avoid the Spanish, English and Italian bikes. They're too fussy, parts are hard to get and usually pricey. Think about a '73 - '74 Yamaha MX 250, or if you want the high priced spread, a nice '73 - '74 Maico 250.


XR 650R, EH?

I am really impressed with what you and others have said about the new XR650R. I am buying one based on your word alone! Do you know about how much that factory power up kit is? I am in Canada and we don't have a listing for it yet and I wondered how much it was down there? My bike should be here next week and you know I need more power!!!

You have been an inspiration for a great many years Hunky - more power to you, my man, and keep on getting dirty!

Scott McCrae
300 pounds of pure hunky
Toronto Canada!

For such a simple little piece, the exhaust tip costs around $110 US! The main jet should be cheap and you can modify the stock intake manifold and don't need to buy the replacement item.



To the Pope of Dirt Bike, what ever happened to the Maico 760? Any other "one offs" come to mind? Thanks for your service to our country.

Jay Gatton

Only six of the 760 Maicos were built. I know where one is, and have no idea where the others are. But I do have a 760 piston slug in my garage.




I just got out of the Navy, so I've been out of the country for a while. I was on a Sub, so I didn't get much dirt bike news, and when we had shore leave, we usually had other things on our mind. I really missed your column in Dirt Bike.

Anyway, I need to know what a Hosaburg is and who makes them? I just got home to Gila Bend, Arizona, and wanted to go riding. My dad has a Pro-Tec Yamaha TT 700, one of those bored and stroked monsters.

I always thought it was the ultimate 4 stroke. Anyway, it has a light, and its hot here, so I went out after it cooled off last Saturday night to ride the trails outside of town. I was riding along at a good clip in top gear and all the sudden it started to get light all around me, then I heard a loud staccato beat.

At first, I thought one of the Apache helicopter pilots that train out here was making a pass on me. I looked back and saw the brightest set of lights I had ever seen, on a car, plane, or a bike. I was probably doing 60 or so, as it was a fairly wide trail, and the other rider goes by me doing at least 90.

I followed the trail for about 5 or 6 miles and came up to a truck with this blue and day-glo yellow bike with two huge lights on it.

There were a couple kids riding around the desert on mini bikes with lights. I stopped and asked the rider what kind of bike he had that could run like that at night. The bike looked pretty trick. He said it was a Housaburg (?) and the lights were HID, whatever that means.

He claimed the bike would easily do over 100 in sixth gear. He asked me a few questions about the Yamaha I was riding and said he used to have one, and then he had to go help one of the kids get a bike out of a bush.

Being in the Pacific for several years, I must be really out of touch. What is the deal with these bikes and where can I get one? None of the dealers around here seem to know much about them. Gila Bend isn't a very big town. One last thing, the damn thing had an electric starter on it. That has got to beat getting your foot blown off by these big 4-strokes.

Thanks for enlightening me all these years.

Bruce Jones
Gila Bend, AZ

What you saw was a Husaberg. Some years ago, Husqvarna sold out to Cagiva in Italy. The Husky engineers then started their own small company and built the Husaberg. Husaberg was then bought by KTM, so if you want one, stop be a KTM dealer for details.



Hey there, Hunky Dude.

First of all, excuse my bad spelling. I'm a Latino and I'm not very proficient in English writing. I speak it very well, though.

This is my question. I'm planning to buy a quad and there are a lot of very tempting options out there, but I want to go with the best I can afford. I know that you have a lot of knowledge on the subject and that's why I'm asking you. Do you recommend a 2 or 4 stroke? I've heard that 2-strokes are better. I really like Honda quads, but I just don't know how good they are. I also like the Bombardier very much, but since it's a new product, I'm not very sure of it, so I would like some help to decide which one will be the one. I will be riding it mostly on dirt roads, as opposed to sand dunes.


Pablo Velasco
North Hollywood, CA

Pablo, your spelling was waaaay better than half of the emails I received this month, so even though I don't care for quads much, I do have some preferences. Of all the choices, I like the Honda 400 EX the best. It has the same engine as the XR 400 dirt bike.



I accidentally started to take a part my dirt bike with out remembering what parts went where. Now I need your help. I can't put my bike together again. I need to now what parts go where. I don't have a manual on the bike. It is called an XR 75 Honda!


Your help will be greatly appreciated!
Steven Brown

Gosh, I had a manual ready to send and help you out, but don't remember where I put it. It's called an XR 75 Honda manual. If you find it, let me know. Your help will be greatly appreciated.



You displayed a question regarding bean oil from my son and I in the March batch of pearls. I was searching for the best 2-stroke lube to use. Well, we stuck w/ bean oil and it stuck my kid's new ring to the new piston (late model YZ 125). Actually, we were using Blendsall and that (as you have said) is black superglue if you ain't just runnin' yer motor as if you are tryin' to destroy it in one ride.

So, it was off with the top end again for a new ring, a thorough groove scraping , then back together to begin a new regimen of $7.59 per quart Yamalube, which is only available from certified Yamaha dealers (thus the extra 4 bucks).

Everybody seems to always go back to Yamalube, because it seems to not do anything bad or good really.

I now am headed back to the Chevron schtuff for 2 bucks. It's certified, too, and the guy at the gas station ain't lookin' to get rich off of each sale.

And, oh yeah, an oil company makes it. I'm thinkin' the guys at Chevron know more about additive packages than the few guys Yamaha have toiling in that dept.

I'm a 51 yr. old rider and tike you am tired of average quality products being priced as if they contain the golden secrets of the universe and I ain't payin' big money for "cool" anymore. You don't need to use this, I just wanted to relate.

P.S. Congrats on finding the balls to bail on all the bull north of the border. I spent 35 years in San Diego then bailed to Los Osos, CA, to thin out the hype, but I'm starting to think that maybe guys like you made the real move, complete extraction. Do you have little hunkys in Mexican schools and a Hunky wifey who shops in town for all the hunky needs, or did you move down there and become really free?

Rick Oringer
Los Osos, CA

All the little Hunkies are grown up now, but living in Baja is a genuine taste of freedom. Heck, I can even ride my dirt bike or my race truck in to town for a loaf of bread, and no black helicopters swoop down on me. As for alternate oils, when I can't get the high-priced two-stroke stuff, I opt for out board two-stroke oil. The boating industry has some strict standards. Newsletter
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