Don't Ask! You Got Questions? We've Got Answers, But Don't Say We Didn't Warn You

Nov. 01, 2005 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, 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!


My computer got hit by an ugly virus that wiped everything - and I mean everything - off my hard drive. This included all the back-up sections as well.

The worst part is that I had a bunch of truly great email from DON'T ASK readers wiped out in the process. So, if you sent an email to this column in the last month or so, please re-send it.

Oh yes ... one word of caution: If I ever find the punk who sent me the virus, I'll chew his arm off and beat him over the head with it.

PERSONAL NOTE FROM THE EDITOR: I just wanted to take moment to welcome our latest ORC reader aboard. His name is Jesus Bruyel Letona and he just happens to be my nephew and an off-road enthusiast. In return for giving Jesus a plug here and making him famous in Mexico City, he has agreed to spread the word about ORC to all of his friends with Net capabilities.



Hello Rick,
I have to say that your assessment of the YZ490 needs some re-evaluation. You can get on mine any time you like (if you've got the balls). I'll admit, they can be pretty hard to start at times ... mainly because a lot of folks can't get enough foot in into it to spin it over. Also, off idle torque isn't there .. but that's not what the machine was made for, is it?

I've owned about a hundred bikes, and in the 30 years I've been riding, rode hundreds more. This is ...without question ... the baddest of the bad, the bike flat hauls ass (including mine @ 250 lbs.). The CR500 and KX500 being the only other stock bikes that come close to hanging with it.

The suspension's pretty good even by today's standards, and takes a big pounding. Most of the complaints about the bike come from pukes that couldn't find their butt with both hands, much less ride, tune, and maintain a high-perf competition bike properly (minimum of 100 octane is also a must).

Those guys better stick with their XRs, DRs, etc.. Bottom line is the YZ490 will take on all comers, but ain't for the weak or stupid. Don't believe me? Ask the ones who know at

Put up, shut up, & get ready to eat roost!
Oh, and have a nice day.
Tom (YZ490 club founder @

Let's put the YZ-490 into proper perspective, shall we? The first time I received a YZ 490 from Yamaha for testing, my initial impressions were that it was an incredibly powerful bike. The first few laps around the track had me thinking that this might be something great. But after a half-dozen laps, I started getting the bike up to race-pace speeds and that's when the true nature of this nasty beast started to emerge.

By the 8th or 9th lap, my forearms cramped up and my hands were numb from vibration. The suspension ? once it got hot ? turned sour as the shock pumped up on the compression stroke and faded on the rebound stroke. By this time, the legendary "Yamahop" started happening.

I also noticed that as the bike warmed up, the clean running disappeared and was replaced by pinging and detonation.

We had the Yamaha service reps play with the jetting all day, and we were never able to get a happy combination. If the bike ran clean, it pinged and detonated horrible. If we got rid of the detonation problem by richening up the jetting, the engine then blubbered and puked like a wounded wart-hog.

I raced the bike the next Sunday and pulled two hole-shots, only to fade badly through both motos as the bike shook, vibrated, pinged, puked, blubbered and beat me half to death as I fought to keep it under control. At the end of the day, I had blisters on both hands.

Later on I talked with expert level desert racers sponsored by Yamaha (Ashcraft, etc.) and they said their hands were bleeding at the end of a 100 mile race.

Bottom line?

If you just want to blast up and down your local play riding area with your buddies, chances are you'll be happy with the YZ 490. Ride it a few minutes, stop and rest a while and let it cool down and you'll rave about the power.

But if you are even halfway serious about your riding, the bike is a joke, and a poor one at that.

Put a rider with a skill level close to mine on a motocross track mounted on a YZ 490, and I'll smoke him on my KDX 200 after 20 minutes of hard riding. If you choose to argue with this logic, sir, chances are you would lose a scrabble match with a parakeet.


Please un-ping my Y-Zing

Hail Super Hunky,
I have a 1986 Yamaha YZ490 that pings under acceleration. The ignition timing looks OK, although I don't have the special dial indicator tool to measure the piston position, and in turn, verify the scribed timing mark on the engine case to which the stator plate is aligned. But assuming the mark is good, the ignition timing is correctly set.

The spark plug looks about the right color. Maybe a little bit on the rich side if anything, so lean jetting shouldn't be the problem. But the pinging persists and does so regardless of which fuel I use - pump gas with octane additive, or racing fuel.

Someone told me that the pinging was due to unusually high compression and suggested I use a thicker head gasket that they say was used on the IT models. Unfortunately, the parts department at my local Yamaha dealer says that for my model bike, there are no thicker gaskets from any other models that will fit due to a difference in the bolt pattern, and they don't know if these other gaskets are any thicker anyway.

So, I considered using two gaskets, but they are rather pricey and I'd rather not travel to the desert and find out my bike doesn't run very well. Test passes around my block will attract black helicopters and people with machine guns wearing ski masks. So, I thought I would confirm this compression issue and two gasket remedy with you before trying it. What do you recommend to un-ping my Y-Zing?

Also, does the boost bottle do anything at all or is it better to remove it and cork the port in the intake manifold?

Last thing. I'd sure like a real seat for that bike. One like the old bikes had with a thick cushion. Know anyone who offers such an "upgraded" replacement as opposed to just a replacement?

Thanks much for your advice,
Ping-n-Zing from Orange County, CA

It looks like this is the month for YZ 490 questions, so let's jump right in. Here's the bottom line: The combustion chamber shape of the 490 is very, very wrong, and that, combined with a high compression ratio, makes for virtually unfixable problems. Even high-octane racing will not help.

Reducing the compression ratio via two gaskets will help some, but is not the total answer. I have heard of some people having a modicum of success by installing two base gaskets, which helped with the problem, but reduced the power substantially and increased fuel consumption.

Another popular cure was to go to a 2 mm smaller carb and retard the timing substantially, 10 about 1.6 mm BTDC. This seemed to work well, but there are reports of the bike starting and running backwards if the timing gets much closer to Top Dead Center. The smaller carb fix reduced peak rpm, but did increase the low end response, which allowed the rider to run taller gearing.

These are your options. Lots of luck with the one you choose. You'll need it.


11 year old wants Dirt bike! Need Advice

Hi Rick,
I was wondering if maybe you can help me out. My 11 year old nephew really wants a dirt bike. It is all he ever talks about. I know that he has never been on one before but it's become an obsession for him. I would really like to get him one except that I know nothing about dirt bikes. Is it not something I would want to give an 11 year old boy, or is he too young? If he is of age, what do you think he should start out with? Where do I even look to get a dirt bike? Any help you can give me would be appreciative.

Kind Regards,
Jeanine Martin

First off, ask yourself this question: is he a level-headed kid, or a jerk? If he's a goof-ball type, please do not get him a bike until he grows up a bit. If he's a reasonable type, buy him a used Honda XR-80. Then, demand that he reads the entire owners manual before he's allowed to ride the bike.

Then, most importantly, make sure that he gets some basic training and riding tips from an experienced dirt biker. And, it goes without saying, that he must wear the right safety gear when on the bike.


1985 Honda ATC 200S

Rick Sieman,
I have a 1985 Honda ATC 200S that desperately needs serviced. What is the recommended oil type, viscosity and weight needed? My email is ***com if you can help me with this.


Thank you,

No. Since I don't like three-wheelers much more than bleeding string-warts, I will not contribute to keeping any of them running and providing visual blights on the world. Other than that, have a nice day.


1985 Honda Sabre 700

Hey, Rick.
A few months ago I purchased a 1985 Honda Sabre 700. The bike cruises the streets and highways like a dream. There's plenty of power when I need it.

I do have one problem with it that I can't figure out. When the engine is cold I use full choke and the bike starts right up. When the engine is warm I don't use any choke and the bike starts right up.

But, if I've been riding at high speeds for several miles then shut the bike off for about 10-15 minutes or so, I have to use full choke to get it started again. Could you point me in the right direction on how to correct this?

I have one more question and I'm willing to take your abuse for such a stupid question because I have no other choice..... where is the air filter located on this particular bike? Even the owner's manual doesn't mention it.

Thanks for the help!!

Just in case you didn't notice, the name of this fine site is, not However, since you were reasonably polite, I'll let you know that your bike has the starting/pilot circuit jetted far too lean. If it's a California bike, this is a chronic problem.


78 Suzuki RM 125 carberator setup

What I am requesting is the proper procedure for setting up a carburetor in a 78 RM 125. I already have the carb hooked up in the bike but need the starting adjustments for the adjustment screws in the carb.

Thank you

The first thing you'll need to do is learn how to spell "carburetor" correctly. Second, the "adjusting screws" are the last thing you need to touch on any card. Get a manual, read the specs on what jets are supposed to be in the carb, and do that. Then and only, then, should you attempt to fine tune air correction jets and idle screws.



hi i would like to ask does a 1974 honda 125 need a battery to run please reply

thank you

Oddly enough, Honda made a number of 125s that year; some of them used batteries and some did not. Since you neglected to mention which model you had,

I will give you the following advice:

  • See if the bike has a battery in it.
  • Attempt to start the bike
  • If it has no battery and starts, you do not need a battery



how do u change gears


I usually change the gears to match my socks. Dark socks ? dark gears. White socks ? light gears.


CR/XR80 CD-Rom

Dear Super Hunky,

I just wrote to maybe give you an idea to make a few bucks if you get bored. I find all the questions from XR80 and CR80 beyond amusing. Your comebacks are nice, but the E-mails alone are what get me. So on an off day, maybe too many bottle of Pacifico later, a full CD or just a Don't Ask recalling all these.

Thanks, and keep it up,
Brian Renfro

P.S. Just got a new job and can buy a new XR650R and KDX200 in the next six months CASH! I'm so glad to be off my YZ125 and XL125S. Well I'm off 'em anyway, a valve broke in the XL and I lost the drain-plug in the YZ. Heat of the battle, I didn't even notice the smell!

Your idea is one that we've been tossing around for a while not. Compiling over five years worth of columns would take some work, but we'll do it if enough people request it. If not ...



Dear Rick,
I'm having some trouble with an old 1980 Suzuki TS100, especially finding OEM parts. Also, I'm having with some major problems of the spark plug fouling. I can crank it up, ride all day, put it up, go out the next day and it just fouls the spark plug. Any suggestions or helpful tips?


Yup. Just about every Suzuki dirt bike made in the early and mid-80s came jetted too rich on the mid-range and main jet. Clean up the jetting and all your plug fouling problems will go away. This is assuming, of course, that you do not have any problems like bad cranks seals or a worn top end.


Float Level Adjustment XR650R

Senor Hunky:
I think my BRP XR has a problem and short of spending around $120.00 for a service manual, perhaps you could answer my question instead. My bike starts and runs very well except when riding up steep tricky uphills. At small throttle openings, it runs a little burbly (almost like a 2-stroke)-which cleans up if you dial in more power...last week it loaded up to the point that it stalled and that's when I noticed fuel dripping out the vent hose-not pouring out mind you, just a little drip.

My question seemed beyond my dealers ability to respond which is : Just what is the proper float height and do I have to remove the carb to do it? Or is it something else?

Baffled in B.C.

I have yet to see a carb that would not work right with the float let on dead level with the flat needle seated.


Fouling Spark plugs

My son just recently (2 months ago) bought a 2000 CR80R Honda. He presently is just riding it in the yard and doing some jumps. He is fouling plugs every week. They tell me at the Honda dealer it might be him getting used to riding the bike (as he use to ride a 100XR) and also because he is riding in the yard. We just purchased two more plugs and within 3 days it fouled out

again. Any suggestions?
Thank you

What you must realize is that even though the CR80 is a mini-bike, it is still a racer. It's not happy putting around your back yard. He is simply riding at low rpms and loading the motor up. For the kind of riding he's doing, an XR80 would be much more suitable.



hello, looking for a posable problem. i have a 125 hodaka wambat, never heard of hodaka tell i ran across this one. well the piston was broke and it had been laying outside for a yr or two.

project basket case put new piston,rings,wrist pin,gaskets seals ...what ever. now the bike runs, gas mix 20 to one,smokes a lot , but thats what it called for. ok, so it idles fine but under power it is a dog. bogs down has no power. but in nutral you can crack the throttle and rpms come right up,seem normal. got any ideas? you can choke it,open the air flow, changed gap on the points nothing helps.can you? or are they just dogs from the word go???

reply to: mjtichi

Sigh. Every time I start to think that the human race is advancing, I get an email like this and wonder if you are capable of walking without dragging your knuckles on the ground.

First off, the name of the bike is Wombat, not wambat. And Hodaka was a very popular bike in the late 60s through the mid-70s.

One last thing: since the engine runs quite happily in "nutral" perhaps you ought to keep it there all the time, thus avoiding the stigma of forward motion.


Husky 610TE

My husband has a Husky 610TE, the bike is used for supermotard and has covered around 1000km, it is a 1997 but been off the last 2 years as the crankcase split.

The bike has had some porting work done to it and now has no base gasket. Please can you tell me if it is 'normal' for this to happen to a three year old bike which is made for racing, or is this the sort of thing that happens to a 'big single', would it be worth for us to have is analyzed by Husqvarna?

The bike has been off-road twice and now we want to get it back in full repair, but have a bill of ?900+ (sterling) for a new set of matched crankcases.

P.S. When we bought the bike new we had to get three tanks as they kept splitting and two radiators as they also kept splitting, was this a Monday bike as they say?

Your opinion with this matter would be greatly appreciated.


The fact is that quality control on the Husqvarna of a few years ago was below average. While it has improved substantially, it's still not up to the level of other manufacturers. You might try to put some pressure on the distributor to get the factory to back up any faulty parts. Other than that, you are literally living with a less than perfect hybrid.


Idle: too high or none at all

Dear Rick,
Against my wife's wishes, I've dusted off my old '84 XR 80 and am in the process of tuning it up, for/with my son to ride. He already reads your very informative and entertaining article, as I did when I was young and jonesing for a bike. I was thrilled when I found you on and I hope you never stop writing!

The bike starts and runs well and doesn't smoke, but seems a bit tired. (That's fine: less power for the son to learn with). The carb is clean, has a new inlet needle and the level has been readjusted.

My question is: Why won't it idle correctly? It either idles way too high, simulating an air leak, or dies out, simulating an over rich condition. I'm sure the slide isn't sticking. The air screw changes the idle mixture somewhat, but when I get it to idle well, it takes forever to come back down after a rev-up. I've checked for air leaks by spraying WD-40 around the manifold and gaskets and that doesn't change the idle, so I'm baffled as to what is causing this condition.

Any help would be greatly appreciated. Hey, if I get this one running, I might have to drag my old 510 TE out of the barn!


You might be getting your air leak through the carb itself. Check the top on the carb for proper seating. You can also have an air via the lower end if the crank seal is passing air through to the bottom end.


KTM 250 EXC vs SUZUKI DR 350

Hi, my friend has a 1997 SUZUKI DR350 and I've been planning on buying a 1998 KTM 250 EXC. He told me that the KTM has no match for power compared to a DR 350. My question: is his statement right about a KTM 250 having no match of power compared to his DR350? It may seem like a pointless question but its been bugging me for ages.


Your friend is either pulling your chain, or not much smarter than a small poodle. The KTM will stomp all over the rather mild-mannered DR 350.


Missing Radiator fluid

Dear Super Dude (Because that's what you are),
I own a 1999 YZ. I have 2 problem

  1. After riding it for a month I notice a very little drop in the radiator fluid. If I look carefully at it I can see little black spots that look like oil. I flushed that radiator once but it didn't seem to help.

    I am not sure what way to go. It only loses a very small amount of fluid. I don't mind adding a drop of coolant every once in a while if its not hurting any thing. I change the oil a lot and never see coolant in it. What do you think I should do?

  2. I had a little fall and bent the left radiator a tiny bit. I went to get a new one and they wanted $207. Is there a place to get them repaired?? Thanks for ever bit of help you can give me!!

Dave from New York

Dave, you're passing a very small amount of exhaust through into your cooling system. I suspect a very small crack or pin-hole leak in the gasket, or perhaps a porous casting somewhere in the system.

As to fixing your radiator, try this source:

8414 McDowell Ct.
West Jordan, Utah 84088
(800) 367-7699 or (801) 280-8040

They offer one day service and claim to fix radiators for as low as $35. Tell 'em ORC sent you.


Need your help

Hello Rick
I own a 84 CR500 and my friend has a '01 CR250. We are planning on putting the 500 engine in the 250 chassis [ like service Honda does ] and were wondering who would make us a pipe. We tried to weld the 500 header to the 250's expansion chamber but it turned out rather badly and now we have no exhaust at all. Also we are having trouble welding the frame back together is the Honda aluminum a little different from other aluminum. [ we cut the frame and moved the swingarm pivot up 2mm like the factory guys do to reduce chain torque, we plan on changing the head stay angle next.]

So anyway things are really shaping up except for these few minor problems, we have been to all the local dealers, but they say that they are way too busy to even look at the bike for at least a month or two. [ that's ok because we can do the work ourselves anyway].

The service manager at the Honda shop says he has no idea what the frame is made of and wont even call to find out. I tried asking Tortelli's mechanic at the nationals but he said he couldn't help me and had to get back to work after I had told him what we had done and planned to do [ I think he was pretty impressed by our accomplishments, I think Honda tries to keep all the frame changes secret, so he couldn't tell us.]

So if you could help us out with the pipe and the frame we would appreciate it.

Thanks: Tom Wolf
White Pigeon Mi.

Let me see if I have this straight. You guys can't even weld up a simple sheet metal exhaust pipe without screwing it up, and you go right ahead and try to weld an aluminum frame!

Good lord! Do you have any idea how hard it is to do a proper weld on aluminum? Especially a chunk of aluminum that will be subjected to huge stresses?

No wonder you can't get anyone to talk to you. They think you guys are nuts and don't want to have anything to do with you! I beg you, give up this mad pursuit and take up something more sensible like cobra juggling.



Hello there, my name is Aaron i ride a 1989 KTM 125 i need to know a few things, if you dont know i was wondering if you throw me towards someone who may know. I need to know exactly what kind of oil i should mix with the gas??

I also need ot know exactly what kind of oil to use in the crankcase or some poeple refer to it as the transmission oil, I went to the local dealer and he gave me "light 80 weight oil" is this oil the right kind??? The previous owner said to put castrol GTX 20 w 50, but that is car oil, can you please helpme out here thanks.


From the wretched writing in your email, I would guess that you are either very, very young, or unbelievably stupid. Let's give you the benefit of a doubt and assume you are young ... possibly 7 or 8 years old.

If this is the case, your first step in the process would be to learn how to read and spell in a reasonable manner. This way you could actually read the manual and find the answers to the nagging questions you posed, rather than sitting in front of the manual and tracing your fingers over the pictures.



Dear Mr. Hunky

I have a small problem, I am 15 years old and I have a YZ 80 and I am growing out of it. My parents are going to by me a new bike but the thing is that I don't want a new bike. What I want is an older big bore bike.

My main problem is that I don't know which one to get. If it is possible can you please tell me if the bikes that I have listed below are any good. And also can you tell what would be a reasonable price to pay for one in good condition. The bikes I would like to know about are the:

  • Yamaha TT 500
  • Yamaha YZ 465
  • Yamaha SC 500
  • Suzuki TM 400
  • Suzuki RM 400
  • Suzuki RM 500
  • Honda CR 480
  • 1978 KTM 400
  • 1964 BSA B40E Enduro Star
  • 1967 BSA b44GP Victor Grand Prix
  • CCM 600
  • 1983 Maico 490

Mr. Hunky I know this is a long list but can you PLEASE give me some information about these bikes.

Thank you very much

Wow! That's some list you have there. A moment before I proceed to say how refreshing it is to get a well-written email from a young person. After some of the eye-hurting trash I receive, this missive was a pure joy.

Therefore, I will take the time out of my busy day and rate the following bikes:

Yamaha TT 500: A good solid bike with a near indestructible motor. Starts easy for a big four stroke, but is a very heavy machine, with below average suspension. Best left off to larger, stronger riders.

Yamaha YZ 465: Very powerful bike, and one of the first bikes with really excellent front brakes. Has a strong hit and decent suspension for being close to 20 years old. Best left to an experienced rider.

Yamaha SC 500: This bike was a joke when introduced in the mid-'70s and most certainly, did not improve with time. It's best left as a curiousity. When it was new, it seized with monotonous regularity, had poor suspension, stalled easily and had a murderous mid-range hit that varied with the tide.

Suzuki TM 400: Billed as the most dangerous MX bike ever built, the TM 400 Cyclones are highly desirable as collector's items, but not as bikes to be ridden on a regular basis.

Suzuki RM 400: Decent all around bike, and one that you can have fun racing in the Evolution Class.

Suzuki RM 500: Not as good as the RM 400, even though it shared many of the same components.

Honda CR 480: A decent bike from that era, handicapped only by a poor suspension.

1978 KTM 400: A strong bike with long-lasting engine, but slightly on the heavy side and more than acceptable vibration.

1964 BSA B40E Enduro Star: A nice bike to collect, but certainly not one to ride regularly.

1967 BSA B44GP Victor Grand Prix: Nice, very nice vintage mount. If you can get your hands on one, keep it in perfect condition, as these babies escalate in price every year

CCM 600: Another interesting collector's bike from the '70s, the early CCMs came with a total loss ignition, which meant that when the battery ran down, your riding was over.

1983 Maico 490: Stunning bike! Considered by many to be one of the first super bikes for the dirt. Killer motor and a chassis that went where you pointed. It need an aftermarket shock to make it prefect.


PW80 Mods

Hey Hunky,

My 11 year old boy has had a 95 PW80 for almost a year. Now that he knows how to ride pretty well, I would like to know if you are aware of any engine performance mods for the bike. I have already taken the restrictor out of the pipe but want to know if changing the jetting, carb, or any other items are feasable. He occasionally rides on a motox track by our house and also does a lot of trail riding with me. Thanks in advance.

Stuart Price

At age 11, he's getting a bit big for the PW80. While you could spend some money modifying the PW, you're more than likely better off moving up to a slightly bigger bike. Think about an XR80 or XR100 Honda. You can always sell the PW 80 for an excellent price, as there's a solid market for entry-level bikes.



I have a Suzuki TS100 1982 and I have a problem getting it to start up. i have been told by Suzuki that this model of the bike doesn't need a battery, because of course I don't have lights on it or a radio or any thing that needs electricity, and I also have no spark on the engine when I go to start it up. Please tell me how to fix this,


What? You don't have a radio on your TS100? Why, mine came with a radio, tape deck, CD player, air conditioner, fuzzy dice hanging from the ends of the bars, a small ice box, a portable bar and a plug-in receptacle for a hair dryer.

Hmmm. You have no spark on the engine. Odd. Most folks have spark IN THE ENGINE.

Your best bet to fix this? I would take the engine out of the bike and hook it up to a window fan. Then take the remnants of your bike, ship it to China, and revel in the fact that it'll be melted down and turned into Bic lighters.



I need your help real quick.... One of my friends left me with his bike and wants me to fix it. I know what i have to do i just dont know how to do it. Well, he put way too much oil in the gas {he didn't read the ratio's} and i am assuming that i have to drain the gas tank now and well, i dont know what i have to do to drain it. if you can please help!

Thanx for your time,

Easy. Just tape the bike securely to a 1963 Studebaker, remove the gas cap on the bike, then turn the Studebaker upside-down. Voila! One drained gas tank! What could be easier?


Suspension for TS250 Savage

I recently got a '76 Suzuki TS250. It's a really decent old bike but as you can imagine the suspension (though perfectly functional for its time) is less than ideal. I was wondering if you know of a source for dual nitrogen shocks and improved 35mm forks. If you know, offhand, of used parts that would work that would be just as good as I just ride this bike for fun; trails and chat piles etc.

Grant Sheperd

Dollar-wise, your best bet is to simply go to a motorcycle junk yard and purchase a complete set of 35mm KYB forks and slip them into your triple clamps. KYB forks came on Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki, while Honda used Showa forks (in that era). Forks from most any MX bike would be far superior to your TS boingers. In fact, you might even consider sliding the entire front end into your steering head, as the KYB forks were interchangeable as long as you make sure the steering heads are the same length.



In one of your replies, you suggest useing toululene as a cheap octaine booster. Were can you get it? How do you mix it? and would it work as an octaine booster in any motor? Also, are there any down falls from useing toululene instead off an actual octaine booster?

Thank you for your time.
Danney F.

Truly amazing! Here your are, with the inability to even spell "octane" correctly, and you want to brew up a batch, like some mad scientist in a Transylvania lab. Are you even vaguely aware that toululene is highly toxic?

I thought not! Thank you for not sending in any more questions of this nature.


transmission oil drain

Dear Rick,
I own a 1995 Kawasaki KX 80. I'm 14 years of age and this is my first bike. My father changed the transmission oil and I ran the bike for the time being and soon again the time came to change the oil. As I broke the drain plug free a piece of the threads pulled with the bolt. This easily caused it to strip out. As of now the only idea I have is to drill and tap the drain. Then to bleed the metal particles out by flushing the entire system with some oil. Then of course replace the plug with a bigger bolt, washer, and rubber seal.

However if you have any better ideas, that would be greatly appreciated. If you are unable to answer or feel that this isn't as important as another question, I understand. I would personally like to thank you for taking the time to read this and possibly answering this. Thanks so much in advance!

From KX80157

Actually, your question is a very good one. And your approach to the repair is a sound one, as long as there's enough "meat" around the hole to accept a bigger hole. If not, then your other option is to use of the Keen-sert, which is a thread replacement/repair kit available at most auto or bike shops.



Hi Rick i was wondering if you know the point settings for my 1976 yamaha TT-500 because it was pitting i filed them and tred to reset it by eye sight i got my bike running agin but runs like crap and looks like i am doing a heel clicker when i kick it.


Jeremy Jones
Squaw Valley, CA

I refuse to take time out of my day to answer a question you could resolve by looking it up in your owner's manual, or by calling your local Yamaha dealer. Naturally, I know what the gap is; I also know where the Cap Key is on the keyboard so I can capitalize the letter "i" when needed.


warming up the screamers

What's up? I really like your columns and I read them all the time, but there is one question that has been on my mind for a while now. Everybody I know has a different method of warming their two stroke bikes up. I am the owner of a '97 KX125 (I know its a high maintenance pile of @#$%), but that's beside the point.

Anyways, some of my friends that race just start it up after a day or two in the garage and wind the p*** out of the poor thing until it "cleans out". Another friend starts his YZ 125 up and lets it idle for about 15 minutes before he will go near the thing. My question is this, what is the best way to warm up an MX bike without killing the engine?


Are their different methods for 125's and 250's and do you warm up a four stroke the same as a two stroke. I live in Canada, so some nights, even in the summer, get a lot colder than down south and motors get pretty cold over these nights.

Thanks in advance,

Some years ago, Husqvarna (when they were in Sweden) performed some valuable tests on warming up bikes and how that affected life-span of the bikes. They took a set of bikes, fired them up, and after a short warm-up (30 seconds) applied a full working load on the dynomometer.

They then took a second set of bikes and warmed them up for a full five minutes at a high idle, then applied the same load on the dyno.

The results?

After about 30 hours, the first set of bikes had the top end clearances worn beyond acceptable tolerances, and were in need of a rebuild.

The second set of bikes (the ones warmed up properly) went almost 100 hours before exceeding tolerances.

In other words, the bikes that were properly warmed up experienced more than three times the life-span in the critical top end.

Now, how do you know when an engine is warmed up, and all the different metals have achieved maximum expansion rate? I've used the following technique for many years and have been rewarded with lengthy engine life: Fire up the bike and release the choke as soon as the bike will accept a high idle. Let the bike idle until the barrel is too hot to touch with your bare hand. While this may not be the most scientific method known to man, it's a very safe and sound technique.

And, yes, the same technique applies to both two and four strokes.


Workshop manual for 1998 Grizzly

To whom it may concern,

A friend of mine is having difficulties in obtaining a workshop manual for his Grizzly model 600 FWA. Could you please advise me how to obtain a workshop manual for this model.

Thanking you,
George Kazakoff

Buy one.


WR 200

Mr. Hunky
Is it ok if I refer to you by your first and last name? I am 15 and just bought a '93 Yamaha WR 200. I find that I like it very much. I went from my KDX 400, which my father brought up on this page once upon a time, to this 200. It doesn't have very much bottom and it seems to be very peaky, which causes it to lose the valuable traction that is needed here in the mountains.

It has some kind of ugly piece of 5-cent electronics strapped to it bearing name "Roost Boost". I understand that this may be some kind of ignition advance thing and I was thinking of taking it off. Just wondering if that is the only problem or if those things actually help. It also has a FMF silencer which I am going to replace with a FMF Spark arrester. And as an after thought, what is this that I read about case induction lacking bottom-end?

Could you explain this to me? I hope my age isn't reflected in the grammar of this e-mail.

Thank You
Carl Tannenbaum

Case induction has nothing whatsoever to do with how much low end torque the engine produces. Personally, I would take the Roost Boost off. Then, check your top end for worn rings/piston. With a fresh top end in place, then install a set of Boyesen dual stage reeds. This is the single best thing you can do for your bike.

As to your grammar: it's just fine, especially when compared to some of the bottom-feeders who email this column.


xr 80

Dear, Rick
I am 13 and 5 foot tall I want a xr 100 but I'm to small. But I have looking for a big bore kit for a xr 80 and i have not found one. Do they makw big bore kits or would it be cheaper to get bigger top end huge rear sprocket and small front sprocket a straight pipe with Super Trapp on the end and a bigger carb. I just hope you can help and thank you.


A strange thing will happen, David. In about a year, you will no longer be 13 and five feet tall. You will be 14 and ? no doubt ? much taller. Don't waste your money on the 80; instead, save up for the 100.

And during that year, as you wait for the time to pass, you might open a book or two and try to improve your grammar and spelling.


keihen carb

hi there
maybe you can help the idle choke on my carb is not working properly anymore.the choke is working but the adjustable idle has no affect anymore,just kind of stoped working.i have had the carb apart about 6 or 7 times,and have cleaned it thouroly,and the choke knob is not bent. im sure its the carb for i put another carb on and it worked fine.what a ya think?


My only suggestion is to take the carb apart another 6 or 7 times, and maybe during one of the reassemblies, you might get all the parts in the right place.


Help - Urgent please

Never thought you would get e-mail from a guy in South Africa ! I urgently need talk settings of stud bolts to tighten the top of the engine of a 1981 Suzuki PE 175.


Talk settings? Hmmm. Start with this: Hello stud bolts.


Sitting right here in my well-lit offices is a small number of the very first issue of Dirt Bike Magazine. They're in mint condition and ready for the collectors out there.

Cost is $150, including shipping, and each issue of Volume 1, Number 1 comes autographed by the editor - me.

Here's the source:

Rick Sieman Racing
4492 Camino de la Plaza #1251
San Ysidro, CA 92173

Check or Money Order OK - No plastic
Order one today and keep me from a life of crime Newsletter
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