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Rick Sieman's Don't Ask - July 2002 - Dirt Bike

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!

1972 Honda SL 125

We purchased a 1972 Honda SL 125 that needs a lot of work. We probably bit off more than we can chew, as we are finding out now how hard it is to obtain parts. Unfortunately, we just missed a complete lower end that was sold from a salvage yard.

Some of what we need:

complete gasket set
piston rings-stock size
transmission gears - idler gear, starter gear
carburetor rebuild kit
kick starter lever (not gears - just lever).

Do you have any suggestions, or should we just give up now?

Jeff Spohn
You can make your own gaskets. Just check the last few issues of ORC for tech/how-to articles on how to accomplish this. As for parts, your single best bet is to find and donor bike for low bucks and scavenge parts. This will require some work on your part, but is the way to go. Try the ORC classifieds for starters.


I have come to possess a 1974 Indian Dirt Bike with a Fuji 100 motor. After
it had been covered in mud, boxed and stored away for more than 20 years, I have pulled it from the attic and went at it.

After I had cleaned it up and sand blasted it I began my reconstruction of it. Now I'm just a dumb 17 year old kid so I have come to a stopping point in my work.

Near the rear of the motor there are a series of brackets that need to connect to each other in some way that I have yet to solve. In the middle of the swing arm bolt is the biggest of them that I am positive of my starting point. As I try to figure my way up it I come to where I believe the air cleaner rests on. My problem is that I do not know how I should connect them all, or if some should be bolted to the engine itself.

I have attempted to solve my own problems with the extent of internet resources but I have yet to find any site with information pertaining to any Indian dirt bikes whatsoever.

Any abuse for my stupidity will be accepted with laughter and I hope that you will be able to provide me with information on how to get back to work. If you would like, I could enclose a few images of my current stand still situation.
You exhibit no stupidity at all, and - in fact - showed remarkable writing skills for a 17 year old. The Fuji engine was a carbon-copy rip-off of the Hodaka powerplant, and many of the parts are/were interchangeable. Get your hands on a Hodaka manual and this should solve your bracketry mounting problems. And good luck.

1980 RM 250

Hello Rick!
I remember reading your columns from DB sooo many years ago (I am 22 now, but it seems like an eternity). It's such an amazing coincidence I found your section of the web.

Anyway... I have a 1980 RM250 that I put a new top end in, and it runs great. My question is, I have ridden a 1994 KDX250 ( A few years back) and it seems my RM is a significant amount quicker than the KDX. Is there any truth to what I feel, or is it just me?

Also, both rear shocks went out when I was riding one day, and I had to use Toyota shocks (I cut and welded the mounts and spring guides on them) retrofitted to work with the swingarm.. I haven't ridden it since I modified it, but I want to know what you think about really heavy damping.


Yes, the RM is faster than the KDX. When you consider that the RM is a motocross bike and the KDX is an enduro bike, this should not exactly be an earth-shaking revelation.

As to installing Toyota shocks on your bikes, I suspect you are well on your way to a level of lunacy rarely seen these days. When you consider that most car shocks have 50/50 damping (compression/rebound) and most bikes are nowhere near this, you can see the lack of logic here. Also, the average Toyota card is about 4000 pounds, substantially more than a 230 pound bike. The lunacy continues. I implore you; stop this madness and get some proper shocks.

1981 HONDA CR80R

Hey Rick,
I have a quick question. I bought a 81 Honda CR 80 for $30. All it needed then was some levers, chain and a kick starter. Now it has a whole new problem: the clutch will not engage. I will pull the lever in and nothing will happen. This is my first dirt bike so I have no idea what it is.

Dave Winsor

Now this may sound like a wild shot in the dark, and I'm not comfortable going out on a limb, but бн just maybe YOUR CLUTCH IS SCREWED UP!

1984 CR 500 PROBLEMS

I was just reading your column, and notice what you said about the 1984 CR 500's being called the ping king, because of the poor design of the head. I was wondering if the head could be milled to stop this, because the one I have sounds like some one is beating on the engine with a hammer when I rev it all the way out under load. I am already running two head gaskets to lower the compression, because since I had it bored 100 over, the beast kept blowing a single gasket.

Also do you know were I might find a tear down diagram of the transmission online. When I got the bike, it literally had every nut and bolt removed. I got the tranny working but when I went riding I discovered that I couldn't use third gear. I just tore the thing back apart and I can't find what is wrong with it.
Jeff Foster

One problem: what specs are you going to tell the machine shop to mill the head to? You're going to have to find a really savvy machinist who understands two stroke theory and flow, and those guys are rarer than hen's peckers.

As for the trans diagram, just go and purchase a shop manual for the pathetic bike.

Your Honda dealer should be able to order this for you.
One last thought: backing off the timing a bit will help reduce the pinging.

1986 RM250


Yes, Otis. My first thoughts are that YOU SHOULD STOP TYPING IN CAPS. IT'S IRRITATING! Now, go get a manual, tear the bike apart and see what's broken inside before you run off babbling like a lemming on drugs.

1989 HONDA CR 250

Hi Rick,
My name is Mark, I am sending you an email from Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. EH!
I have had a 1979 Honda CR125R Elsinore from the age of 16 to present (29) and have adjusted the bike (as per Clymers) to fit my 5 ft 9 inch 135pound body. My rear shocks are starting to drool trying to keep up in jumping with my buddies on their 91' KX125, and 01' YZ250. 7.9 inches is not a lot of travel ... parts are getting hard to find.

I am inquiring as to what shop might be able to get me a set of Fox air shocks. If I find a pair, what do I look for on the shocks to tell if they are in good shape? Any leads would be appreciated. If I cannot source air shocks, could you help me point to a pair that will work for my bike's application?

Also, I am trying to source a complete aftermarket exhaust for it to bring some more oomph to the bike. I mentioned complete because I believe that the packing in the muffler left the bike in 1982.

In addition to the above, I have a 23inch front wheel, and was looking forward to going down to a 20,19,18 inch front that might have the same width of hub, or same front drum style brake, or bolt on project that will replace the rim and hub outright. Goal is to be able to replace the ailing front tire and have some selection, with the minimal of wallet or intense machining or retrofitting available.

One more thing if I may tap into your wisdom...

I have a friend with a 89 CR250. I have been offered a chance to buy this bike for $1200.00. Mechanically it is a sound bike, cosmetically it looks horrible, so I will give the folks at Maier a call for all new plastics.

I am not going to ask you to tell me all about it, but have a few questions to judge this purchase.

How did it rate in the shootout against the other 89 250's? Motor? Boingers? Brakes? What (if any) Weaknesses are there on the machine?
Any, and all help would be much appreciated.

P.S. Can you send me any info I need to order your book, I would like to acquire it for my library.

Thanks from your friend up North,
Don't waste your time trying to locate and use Fox air shocks. Instead, contact Works Performance and have them build a set that will work and last. The number is (818) 701-1010. Tell 'em Rick sent you.

Forget trying to get any extra power out of your bike. Chances are the tired parts will give up the ghost and turn the engine into itsy-bitsy pieces flying through the air. Re-pack your existing muffler. We just did an article on that last month.

The 23 inch front wheel was a sad joke. Replace it with another wheel from most any Honda and make sure it's a 21 incher.

The '89 you're considering was a decent bike, but $1200 for an ugly bike is too much. How a bike looks on the outside gives you a good indication of how the owner treated it on the inside.

You can order my book through ORC. Just do a simple search and the order form will pop up.


My 89 Yamaha YZ 250 has a problem that has developed over the winter. The bike was stored about 3 months in the off season. In preparation for storage, I will admit that I only drained it through the drain plug instead of taking the float bowl off. I also drained the tank.

I prepped the bike with the usual procedures for riding again (fresh gear oil, cleaned and oiled the filter, replaced silencer packing, new plug, inspected the top end and reeds) and it fired first kick, but the bike refuses to start the after sitting overnight. I removed the float bowl and found a tiny bit of water in the bottom. I cleaned the carb with float bowl cleaner and put in a new plug and it fired on the first kick.

If I stall while riding the bike will also fire on the first kick. After sitting overnight though, the bike refuses to start until take I the carb off, clean it, and put in a fresh plug. What should I do?

Thanks in advance for your help,
Tony Roach

You should take the carb apart and check the pilot jet for a partial clog. I would also remove the tank and clean it thoroughly. You can have condensation accumulate in the tank when stored, and this would continue to place a small amount of water in the gas, which is enough to make for hard starting.

88 KX 250

Hey Rick,
I have an 88 KX 250 and I cracked the area of the frame where the swingarm bolt pivots. Is this something that can be welded easily, or is it a big deal? It doesn't seem to move any when there is pressure applied, but I wasn't sure what to do.

J eff and Tina
You absolutely must know what you're doing when you're welding chromoly. Take it to a pro and have the welding done right. The area you mentioned is, indeed, a high-stressed area and you should get it fixed before you ride the bike again. You could literally break the frame in half.

93 YZ 250

Is it possible to turn a 93 YZ 250 into an oil-injected bike? If so, how would I go about doing this? I also have the same question for a 91 CR 250.

Thanks in advance.

You CAN do anything. I suspect that I could take an oil pump off a DT-1 and make it work on your bike. But does it make sense? Hardly. These bikes are designed to run a certain pre-mix and should be left that way.


Hi Rick,
Hope you can help. A friend just gave me an old '73 Chaparral with a Fuji 100cc engine. I'm planning on restoring this bike for my sons. My question is do you know of any place I can contact for parts?

My friend gave me two engines (one spare), bother run fine. My problem is the clutch is not working on either engine, and want to replace it with a Fuji clutch or any interchangeable clutches, say from an Hodaka???

Thank you.
David Glover

Fuji made copies of the Hodaka for a number of manufacturers, and yes, the parts are interchangeable.


Can I suggest that you add this to your article on the web?

After taking the muffler apart, use a propane torch to "burn and clean" the wet oil completely off the inner core. Use a wire brush to complete the cleaning. Make sure you unclog the "holes" to the packing material. The muffler will not operate correctly unless these holes are clean.

Ride safe,
Ed Larosche
North Alabama Trail Riders Association (NATRA)

Ed, thanks for the excellent suggestion.


hey rick, i have some trouble with my fourwheeler. WE ordered some clutch plates and some friction plates. we put them in order with what the book - manual showed bet when we stared it in neutral and shifted down to first it automatically tried to go. it jurked and died. we held the clutch in while shifting down to first , but it jurked . i know it shouldnt but what could be wrong ? mabye our friction plates and clutch plates are mixed up but i dont know. if it is our plates can you tell me where i can find out how or which order they go in.

Thanks for you help,
Eric Winsor

What could be wrong? Other than your wretched use of the English language! Now think about this for a moment: you ask for advice and don't even tell me the year, make and model of the four wheeler. Astonishing!

Well, that calls for an answer in kind: just put plates in the same way you would with last years model. Good lord!


Dear Rick,
I just purchased a 2001 Yamaha 660R Raptor. The guy who sold it to me told me to change the 2 quarters of oil after and to clean the air filter every raid. I found this quite extreme. I had a 1992 Yamaha 600 XT and only change oil twice in 4 years. I always made sure it had oil tough. I even had it running one month in August w/o oil by mistake and the bike not only survived but the engine still kicks butt.

This engines seem indestructible to me. I admit that I never did sand dunes, always hard pack so I have no idea of how much dust can get into the engine. Can you recommend a basic safe maintenance routine that is not an overkill?

Also do you know any particular place in Cantamar or Rosarito to have a good ride my wife on the same quad? Something not too stressing.

Thanks in advance

If you want maximum life out of the Raptor, the advice the guy gave you is sound. However, I would say that for "normal" maintenance, changing the oil every 25-30 hours of operation would be OK. The air filter should be cleaned and serviced after every dusty ride.

The Cantamar dunes south of Rosarito are open for riding and you can find lots of quads there most any weekend.


Greetings from Australia,
It was time to clean out the shed. What did I find....... but an old Yamaha Enduro 360. I suspect a 1974 RT1 360 (something like that ).

Cleaned the carbie, changed the plug. said a few prayers, kicked it in the guts and saw some blue smoke. I then turned to my brother and said with great enthusiasm, "It's going to go".....another good kick and I felt my lower limb scream out in pain. After several kicks it was decided that we had discovered a pig of a bike.

After some checking on the WEB we found that this kicking like a mule was not uncommon. My question is.......Was this bike designed by a Sumo wrestler or for people with legs like Steve Austin ($6 million dollar guy) or is there a trick to starting these things without ending up in a wheel chair.

Best Regards
Mike (One good leg left)
Keep a fresh plug in the 360, make sure the timing is spot-on and the jetting is correct, then use the compression release. If it does not have one, install one in the second plug hole. This makes the starting much easier.


Mr. Sieman,
After reading your column in Dirt Bike, as well as your writings here, I believe you will be able to help me with a question concerning a 1975 Bultaco Pursang 250 I recently acquired. The 250 in question was the recipient of a 1975 360cc engine from a Frontera. The service manual I have for the bike lists the horsepower at approximately 40 for the Pursang and 34 for the Frontera.

Why is this? Does the Pursang cylinder have more radical porting, or possibly a better pipe than the Frontera? I would very much like to get this machine to run a bit stronger as I am 6 ft and 210 lbs, and I eventually hope to race vintage motocross with it.

By the way, I am only 25, so I can't just think back to when these bikes were new, but at least I have the good sense to appreciate vintage MX'ers. I appreciate your time, and any help you may be able to provide.

Gary Conner

The reason you got more ponies from the Pursang, is that it was a pure motocrosser and revved to the moon. The Frontera was designed as an enduro bike, with much milder porting and smooth, flexible power. To get the Frontera engine wild and wooly, you could simply bolt on parts from the 360 Bandito.


The article about tips and tricks for Elsinores on this web site recommends using a chain tensioner for forward mounted shocks. A buddy just gave me a very used Elsinore CR125M (1975), and it has what I think is a Redline swingarm with forward mounted shocks. I was wondering if you know what kind of tensioner is pictured ("CH"?) in the article and if they are still available. If not available, any idea what else could be used?

Also, I just ride trails for fun, and would like to know if the maintenance schedule / procedures that apply to racing (i.e.; changing the rings after each race) apply to us average Joes who don't ride nearly as hard. Thanks for your help and the great website!

Brian Smith
You can easily make a chain tensioner in your home shop by using a skate board wheel, some aluminum strap, a spring or two and proper use of a drill and some of the right-sized nuts and bolts. As for maintenance, racing will demand much more work (and parts) than trail riding, but a 125 MX is not a trail bike and will wear out waaaaaay sooner than a decent trail bike.


Hey Rick
I have a couple of question. I have a 1983 Yamaha YZ 490, All stock as far as I can tell.

This bike is a bear to start.
1. Will air leaks in the magneto cover make the bike hard to start? The little rubber cap the wires go through is broken. I have taken the cover off and sometimes I find moisture inside.
2. The bike runes and idles fine as long as you are using full choke, but 30 min into a ride, and you turn the choke off, it won't idle. and hence when it dies, it's a bear to start again.

Mr. Broke Foot
Jason Bray

If your bike will only run right with the choke on, your pilot jet is badly clogged. This would also make for the hard starting blues. Put a dab of silicone seal on the rubber plug, and yes, if your mag seal is leaking, your bike will run horribly lean.


Hey Rick,
I have this 1976 Honda Xl 175 I think i Burnt out the Clutch Plates on It but I dont know, It will start but when i put it into Gear It does not move, If that is the Problem how do I Replace it, Thank you So much

Consider this a blessing in disguise. If you ride anything like you write, chances are you would crash every 10 or 15 feet. Go away and do not write me again until you get a second grade kid to help you with your next email.

I have purchased a 2000 Yamaha Blaster, in good condition, I have had it for
about 6 months, about 2 months ago, the engine seized. I am only 15 and I don't have a lot of experience with care for 2 stroke engines, because I was doing donuts on the snow for about 20 minutes.

It turns out that the entire engine is blown, top and bottom end, So I have
to have the engine replaced, but a new Yamaha Blaster engine is too expensive.

My dad and I were thinking about getting a bigger 4-stroke engine, because
the place that we took it can put a different engine in it for free if we
can provide a new engine, and they will line the rear sprocket up with the
new engine's front sprocket and re-wield the rear sprocket in place.

But I don't know what the biggest displacement engine can fit in a Yamaha

Do you have any suggestions on an engine to use as a replacement, I want a
more powerful engine though, hopefully 4-stroke, but possibly 2-stroke?

I appreciate your help.
Joe Guitar

I have this mental picture of you crazily spinning donuts in the snow, non-stop, while the poor engine goes into a melt-down and fragmentation mode. Ka-boooooom!!! You ought to have your 15 year-old butt spanked to a bright pink glow, instead of getting any sympathy.

And as for putting a different engine in that chassis for free, you've got to be kidding. And the "mechanic" will be welding the sprocket into place? Sounds like a guy I would keep away from anything sharper than a Twinky.


My 1983 CR80 has many problems. It needs the idle set higher because it dies if you let off the gas even when going down a hill that makes it go faster than wide open. It has no idle screw on the carbeurator I can see. Also it only goes about 35, barely faster than my slow go-cart.

My biggest problem is the clutch only works when it is moving, for example it has to be rolled off and you can't leave it in gear and put in the clutch(it just won't catch).

One more problem is that It has no power whatsoever. It couldn't pop a wheelie in first for anything. I can't jump because of fear of nosediving with no torque to get it up. That hill i was talking about isn't too steep. I can make it up easy in the go cart but you have to up on the cr in second(it boggs down in third and you have to downshift).
I need serious help. I caould do the repairs I just don't have a clue about the causes.

Needing help badly,
Will in Northern Alabama
Just what are you people smoking in Alabama? Rarely, if ever, have I seen such a convoluted mass of plain old-fashioned gibberish. Oh sure, once at the San Diego Zoo, I saw four monkeys fighting over a banana, but that was a controlled scientific experiment compared to the verbal garbage your just dealt me.

Did it ever occur to you that your sad little mini bike might just be worn out? No, wait!

A thought just struck me! Why don't you and the clown right before you get together and have that "mechanic" put small-block Chevy motors in your toys. Easy. Just weld up a few sprockets. Piece of cake.


I own a 97 RT180, a '90 YZ250 and an '85 CR250. All run well (trail ridden).
My questions are:
Is there a substantial difference between MTL oils (expensive) and normal
oil for the gearbox?

What type of oil should I consider using (gearbox clutch)?

How often should I change my oil (in hours)?

Are common automobile oils bad for my bikes?
Calvin Tsuru
Specially formulated tranny oils are superb and I would use them in a race bike, or a special bike that I wanted to maintain in the best manner possible. However, for day to day use of a trail bike, I would use a good quality automotive oil and change it often. For example, in my KDX 200, I use Valvoline 20-50 Racing Oil, and change it often. In my 1959 Triumph, I use nothing but the best.

DT400 & YZ465

Rick -
I stumbled into a deal for a YZ465 - probably a good way from running, not a bad thing, and a DT400 - I remember a friend's DT1 as being really neat bikes and lots more tractable than my G80 Matchless first bike.

So, I've only ever had one Jap and it was a 750-4 Honda. The DT400 needs electrics - I suspect the stator is shot. And the lighting equipment is gone entirely. I can't imagine why I can't pirate pieces from a junkyard until I have head, tail, and brake lights, but that'll wait until I have juice for ignition and accessory power.

Any hints on where to pick up ignition/electric pieces? And, do you know a reference resource for interchangeability with other years/models? And one last one - any suggestions on parting out the YZ? I have no use for a go-fast dirt bike and in fact it would suit me well to get this DT performing more like a trials bike than a motocrosser.

That's about it - I'll appreciate hearing from you.
Bois d'Arc
Even though you can still find many parts for older Yamahas at a dealer (pistons, rings, etc.), you'll have to scour the bike junkyards for other hard parts. Keep your eyes peeled for complete bikes. New ignition parts for older Yamahas are hard to come by and horribly expensive if you can find them. You should be able to part out the YZ easily, but I would consider keep the forks, as they could be adapted to the DT.


I made a bad decision when I bought a XR200R with an older 185cc
engine. Will this combination ever work or should I look for an original


Your best bet is to sell the 185 and purchase a 200.


It's only 20 years old - certainly in the prime of it's life, but probably from too much smoking - something is amiss with my '82 XR-200.

It starts so easily. Begins to take off in first gear just fine. Then just won't rev under a load. The fuel flows into the carb no problem. Jets are clear. Air filter is clean and properly oiled. Floats are set. I've checked for air leaks by spraying wd-40 around the intake and can't detect anything.

The ignition advance on the CDI unit seems to be free. The spark at the plug
is nice and fat and blue.

The engine just starts to miss badly at 1/3 throttle. The engine looks to be
in good shape mechanically (feels like it has good compression), but I haven't torn into it.

Any ideas?
Jim Harrison

My first guess would be that the timing is off, caused by a worn timing chain and/or gear. Check there first. If there's a lot of slop in the chain, there's your answer.


How do I find the kill switch of my alarm system? Will not go off sometimes and not able to start car?

No Name Given
If you don't get your alarm fixed, someone will simply burn your car to the ground because it's such a pain in the butt. By the way, you haven't considered calling the maker of the alarm and asking them, have you? I thought not.


Dear Rick,
I was just wondering, when did you think the "Good ol' days" of dirt bike riding ended?

For some reason, I think it was around 1983...don't know why...maybe it had to do with some of the following:

I was still in high could buy a new bike for under $ were the editor of Dirt Bike Magazine.... Dirt Bike actually did informative shootouts, even test new bikes with the help of a top Hannah did with you on the 82 YZ 250, I remember something about Hannah chasing down jack-rabbits until they were tired & carrying them back to the truck by their ears.

Every year the new bikes were so much different than the previous year ( now most bikes go 5 years without little more than a change of graphics & a price increase )
You could go to a Supercross & see real works bikes. I could read about the Blackwater enduro race & I had never seen a BLM Ranger anywhere near our local riding area.

Maybe it's just me getting older ( I'm 35 ) or is there some punk in high school who will think that 2002 was the last of the good ol' days? Thanks for your time

Jeff Birdsong
Blythe, CA

I suspect that the so-called Golden Age ended in the mid-80s. And by the early 90s, most bikes were little more than cookie-cutter copies of each other.


I have a 1999 YZ125. I have read about the "spooge" coming out of the silencer. However, I am getting a black thick oil coming out of my silencer. It looks and smells like the gear oil. Not the two-stroke oil I am mixing with the gas.

One person said something about a gasket in the bottom end. Suppose to be behind the clutch basket??? Does this sound right to you? If so, how hard is it to replace? If this doesn't sound like that is what it is...Do you have any suggestions?

Ft. Worth, TX

You could be sucking gear oil from the tranny and this oil will get transferred to the top end via the ports, and get burned along with the fuel/air mixture. The resultant black goo dripping out of the silencer would certainly be the result of that. And bad seals would be the culprit.


Hey Rick,
I need some help. Someone hit my husband's new F-150 and he is trying to fix the dent himself. He hammered it out, filled it, sanded, put primer on it, sanded, then spray painted a mixture that was prepared by a place that fixes dents. The result: the paint bubbled. Can you tell us why that might have happened?

Thanks much.
Cindy Kujak

Yep. He didn't seal the Bondo repair properly. Or didn't let the primer dry enough to complete the sealing process.


This maybe the wrong place to ask this question but here we go. Can you please tell me what type of fuel to use in a Honda HR 194 lawn mower. Have searched the web for service manual or instruction book to no avail. Maybe you can suggest somewhere.
Hope you can help. Sorry it is not a bike question.

Mark Wright

If it's four stroke Honda engine, chances are it'll run on regular unleaded pump gas. By the way, you don't think a call to a lawnmower repair shop would help, do you? Of course not.


Hi Rick,
I've read your stories for a while now and I hope you can help me with a problem. I have found two 1974 MZ TS250G ISDT bikes new in the crate. The owner imported 600 new MZ's in 74. He was a middle man in the deal. He saved a few of the ISDT bikes because they were different. I'm interested in buying these bikes. I have a 96 MZ Skorpion Sport now. I know and love old, odd, and cheap motorcycles. The problem I have is that I want to be fair in buying these, but I don't want to overpay either. How could I get a value on such an odd rarely sold bike? I plan on keeping one for shows, and reselling the other. Any help you can give would be great.

Kevin Combs

The problem with off-brands is that there are no guidelines. I can tell you what a perfect 1974 Husky would go for, but since only a token number of EmZeds were ever sold here, there's nothing to go by.

Get it for a low price if you can, because getting parts for them will be next to impossible. My best guess would be a maximum of $2500 for the pair.


I recently was given a Yamaha 360. I need to find out what year it is. There is a sticker on the front that the letters are worn away. I don't have a title or anything for it and the previous owner had no info either. The only other info I have is that it says 360 torque injection, and a serial # or a vin # RT1-133430. Do you know how where I might be able to find the year of this bike. I appreciate any info you could give me.

Thank you very much,
Mike McLaughlin

Based on that serial number, I'm guessing a 1974 or 1975 model, but the best way to tell would be to find a magazine of that era and compare the photos with the bike you have.


Hi Rick,
I am not sure if your email address still works or if you even are answering questions, but I could use a little help.

I have had the subject bike since I purchased it new in 1978. For the past 10-15 years, it has just been hauled all around with me while I moved from state to state, but was never really ridden. I am the process of trying to get it running again. I have it pretty much chugging along now, but I have a problem with the voltage regulator or generator. Sometime during this inactive time period, water got in this area of the engine and has wrecked something. I can put in a freshly charged battery and get headlights or turn signals, but not both. After some time, then nothing works. The electrical system does charge the battery nor provide enough current to run lights.

My question is what is likely bad? Regulator? Coil? Also, how do I fix this when I can't find original parts? Is it possible to eliminate the battery altogether. I suppose a battery is required for all street legal bikes, but I would be interested in how if possible to get around the battery as the bike doesn't get ridden much.
Thanks for any insight you can provide.

Kenneth Casper
Pleasant Hill, California

What you have is a dead short somewhere in the system. Take the wiring system completely apart and check every piece of wire and every connection, making sure that the connections are clean and corrosion-free. A good clue is that the lights or the turn signals will work individually, but not together. Chances are high the short is in this area.


Dear Rick,
I own a Kawasaki KDX 175 1980 Model and experience two problems with it lately. The motor has recently been over-hauled (Crank shaft seals, bearings, reed valves, piston, rings has been replaced).

The one problem I have is that the bike can't be started using the kick starter. There seems to be nothing wrong with the kick-starter because it catches the gear and you can feel that you are kicking against the compression of the motor but it won't start, not even if the bike has been ride for a while and the engine is hot.

The only way to get the bike to start is by run starting it. After it's been run started, the bike runs fine except for the second problem. While riding the bike the bike runs fine, but as soon as you stop (dropping revs) the bike just cuts out. After it has cut out you will not be able to kick start it, the only way to get it going is by run starting it again. It seems that it might be something to due with the carburettor (Jet, float level est.), but the float level seems to be fine.

I will really appreciate it if you can help me by telling me what might be wrong a.s.a.p.

Herman Joubert

My best bet is that your carb has crud in it and the jets are clogged. Most older bikes with problems can have their hassles traced back to this.


I have a 88 KDX200. The problem I am experiencing is an idle that goes up and down. The top end has been done (piston, rings, all gaskets). I replaced all the bottom end seals. The reeds, air boots have been changed and the carb cleaned. All carb adjustments have been made.

I have checked for air leaks with either and soap water - nothing.
Any ideas would be appreciated. Kawi does rule, but this bike is p*****g me off.
Trevor Martin
You might have checked, but an idle that goes up and down is most certainly caused by an air leak. Possible areas to check include: porous cases, case gaskets, intake, air boot, carb cap, mag seal or base gasket.

KX 500

Aloha Richard,
Need advice. 2000 KX 500 needs new jetting -- too rich. I pulled off the cylinder to check for problems, but all was ok. Since it is off, I thought I'd get some mods done on cylinder/head for more power. I want a better pipe and am wondering what tack I should take to have tons of high rpm power without spending a bunch. What engine mods are cost effective and which are not worth doing?

Weekend warrior w/ 3 little kids.
Farrell Apparel

Kawasaki ought to be embarrassed to keep releasing the KX 500 as they have over the last decade or so. The combustion chamber design is grossly off and the bike is virtually impossible to jet in stock trim. All the fast people who race them take the bike to a shop like Pro Circuit and have the cylinder and the head extensively re-worked. Sad, but true.


Hi Rick,
I am searching for a replacement clutch for a minibike called an El Burro sand and snow bike. It has a 5 HP Briggs & Stratton on it, and the clutch has a braking system built into it. If you pull the brake on the handle bars, the cable pulls what looks like a "sling" made or lined with a brake pad material to slow the clutch housing and stop the bike.

I've never seen one of these before, and we need to find a new one (clutch and brake assembly). Any suggestions?

Pat Haggerty

There were many off-brand toys made with that basic B & S engine. Your best bet is to note the serial numbers on the engine and contact Briggs & Stratton directly, via the net, or by mail.



Why in the world would you expect a pathetic little 50 cc toy to do anything but struggle in the sand? They're made for little people to learn on. Little people, who by the way, know better than to write an email in screaming CAPS!


I have a problem why won't my minibike start?Ok let me get to the story.One day i saw this can called Marvel Mystery Oil and it siad add to your gas and oil,so i did.It was working a bit,untill one day it slowly went off on me.It only keeped going when i pull the trottle.The next day it didn't start at all.So i pumped the gas out and put fresh gas in it.And it still didn't start.


Is there more to this sad story, or will you mercifully end it right here. However, being a man of great patience, I will answer your question. You see, by using the product called Marvel Mystery Oil, you made the mini-bike act mysterious. Very mysterious, indeed. Now if you had just used Marvel Perfect Oil, the bike would have run perfect. What do I use? Why, I use Marvel Fast Oil. By the way, from this day forth, your bike will act mysterious.


Hey Rick.
I have a Yamaha 1972 Enduro 360. It's in mint condition, but doesn't run. It hasn't for years. My mom wants to sell it, but I want to fix it. Is it even worth giving a try? Can I still find parts or books to help me? Any suggestions would help so much.

Thank You
Shawn Seamons

Let's see now бн mint condition, but doesn't run? Hasn't run for years? What am I missing here? While you can certainly find manuals and parts for the bike, I don't think it's much of a collector. And for actual trail riding use, the bike is heavy, poorly suspended and not easy to start. When running, though, it actually has a decent motor.


Hey Super,
Nice to see you still are above ground. I have a 1976 works water cooled Yamaha 125 that was used in Greece. 3rd gear is bad. Where could I find a replacement gear? Bike has been sitting for 25 years, but started each month.

This is the exact bike that Hannah rode in the 76 Nationals. Any idea what it's worth?

D. Pappas

If the bike is legit, it's worth about $10 to $15K, in my estimation. Parts? Forget it, unless the bike used stock gears.


Dear Sir,
I would very much appreciate your help or comments. I have just re-built a 1981 400 Maico and fitted a brand new Vm38 Mikuni carb. Having great difficulty getting jetting right low down just off idle. I have a 65 pilot jet, no.2 slide cut away fitted with new filter element and timing is spot on Main jet is 350 with 6fj6 needle in 159q2 needle jet. Runs fine mid range to flat out (AWSOME!) Is 65 too big??? Would appreciate your help asap.

Many thanks,
Kevan Cornwall

A 65 pilot is way too big. However, since I don't know your altitude, I cannot guess as to the correct size. Go down to a 55 at first, and play with it from there. Also, consider a 159R2 needle jet.


A reader (Nicholas T Boyko) wrote the following to you:

"I have recently purchased a 1974 Kawasaki 100 2-stroke from a friend. It runs OK at idle but when you give it any throttle it bogs and dies."

I am unsure if this bike has the exact same carb as my 1978 KE175, but from your description of the main jet location, it is possible. Mine was exhibiting similar behavior. I tried a main jet as small as a 78 and a plug gap as large as 3/16" (or so). Each of which helped a little, but the problem persisted.

In my case the solution was to replace a rubber gasket underneath the main jet. Apparently it has hardened over the years and was no longer making a proper seal.
I'd like to thank my local Kawasaki mechanic who said he'd seen this before and was able to pinpoint the problem very quickly. The old girl runs much better
Doug Rollins

Once again, the elite section of the Don't Ask readers comes through with an excellent tech tip to share. A hearty thanks, Doug.


Hi Rick,
I have a '99 YZ400 and have two bent spokes on the rear wheel. Yamaha recommends changing all of the spokes on the wheel but since they are not bent that bad (about 1/4 in. of space between the two), I was wondering if I could just change the two and save the rest of the $100 spoke kit that I had to buy since this might happen again, and also since I'm not rich.

If they were broken I probably wouldn't hesitate to change all of them. Half of the guys at my local cycle shop said to swap them all and the other half said it wasn't necessary. What would you do?

Hope this wasn't a stupid question.

Personally, I would simply straighten the two bent spokes and then re-adjust them.


I just read Richard Thomason's email. I'd like to respond to him directly. But, for obvious reasons, his email address wasn't included on the website. I've pasted his email below for reference. I'm hoping you're willing to forward this to him or post it on the website where he might see it.

I live in Seattle, Washington. I think Mr. Thomason is, well, awesome. With riding areas being closed, it is wonderful to see this man fighting to keep one open. He has no personal interest in opening up his land. He and his family don't ride on it. He is not making money. In fact, he is spending money. He is risking lawsuits.

And this is all for love of the sport and out of generosity. Thank you Mr. Thomason. You are too cool for words and I wish you success. Keep up the fight!
And, if anyone does sue you, they deserve to be "shot!"

Garrett Coffman

(Editor's note: we're reprinting Richard Thomason's email here)

My name is Richard Thomason. I am a fat old scoot rider not unlike yourself. I have every issue of DB and am a charter subscriber of MXA (now know to me as Motocross Advertising-hah) I am also a charter member of PDOD, and a long time contributor to both PDOD and the Sahara Club. Have always admired what you have done for the sport.
In no small way I have done somewhat similar things here in NC Washington State. Have been to several hearings,(court county and state) over the years in defense of just being able to ride.

To the crux of the matter. I am a small apple farmer (because of the economics and probably the Post Office changing my address and not notifying the Sahara Club - I am not a current member or contributor), in East Washington.
I built a track on my property in 1973. I have irrigation water that I pay for, so it is dust free all summer long. I once (in 1974) was transported to the county seat in the back of a sheriff's car for riding on my own property because of dust and neighbors complaints.
I later met with the county commissioners and worked out an agreement whereby my track would only be ridden on two days a week and that the dust would be controlled (i.e. non-existent). My track as been open to my friends and neighbors since that time. It has been open every year since then with no problem.

Forward: I got busted up pretty good in 1992 (can't ride anymore), but I have two sons that continued to ride and enjoy bikes. I left the track open for them and anyone else that wanted to ride also. My sons are now out of the area (one in Hawaii and the other in Law School-I know I'm a failure as a father, but he may be good) and I have none of my family riding.
The last two years there has been very little activity on my track. I have told anyone that wanted to ride that someone would have to take charge to ensure the two-day a week provision was adhered to and that it was irrigated. No takers.
This year, there are people coming out of the woodwork to work on the track. They have built new jumps, changed the layout, redone the irrigation system and just generally worked their butts off to have great place to ride. I think that this is really great.
I am willing to pay for the water, provide equipment, and do what is necessary (as long as there are committed people other than myself to do the work) to provide a great place to ride.
Now my attorney is telling me that I am sticking my neck out a long way allowing people to ride on my property. Screw the attorneys. I think riding is great and I want to do whatever I can to give kids (and their parents) a great place to ride.
I'm not sure that my response to queries of liability (I've said that if you sue me, I shoot you) will hold much sway. Do you have some hired guns I can enlist if such an event occurs? Hah! Seriously, from your experience, can you give me some advice? Don't talk about releases, cause we all know that won't work, whether it was not signed, or would be disputed.
I want to keep this land open to riders. I think I can handle the county when they realize that there are 20-30 people using my land. One of the commissioners is a good friend of mine and I am currently chairman of the Washington Apple Commission (the promotional and advertising entity of the Washington Apple Industry-$25 million annual budget) so I will have some respectability.
Any advice that you can give me would be greatly appreciated; what to expect or how to respond. One other item that may or may not be important - there is no cost to any one for riding. I pay the water, taxes and donate some equipment. Others donate equipment, parts, materials, labor, and one business even donates a portable toilet and weekly servicing. Awaiting a reply
Richard Thomason

Hi Rick,
I own a 1996 Suzuki RMX250, ported and polished by FMF. Late last year, my
idiot brother 'borrowed' it, over-popped and ripped off the rear fender and the silencer. So here goes:

First off, I've got an FMF Gold Series Fatty on there, and I don't want any restriction, so I need a PowerCore silencer right? Well then why can't I find one that matches a 1996 RMX in any FMF catalogues (they also do not include the FMF Fatty I have on there now, go figure)? What should I be ordering from them (please include part number)?

Secondly, I mentioned that he ripped off the rear fender, this might be a blessing in disguise. As you probably know, the RMX250 has one of the ugliest rear fenders, can you direct me to someone that can sell me a less enduro (no tail-light) fender?
Thanks in advance buddy,

Klik the mighty Eskimo.
Rankin Inlet, NUNAVUT

Since my name is Richard L. Sieman, not Richard F.M.F. Sieman, why would you contact me about something that only FMF would have information on? As to the rear fender, contact Acerbis for something better.


My kids (8 & 5 yr old) want dirt bikes. Problem is I can't find information on safety equipment and our local shops in East TN cater to the Harley and sport bike riders. Apparently they don't understand why anyone would like to tear up the dirt.
Can you point me to MX safety equipment information and where to purchase.
Oh, adult equip, too, as my wife and I plan to ride with them - bikes for all!

Stephen Scott

Stephen, all you to do is pick up a few dirt bike type magazines, and you'll find more ads for safety gear than you will editorial content. Several companies, like O'Neal, also make stuff for the little folks, too.


My name is Doug and after 10 years of not riding my 1979 YZ 250 I have taken it out of the shed and decided to start riding it again. I have gotten it running and with some work it is ready to go. I am however at a stand still.

My front shocks have recently been rebuilt, but the rear is in bad shape. I am trying to find a shock, but no luck. Would you happen to know of any place that I can find one? I would like to spend as little as possible and get this thing in the dirt. Thanks for your help.


Your single best bet is to call Works Performance (818-701-1010) and see if they can do a heart transplant on your old shock. And tell 'em Rick at ORC sent you.


I recently purchased a 2002 WR 426f. I have no complaints so far, as with all four strokes, it was hard starting and running the first few rides. After that, it has run great.
I have been doing some reading on and it seems that the bike has a problem with water. It seems that when the bike goes through water it tends to create a suction in one of the numerous breather hoses and stall the engine out.

I have seen two different fixes for this problem. The first, and more expensive of the two, is to us T fitting kit that some company makes so that it can vent
underneath and still have another hose that is routed to the airbox so the
engine won't suck water.

Another solution which seems more simple and costs nothing but time, is to simply do this: The carb has four hoses, two on each side of the bike. Take one hose from each side and route it to the airbox, problem solved.

Would either of these be a good idea to try before crossing water? Once routed to the airbox, how should I keep them their? Glue? The versatile zip tie?

Jim Virgilio
Do it yourself, Jim. Just get some hose of the right ID and route all the hoses into the airbox. Drilling a few small holes of the correct size is simple and a dab of silicone will hold the hoses nicely in place.


I am in the process of restoring my Suzuki TM-75 (1974 model, purchased new
by myself) to easily rideable condition for my 8-year old son. Everything on the bike works well, especially considering the age of the bike, with the exception being the clutch. I have replaced the cable and adjusted according to the specs, but the clutch refuses to work.

When the clutch lever is pulled and then released, the lever rebounds as
normal. The worm gear does appear to be working normally, but no clutch
action. I have attempted to remove the right side engine cover to get at the clutch, but I am encountering stubborn 28 year old screws. What do you think might be the problem. Is the clutch toast, or is something misaligned on the right side?

The last person to ride the bike for an extended period (my brother's kid)
did notice that the clutch slowly was losing it's effectiveness, then when I got it, it did not work at all, but I attributed that to any extremely stretched clutch cable.
Any help would be greatly appreciated!

David Cornelius

Two options come to mind: first, the clutch plates are bonded together (sticking) and will not release properly. This often happens when the bike is stored for a long time. Second, the clutch was abused and the plates are worn past tolerances. Either way, you'll have to pop the case cover and inspect to find out.


Rick, I am looking for part for a 1974 Suzuki Ts-185-L.


Got the part right here. Whoops. I was wrong. Just gave it away the other day.


I bought a new YZ426 in February. The first thing I like to do to a bike when I get it is change out the exhaust system. In the case with the 426 I cannot find one that is suitable to my needs. Let me make this more clear. For example, I started to by a Big Gunn or an FMF system, then I read an article that stated that many aftermarket systems offered little performance advantages over the original only that they were lighter than the stocker. This is good too but I want a performance upgrade that I can feel!!! Can you shed some light on this topic.
Gregory Hall

Yes. Most of the aftermarket pipes for that bike simply alter the powerband here and there. Any real gains are a joke. Yes, they are lighter. And if you want to spend $300 or so to save a few pounds, have at it.


Dear Super:
A quick follow up thought to my prev msg on Tank Air Fins and Dual Sport.

At the 79 John Zink Enduro, at the banquet, Dick Burleson entered the room
that evening, his wife at his side and his little girl on his shoulders. The feeling that vision brings somewhat explains what I see for Dual Sport if mftrs and writers would really go after it.

What ever happened to the John Zink event anyway?

And what ever happened to the C-Z in your editorial picture? Whoops, I guess I might have been away from M/C too long!

Richard Mason
Topeka, KS

Dick has always been a hero of mine, too. I rode a 430 Husky he set up for me at the Blackwater 100 one year, and it had the sweetest motor for the woods I ever experienced.

The Zink Enduro went the way of so many other events: insurance liability.

The CZ in the photo belonged to my buddy, Tom.


Hi Rick
I own a 2001 Honda CR250; everything on the bike is stock. Recently I was down in Rocky Point, Mexico, riding my bike on the beach. I noticed when I ran
the bike at a steady speed around 3/4 throttle, the motor would not run smooth; it would pop and jump. But when I opened the throttle full and held it, the bike would run smooth. Is this normal or is there something I can do to correct the problem.

Rick Edwards

Sounds like a simple needle position adjustment would take care of this.


I have been asking around and more people are stumped by the following question about my bike, I was hoping you might shed some insight on the issue for me.

When I kick over my bike and give it gas (when it is out of gear), the breather tube out of the transmission shoots out transmission oil. When I say shoots out, it looks like a squirt gun or a hose. There is a build up of pressure that is shooting out the oil. What do you think is causing it? I was told it was a bad power valve (HPP system?) I know little to nothing about 2 strokes and I am trying to learn. I have the manual for the CR250 but no where in it does it talk about my problem.

Thank you
No Name Given

You have a leaky seal from the bottom end to the tranny. When you crank it over, pressure from the crank chamber bleeds into the tranny and there's your squirt gun in action.


I have recently purchased a 1978 Wilderness camper. I would like to know the approximate weight of this particular camper. If you could please e-mail me this information, I will greatly appreciate it.

Thank you.
Jo Perry

I would say it's heavy.


where can i find suzuki ts-50 manual (arround 1971) free!! on intenet


Gosh Benyhill, I don't think they had the Internet in 1971.


I need to know how to put on a clutch housing on a 1981 yz 125 yamha i't would help if I could get this info in a few days

Nathan Buckler

Well, hellsfire, Nathan. I'll just stop working on my 1970 Husky restoration project, and jump right on this. After all, you want this within a few days, so I better get my butt into gear, right? And I mean this "sincerely."


Your comments on the 1983 YZ490 are right on! I have ridden with two friends
who have this bike. The first friend sold it to the second. I never rode it, but have helped lift the pig onto the work stand countless times. The guy who owns and the guy who owned this pile have distinct differing personalities, but both are sensitive to criticism of their bike or riding ability.

For the first owner as far back as 1987 and for the second owner as recently as 5-30-2002, I have to pretend to be a little slower so I don't hurt their feelings on the trails. I slow down on the wide-open straight sections so they can catch me with their drag-race four-speed transmission, and then proceeded to slowly pull away on the tight sections.

If this pile ever was a good bike, that was before it was completely worn from lack of maintenance. Last ride I helped keep the shifter from spinning on the shaft by cutting a piece of Coke can for a shim and (temporarily) removing a grade 8 bolt from my truck to help through-bolt the stripped shifter bolt threads.

The ride before that it was endless fowled plugs. (One time I witnessed the fork seals blowing out because the fork oil was WAY over filled. Do you how much smoke it makes when fork oil runs all over a hot engine? Do you know how funny it looks?)
I don't blame the lack of maintenance on the original engineers, but the YZ490 I have experienced has been a source of entertainment, pity and sorrow for the past 15 years or so.

Forgive me if my ego shows a little: I ride a '93 CR500R which is also a bit of a pig, but it is certainly a more nimble pig than the YZ490. With my NINETY ONE DECIBEL @ 3000 RPM silencer with an FMF Gnarly, I dyno tested at 50 HP @ 3100 RPM. That's a real dyno test with a new chain, sprockets andstreet tire.

And that's at a (I don't want to buy a Weisco and overbore and port) no maintenance required pre-mix ratio of 24:1 using Maxima. It might have been better if I wasn't still running the original spark plug that came with the bike. And yes, I checked the plug gap.

The only worthwhile info of this E-mail:
Los Federales demand that the proletariat emit NO MORE THAN 94 dB(A) when
traversing the King's Forest in His Majesty's territory known as "Michigan".

On a little more serious note, please note that on my FMF "Gnarly"-equipped
1993 CR500R, a BRAND SPANKING NEW FMF Turbine Core 2 Q right out of the shipping box tested at 99 decibels when tested in accordance with Motorcycle
Industry Council Stationary Sound Test Manual for Off-Highway Motorcycles
and All-Terrain Vehicles, revised 2001. FMF currently, and everywhere advertises 93 dB(A). I haven't a clue to what FMF is referring when they blatantly advertise 93 decibels from a Turbine Core 2 Q. They can get away with this since the People's Republic of California limits noise to 101 decibels.

HA! Suck on that! For once, Michigan's regulations beat California's on the
race to Socialism!!

Help delay the inevitable for as long as possible, join the Blue Ribbon Coalition.
Sydney Cameron Gearing
Cycle Conservation Club of MI Member
Blue Ribbon Coalition Member
Heterosexual Lover of the Outdoors
All Around Nice Guy

Sidney, you have done such a great job putting the wretched YZ 490 in its place, that you have rendered all of my future rantings null and void.


Hey Rick
I read with interest your comments on the WR200 rear suspension sagging early in its lifespan. I have a 97 WR and it sits real low in the back. What would be the most cost effective way of getting it to sit at its design ride height again?

Wayne Crabbe

Aside from buying a new spring, try to find a spring from a YZ 250 of the same year with a heftier spring rate. Since many YZ riders swap shock springs when setting up a bike, chances are reasonable that a good racing oriented shop might have a used YZ spring around for sale. Failing that, you could always cut one coil off, which would increase the spring rate, but might get you into coil bind if you cut too much.


Hey Rick,
I have read a few of your comments and answers and really like your humor. Keep it up. Anyway, I just bought my 1st bike, a WR426F. My buddy also bought his 1st bike, a DR400. His bike blows mine away. I cannot even pull the front wheel off the ground in 1st gear. I called the dealer and they told me that Yamaha sets them up this way to break it in properly, but when I read the owners manual it says it's broken in after a few starts and cool downs followed buy a one hour ride at between 1/4 and 1/2 throttle. Then I am ready to race.

The question is this: Should I remove the tube in the end of the exhaust pipe? I understand that this is not the spark arrestor. And also, they have placed a throttle stopper on the carb. In dirt bike mag, they removed it and got a good jump in power. I was going to remove that also.

I have read reviews upon reviews on this bike and it is supposed to be a heck of a powerful bike. I hope I didn't get a lemon. Thanks for your thoughts on this and I hope the heck I did not spell any words wrong because you will definitely be letting me know.


If you really want your WR to come alive, uncork that pipe and have your dealer change the cam timing to YZ settings. You will now have a YZ with lights.

XR 100

Hey Hunky,
Hello! I am 12 years old. I ride a Yamaha RT 100. It is a good bike, but the suspension is terrible. I ride on the motocross track sometimes, and also on the trail. The RT is fine for the trail, but very bad for the motocross track, because of the suspension.
I wanted to buy a better motocross bike. I was looking into a YZ 80 or something, but those aren't very good for trails, and are a bit big for me. I also looked into an XR 100, and that seemed good. The only concern I had was the suspension being too soft.
I don't want to be a hard-core motocross racer, but would like to get some air while riding on the track. Suspension is one main concern, because that is the reason I want a new bike.

My question is: do you think an XR 100 is a good bike for a 12 year old trail/motocross rider? Is the suspension too soft? Any information you can give me would be much appreciated.

Eric Price

While the XR 100 is a great learner/trail bike, the suspension is not much better than the RT you have now. You may have to consider a slightly larger bike, one with a decent suspension in stock trim.

XR 650 R

Hi Rick!
I own a XR 650 R-01 and ever since the bike was new it has been popping like hell when I close the throttle, other bikes with the same setup don't. I have been checking intake and exhaust for air leaks, checked valve clearances, adjusted the fuel screw and changed the slow jet to a richer one but no improvements! Do you think it would help raising the float level or do you have any other suggestions to help me solve this problem?!?

Mr. Sweden

While I'm sure you've worked hard checking, the popping you described sounds exactly like an air leak. Double check the area where the pipe goes into the head.


In this months "Don't Ask" column, you have a letter from a gentleman having
problems with his XR-500 running lean when it's cold. Your answer was, "The
miss when cold is caused by a too-lean carb condition that is chronic with the XRs of that era and very difficult to jet out. No matter what you do, there will always be a slight hitch when the throttle is whacked open at low rpm," which of course, is correct.
I would like to suggest that he also check the intake manifold for an air leak. I have owned two older XRs on which the rubber carburetor insulator had separated from the aluminum part of the manifold. I have also seen this on other XRs as well, and the symptoms ranged from a mild lean condition on one, to serious pinging and overheating on another. I hope this helps.

Bruce Arnold
Huntsville, AL
Thanks for the hot tip, Bruce.


I am 14, 5'11'' and about 130 pounds. I have moderate experience in trail riding. I am looking for an old Enduro bike to ride. I recently looked at an 1978 (I think) Yamaha RT 400, but passed it up thinking it would put my head in the ground. I was wondering if I would have been able to handle this bike on trails. ( it was easy to handle on road during a test ride). Or should I look for something around an IT-250 or IT-175?


I would consider an IT 175 or 200 before thinking about that old porker of a 400.


Hey, is it possible to put front and rear lights to Yamaha YZ426? If it's possible then what do I have to do?

Kristjan Kuill

Why would you go through all that, when you could simply purchase a WR 426 with the lights already installed?

'87 XT600

I just got an 87 XT600. It has 1200 miles (no that is not a typo) and it looks like new. It sat up for 10 years and the carbs were nasty, so I broke them down, soaked them and put them back together replacing all rubber parts.

It cranked right up and has lots of power, (I don't have much to compare it to) idles pretty good at 1500 rpm when cold and will idle at about 11 or 12 hundred rpm when hot (but with a slight miss). The only problem is that it backfires a lot when I get off the throttle with the clutch engaged, and a little if I let off the throttle with the clutch disengaged. Any Ideas?

Thank you,
Brooks Haxton

Your clutch action has nothing to do with the backfiring. As stated earlier, the backfiring is almost always caused by some sort of air leak, usually in the exhaust system.


I have just one simple question for you. Seeing as though you know all, I
have a 1979 Bultaco Sherpa T. I don't have a manual for it and the previous owner put the wrong spark plug in. Could you tell me which one is the correct one, or if that is too straining a question ( just jokng ) do you know the spark plug gap ?

Thanks a lot
Matthew Clark

For normal riding conditions, use an NGK B8E, with gap of .030.


I have a 1996 YZ250 and at 39 inches it is too tall for what I do: Woods Riding. After years on the road I have discovered the dirt and am hooked. I am 5-8 and the bike's seat height has caused several parking lot topples and some very embarrassing moments for a rider with 20 years experience.

I want to lower the seat height to approximately 35-36 inches. Ways found so far is dropping the trees and raising the tubes up front and selecting a shorter rear shock/spring. Coupled with a flatter seat. I am requesting any and all ideas to help locate these components. Someone has to have lowered one of these to suit the vertically challenged. How does Rickey Carmichal do it?

Dave Howe
Woodbury, Connecticut

If you do all of those things you mentioned: tubes up in the clamps, shorter shock spring and a lower saddle, you can chop off and easy 2 ? inches.

1975 YZ80B

I just bought my Honor Roll daughter (10 years old) a complete but tired '75
YZ80 from the original owner for $50! She's riding it now, but it does need
some TLC. Can you tell me what years interchange for engine and or chassis

Thanks Rick,
Chris Lynch
St. Augustine, Florida

In many Yamaha models, you could/can interchange parts from models a few years in either direction. A friendly dealer with a good microfiche will be of tremendous help.

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