Dont Ask Rick Goes All Vintage on Us:

26 Feb 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Dont Ask Rick Goes All Vintage on Us:

Don’t Ask: Rick Goes All Vintage on Us


If you choose to email a question to this forum, then you must conduct yourself accordingly. Therefore, the following rules are in order:

1. Do not write your email to me IN CAPS. If you do so, I will print out your question and do terrible things to it.

2. Do not request a personal email response. Since I get thousands of questions each month, trying to answer them all would cut deeply into my leisure time, which I value more than your current state of confusion.

3. Try to spell at least in a semi-correct fashion. If you choose to mangle the English language, expect no mercy from this quarter. You might be mocked severely.

4. Do not ask for me to send you copies of my many manuals and literature. I am not in the library business, nor do I want to spend the bulk of my day at the copy machine just because you’re too lazy to ask your dealer, or look around a bit.

5. Don’t bother me with truly stupid questions, like how to get 50 more horsepower for a buck and a half

6. Now that you know the rules, think carefully and have at it!

Oh yes I’ll leave your email unedited, for what it’s worth.


Im a 10 year old boy who loves to ride dirtbikes. I have a

project Im working on. I have an old dirtbike frame and I have an old leaf blower that runs. I want to put the leaf blower in the dirtbike frame and I cant figure out how to rig up the throttle.

Do you have any sugestions that might give me an idea for this project?

J. Ryeley

This called for some comments from Matt Cuddy, who has built more weird dirt bikes that any person alive. The fact that he’s still alive is mute testimony to his skills in this department. Read and learn:

Very good idea there my 10 year old friend, but you didn’t mention what type of frame you have, so I will have to think it’s a standard mini-bike frame.

The big problem with leaf blower motors is they are very small (about 30cc) and once you get the fan cage off, you’ll see that the crankshaft end that’s sticking out of the case is tiny, about the size of your pinky finger, and almost impossible to mount any type of clutch or sprocket to.

Also, there are no motor mounts on the tiny motor to speak of, and the best bet would be constructing a motor mount that bolts to the case halves, and the bottom of the frame. Too much work, for too little power from that itsy-bitsy motor.

I suggest you find a five horsepower Briggs Stratton laying around somewhere (a 3 1/2 horse works too) and your problems will be solved, as there are thousands of places where you can buy parts for the Briggs, and even more places that sell clutches, throttles, hop-up kits, etc.

While your idea on using a weed-blower motor is sound in thinking, in practical application it would be almost impossible to mount, and the low horsepower from the tiny little two stroke would hardly move you and your bike at the same time.

Go with a Briggs Stratton, or if you’re really into technology, an over head valve 4 HP Honda. Please keep us updated on the project, and maybe we’ll run a full report on it, in the dirtbike section of



Hey Rick!

I called you a few years ago. What a phone bill! You were still in Mex. Just wanted to thank you for Dirt Bike Magazine. I bought the first few issues, then here and there bought more.

Shouda kept those first ones. Hope you are doing well. Remember Munts Cycle Park? Did it become Valley for a while? I rented some s**tbox Suzuki one time. ran like a. well. a rental dirt bike!

Handled like wheelbarrow with a flat tire and only one handle!

I would have ghost rode it down that gnarly hill climb, but it couldn’t make it up the back way. Wasn’t the first bike to make it up that hill a dirt bike with a Kawasaki H500 triple in it? I heard the first bike to make it up was going to get $500 (the rider) Remember any of that?

Right across from the Simi Drive-in used to be a Dunecycle rental track. Got kicked out ’cause my friend and I got to the very rear of the course and stayed there too long shooting around instead of just making the lap.

Well, I’ve read MONKEY BUTT at least 5 times, now. A very educational read. All dirt-bikers should buy it!

All true, too! (?) I grew up in Thousand Oaks, California from ’57 to ’73 when I graduated H.S. and went into the Army. What a great time to be off-road! Also, I heard someone was looking for info on the Chris Cycle.

A friend had one. It was cool! not quite a Hodaka powered Bonanza, but it still ran good. Had a long, chrome gas tank, a real clutch and i think a 4 speed. Made in Italy, I think.

Well, hope to hear from you and/or read your answers in DON’T ASK. By the way, was my grammar and/or spelling okay? Take notes, mini-riders, It can be done.

My skool musta ben gooder then yurs.

Dave Fruhling

Gold Hill, OR

Wow, your email brings back a lot of memories. Muntz Cycle Park got renamed Valley Cycle Park and it used to be a great place to ride. Hang on to that first copy of DB, as it’s going for around $200 now.

Your spelling was way gooder than normal.


Hold on – it may take a moment for more pages to load.


Hi Rick,

I was wanting a newer kx 500 kawasaki, I like them alot ,but i dont know if i can get on one as Im 5’10 but 30in, in the seam. do i get an oplder bike and fit on it rick or do i get the kx and have it adjusted if its possible. I was looking at the older 73 maico 400’s in orange and the older 74 yamaha 250,360 mx’s,too, I mean if i could fina an older maico id get it but ive heard about the thing on parts and pieces falling off but i still like them they were really something and handled really good, please help me Rick on this ok, im 48 and getting back into riding ok, thanks alot

kirk c.

Alton, KS

If you’re just getting back into riding, then consider a KDX 200, most any year in the last decade. They’re great bikes and very reliable. If you want to race vintage and reliability is the prime issue, consider a CZ.

Stay away from the KX500. In my opinion, it’s a poor bike.




I have found a one owner 79 elsinore $2500. Also, a 75 Pursang, same price. this is 175cc frame with 250 top end. whats your opinion? Both within driving distance, im a novice mxer although I have ridden them for a lot years (not lately) .

Rohn Ussery

Robins AFB, GA

Forget the Pursang and go for the Elsinore, although the price seems high for a 79, unless it’s perfect.



I just bought a 85 cr 500. I took the carb apart, cleaned it and the reeds and rad valve and put a new spark plug in it. It fired right up with the old gas still in it. then I drained the remainder out and put new gas in and now it wont start.

Can you help?


Paso Robles, CA

From what you described, it sounds like the gas is not flowing into the carb. Float level might be grossly off, or the float needle might be stuck. Check this first.



Hi Rick

kirk c, from kansas here, still looking at bike,s I still like the TM 400 suzuki. I mean the 74 model Is this one better than the 71’s that were hand grenades? I hope so as i cant find anything that i like as much or the looks of than a TM 400,maicos are ok kinda crude looking, buls are neat if you worked on them first, Yamahas are nice if you can find a good one,I like the 360 MX, 74 mod, I think the older yammies and suzukis are kinda in the same league, good quality, or as good as anything out there if you got good shocks, and redid the forks, and jet the carbs right than youll have a sweet bike, Plus. they fit me alot better than the newer stuff that looks like puddle jumpers,

I m sure glad your doing good Rick, and i heard that you guys are moving back to Az, good move, Im not nuts just looking and not buying but i have to be sure like you in what im gettingI know you said the older Elsinore 250M’s were really nice too and id like to have one if people didnt think they were made from gold, and were asking wayyyy too much for one, or the old thing where pour all your money in it but get nothing out of it,

Im sure glad your there rick to help and guide guys like me that know better than to be swayed by anything trendy and then it dies out, hope things are going good with you guys,


Kirk C,

The 1974 TM400 was actually better than the original beast. If you want to race an older (and lower) bike, the best pre-75 bike you can get is a Maico. Period.



Rick, in 1966 when I went to the Int’l Toy Show in NYC there was Hans Kresen World Sales Mger for Maico Factory, Germany in a small 10′ show booth. We talked then when I want back to AFS Dist. in Lewistown, Pa. the Retail Div. motorcycle we sold Yamaha, TRIUMPH, Montesa and Suzuki at a different location.

So I talked with Denny Moore then my co-worker at AFS Dist. told him lets get a few Maico’s from Frank Cooper Motor in L.A. and try to sell a few.

By 1969 Denny Moore left AFS and got set up with Maico Germany as their East Coast Dist. for Maico. We started in an old Meat Market Building 1970. Our first 30 Maicos were stacked outside the building. by 1972 we built a New all Steel warehouse to keep the Motorcycle stock.

The warehouse also had our Racing dept. shop.

I believe Maico Germany came over and set up their own operation which Salvo, our Parts Mger Garry Herto and I joined the factory operation leaving Eastern Maico Co. I was Sales Mger for Both company’s So Rick don’t forget Eastern Maico ,really was the business that got Maico Motorcycles going is the states.

The Original (Edisons ) Inter-AM series (Adolf. Willie Bauler, Wollsink and Hans all came to race the Inter-Am then the ( Trans-Am Series) through Eastern Maico in Pa. Our Maico story and history with Maico is long.

Remember our old T-Shirts in the 70’s ( This tank hauls gas) and the All Red Maico’s were my direct concept. I made and sent all the drawing to our then main office’s in Germany to build the RED bike’s. The Red bikes were 100% my idea and request for the U.S. market.

My last bike was my Works (250 WR) which I ran in THE National AMA Enduro Series.

I could never stop, but time to get back to work.


T.S.Steele Group, Inc.

Thanks for the real world Maico update.



my sons 2004 rm 85 has issues! shop rebuilt top end and said lower end was good within specs. it has fatty pipe and stock silencer. runnning mixture @ 32:1 plug is 8es.the problem is busting up way too early in 1st 2nd gear, seems like the bike is not running properly? maybe reeds are week, carb issues? spark plug black little wet, change plug no help. bike runs good if @ wide open throttle keeping power band in as long as you shift 1st 2nd gear really early. sprokets not the issue tried several. need your help.


May I call you 28? Good. It should be more than obvious if your plug is black, then you’re jetted horribly rich. Your plug, ideally, should be a nice tan color.




I’m almost 60 and still attempt to ride my 90 ktm 300, but I need a part and thought maybe you’d know where I might get one. I need the clutch cover and timing gear – (drives the water pump and power valve). They don’t make them any more, I have a ’91 cover and gear that will fit but after media blasting it has shown holes in the water inlet.

So, do you know where to get the parts OR if I can’t, would JB weld or some other epoxy work to fill the pin holes? At best I’m just a play rider if that matters. Way back when I sent you some motion sensitive outdoor lights when you were in Mexico to fend off envirrmental whackos.

Phil Smith

any help appreciated!

Ah yes, with the new president, welcome back to the US amigo arghhhhh.

Definitely use JB weld on the parts. The stuff is amazing and can even be drilled and tapped when cured. Thanks for the motion lights. I used them in good health.

MaybeI should have stayed in Baja with the new president we have.




I have an ’89 rm125 and I keep trying to seal up the top end with silicone gasket maker. It’ll start up run perfect then just blows the gasket right out and radiator fluid leaks out my exhaust everytime. Should I not use gasket maker?

Or maybe you can recomend me a good one what I should do or possibly something I might be missing. Thank you


Ocala, FL

Have you been sniffing that silicone glue? If you took the time to read your shop manual, you would notice that no gasket cement is called for.





Johnson City, TN

At the risk of getting my butt kicked by a 300 pound man, I have to inform you that you don’t send emails all in caps. At your height and weight, I’d consider a bigger bike. Something like a clean XR400 would fit the bill nicely.



Hi there i just got a cr80 and its bored to a 91cc and had a flat track pipe. We put the original pipe on and and did not start so we thought it was the carb so we bought a new one put it in a still didn’t start so we put a new spark plug in it ran for a while and took it trail riding and after an hour and shut of it self i think its fouling plugs but my dad says we need a bigger jet. Could you please tell wit wrong if you know


Mansfield, OH

The problem is that you won’t leave the CR80 alone. Why in the world would you put a flat track pipe on the bike? This would make the power band into a revver with pitiful low end and mid range. Did you get any jetting info with the pipe? You don’t trail ride a flat tracker.

You’re just begging for fouled plugs.



yeah i have a question what kind of throttle can i put on my 1992 yamaha RT 100 and were can i find one? Im in a corner here


Columbia, SC

While you’re in that corner, bang your head against the wall a few hundred times. You could actually go to any Yamaha shop in the world and ask for a throttle and they’ll sell you one. Actually, most any throttle will work if you have a smidgen of intelligence.

In your case, it probably won’t.

Sherco 0.5 Kid



Hi Rick

I own a 78 Yamaha DT-400 of which I had the engine rebuilt professionally. The engine was bored and a 1st size over wiseco piston was installed. The casting flaws and sharp bends were removed from the port tunnels,intake cleaned up, and the exhaust port polished. The deck and cylinder transfers were also matched and casting flaws removed to a semi smooth finish. The port windows were not altered in any way.

The engine remains stock otherwise.

The problem is, the engines broad torquey powerband is now gone. I’ve had to run the carb a little rich to get the most power out of it. I’ve checked the engine for air leaks and found none and there is good spark. The stock carb is clean and the reed valves check out good.

Is it possible the mechanic removed too much material from the port tunnels and is there anyway I can fix the problem without buying new crankcase halves and/or cylinder if this is the case?

Also, once the problem is resolved do you think switching to a tm carb instead of the round slide mikuni would help performance? I’ve found an aftermarket modern designed expansion chamber by Jemco, but it’s mid range only as it fits the DT-250 as well. For your readers, the only 2-stroke injector lube i’ve found that works in these bikes weather the pump cable is adjusted or not to control output is Honda GN2.

And it works at the stock pump setting.

Thanks, Frank

Simi Valley, CA

We turned this question over to our DT expert, Matt Cuddy. Here’s what Matt had to say:

Hmmm, sounds like a velocity issue with the intake charge through the transfer ports. remember, when you remove a lot of metal, the velocity drops in direct relation to how much metal was removed. Polishing the transfers is a bad idea, since you need some roughness to get a nice swirl up to the top of the cylinder. Polished transfer ports also cause gas droplets to form on the smooth surface at slower speeds.

The only port I ever polished was the exhaust port, with the other ones getting cleaned and matched. (except the bottom of the transfers got knife edged).

He can reclaim the lost crankcase compression that seems to be afflicting his beloved 400 by stuffing the balancing holes in the crankshaft with cork and epoxy. That raises the crankcase compression by lessening the volume in the crankcase, and will give a bigger squirt through those transfer ports the bozo with the moto tool hogged out to locomotive sized d valve sliding block size. He can also go to a smaller carb, that will increase the suction, and velocity of the intake charge.

You have to be careful when you let unknown shops loose with a porting tool, the results can be disappointing. Also sounds like the guy might have raised the exhaust port, and not raised the compression ratio in kind (since the piston closes the port later, letting more of the intake charge out than stock, you have to raise the compression ration in kind by milling a couple thousands off the head), or discard the head gasket, and have a groove milled in the head for a strand of thin copper wire, about 20 Gage.

Yamalube S works best as far as I’m concerned. Also, when you port a bike, 90% of the time you have to re-jet to a bigger size in the pilot main.



hi i have a 1996 rm 250 i tried starting it one day and it wont start i smell gas and sounds like the trotle is half open when i kick it choke on choke off sounds the same i think it might be sticking floats on the carb pulled plug it was wet really wet whiped off and checked spark bike ran not more than 12 hours before that just fine.


Virginia Beach, VA

Your babbling email is almost incoherent. Mostly, it sounds like you’re jetted way too rich for one reason or another. From your lame description, I can’t give you an answer.



I am having a hard time finding the model of a bike my friend owns. He is wanting to sell it but i think his title is wrone. It says it is a 1979 WR 400 came out of California mid 80`s It has been stored ofr 19 Yeras in his garage i think it is all Orginal seat and fenders too they look a little different then what i have seen.we ran this bike 9 years ago ran great.

I have not found any markings on it but i will look again closer,Can any one tell me how much it is worth? And the model.


Portland, OR

If you would just take the time to look at the steering head, you would find a wealth of information there, including the model and year of manufacture.



I have a 1982 yamaha IT 250 which is hard to start (even with new plug) if you kick it a few imes, the plug gets soaking wet,(must be taken out dried cleaned). Also when it is running, it starts revving very high as if you cracked the throtle open. When this happens, even the kill switch doesn,t shut the bike off.

I usually shut the gas off /or turn idle screw till it dies, Can anyone tell me what this could be? Also which way do you turn the air fuel mixture screw to make it run leaner? when you do ride it take choke off completely, it usually dies unless you have your hand on the throttle.I have tried adjusting the idle screw. it makes it runable but doesn,t solve the problem of uncontrollable revving. can anyone help? anyone have these problems?


At the age of 46, I’ve decided to begin my racing career, so I recently bought a 1977 RM125 that I’ve been restoring to race on the post-vintage circuit. I have a few questions: 1) What would you recommend to replace the stock rear shocks that won’t cost the proverbial arm and leg and that will still be legal under AHRMA Historic class rules, 2) Should I pre-mix at 20:1 like the manual says, or go to 32:1?

I read that changing the mix ratio will make the bike run richer and I’d rather not mess with the jetting. 3) The original rear tire size is 4.10-18, but I’m having trouble converting that size to a modern size. What is the metric and modern inch equivalent?

4) Do you think this is a good bike to haul my skinny butt around the track in the novice class?

The way to go is Works Performance shocks. If you can’t afford those, the stock shocks are not all that bad if you rebuild them. Go with the 32:1 mix and drop one on the main and move your needle one clip leaner.

A 100 x 80 x 18 is the correct metric size. That 125 is a fun bike to ride.



I am redoing a 1972 susuki tc125. I have got the cylinder bored out, new piston and rings, new gaskets, sprockets, new clutch discs, and am repainting the tank. everything works grate but i do not have the

blinkers for it. I was wondering were is the best place to sell it and how much it is worth in your peoples eyes? not NADA. also if you have any tips for me they would be highly appreciated.



Rapid River, MI

The TC125 did not have blinkers on it like the TC90. Instead, they had some reflectors on the side and that was it. That particular bike is not a highly sought after collector and you would be lucky to get $700 – $800 for it if it was in perfect condition.

Here’s a photo of a stock ’72.

I have a 1979 yz80 and I was wondering if I have to run mixed gas through the thing? If anyone could please help me ,please commet back.



Traer, IA

Of course you do. It’s a racing two stroke.



Hi Rick

Having grown up with Dirt Bike magazine here in South Africa in the early 80’s it’s a helluva honour to write to you. Your Monkey Butt book is the best. OK, so apart from rambling on a bit, I need some very specific help please.

I am looking to help a buddy of mine here with his YZ490. Apparently there was a Dirt Bike article with Broc Glover in the day that described how to sort out this beast. Seems the article covered head, porting, ignition and jetting changes to smooth out the beast.

All I have found so far, is a diagram on a head mod where the edge of the squish band is radiused to eliminate pinging. I have not been able to find the actual article itself.

many thanks


South Africa

By the way; that’s my team mate Gareth in the pic with you.

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but even when all the trick work was done to the 490, it was still a terrible bike. I beg you, give up this madness.

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