Donít Ask: Your Off-Road Dirt Bike Questions Answered

Nov. 07, 2011 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 e-mail 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 Ö Iíll leave your e-mail unedited, for what itís worth.
Have a dirt bike questions for Rick "Super Hunky" Sieman? Send an e-mail with your name, vehicle year, model and a detailed description of the problem to Don't Ask at Donít forget to be as complete as possible with the description of your bike and its problems.

Previous Donít Ask Columns:
October 2011

September 2011

August 2011
Just who do you think you are anyway, huh? I mean people write you e-mails all the time and ask questions and you give them some smartass answers. So do you think if you keep that up. People keep writing letters to you.  I don't think so.  You are nothing but a smartass yourself so I'm going to refer to you as Mr. Smart ass. So how do you like that?
Marty D.
Simi Valley CA
Amazingly enough, literally hundreds of people write me some truly dumb e-mails and I only run a handful in each column. Well, it makes for fun reading, but I would still prefer for the bulk of my writing to inform people. Therefore, I wear the label of Mr. Smart Ass rather proudly. And in the meantime, sir, you can bite my shorts. Thank you and have a very nice day.

I'm trying to find replacement plastic for my daughter's 2008 Yamaha 230 TTR. Nobody other than Yamaha makes the parts and I'd prefer not to spend a fortune. Any idea of what other Yamaha model and year I can use as replacement, that the after-market may cover?

Las Vegas, NV 

Yes, the Yamaha dealers are quite expensive on their parts, especially the plastic. I found a reasonable selection of plastic on eBay when I did the project Yamaha TTR 230, but I also was disappointed in the condition of many of these plastic parts. I don't know if this helps you very much at all, but I have one rear fender in good shape from a 2005 TTR 230 in my garage.

I am looking for a used 2 stroke motocross bike to be used on the trail and for ocasional racing. I am coming off am XR250 and want something snappier. I have narrowed it down to a 2003 slightly modified YZ125 and a 2001 stock CR125. I here the CR has a better frame and suspension, but the YZ has a better motor. Which of these two bikes is better in your opinion?

I wouldn't buy either one of those motorcycles when you have a far better option. The Kawasaki KDX 200 is truly a phenomenal motorcycle. I've owned a few over the years and currently have a 220 and a 200 in my garage. I geared both bikes up two teeth larger on the countershaft sprocket and have had good luck in Grand Prixs with this combination. The bike is a true joy for trail riding and for racing; it doesn't give much away. Ride one once and you'll be hooked. Trust me on this one.

Hey Rick, 
I have a 2000 KX250. The bike runs perfect, and the carb performs wonderfully at different altitudes and conditions. However, when I stop and lean it on a tree, or anything, it has to be standing almost perfectly straight up and down, or the float sticks open, and fuel keeps pouring out of the overflow. I have taken it apart, cleaned every part of the floats, the pin that holds them on, the rubber tip on the float needle valve, which also appears to be in good condition, .. everything I can think of.

Do I need to adjust my float level up a little bit so it, or do i have a bad part in there. Please, what else could it be? Doesn't stop me from riding, but I hate to leak gas all over the beautiful riding areas here in Oregon.
It sounds like your float-level is actually too high, rather than too low. Refer to your owner's manual for the correct height and if you don't have it handy, just make sure the float is level when the float needle shuts off the fuel flow. That should do the trick.
Hi rick.
I just found your site. What a great source of info about Honda motorcycles.

I wanted to get your opinion on the best mods and upgrades for my xr500.
I've had it since 1995 and love it to bits. I'm thinking of tricking it up and just looking into what's worth looking at. I'll send you a picture next.
Ade Khan

A few things come to mind as I once had an XR 500 for a few years. I replaced the standard heavy muffler with a later aftermarket piece. I wouldn't be too critical of the brand, as most any of the offers are more efficient than the stock unit. The stock shock is okay, but you're going to have to play with the compression and rebound adjustments to get it to suit your body weight. Up front, I put a set of CR500 forks on my bike with no problems whatsoever. I paid $125 for the set including triple clamps from eBay and it was the single best modification that I could make. Other than that, just ride the bike and enjoy it. Oh yes, one last thing, keep that air filter nice and clean and change the oil after every other ride. The bike will treat you with tremendous reliability if you do this.


hey i have a suzuki ts 185, what oil do i put in the engine, the person i bought it from didn't have a manual. 

I hope you're talking about the transmission, not the engine. You see, the TS 185 has an oil injection unit that means you don't have to mix oil in your gas. As far as all your transmission, I have used Valvoline 4-stroke racing oil in the transmission of many motorcycles with good luck.


Hi Rick,
Long time fan of Dirt Bike and MXA mags from the 70's.
Here is one you missed in the list of odd ball motorcycles. You should remember the Cooper 250 from Mexico.

Only saw one twice, both times at Indian dunes on the Shadow Glen track and both times the rider DNF due to the front forks literally coming off of the bike.  Not sure if the bolt broke or the circlip broke,  but it wasn't very pretty.

Me, I was riding a red frame CZ 400 at the time.  Sure miss that ole beast.
Mesa, Arizona

I raced a Cooper 250 in the Barstow to Vegas event and rode the first prototype Cooper, so I am really familiar with them. The Cooper was made in Mexico by Moto Islo under the guidance of Frank Cooper, the West Coast distributor for Maico motorcycles. In fact, the Cooper had the same frame geometry as the Maico and had a copy of the Yamaha 250 top end bolted to an Islo bottom end. It handled great and responded to just about any Yamaha modification around. 

Here are the specs on the bike for your information: COOPER 250 MX PURPOSE: Racing PRICE $998 DISPLACEMENT: 246cc ENGINE TYPE: Two-stroke single LUBRICATION: Pre-mix IGNITION: Flywheel magneto TRANSMISSION: 5-speed, right side shift CLAIMED HORSEPOWER: 30 @ 7000 rpm CLAIMED WEIGHT: 225 pounds WHEELBASE: 55 1/2 inches GROUND CLEARANCE: 10 inches FRAME: Double downtube, full cradle FRONT SUSPENSION: Telescopic forks, Betor REAR SUSPENSION: Swingarm w/Boge shocks FRONT TIRE: 3.00x21 motocross pattern REAR TIRE: 4.00x18 motocross pattern WHEELS: Steel FUEL CAPACITY: 2 gallons INSTRUMENTATION: None COUNTRY OF MANUFACTURE: Mexico

Theres a piece on the magneto of my dirtbike that has fallen off. Where do i put it back onto???

Since you never took the time to tell me the year, make or model of your bike, I would suggest that you simply tape it to your handlebars so you can look at it as you sit on the bike and it doesn't run. 

Hey Rick,
I have acquired a set of works shocks from a friend of mine and they appear to be a few years old, so I thought I might consider a freshing up, and try them out.They seem to be in reasonable shape.worth a try anyway,How much do think it would cost,as opposed to buying a new set. I can't afford to buy new ones from you ,wished I could but the econemy says no !!! but maybe a rebuild kit, and some of your shock oil,would do !!! Thank you for any help you could give me.Just to let you know,I ride a Harley Davidson fxdwg case there is some difference in load bearing.
Thanks again,
Mark Jennison

This may come as a total shock to you, but the name of this website is, not  This means we deal with vehicles of all sorts that travel in the dirt, not vehicles that are used to go about the local 7-11 to buy another bottle of cheap wine - although if you own a Harley, a bottle of cheap wine may be a good thing to help you with the fact that youíre riding an 800-pound pig instead of a real bike. I don't mean to sound cold, but I think the Harleys are overpriced and under engineered pieces of crap. Sorry I sugarcoated it.

why does oil come out of the pipe and my 1999 xr 80 smokes alot
david ellison

Without having your XR 80 directly in front of me, I can only guess that it's probably worn completely out. A very typical bike of that sort is ridden constantly and almost no maintenance whatsoever is given to it. This means that the rings get badly worn and oil gets pumped right past the rings and blows up to the exhaust valves, hence smoking and oil emissions are the norm.

I have an 1984 honda xr80 and gas is pouring out of my bulk hose as soon as I turn the gas on and i was wondering why it was doing that or if the bulk hose is suppost to be hooked to something
Allen Reagan

Once again, the mysterious bulk hose rears its ugly head. Do you have the original bulk hose installed, or are you running a later Mark one or Mark two model? Many riders have even experienced increased performance from a Mark four or Mark five compared to the stock unit. I can't possibly give you an answer until I know what version of the bulk hose youíre using.
i have a Yamaha with serial number JT1-040662 I dont see it on your list, can you help???
David koehler

From what I can tell, you have a 1971 JT Mini Enduro.  The serial numbers start with 000101 and went all the way to 041708, which meant that they made a load of these little bikes.
My new book, THE LAST RIDE, is at now out. It's fiction and starts in 1969, when an 18-year-old kid just out of high school gets a chance to ride his Yamaha 250 DT1 from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles Ö all off-road. His adventures are truly amazing. The book then jumps 40+ years where the same person, now in his 60s, wants to get that old Yamaha back in his possession and return it home by riding it all off-road across the country again.  The book is $15 plus $2.75 for mail anywhere in the US (or $5 for Priority Rush mail) and for more information, the email is: Newsletter
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