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Any Maico riders out there

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Well I'm not old enough to have rode in the 70's but I have ridden since the early 80's. I have ridden 70's bikes and still have one post vintage evo class. A 1983 Maico Spider 490. I have ridden a lot of vintage bikes but my Maico is still my favorite "old" bike. Bikes I've owned : "73" XR 75, "73" MX 175, "76" YZ 400, "79" RM 400, "83" Maico 490 Spider, "88" CR 250, and now I am the proud owner of an "05" WR450. With all that said I have seen Motor-cross come a long way ( maybe not as far as some ) and I have to say I like the newer bikes better. Once in a while I'll take my faithful Maico out and reminisce. Like Tim McGraw's song says "I miss back when".

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My boss has an 81 Maico 490. He posts here too, but I dont think he looks at the vintage forum much. His user name is Rando400.

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I owned and raced a 1971 250 Maico with the old fiberglass "coffin" tank. Bike tended to break often, but rode like a four stroke with great bottom and a smooth power band. The Honda Elsinore showed up and it was the end of the euro bikes in So Cal. The Maico was my favorite of a Husky 400 and a Bulltaco 250. I wish I had kept it as a collector bike. I now ride a KTM EXC 351 (250 modded to 351)for trail.

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I have a 81 490 and a 74 440. The 1981 Maico 490 is as awesome as everyone says it is. Lots of smooth power and torque combined with above average suspension and the legendary Maico turning. The only downside to this bike is the drum brakes.

I just picked up the 74 and have been getting it ready for the Chehalis VMX race this summer. Turns on a dime, poor brakes (compared to HYD.) what suspension is there is pretty good and a power band that is going to take some getting used to!

It's fun to take them and the modern bikes out and ride them all back to back, you really get a feel for how good modern bikes are but wish they had some of the older bikes traits.

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I had a 76 1/2 AW Maico 250 And that bike was great . It steered better than anything I had road until then and the forks were so smooth. Mine never broke down on me. At the time I was working at a shop that sold Hondas ,Husky's, and Maico's . Then the Red Rocket came out and I had to have one the 79 Cr250r. But ,thats another story .

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I own a 74.5 440 , IMHO the best vintage open bike. The Maico breako is fixed with some preventative maintenance and some modern components. A PVL is a must, with the points system they will go out of time in 2 motos. I also recomend a mikuni and a later clutch from a 78 or 79 helps also. Great bikes and the first bike competitive out of the box at a Pro level.

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I have a 1978 Maico 450 Magnum........Bought it a few years ago and it still sits. Maybe one day i'll get around to get it running. :bonk: What a beast!

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I owned and raced a 1971 250 Maico with the old fiberglass "coffin" tank. Bike tended to break often,

maico breako made of tin ride it out and tow it in...:bonk:

I've raced and practiced hard on both my 74.5 and my 81 for the last 2.5 years. I'm talking about racing at least once a month and most times practicing once a month as well and don't have a single DNF on either Maico. Most of the past problems with Maico reliability have been engineered out over the last 30 years. Don't get me wrong, they're not a bike you can neglect and get away with it, staying up with routine maintenance items is a must.

If you don't believe me go to www.siegecraftnw.com and look at the H&T points and championships for Maico 22t over the last 2-3 years.

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I raced a Maico 400 radial, a '71, I think. I never had an MX bike that inspired so much confidence in the handling. Remember NO ONE had super long travel suspension then. You could go into a turn, change lines, head for the apex and KEEP a tight line if traffic dictated it. It was a blast. As for the breako thing, I only had it for one year but had no breakage. The only "problem" I had was clutch adjustment. It was hard to get it to not DRAG but also to not SLIP. I know thers an adjustment trick to this thats available on the net. It just showed up about 35 years late to benefit me.

One thing I did, per recommendation from the dealer was to remove all the engine mount bolts, drill the mounts out to the next size US bolt (which wasn't much, just a few thou.) and use grade 8 US bolts, self locking nuts and loc-tite everything. It worked. I never had anything come loose. It DID vibrate.

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i have a 74 440 that is currently inthe tear down stages getting ready for a winter restoration. mot a factory restoration but she will be very clean and sweet when im done. these bikes handle like you cant imagine. awesome m/x and flat track bikes. i did add works performance shocks and it also has an aluminum swingarm ( not sure who made it ) i also modified a spare set of 74 style triple trees to accept a set of 78 forks. they will be used for my local vintage racing and ill keep the external spring set incase i do any arma national events. i have owned several maicos from air cooled 500 to a liquid cooled 320 and i love them all. the next maico im trying to talk a guy out of is an 86 AIR cooled 500. thats right air cooled factory 500 in 86. not many of those around since they were going to all water cooled bikes at that point. i hope i can talk him out of it :bonk: scott

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C'mon now...lets be REAL here.:bonk:

The only bikes uglier and less reliable than ANY Maico is a Bultaco or a Hodaka.:bonk: :bonk: :bonk: :bonk:

I loved the quote: maico breako made of tin ride it out and tow it in.

A truer statement cannot be found in this forum, EVER.:bonk:

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C'mon now...lets be REAL here.:bonk:

The only bikes uglier and less reliable than ANY Maico is a Bultaco or a Hodaka.:bonk: :bonk: :bonk: :bonk:

I loved the quote: maico breako made of tin ride it out and tow it in.

A truer statement cannot be found in this forum, EVER.:bonk:

bultaco ... maybe. i know around here back in the early 70's the hodaka was the cream of the crop whenit came to flat track and scrambles. they owned the 100 class man ... those were the days ( kind of ) lol

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The only bikes uglier and less reliable than ANY Maico is a Bultaco or a Hodaka.

I loved the looks of the duckbill fender Pursangs.

Now as far as reliability goes...........

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Oh yes those great Maicos,had the 83 also and what a fun bike great power band and the turning was next to none,just great,infact it was told that the CR Hondas in 84 started copying the Maico Radius and that was the reason they had Johnny O,and David Baily going so good.:bonk:

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Someone who's never ridden one wouldn't understand the "different" handling. There is a good web site somewhere on the web about the vintage Maicos. One point I remember is that the engine actually turns backwards as compared to other bikes. Is't a physics thing. When you accelerate, it pushes the front wheel down in reaction to the engine mass rotating and accelerating. All I know is it WORKED, as others have mentioned. I think the reliability thing also really started being a problem when the factory and the Maisch family were disputing. There was some "industrial sabatoge" and suddenly, transmissions and hubs were failing. That never happened before. As for Bultacos like the Pursang, they were tuned like a pro flat track bike. So the average guy rev's it to 10 grand to FIND the power and after a month or 2 of that...boom.

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Here is my 1981 490 I purchased from the origianl owner for $1000. Yes, those are the original Metzlers and original tank decals.

001-1.jpg

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Someone who's never ridden one wouldn't understand the "different" handling. There is a good web site somewhere on the web about the vintage Maicos. One point I remember is that the engine actually turns backwards as compared to other bikes. Is't a physics thing. When you accelerate, it pushes the front wheel down in reaction to the engine mass rotating and accelerating. All I know is it WORKED, as others have mentioned. I think the reliability thing also really started being a problem when the factory and the Maisch family were disputing. There was some "industrial sabatoge" and suddenly, transmissions and hubs were failing. That never happened before. As for Bultacos like the Pursang, they were tuned like a pro flat track bike. So the average guy rev's it to 10 grand to FIND the power and after a month or 2 of that...boom.

Maico engines turn the same direction as most other engines, towards the exhaust. What makes them different is that due to the chain primary drive the clutch (and it's mass) turns the same direction as the crankshaft...which is also towards the exhaust. It can be argued that the major rotational mass of the engine turning the same direction helps keep the front end planted. On most other bikes that use a gear primary drive the clutch and crankshaft turn in opposite directions. Having owned and raced a couple Maico's really hard for the last 3 years I think their superior handling is due to frame and suspension geometry more so than the direction the engine rotates.

Things for Maico started heading south with the 1982 models. The first year of the single shock Maico featured a design flaw in the shock length and leverage ratio's which caused shocks to break. Maico recalled the shocks and replaced them with a correctly designed Ohlins (unit which some Maico engineers tried to correct before the bikes shipped when they realized it was a problem.) The hubs were changed in 82, most likely made lighter in an effort to offset some of the weight of the heavier single shock design...guess they saved a little too much weight?

Transmission problems started on the 83's when Maico tried to take the 4 speed Spyder and make it a 5 speed for the Sand Spyder (desert) model. They made the gears thinner to fit in the same space as the 4 speed transmission. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure out what happened there.

For those of you who have never rode an 81 490 please do so if given the chance, what a wonderful bike for mx. Great suspension, gobs of useable power, no bad habits, and as reliable as anything on the track at that time.

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Here is my 1981 490 I purchased from the origianl owner for $1000. Yes, those are the original Metzlers and original tank decals.

001-1.jpg

Very nice looking 490, do you race any of the VDR/H&T vintage events in the PNW?

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