Racing Days on a Maico 250
When I think back to my racing days I have fond memories of some of the dirt bikes I rode. I once joked that I rode a tank on two wheels and received some funny looks. I never had any doubts when riding my 250 Maico when it came to climbing hills or trudging down a thick sand wash. The motorcycle chugged through as long as I could hold on. Since I love hill climbing this was an awesome bike to do this on and the bike never left me stranded on the side of a hill. It was a little on the heavy side and thank goodness I didn't have to pick it up much. Other riders, especially female racers wondered how I started the thing, and I was puzzled since I had no problem starting it. The only time I would use colorful language was when the damn thing wouldn't start because it was flooded which probably was a result of me crashing. To further frustrate me was watching as riders raced by and my friend Caroline passes me as I struggle to get going. I raced my Maico for a couple of years and did very good on it. I may have gotten first that year in overall standings but that was ages ago and some years flow smoothly into the next. I look back fondly and remember I always made it to the finish line when I rode my Maico.
History and Future of Maico Motorcycles.
Maico motorcycle production began in 1926 in Germany by the Maisch brothers. It did okay but after the war business boomed after the introduction of a 123cc one cylinder two stroke in 1948. The next year they followed with a 150cc which was a bored-up 125 and by 1951 these models came out with new rear suspension. Maico also during the fifties came out with a Scooter that was available in two models. By the early 1960’s they had introduced an all terrain 247cc motorcycle the M 250 B. Maicos dominated the racing world in the 60's and 70's but by the early 80's things began to slide.
The company struggled on after 84 in the hands of one of the Maisch brothers until about 1988 when the company was sold to another German engineering firm. The company was sold again in about 1994 to a Dutch manufacturer of bicycle shock absorbers Reflex, and again a re-launch was undertaken with very little success. The company changed hands again but by 1999 the company was pretty much non-existent. With other dirt bikes making great progress in motorcycle engineering Maico fell into obscurity. Many hoped for a resurrection and some may have had the prayers answered with a bike that came out in 2009. The Maico legacy is now in the hands of a German company and orders for the new dirt bikes are rolling in. With further research I have not found any distributors here in the US but this bike seems to be a hit in the UK. The new dirt bikes come in MX and Enduro models ranging from 250, 320, 500, and 700 cc, which would be a handful. The Enduro model does not include the 700 cc bike. If this new bike lives up to the reputation of its predecessor it is a shame that it will be a hard find in the US and Canada.
Interesting Note: Maico sold more “Open Class” dirt bikes than Honda does today in total motocross bike sales.
If you are into vintage dirt bikes there are some good finds out there when it comes to Maico's. Do your research but think it you get one that was built before 1983 you will have a good bike. If I remember there were problems with the 84's having issues. One of the issues was the rear shock but that is an easy change if you wish to do so.
Have fun and keep the rubber side down.
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