Maicowerk A.G. began in 1926, originally assembling 98 and 123 cc Ilo two stroke motors. After World War II the West German motorcycle manufacturer began producing its own unit construction two stroke engines, selling engines and complete motorcycles. Maico made a brief foray into the automobile business with their own line of microcars in the late 1950s. Maico have also made Go kart engines.
The road motorcycles were named after winds... 'Blizzard' 'Typhoon' etc, but the company was better known for its purpose-built Motocross and Enduro machines, and for its 'Maicoletta' motor scooter, both of which sold in higher numbers than the road motorcycles.
Picture courtesy of : rageracing.com
Maico motocross (MC) and enduro (GS) racing models proved very successful in both European and American competition throughout the 1970s. While lacking the financial capital and big money race-team backing like that of the Japanese factories of Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki, Maico riders such as Adolf Weil, Åke Jonsson and Willy Bauer proved to be a serious challenge to the Japanese factories and produced numerous top three finishes in both World and US Championship motocross competitions.
Picture courtesy of : virginiabritishmotorcycleclub
U.S. publication Motocross Action called the 1981 Maico Mega 490 the greatest open-class motocross bike of all time. The 1974.5 400cc and 440cc GP, and 1981 490cc models along with any year 501cc motocross bike are some of the most sought-after vintage MX and twin-shock motorcycles to this day.
Picture courtesy of : kramer-sportsmotorcycles
Maicowerk AG filed for bankruptcy in 1983 but continued to produce small numbers of motocross and enduro models (re-badged as M-Stars in the United States due to legal issues) up through 1986. Subsequent manufacturers have purchased the brand name and applied it to their own limited production motorcycles. Modern open-class dirt-bikes are still being produced under the Maico brandname. The ATK Intimidator dirt-bike (reportedly the most powerful production 2 stroke motorcycle available aside from Maico's own bikes) features a Maico motor.
One of the largest contributions to the world of motocross suspension technology came in the 1974 season when the Wheelsmith Motorcycles team in the USA and the Gunther Schier teams in Europe forward-mounted the rear shocks on the Maico works bikes, immediately increasing the travel and ability to trump the competition. This initiated a frantic effort on the part of factory teams and privateers alike; chopping up their frames in a desperate attempt to remain competitive.
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