2006-05-30 at 9:50 am #11481
December 16, 1999
Further to your web page I can confirm that Maicos are being made in small numbers in Holland. The company struggled on after 84 in the hands of one of the Maisch brothers until about 88 when the company was sold to another German engineering firm, complete with about $500,000 worth of pre-82 spares, where the company still had some considerable business.
The company was sold again in about 94 to a Dutch manufacturer of bicycle shock absorbers Reflex, and again a half hearted re-launch was undertaken.
The company changed hands again in 97/98 and this company is struggling on. Sales in the UK in 1981 were 1500 machines – every body had one. Sales in the UK last year (99) – 12. A sad end to a fine marque. The company cannot survive in this competitive market place and another crisis is predicted in Y2K.
I for my part have owned Maico s since 1978, having had a 250 78, a 400 78 a 440 79, a 250 81, a 490 84 a 250 86 (Blue!) and a 250 87 (last before the big crash) I now own an 81 490 with the reed valve (82) block, and a hybrid ’84 500 in a twin shock frame.
I am looking to add a 500 SC 99 to my collection for road use.
Parts for the pre -82 (chain driven clutch) are still in production and Bill Brown m/cs (Wulfsport) has the worldwide rights to the tools and parts. Something’s are not made anymore such as frames, and these are re-conditioned. Other things such as crankcases are readily available – old stock from the earlier collapse. Some parts such as kick start quadrants and levers are being made new, and others are replacements such as Falcon shocks and Bengt electrics as Corte Cosso and Motoplat ignitions have long gone.
The current bikes are gear driven clutch and are the basic bottom end to the early 83 models (Sand Spider). They are water-cooled and power valved but the castings still have that rough functional look, rather than the slickness of the modern Jap or even European crossers. Attention to detail – once the hallmark of German engineering has been superseded by a hand to mouth and make do and mend policy – throttle cables too short, gear levers fouling clutch cases, power valves jamming piston rings are all symptomatic of a company that does not sell enough to make investment, and without investment can only expect to sell less.
The company has a small but loyal following but comparing the current bikes to the European offerings from KTM, Gas Gas, TM etc is a sad indightment of the management of Maico in the last 15 years.
Martin Wadsworth. — mwadsworth at btconnect.com
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