One may be forgiven for not realizing that Maico motorcycles–a brand that was legendary on motocross tracks in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, thanks largely to the performances of Americans Danny Chandler and Steve Stackable, and Germans Ake Jonsson and Willy Bauer–are currently available for sale.
Since the company’s bankruptcy in 1983, the Maico name had faded from the motocross scene. However, Maico is back. The iconic brand is now designed and built in Bournemouth, Dorset, UK, by a dedicated group of enthusiasts. Maico International has spent the last year developing and testing a wide selection of new products. The 2010 Maico MMXs–available with 250, 320, 500, 620 and 700cc displacement motors–feature an all-new hand made 7020 aircraft aluminum shotgun style swing-arm. The high-grade alloy is stronger and lighter than standard aluminum, and behaves in a different way when it comes to flex. The swingarm has been reduced in length by 4.5 mm and 4 mm in depth to provide a claimed substantial improvement in tracking, handling and maneuverability. Maicos have a reputation for tall seat heights, so the 2010s come with a new handmade 7020 aircraft aluminum sub-frame. Saving almost half the claimed weight of the previous chromoly piece, the geometry has been slightly altered to allow the seat height to be reduced in conjunction with the all-new alloy tank. Handcrafted by leading tank designer Simon Parker, famed for his work with Harley-Davidson, the shiny work of art has had the height reduced by one and half inches yet the design has lifted the look and style of the tank saving more weight over the previous plastic version and increasing the airflow around the radiators. The tank now holds 2.4 gallons, less than a quart reduction compared to earlier designs. Taking this approach has reduced the center of gravity and helped to centralize the weight, according to Maico. The decision to go with alloy has a long-term effect, Maico tells us that sources close to the company within the petroleum industry have indicated that fuel is changing and, as things progress, it is expected the time will come when the current plastic tanks will not be able to hold fuel without an unacceptable level of seepage.Mechanicals have not been over looked, with some significant advancement in this area. A new chrome lining is fitted to all the barrels before they are ported and fitted with different base gaskets. The traditional Bing carb has been replaced by a Keihin air/fuel mixer. Ignitions specialists West Country Windings are supplying a modified PVL ignition system for improved starting, and a new CDI/coil unit assists in a freer revving engine.Taking advantage of the increased airflow created by the new tank design, HCR high-performance radiators will be fitted as standard equipment to the 2010 bikes. The engine casings will now be hand-polished to give a cleaner, graphite-style finish with new stronger T6 alloy head-stays.To compliment the new swing-arm and sub-frame, the chassis is now powdercoated red. It is graced with Reikon titanium footpegs that are complemented by a new lighter alloy gear lever. WP forks and a Reiger shock remain in place, along with the HGS pipe. The rear brake master cylinder is now an all-in-one Brembo unit. Talon sprockets and wheels, Braking discs, with billet alloy hubs and Excel rims are used in conjunction with Dunlop tires. A vibrant new look come courtesy of Acerbis, which sees the bike decked out in an exotic new color scheme and sporting a new front fender, number plate, tank shrouds, and wraparound fork guards. Saxon Seats is responsible for the all-new handmade seat cover with the Maico brand name sewn into the panel on the rear of the seat.Maico International’s commitment to a long term development plan is taken further by the substantial options list available for the bikes, which includes seven different wheel and hub color co-ordinations, three different frame colors, several different seat cover color combinations, a high polish or satin finish for the swingarm and subframe and much more.Maico Executives Speaks…"We have tried, wherever possible to make as many of the changes accessible to customers who have previously bought bikes and may want to upgrade their bike with one part at a time. Bikes are not cheap now and we feel a majority of manufacturers design new parts for the sake of it every year, and every part, every year, naturally comes with a price increase." "We feel we have raised the bar in terms of the quality of the product and will continue to strive to achieve this in the future. We are working on a scheme which will enable customers to buy a bike and at the end of the first year of owner-ship they can bring it back to us and implement any changes that we have made for the following years bike." "We are planning on fitting these changes (including a full service) with no labor charge, the customer purely pays for the parts they wish to upgrade, thus enabling them to keep their bike up to date in all areas and provide another year’s use."