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New Maicos get the ‘Thumb’s Up’ from DIRT WURX’s Rich Winkler

by JohnNicholas on 12/18/2009

“…a serious dirt bike built to fill a niche,” says Winkler. “A bike to be enjoyed by a rider who wants out of the four-stroke world.”

MONROE, N.Y. (Dec. 18, 2009) - While over in the UK this past week constructing the British Supercross Championship track at London’s NEC Arena, DIRT WURX’s Rich Winkler got a chance to check out the new line of Maico MX and off-road bikes. A former factory support rider for Maico himself, Winkler came away from the introduction to the new line quite impressed.

Rich Winkler

Winkler said that the easiest way to describe the new Maicos is just that – “They’re Maicos … with all the good news and some of the not-so-good news from back in the day.

If you were expecting something radically new, or a true re-birth of Maico as a factory, similar to Husqvarna, or TM, or Gas Gas, you are going to be disappointed. Production numbers are very low, they don’t have every advanced new techno bit available, and they are a little cobby. On the other hand, if you are looking for a true old school two-stroke dirt bike, with all the purity and simplicity that implies, and you like the fact that these bikes are basically going to be built one at a time in a tiny boutique factory, with a long list of options the buyer can specify at the time of ordering, this might be the personalized dirt weapon for you.”

MAICO UK brought out a 320 MX, a 500 MX, and a 700 MX for Winkler to take a look at. While the weather made it impossible for him to ride one himself, Winkler got to speak with Maico factory test pilot Neal Berry.

Berry, 25, had been a Yamaha rider for the past decade until getting the gig with Maico. His opinion on the bikes sat well with Winkler, especially given the fact Berry wasn’t born during Maico’s heyday and isn’t a nostalgia nut.

“He (Berry) was very positive, and claims he has good results riding the 320 against 450f’s in local pro meets in the UK,” said Winkler. “We discussed the engines, which are very simple, easy to work on and make broad power. We started the 320, and it was obvious that it was relatively slow revving, very ‘torquey,’ with lots of low end, very little mid range hit and a nice over rev. True old school open class two-stroke power. And the engines are interchangeable in the chassis, which is standard for all models.”

Maico 320 MX

Other points of light on the new Maicos Winkler came away with include:

Nuts and bolts and other such small parts appear to be very high quality.

Magura hydro clutches.

Brembo wave rotor brakes.

Good quality controls.

Renthal bars.

Fork clamps and bar mounts appear identical, or very similar to current KTM parts.

WP forks as found on late model KTM.

Linkage ratio identical to the new linkage equipped KTM.

Rieger rear shock. This shock has a good rep overseas and is the shock the UK and other Euro Husqvarna and some KTM teams are running to replace the standard WP or Sachs units.

UK-made internal rotor ignition and coil/CDI unit that replaces the PVL and provides more than double the spark energy, particularly at low speed.

Nice Maico made hubs, and Excell rims.

Choice of standard or low seat.

“Though I was not able to weigh the bikes, the 320 felt quite light, similar to a 250 two stroke or a 250F,” said Winkler. “The open bikes were big bikes, and felt like big bikes, though better than I remember a CR500 or KX500, and the riders claim they feel great on the track.”

Maico 500MX

In addition to the aforementioned parts and options, Winkler noted a number of options due for 2010:

Smaller aluminum gas tank, with add on for more fuel for the woods. New shrouds with a similar cut to the 2010 Honda CRF250, which will nicely showcase the tank.

Choice of red or white plastic.

Choice of red or black powder-coated frames.

Choice of black or red anodized rims.

Choice of polished or red anodized hubs.

Kehein carburetor.

New lighter, stronger, shorter, stiffer aluminum swingarm.

New light aluminum subframe.

Nice billet folding shift lever.

Wide titanium pegs.

U.S. version graphics.

Note: Some of these new bits will be on the bikes standard and some will be options.

Winkler closed with saying: “Again, this is a serious dirt bike built to fill a niche. I came away interested, and we are looking into the feasibility of bringing the bikes into the states”

If you’re interested in seeing the Maicos hit U.S. soil, take a moment and drop Rich a note:

Maico 700MX

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