Author Topic: Maico 490 vs. CR 500  (Read 15499 times)

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Offline opfermanmotors

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Modest beginings start with a single blow of a horn, man.

Offline opfermanmotors

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2010, 10:32:23 AM »
One quote from the article I would like to comment:

"The Maico is in no way as fast out of the turns as the Honda, but it circulates in an effcient, energy saving, traction finding way that pays dividends for the average rider.  Even at GP standard, the Japs could learn from the Maico.  If they could build a bike with the power delivery of the Maico but with more power throughout, they would have one hell of a bike."

Yes and they could call it the 1983 Maico 490.  I always am amused by articles only comparing the 1981 Maico 490 against the modern bikes totally missing the 1983 frieght train, which is essentially what they are describing there.
Modest beginings start with a single blow of a horn, man.

Offline SachsGS

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2010, 02:13:40 PM »
Having ridden both bikes, I have to say the Maico is much less tiring then the Honda to ride around an MX track. The 1991 CR500's suspension was so harsh your eyeballs rattled in your head and if you weighed less then 250 pounds good luck trying to start it. However, with different suspension,lighting coil, flywheel weight and a big gas tank the Honda CR500 would make a nice big bore offroad bike even now. The engine is essentially unbreakable and would likely outlast (and outpower) a whole slew of 450F's.

Offline opfermanmotors

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2010, 03:26:58 PM »
Quote
Honda CR500 would make a nice big bore offroad bike even now.

Not been my experience, maybe in the desert where you can go wide open, but technical, tight single track, the CR just spins.  I own one, I agree that the motor is bullete proof though, Hondas are quite reliable. 
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Offline Turquine

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2010, 10:14:29 PM »
That's just what I was thinking when I read that, Opferman. The 1983 model Maico 490s would be more than a match for the CR 500s power wise, as well as being far more tractable to boot. Around 1887, a couple of my friends had similar bikes. One had the air cooled 1984 Honda CR 500, and the other had a 1981 Maico 490. Both bikes were in primo condition. The Honda had desert gearing though, could do around 100 wide open. Out in the New Mexico desert, there are lots of places where this is needed. Through the gears, the bikes were generally pretty even with the Maico edging ahead in lower traction areas. Of course, the Honda, with its desert gearing would run away from it once the Maico hit its top speed since it still had the motocross gearing. The Honda actually  got much better traction after he up geared it.  I remember one huge sand hill the guy on the Honda never could make when it had the stock motocross gearing, the Maico made every time. When the guy put the desert gearing on the Honda, however, he made the hill easily. I never had a chance to see the .83 490 Maico in action but I read it had several more horsepower than the '81, so that would be the model I'd want to compare to a newer CR or KX 500, preferably the Sand Spider.

Thing about drag racing dirtbikes, motocross gearing is optimal for a motocross track, but that doesn't mean it is the best gearing for a long straight. Years before, my brother and cousin both bought '78 RM 400 Suzukis. My brother raised the gearing a bit taller on his for more top speed. Not a lot, but a little bit anyhow. I cannot remember the sizes of the sprockets he used. Anyhow, both he and my cousin were of about the same weight and skill. but surprisingly, the up-geared RM 400 beat the stock geared RM not only in top speed, but through the gears as well! This held true on pavement as well as in the dirt. The stocker only seemed to do better in very deep sand or muddy conditions. Obviously, the reverse would be true had he geared it much higher. Would be very interesting to experiment with the CR 500, KX 500 and .83 Maico 490 on pavement to find the optimum gearing for acceleration, then put wheelie bars on them and drag them to the top speed of the slowest of the three. Sound crazy? Well, either Dirtbike or MXA did exactly that to a 1985 CR 500 Honda and raced it with a mid sized Honda sportbike in the quarter mile. The dirtbike won easily but did poorly before they raised the gearing. I believe it was pulling high 11s. I'm sure a good running '83 Maico 490 or KX 500 would beat that without much trouble. Nobody's done that though, to my knowledge, and comparing them side by side under the same exact conditions. My guess is under those conditions, the new 500 Maicos would easily beat any of those older models. This kind of thinking probably seems weird to MXers or a woods rider like yourself, Opferman, but out in the desert on fire roads where 80 mph gets dull and boring, you get tired of being on a bike that's always getting left behind through the gears on the straights to eat dust. 

Offline JETZcorp

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2010, 10:38:39 PM »
Quote
Around 1887, a couple of my friends had similar bikes.

How old are you, again?


Is this Maico a 440 or only a 400?  Well in all the confusion, I forgot myself.
But considering this is a 1978 Magnum, the best-handling bike in the world, you have to ask yourself one question.
Do you feel lucky, punk?

Offline opfermanmotors

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2010, 11:16:22 PM »
I have a 1986 CR500, a 1998 KX500 (a friend's), a 1982 Maico 490 GS (same was 81, but has Enduro gearing), 1983 Maico 490  Sand Spider in my garage.  A friend of mine had a 2001 CR 500, we both agreed though that my 1986 CR500 was a much better motor, actually has more power and much better traction.  In order of relevance though and remember this is trail riding and single track.  I don't ride desert but if I did I would gear up, however gearing up a CR500 for tight single track would make the bike impossible to ride since you'd just be holding in the clutch the entire time!

1. CR500 - Not so good for single track/woods.  Bike hits hard down just above low.  The 86 is better than the newer CRs I rode though, had more traction down low but still.  All of these seemed heavy too.

2. KX500 - Better for woods, has more traction than the CR500 but still not even close to the Maico.  Hits more in mid range.  I had this bike wound out all the way with the stock gearing on some long straight country road when my friend was looking at buying it.  It's definately fast.  Bike is light and turns nice, easy to handle.

3. Maico 490 (82) - Lots of traction, power delivery is mellow but you can hit it down.  It never spins though always has traction.  The handling on this bike is good, it doesn't fight you like the CR.

4. 1983 Maico 490 - Low RPM, this has tons of traction, however it does have a hit in the mid to top end.  I had it geared higher and you didn't really notice it though and always had traction, however since I've geared it down (I just put a 58 rear and 12 front on it for single track!  top speed is still 60 MPH tho, never can hit that fast in technical single track anyway), high rpm the bike will spin.  But it's not bad because the bottom end pulls so good.  The stock gearing for this bike is 16 / 48, which is 115 MPH top speed.  Bike handles good, but I have an 86 Maico 500 I'm rebuilding and that one handles awesome, best out of the bunch.

I can go one more, I have a 1984 KTM 495 MXC in my garage as well.  That thing is a tractor and doesnt' have wheel spin even in high RPM.  It's very controllable power, if you hit the throttle all the way it's the most responsive bike I've ever seen and it will take off.  This has the MXC gearing, which is for trails. First gear is like walking speed and it's smooth.  The handling on this bike is pretty bad though.

Like I said, I geared down the 83 maico and it's very torquey in high RPM, but as long as you realize this you can control it since low RPM has traction. 

Ya you have to gear for the terrian, where I ride mostly tight single track and technical stuff the only place you can go fast is on the roads and even there I have a hard time to wind out to 60 MPH with all the drop offs and turns.

There was a hill that went straight up, I went up on the 1983 Maico 490 and it was easy, no problem.  However, I then tried the KX and I flipped over the side of the hill.  The power delivery just isn't as smooth as the Maico and it doesn't have the balls the Maico had to pull the hill at low rpm and this was even before I geared the 83 to lower.


Modest beginings start with a single blow of a horn, man.

Offline opfermanmotors

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2010, 11:21:57 PM »
That's not to say the KX won't make the hill, you just have to go fast for it to make it.  It takes more skill than the Maico does, there's things I've noticed that seem easy to do on the Maico but try it on another bike and the difficulty level increases, so I say sometimes the Maico is just like cheating a bit.

Modest beginings start with a single blow of a horn, man.

Offline 2T Institute

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2010, 04:34:31 AM »
A converted mxer up against a sport bike will always do good in a drag race as thay have far less weight to accelerate. I have seen quite a few converted mxers road racing, a top superbike rider Shaun Giles began road racing as a 16 yr old with a CR 500. There was also a fellow on a lowered KTM 495 that could scrape the frame rails.He got regular third places but lost out to good riders on  GP 250's if they turned up. Big singles just are not as efficient as smaller bore multi cylinder engines.

Offline Turquine

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2010, 02:17:40 PM »
How old am I? Well, let's see, I was about three when president Lincoln was shot, or was that Kennedy? :-) Will be 50 the 1st of next month, old enough to make plenty of typos, that should have been 1997.

I didn't mean to imply that single cylinder dirtbikes could or should always beat multi-cylinder street machines, especially street twostrokes. The newer 4stroke streetbikes such as the ZXR 600 will do in the tens for instance. However, they have been receiving tons of R&D whereas the open class 2stroke dirtbikes have received none for many years, unlike the 125s and 250s. 55-60 hp for a 500 2stroke MX bike is pretty low compared to what the 125s & 250 2strokes currently make, proportionally. Just meant to point out that often, a change of gearing will increase acceleration and can be an improvement in drag racing situations from stock motocross gearing.

By the way, Opferman, did you really mean to say that the stock-geared '83 Maico 490 would do 115? You must mean the Sand Spider, rather than the motocross version I'd think. The '81 490 my friend had would do around 80 more or less, as geared. Perhaps the guy he bought it from had lowered the gearing, but if so, he didn't ever mention it. The KX 500 stock only does 86 mph and the '84 CR 500 my friend had was about the same, stock.

Not all of the riding out here is sand. Much of it is loose rock, gravel and caliche. Hills like this sometimes have very loose sections with intermittent outcroppings of rock ledges so you go from spinning out, to sudden traction. Especially around the mountains, Mt, Franklin, the Organ Mts, East Potrillos, Mt Riley etc. (Some of those areas one can no longer ride anything other than a mountain bicycle now). In those situations, I know well the problems you described on the CR 500, having ridden my friend's ''84 model. At that time, I had a 1982 Yamaha IT 465 which had a powerband very similar to your Maico or KTM. The IT did great on those type of hills, the CR was downright scary on them. The IT could lug up nearly anything. The CR had the power, that wasn't the problem, it was that it was explosive and would spit you off in a heartbeat or loop out if you backed off the power then rolled the throttle back on. If you backed off very much, it would bog. Clutch it to get the revs back up and you're gonna loop it. The older Maicos would be very good at that type of climbing. The Maico my friend had in '97, I never got to see ride in such conditions. I could only watch by that time, an accidental gunshot wound left me paralyzed from the nipples down, partially disabling my right hand as well, back in 1991. So, by that time, I was brought along to wherever they would ride and I'd just watch and have a few brews. Those times the hills were mostly sand where we went. The CR 500 loves those type of hills and with good rear tires and proper gearing, eats them for breakfast. My IT did not like the pure sand hills nearly as much when I could still ride, neither did my brother's modified Yamaha TT 500. Both tended to dig in more whereas the bikes like the CR and KX 500s tended to skim along the top surface of the sand. My brother rode the 81 Maico a few times and said it reminded him of my old IT 465, power wise. Similar powerband but more of it. And of course, the handling was far better on the Maico. My IT handled like a tank.  So I'm not entirely unfamiliar with more technical climbs like you describe, Opferman. More what I called "enduro" hills. Nasty things where the Maico powerbands make them much easier to use than the explosive KX or CR type powerbands, and I think I can relate to what you are saying even though it is very different terrain. The Maico has one of the best all around powerbands of any 500 dirtbike ever made, no argument there. Now having said that, I think, were you to find a long, steep pure-sand hill that none of them could make, an '82 KTM 495 or KX 500, or 'probably even your '86 CR 500, will get farther up said hypothetical hill than the '83 Maico 490 or the '84 KTM 495. I may be wrong, however, but judging from some of the tougher sand hills in our area that I've seen some of these bike make, that would be my guess. By the way, a couple of the hills I'm talking about, my brother's TT 500 Yamaha couldn't make, nor a mid '80s XR 600, both 4strokes. They'd bog in gears high enough to top the hills and would have to downshift and ended up digging a hole and sitting in it on the hill. My IT could, but not as easily as the CR 500.

Offline opfermanmotors

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2010, 03:18:14 PM »
Ya, the Sand Spider is geared to 115 MPH if you have a 16 / 48 setup. 

The 83 Maico does have an explosive hit if you nail it down and you're gone!  I never rode them in sand though, the dirt is closer and less maintaince wise.  Sand really gets in everywhere and I don't feel like trying to close down my bikes like fort knox.  They're sealed good enough for dirt but I'm afraid sand would prolly find someway in!  Plus all the extra cleaning and bearings you must go through! 

Modest beginings start with a single blow of a horn, man.

Offline JETZcorp

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2010, 03:58:23 PM »
Right, especially considering that if you're riding sand in Oregon, chances are you're a few minutes away from a lot of salt water as well, and I think we can all imagine what happens when some sand particles with a little film of salt water would do to one's bearings.


Is this Maico a 440 or only a 400?  Well in all the confusion, I forgot myself.
But considering this is a 1978 Magnum, the best-handling bike in the world, you have to ask yourself one question.
Do you feel lucky, punk?

Offline opfermanmotors

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #12 on: September 17, 2010, 05:23:27 PM »
Aside from the fact that in orgeon you got a good chance of being killed by some quad comming off the top of a dune.
Modest beginings start with a single blow of a horn, man.

Offline SachsGS

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #13 on: September 17, 2010, 06:47:59 PM »
One YZ250 I repaired (seized crank - Oregon sand dunes) had the crank main bearings seize, then the crank spin and weld itself to the bearings and then the whole assy. spin in the aluminum cases. Just getting the cases apart was a nightmare.

I'd run an old VW sandrail at the dunes myself.

Offline JETZcorp

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Re: Maico 490 vs. CR 500
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2010, 09:27:45 PM »
I think if I were going to hit the dunes I'd want to go all-out and get an MBT (Main Battle Tank.)  I'd probably have to go with the M1, because it was originally designed by Chrysler (I'm a Mopar guy if you haven't noticed) and it's powered by a jet turbine!  They did a comparison between the tank and another Chrysler product a few days ago.  The tank lost but I think it should've won.



Is this Maico a 440 or only a 400?  Well in all the confusion, I forgot myself.
But considering this is a 1978 Magnum, the best-handling bike in the world, you have to ask yourself one question.
Do you feel lucky, punk?