3 years ago

DT May 2018

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  • Durability
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  • Maico
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KEEPING THE CLASSIC WHEELS TURNING 1982 MAICO 490 By now regular readers are familiar with PDB’s Mark Rowntree, the guy who restores classic dirtbikes. His latest project is this stunning German rarity, the Maico 490. By Super Hunky and the DT team. BACKGROUND YOU NEED TO KNOW: In their hey-day, Maico sold more Open Class bikes than Honda does today in total motocross bike sales. Maico was founded in the early ‘30s by Otto Maisch and his brother, Wilhelm. They were equal partners in the company until the end of World War II. Things got strange after the war, as Wilhelm had been a Nazi, while Otto and his family stayed out of politics and concentrated on business. Because Wilhelm had been a member of the National-Socialist Party, by law, he was only eligible to be a minority stockholder in the new company. This gave Otto 60 percent control and 40 percent went to Wilhelm’s family. In 1957, Wilhelm was paralyzed, and became little more than a figure head in the company, leaving the day-to-day operations to Otto. Wilhelm’s sons completed their education and were immediately given jobs in the Maico company. Hans became a motocross rider and helped with input on developing the machines. Peter was put in administration and, because of lacking any real skills, was also made a media/press relations person. Wilhelm Jr., who had some engineering skills, was put in charge of Technical Development and Production. Maico grew so rapidly that it was necessary to establish a distribution network in the United States. Maico Motorcycles Inc. was established on the East Coast and Cooper Motors handled the booming West Coast trade. During the early 70’s (yup that’s even before our time), you either rode a Maico, or chased one. The 1970 400 square won because of impeccable handling and brilliant power, despite marginal brakes… 42 DIRT & TRAIL MAGAZINE MAY 2018