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If you were around in the 60's or 70's, chances are that you have driven a Maico motorcycle. Founded in the 1920's, the Maico brand was a big hit in middle of the 20th century, churning out bikes that were practical, high performance, or simply quirky in appearance.
Maico continued manufacturing motorcycles up until 1986, although its motorcycles still enjoy a robust restoration and rebuilding network as a testament on the quality and reliability these bikes provide.
This wouldn't be an article about Maico if we didn't mention its racing motorcycles. For more than half a decade, Maico is and remains highly praised for its line of motorcross (MC) and enduro (GS) motorcycles. The brand reached its peak in the 1970s as Maico motorcycles proved to be serious contenders against teams backed by bigger, richer Japanese motorcycle manufacturers dominating the scene. But what made Maico really formidable in motorcross/enduro racing was its decision to forward-mount rear shocks in 1974. This gave Maico motorcycles a major advantage in travel and suspension characteristics, sending both factory and privately-managed teams on a scramble to make their bikes stay competitive.
Despite being a smaller brand, Maico was a constant presence in the Motorcross World Championships and Grand Prix races from the early 1970s up to the end of the decade, with its bikes used by motocross icons such as Willy Bauer, Adolf Weil, and Åe Jonsson. Even today, one can still find restored Maico motorcycles still tearing up the dirt track, with a sizable fanbase of Maico motorbike enthusiasts fueling the demand for Maico motorcycle parts.
Aside from high-performance motocross/enduro bikes, Maico was also well known for the Maicoletta motor scooter. Introduced in the 1950s, the Maicoletta was Maico's answer to the scooters from Vespa and Lambretta that were highly popular at the time. But unlike its Italian counterparts, the Maicoletta tried to do better. At 2 meters in length and nearly a meter high, the Maicoletta was one of the biggest motor scooters ever produced. It also utilized the two-stroke engine, transmission, front forks, and other Maico motorcycle parts found in the brand's standard motorcycle designs.
With its size and heavy-duty components, the Maicoletta earned the reputation as a high-quality, heavy, and powerful scooter capable of being ridden in comfort. In fact, the Maicoletta became popular that foreign dealerships used their inventory of spare parts to build new Maicolettas to special order until the late 1960's.
Maico was not one to shy away from experimentation, as shown with its Maico Mobile touring motorcycle. Marketed as a car on two wheels., the Maico Mobile featured a tubular steel space frame completely enclosed by large body panels, giving the car an almost automobile-like appearance. But these oversized panels are not just for show; aside from protecting the driver from wind and the elements, the panels also provide ample storage space, going so far as to having a compartment for a spare wheel at the back. In addition, the Maico Mobil also featured the brand's signature telescopic front forks as well as a rear swingarm for added maneuverability.