Warehouse Find: 1973 Maico Enduro


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When we think of vintage two-wheelers, it’s easy to focus solely on motorcycles, which can offer an ideal mixture of speed and handling with gorgeous bodywork attached. But there are also vintage dirtbikes worth paying attention to, as these are effectively the equilvant of a vintage race car with a log book full of class victories and successful track days. This 1973 Maico Enduro here on eBay is a rarely seen example of a well-known brand that closed its doors for good in the 1980s.

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This Maico was recently discovered in a warehouse and is looking a bit worse for the wear. The company was based in West Germany and built their own engines. They even dabbled in microcar construction and built go-kart engines, but began to earn a reputation for its durable, competition-friendly motorcycles. Though not as well-known as the likes of Yahama and Honda, the company’s results in racing events helped it stay in the conversation.

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The seller doesn’t know much about the bike, and I’m afraid I can’t help much, either. I do know that there are some models sought after by collectors, including the 400cc 1974.5 GP bike. Although the seller says he doesn’t know the engine size, the listing claims it is 400cc, so this could be a desirable model. We’re going to have to rely on our readers to confirm the details for us, but we can be certain that the ’43’ painted on the side of the bike indicates this Maico spent some time on the dirt track.

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It’d be interesting to hear from our readers who collect motorcycles to shine some light on this unusual Maico. While likely not hugely valuable, it could be an important part of motorcycle racing history if this Maico is one of the more desired models. The seller bought this as part of an estate sale that had several cars he wanted, so his information is limited, as is his interest in finding out much more than what’s already listed. Is this a rare bike? Will someone take home a significant racer on the cheap? Let us know in the comments below.

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  1. Richard Carlson

    With no lights and no visible controls outside of the throttle, brakes and gear shift. It looks more like a motocross bike rather than an enduro.

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  2. ronebee

    thats a motocross bike, and if it is #43 it must be Richard Pettys bike

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  3. boxdin

    Back then a buddy had a Maico 501 single dirt bike. That thing was so brutally fast none of us could keep up w him. I had a worn out Yamaha 100 enduro and one day another guy let me ride his new Puch 125. It rode like a Cadillac in the dirt and was the nicest bike I had been on at that point. It was tough to go back to my old Yamaha..hahahhaha

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  4. mark

    Maico made some very good dirt/motocross bikes in the 70’s and very early 80’s. Their best one was a 490 cc (some referred to these as “open class bikes”) off road bike that was very successful as an off road desert race bike. It was called the Maico Spider. There are people that collect these however it is a limited number as compared to car collectors however to the right person this bike may be worth something.

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    • Backlamay

      I had the chance to ride one of those beasts- frame was so thin and light the downtubes would crack some times… but faaasst! 4th gear at 80 mph (on the road) doing a wheelie and holding on for dear life and still a gear to go..!!! my buddy had to eventually reinforce his down tubes cause they cracked… in the 80’s nothing could touch these super light framed bikes… They were the kawasaki 750 triple two stroke of the dirt !!!

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  5. Fulm

    Can’t get enough if the vintage dirtbikes, give me a Husquvarna WR430 anyday

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  6. Retired Stig

    That is a pre 1974 Maico motocrosser. The engine size would be stamped on it somewhere, so the seller should be able to tell if it’s a 400. That all the original fiberglass is on it is very rare. Once restored this would be rather valuable.

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  7. Blindmarc

    I’m no expert on these, but my limited experience with them tells me that this a 400. Look at the vin plate, although it upside down the second from bottom on the left should be the cc size.

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  8. Matt Tritt

    Early 60’s Maicos were the bikes that changed the enduro scene forever, particularly the 250. As the other guys pointed out, this is a motocross bike, and one you have to hang on to for dear life off the line. I’m looking for a 62 – 65 Maico street or enduro, by the way. I also remember these babies being the main reason that Greeves, Bultaco, BSA, Triumph and many other great bikes threw in the towell. Fast, and the longest fork travel in the industry at the time.

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  9. HoA Howard AMember

    Boy, IDK, it sure looks like a 501. I did a fair amount of dirt biking, had a TS 400, friend had a TT500 Triumph, then he went the Elsinore route, and I had a Bultaco. Very few Maico’s. Fact is, I only saw them in magazines, and the 501, I thought, had that square barrel. One of the 1st bikes with leading axle forks, but the back was still pretty crude. Cool bike, bet it will straighten your arms out. 1973 501 http://www.vintageworksbikes.com/sitebuilder/images/Image009-908×595.jpg

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  10. Robert W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Somewhat familiar with this as I still own a 501, I was a big fan of Ake Jonsson.

    In the 70’s, both Enduros and Mx’ers ran low expansion chambers. If I remember correctly the difference between the two models was front fork rake angle, subtle suspension differences including the swing arm and the use of different transmission ratios, wide versus close and a slightly smaller mm carb.

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    • Ken Wilcox

      I have an mx501 Maico as well – Mine is a 3 spd and out accelerates my 2001 cr 500 -you normally get it in 3rd and race – low end tourqe on these is unbelievable -mine is orange in color and was never raced!

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  11. David Stigall

    i raced against Maico Breakos. the seller could google a dutchman by the name of Roger DeCoster (sp?). he was Maico’s company rider. in 74 or 75 he became Suzuki’s rider therefore breaking Maico’s stranglehold on the world championship. Since there is no mention of location. it might be one his championship bikes. i know he the sevenities he lived south of Mansfield,Ohio. probably around the the Mid Ohio course in Lexington. to us old dirters, he was a legend.

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  12. Robert W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    David, the “factory race bike” were different and somewhat cruder with more sandcast parts, guessing thin wall magnesium.

    Looked at the pictures and it’s hard to tell if they are plated, several pics look like they are others don’t. Factory racers had aluminum rims not steel.

    This looks like a consumer version as the racers had a variety of little things done to ensure they didn’t break during racing. This one appears to have none of those mods.

    These were made in small numbers, and used up and dealers disappeared years ago but they are worth some money, plus they are fun rides.

    Suzuki dominated once Roger DeCoster and Joel Roberts were on their team.

    Roger pioneered the long travel bike that became the RM, though I’m sure his was different as mine came with a 36-37″ saddle height, but being 6’1″ it fits me fine.

    Roger, on the other hand, is about 5’6″ so I’m sure he didn’t have that tall of saddle.

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  13. Robert W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    VIN tag seems to say it’s a 250/245……

    Yes they were that big for cooling.

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  14. David Stigall

    yeah I remember him being a smaller guy. I was so happy when he joined Suzuki. because i was at that time a fully tricked 125.

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  15. geomechs geomechsMember

    I would say this is either a 360 or a 400. Back in the 60s and early 70s they were quite a contender. Another great performer was the British-built Greeves. Bultaco, Husqvarna and CZ pretty much ruled the motocross because they had the volume and could get good riders. I understand that Maico was actually the designer of the Mono-shock that was picked up extensively by those across the Pacific by the 80s. I remember back about ’72, a team showed up with a couple of Maicos that were so-equipped and everyone else got their backsides handed to them. When Honda started using that setup one of the old timers grumbled: “That’s the way it always goes; let the Europeans design it and the Japanese will copy it.”

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    • Mike

      CZ had two fast MX bikes in the late 70’s, a black frame, and a red frame, the red was the faster bike. Randy Goss, and Springsteen raced factory Can Am’s when they where introduced in the states, they where fast also. In high school Randy also raced the 125 Kawasaki green wienie, and took his class, 72 or 73?

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  16. stillrunners

    Maico’s were to be respected in their day but it was those Yamaha’s that battled the Husky’s – Penton’s – Bultaco’s in the big bore class long before Suzuki and Honda got it together. Who brought out the mono-shock ?

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  17. David Stigall

    I don’t remember any British bikes in motocrossing. i raced against a couple Can Am 125. but i think they were actually modified scramblers. the European bikes were too expensive for the average kid. baling and stacking hay didn’t pay all that well. but ,what i’m trying to remember is CZ’s factory. Yahama and Kaws were green. Huskies and Honda, Suzukis -yellow and may be the Bulls. but was the factory color of CZ ? If anyone ever asks for the Yugos of motorcycles i would say the six cyclinder 650cc Bellini Tornado.

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  18. David Stigall

    Never heard of Pentons. I never raced professionally just small local tracks and strip mine riding. i had a Hammer and always wanted a Husky. in the smaller 100 to 175cc classes. lets not forget the Hodas. those Hodakis could haul some serious ass.

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  19. Doug Towsley

    I have a 1976 KTM-Penton 400 High breather. Interesting bike, My buddy bought it new when he graduated college, I am restoring it, Original bodywork still in the boxs he swapped Preston Petty body work onto it to race it. So the OEM bodywork is still in great shape. Penton imported them and carried his name, then half the US used KTM name and other half Penton and then finally they were ALL called KTM. Theres a fantastic documentary out about Penton and if you dont know what they are, research the incredible story. As to dont recall any British bikes???? WASH YOUR MOUTH OUT WITH SOAP!!!!! My God,, I also have some BSA Goldstars. 500CC of the most beautiful and dominant racing bikes ever made. Still raced today. (49-52-54, 55 and a 56 is what I have)
    Maico Break-o’s I see a LOT of them around, you guys just need to get out more. Attend vintage bike meets. AHRMA is a vintage race association and hold races from small regionals to national events. Theres other race clubs and groups as well. Not everyone gets along with AHRMA (Politics) so theres some popular summer and winter race series. The Tacoma Dry Ducks MC hold a race called Dinosoar Daze up in Washington. You can see your hearts content of Maico, CZ, Bultacos, Matchless, BSA, Triumph, Even a Harley 45 in a Norton Frame, Theres a cool race series that run every month on Sundays up Near Mt St Helens during the winter. TONS Of them down in California. In Ohio, Barber in the deep South is coming up. MX, Road Race, Trials, and Bike show and swap meet. Daytona Florida in the Spring, flat track, MX, Road race and Trials, Where you guys been? Turn over some rocks and you will be surprised what you will find.

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    • leiniedude leiniedudeMember

      Used to ice race a Penton 6 day endure, all I have left is the fuel tank.

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    • Matt Tritt

      Exactly. There’s also an active vintage offroad group down here in San Luis Obispo county as well. I’ve had a Matchless 50G, Bultaco, CZ and Triumphs in my day, but always lusted after the early Maico 250 6 Day Trials and road bikes. Greeves are excellent as well, but there’s something about those Maicos……….

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  20. Snotty

    Great looking vintage bike,haven’t seen Montesa mentioned,Spanish made.When I was a kid, my dad would take me to a motorcycle shop in Hays Ks.Where there were all these great old classic bikes from the 50’s thru 70’s, I was in Heaven!When I was 13, he bought me a 71 Harley Davidson[Aramache] Sprint SX350, made a straight pipe for it in shop class in school. Some buddies, and I would ride around the countryside for miles,without a care in the world. Dad and I would also go to dirt track racing car and bike,and I would love the smell of the burnt rubber, engines and exhaust, and of course the awesome sound of open pipes. If ya wanna see a Great movie: “On Any Sunday” it will take you back, and oh ya dad and I saw it at the Drive In.

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  21. Jeff G

    Those old dirt bikes are cool. If I rememember right Hodaka had a model called the “Combat Wombat”. Best dirt bike name ever IMO.

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    • Doug Towsley

      You are correct Jeff Hodaka had some interesting bikes, Also they made a “Dirt Squirt”. I worked for a guy at “Raceway services” who wrote many of the service manuals.
      They were imported as a partnership with a Japanese company. The US company was PABATCO and was based here in Oregon. Very cool story and every year they have a re-union of sorts. Also a dedicated group here in Oregon, Some years back at the Corvallis Oregon Vintage MC club annual show, They staged a anniversary re-union and many of the employees and their familys from Japan attended. I did not realize at first what was going on or the extent of it since it was a larger show and the reunion was just part of it. So i looked around and saw all these Japanese people and wondered at first if a tour bus had stopped or something. “Where did these people come from”? Look up the history of Hodaka and PABATCO. Very unique.

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  22. Blindmarc

    Teenage twins a few blocks over from me as a kid put a combat wombat engine in a mini bike frame with solid foot pegs. It lasted about two days because one of them leaned it over too much racing around the block and it pitched him about 10 yards. Broke his shoulder and lots of road rash….

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  23. Mark S

    My teen years were spent on another rare and now gone bike the Ossa I had the 250cc explorer ( trials ) and my older brother had the the 350cc MAR ( Mick Andrews replica, trials ) they weren’t as fast as the MX bikes but the were far more agile and could climb over just about anything. One thing different about trials bike engine they were long stroke large flywheel engines designed to give max power at low rpm. This is what gave them there agility in rough terrain. Where as the MX engines were of corse short stroke small flywheel designed for max power at high rpm. These Ossa’s were very tough bikes that gave great service for years.

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  24. pete

    guess it is a pre 73/74, as the engine ribs changed around that time!


    here is a 71, new, never used!

    Motocross Maicos are legendary at Germany, but that means not that prices are!


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  25. Robert W. Lovell

    Greetings All,

    Guess that VIN tag must be from another bike that was a 250 then?

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  26. John

    That is an early 1970 MX400. Late in 1970 Maico changed the cases to a rougher casting but the early models used the remaining lower cease from the 360 square barrel. I raced an exact duplicate of this bike back then and it was the cats ass. Ran like it was on rails, and had more HP than most folks could handle.

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  27. Mark R Baird

    That is definitely a 1971 Maico 250 Motocross square barrel. Not an enduro. “Square Barrel” refers to the shape of the cylinder. It was the early version of the second generation Maico production motocross engines. In late 1972 Maico began producing what is called the radial barrel motor. It had the same four speed transmission but the cylinder fins were in the shape of a sunburst of rays for better cooling. Maicos were winning motocross machines by factory riders like Adolf Weil from Germany and Ake Jonsson of Sweden. A highly regarded motocross machine.

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  28. Ken Wilcox

    I have a near identical looking Maico that I bought out of an estate sale last oct.-Orange – original nobbies – goose neck plate reads mc or mx 501 – frame#501367 – engine# k501373 hope this helps! My bike has never been raced and is in near perfect condition – I only paid 1700.00 cash!

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