Maico (Pfaffingen, Germany, 1926-1983) ¹
The MAICO (Maisch brothers) motorcycle production began in 1926. Some light motorcycles with ILO engines were built before the second world war. An example is the F 100 Piccolo which had pedals and a Sachs engine.
After the war, the business boomed after the introduction of the first self designed engine, a 123cc single cylinder twostroke. Mass production of the M 125 started in 1948. One year later the M 150, (a bored 125), was added to the production line. These models were updated with a new rear suspension in 1951 (M 126 and M 151).
The M 175 (1951-1953) was a strong and light bike and very successful at races.
The 1953 FANAL was the first Maico with a four-speed gearbox. The new M 200 was available in 1953; it had a 197cc single cylinder engine developing 11 HP.
1954 was the year of many new models: the M 175 S, the M 175 T, the PASSAT 175, the M 200 S and the M 200 T were introduced that year.
The exciting MAICO TAIFUN had a sleek design with large sheetmetal panels. It was available with a 348cc 19HP twin-cylinder two-stroke from 1953 to 1956 and with a 395cc 22.5HP engine from 1954 to 1956.
The sporty BLIZZARD was built from 1955 to 1964 with a single cylinder 247cc 14HP twostroke engine.
Scooters like the weird and fat MAICOMOBIL and the fast MAICOLETTA were built in the fifties
Maico supplied the German army with 247cc all-terrain bikes, the M 250 B (B=Bundeswehr) in the sixties.
The Maico all-terrain bikes of the seventies were very successful at races. For the street, they built the MD 50, the MD 125 and the MD 250, all with a special intake (Drehschieber = turning disk with hole for better timing of fresh air/gas mixture, aka disc valve). The last versions of the MD 250 were water-cooled (MD 250 WK).
Maico went out of business in 1983.
Courtesy Hartmut Schouwer
Further to your web page I can confirm that Maicos are being made in small numbers in Holland. The company struggled on after 84 in the hands of one of the Maisch brothers until about 88 when the company was sold to another German engineering firm, complete with about $500,000 worth of pre-82 spares, where the company still had some considerable business.
The company was sold again in about 94 to a Dutch manufacturer of bicycle shock absorbers Reflex, and again a half hearted re-launch was undertaken.
The company changed hands again in 97/98 and this company is struggling on. Sales in the UK in 1981 were 1500 machines - everybody had one. Sales in the UK last year (99) - 12. A sad end to a fine marque. The company cannot survive in this competitive market place and another crisis is predicted in Y2K.
By Martin Wadsworth
On the way home from a working stint in the motorcycle GP's (start of 1996), I dropped into the new Dutch Maico in Holland to discuss importership rights. These were agreed to during the day and I added Maico to MuZ, Malaguti and Vertemati as my imported brands.
The owner of the Maico brand was now Remco Demmer, who basically took over the rights when the older Maisch family could not pay a bill to his father's firm, Rodem BV. Rodem made Fokker aircraft parts and mountain bike suspension.
Remco was joined by Fritz Tibbens Snr and Jnr in the business. In 1996 we imported one bike, a 440 MX, which was a parts bin special. It was pretty average in build quality and impossible to get parts for.
Late 1996, a man called Cor Jacobs claimed to have bought the brand once again, but proved to be a crook and the factory went back to Remco.
In 1997, I visited their new factory in Holland. It was huge and looked promising for the future. Maico started to sell scooters in Holland, but this was a badge engineering job of a Taiwanese scooter. I took delivery of 2 500 MX bikes in 1997 and these were really good, but Maico still could not offer backup, except a lot of promising talk.
In 1998, Maico had a huge stand at the Munich Intermot show and all manner of things were promised, but soon after things went quiet. They were talking about buying Husaberg!
Basically, funding did not come through and part of a share issue deal backfired on them, with ownership now reverting to Brouwer Motors BV (also Dutch) who are the KTM importers for the Netherlands.
I met with Brouwer Motors in September this year and they still have plans to relaunch Maico in the near future.
Maicos are still produced in three other countries. Kostler in Germany builds new models from spares, Bill Brown in the UK makes new old models from remanufactured parts and Ronnie Smith in Alabama (US Maico) still makes certain Maico items.
I hope this helped some !
By Dale Schmidtchen
dale at ccm-motorcycles dot com
December 8, 2000