The Ultimate Maico Vintage Bike Guide

Nov. 18, 2013 By Rick Sieman
 

The Ultimate Maico Guide Continued

A number of intro bikes were sold as 1980 models as well. There were a small number of models sold with 504 engine size. These are rare birds, so keep your eye peeled for them. Now here are the later models and the identify numbers that go with them.

YEAR                     MODEL              CHASSIS         MOTOR

1980 Mega               MC 250/T          346 0000            MT 346 0000

1980 Mega                 MC 400/T        347 0000           RT 347 0000

1980 Mega                 MC 440/T        348 0000            RT 348 0000

1981 Mega 2            MC 250/T          350 0000            MT 350 0000

1981 Mega 2               MC 400/T        351 0000          RT 351 0000

1981 Mega 2              MC 490/T         351 0000          RT 352 0000

1981 Mega 2               MC 440/T        348 0000           RT 348 0000

With 1980 staring Maico directly in the face, they redesigned their bikes with the leader being the 440 motocrosser.

However, the real big deal happened in 1981. It was then that Maico brought out the near legendary 490 Mega 2. During the press day, most of the press riders thought that all of the test bikes were ringers because they were so amazingly fast. But it turned out that just about any 490 made was a missile. To this day, the 1981 490 with its twin shocks, Bing carburetor, and good suspension is still capable of running with a modern bike.

Some 1981 Maicos were built with 440 motors, but they were not advertised in  brochures or magazines. They all have the later style top tubes/backbones, the non-Mega form frame. This should clear up a great deal of confusion about those particular models.

1982 Alpha 1            MC 250/T      353 0000               MT 353 0000

1982 Alpha 1          MC 490/T      354 0000                   RT 354 0000

1982 Alpha E           GS 250        253 0000            GT 253 0000

1982 Alpha E          GS 490         254 0000                  GT 254 0000

1983 Spider               MC 250          361 0000    C 361 0000

1983 Spider 4 speed                      MC 490        362 0000       FK 362 0000

1983 Sand Spider 5 speed                      MC 490            362 0000         D 362 0000

Then the crap hit the fan in 1982 when they went to the single shock Alfa 1.  The rear suspension was a poorly designed piece of trash with Corte and  Cosso shocks that broke almost every time they were ridden. This bike is really what killed Maico as we know it today. The company tried to recover by offering Ohlins shocks for all the ones that broke, but it was too little, too late.

THE LAST YEARS
Right after the 1983 model year, there was a shift in the name and the ownership of the bike. It was referred to as M-Star and never caught on. Since that time, a number of different companies have tried to revive the brand, but it has never been even close to what it used to be. When you look back at the most successful bikes of their time, the Maico was definitely the king.           

M-Star produced manuals for the '85 and '86 models. For the first M Stars, the only known manual provided with the 84s was the 1983 Spider manual. Since all reference to the name Maico had to be removed, a blacked-out version of the '83 manual was used. Even the official vinyl side and front Yellow number decals had the name covered. This is the best evidence that illustrates the legal difficulties that the new company faced.

M-STAR DETAILS
A quick way to tell the year of your M-Star is by the Brakes.

1984 250 & 500s have Drum Front & Drum Rear Brake.

1985 250 & 500s Have Front Disc Brake and Drum Rear Brake.

1986 250 & 500 have Disc Brakes Front and Rear.

M-STAR SERIAL NUMBERS
Year      Model                                       Frame                  Engine
1984     250 M Star E Air Cooled          HME 361 0000   E 361 0000

1984     250 M Star Water Cooled         HMX 363 0000  E 363 0000

1984     500 M Star Air Cooled             HMX 364 0000   E  364 0000

1985     250 GM Star Water Cooled      HMX 365 0000   H 365 0000

1985     500 GM Star Water Cooled      HMX 366 0000  H 366 0000

1985     250 GM Star Air Cooled          HMX 365 0000       265 0000

1985     500 GM Star Air Cooled          HMX 366 0000       266 0000

1986     250 GM Star Water Cooled     HMX 367 0000       367 0000

1986     500 GM Star Water cooled       HMX 368 0000       368 0000

1986     250 GM Star Enduro                HME 267 0000        267 0000

1986     500 GM Star Enduro                HME 268 0000        268 0000

1986     500 GM Star Air Cooled Scrambler HMXL 468 0000 HE 468 0000

This 1985 M-Star 500 was a last-ditch effort to salvage what was once a phenomenal company. But it was a last-gasp try and the company was doomed to failure after that. There have been any number of small companies that have tried to resuscitate the Maico name, but nothing has really made a dent. So my advice to you is to get a good old Maico and enjoy it.

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