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1999 Maico 500 test results

"Power to Win"




Maico Brothers Archive



1999 Maico 500


We have all seen the commercial, some small Oldsmobile with some six cylinder something or another under the hood putting out a whole 100 hp and some announcer says, " Its not your father's Oldsmobile". Well its not your father's Maico! Most of us started with 7 1/2" of travel and moved up to 12", We saw the 490's as "FAST" and most of us didn't use the clutch after the start. We thought "Braking" was a religious experience. The new Maico's have changed all that. Since the fall of Maico to bankruptcy after the 1983 Spiders, there has been a bike made for every year to date. Wilhelm Maisch family built the 1984 to 1986 models under the M Star Label. Purchased by Merkle who made Maico's from 1987 to 1994, then sold to Rodem and moved to the Netherlands for the 1995 production. Midway through the next year, they became Maico Motorcycles N.V., N.V. standing for Limited Liability Company, and still under Rodem control. Bankrupt again in 1998, the biggest shareholder, Brouwer, took everything and continued the Maico production. There were color changes, Yellow to red to blue and now red and black. Despite the bankruptcy, buying and selling of the Maico Manufacturing mutable times, one thing remained constant, Maico keep up with the times. From air cooled to water cooled, Maico forks to Upside Down White Power Forks to standard Marzocchi Forks, no brakes to disk brakes, primary chain to geared primary, life and innovations moved on and so did Maico.

American's were the biggest loser's in the whole history of Maico. Almost all of the visitors to Maico Brother Web Site were sure that Maico completely stopped making bikes when M-Star went bankrupt. In the search for more Maico models to collect, Maico Brothers was excited to find the Missing Link Maico's "The Blue Max" as some European's came to know it. The vaporizing support for American Maico Dealer's and the loss of good European contacts blind folded the Dealers and so the American MX public. Even though the M-Star saw big changes like water cooling, The blue Maico's were the models who saw the biggest changes outside of the American view. They were fast, water cooled, came with the new 85 mm stroke, had disk brakes and still handled like a Maico. The European's enjoyed an uninterrupted Maico supply. Maico Brothers has an extensive collection of different size and year Maico's that have been or will be restored to their original glory. From this collection, a comparative database was formed and it is this database that is used to test the latest and newest Maico,s in our arsenal. From the start and before Maico Brothers purchased their 99, 500 Maico, e-mail from early owners gave a grim view of the 99 models. Stories of major defects were collected and a search for answers was on. We found a laundry list of production errors; port timing off, low compression, bad shifting, and even missing swing arm pivot bearings. The ghosts of the past were coming back but there were fixes. Maico brothers already had in place a great European network in the manufactures home base so answers were available. Milling the bottom of the cylinder corrected the port timing. Machining the shift drum and careful assembly of other portions of the bike made things better. One of our viewers had extensive work done to correct his 99 500.

The problems we found were "Production" and not "Design" problems. We found that in the 1999 production season, Rodem was "Slapping" together Maico's from their stock of parts to collect as much money as they faced bankruptcy. Another viewer told us that he literally waited for Rodem to build him a 500 Enduro model one day while stationed in Italy, on leave from the US Navy. He felt it was now or never. Three months later, the multi million-dollar parent company was gone. Brouwer Motors B.V. picked up the baton and fixed most of the production problems for the 2000 models but not all of them. To get a trouble free 2000 Maico, you must get it from Kostler in Germany, because Kostler will go through each bike and painstakingly correct all of the production problems built into the 2000 Maico's. The total number of 2000 units built was about thirty. Like a white Knight speeding to the rescue Axel Kostler of Germany put his own resources to work correcting the 99 & 2000 Maico's he sold in his shop. Kostler has had a history correcting Maico's. His love for the Marquee brought him to have his own transmission gear sets, cast and machined during the internal Maico feuds in the early 80's when transmission explosions were common. It is from Kostler's dealership, through Guus Mulders, that Maico Brothers purchased their 99 500 Maico. The entire bike was flawless. Guus made sure that extra plastic and seat cover were included because through the long-standing relationship with Maico Brothers, he knew that we wanted to keep the (New Bike Look ) long after the test. Guus once asked if Americans actually rode their Maico's in the dirt. The Maico Brothers collection of Maico's only "look"new! For those who know Maico Brothers, its no secret that it has been our goal to keep Maico alive. Our service to the Maico public has been with out cost to them and has given us a good reputation. Building on this reputation and staying true to our viewers, we present to you... The first test and evaluation of the 1999 Maico 500. Call it Maico vs Maico's

The 99 500 Maico was uncrated, gone through and Readied for testing. We had to change the jetting because it was set up for European climate. The Maico came with a Mikuni TMX 38 mm carb. with a # 360 Main jet # 25 Pilot jet, #6EJ 12-55 Jet Needle with the "E" clip set in the fifth position. Making the jetting changes and adjustments to the Mikuni was very easy. We had to lean the bike out so we dropped the main jet to a #350 and the pilot to a # 20. We moved the "E" clip to the third position to lean out the midrange while keeping the same Jet Needle size. It is important to note that the Mikuni Jet Needle is the only one that uses a higher number to go leaner as in contrast with the main and pilot jets, lower number is leaner. A Mikuni chart shows the difference between the TMX and the TMS models. We have the TMX #52A with the "D slide without the hole". We found that the TMX is the better carb. and the most used on the later Japanese bikes. Also because of the use of the Mikuni carb. on Japanese bikes, the Mikuni jets are easy to get at your local Bike shop. The Owner did some last minute checking before the test. First kick...every time. After a little getting used to on the new Maico, it was time to have fun. Wow ... Its that fast!! We road it hard. The bike just did everything great. The motor came on like a real Maico with a "Dial your power" throttle. The thing that was very different was the clutch...you can use one finger. The Marzocchi Magnum 50 mm forks and the Reiger Rear Shock performed like a dream, eating up everything in its path. We went down two clicks on the compression damping and things got smoother. We tried jumps, bumps, rocks and flat out speed. We spent the day pulling our self back up on the seat or else we thought we would be waving like a flag hanging onto the handle bars. That is saying a lot for a 6'-3 210 lbs test pilot. During one of the speed events, the Maico encountered a two foot bump in the road. two feet at about 70+ MPH is more then two feet! Never the less, the Maico went airborne, rear tire first then the front without any loss of life or subtraction of days from the life of a test pilot. I think "plush" was the word we all used. The transmission shifted fine, without any problems, and there wasn't any motor vibration, just smooth raw power. The bike came with a 52 tooth rear sprocket and a 15 tooth counter shaft sprocket. The Brembo Disk Brakes removed any fear of not stopping. Never any fade and always easy to control both tires without the "Oops Factor". The Magura Hydraulic Clutch Actuator was adjustable and baby finger easy.

" Too Big" is an expression that shouldn't be used in a sentence with front forks. The 50 mm Marzocchi Magnum forks were not to big. The 19" rear tire was a nice touch and a reflection on the amount of power the bike produced. The plastic that gave the bike the great look can be changed without the Maico price tag unless you need Red. Side covers, along with front and rear fenders and front Number plate, are the same as the 96' to 2000 YZ Yamaha's. You can get them in White, Blue, and Black. There must be a contractual agreement between Maico and UFO to not make Red Plastic available through any other source then a Maico Dealer. Fuel tank, Air Box and Radiator Shrouds are all Maico. Indeed the 99 Maico 500 is a work of art. After riding the 99 Maico 500, We were surprised people aren't lined up waiting to buy one. We tested the 99' against two very fast Maico's. A full blown desert racer, the one and only 1983 490 Sand Spider, and a 1992 Blue Maico 500. The 83 490 Sand Spider was built for one thing only and that one thing was flying across the desert at a high rate of speed while keeping the rider in the saddle and in control. We felt this bike would be good to test against because of it's 112-MPH top speed. The Sand Spider came with a 5 Speed Wide Ratio Transmission, 48 tooth Rear Sprocket and a 16 tooth Counter Shaft Sprocket. Compare that to the 99's Close Ratio 5 speed Transmission and 52 tooth Rear Sprocket and 15 tooth counter shaft sprocket and you start to understand just how fast the 99 500 is. In drag racing the Sand Spider, we had to start out with a rolling start in second gear to stop the "Trenching Effect". The new Maico has so much power that it was impossible to get a good race going from a standing still start. The Sand Spider would hook up at the start and lead the the way till the end. With a rolling start, the 99' would Smoke the Sand Spider until Fifth Gear when the 99' would be topping out at around 90 mph. Make no mistake about the Sand Spider being 16 years older then the 99'. In the history of Maico Brothers, no other Maico or Japanese bike has beaten the Sand Spider top end, making the Sand Spider our favorite ride. The 490 Sand Spider is in new original condition, and fast.

Next we got out the Blue 92' 500. Again this bike is in new condition,and geared like the 99'. MX VS MX. Race after race, the 99' left the 92 in the Dust. In and out of turns, in the straight and over jumps, the 99' just out performed the Blue Max. We are impressed and excited that there are Maico's being made today that are like their forefathers and as fast as needed to compete today. We will be following an open class rider as he puts his 99' 500 to a real test ....a whole racing season. In the meantime Maico Brothers will continue to train the next Generation of test pilots. By now, your next question should be, Where can I get one? We recommend contacting Guus Mulders. He can get new Maico's and ship them to you. Guus purchases the Maico's from Kostler in Germany. You can be assured that any Maico from Guus will have all the bugs removed, if you want a 99 or 2000 model. The new Maico's are missing the usual manuals that have become a mainstay for every owner. This does not pose any problems since Guus can get any and all parts for the 99-2000 Maico's. In fact, he can get parts for all the Maico's from the past. Through Kostler, Guus can supply the corrected parts that plagued the mid 80's Maico's. Guus can be contacted by e-mail at gerry.brink@wxs.nl His prices are good and the service is the best. New Maico parts are also available at Helli Motors in Geldermalsen. The reality is that the new Maico's are a Work of Art, They have the best of everything from forks to shocks to brakes, all top of the line. Ride On

We would like to say thanks to Axel Kostler for doing such a great job on the 99 500. and to Guus Mulders for always coming through.

99 500 Cross

Motor ....................................... 2 Stroke


Cooling.......................................Water Cooled


Inlet.........................................Reed Valve


Exhaust.......................................HGS


Size......................................... 499 cc(86.5 mm x 85 mm)


Performance...................................67 HP


Carburetor....................................Mikuni TMX 38 mm


Transmission .................................5 Speed C/R


Frame.........................................Chrome Molybdennum Tubing


Ignition......................................PVL Digital


Forks ........................................Marzocchi Magnum 50 mm


Front Travel..................................12 in. (305 mm)


Front Brake...................................Brembo 10.25 in. (260mm) Disk


Front Rim ....................................1.60 x 21 in.


Front Tire ...................................90/90 x 21


Rear Damper...................................Reiger


Rear Travel ..................................12.6 in. (320 mm)


Rear Brake....................................Brembo 8.7 in. (220 mm) Disk


Rear Rim......................................2.15 x 19in.


Rear Tire.....................................120/90 x 19 in.


Fuel Tank Cap. ...............................2.5 gal. (9.5 L)


Wheel Base....................................58.25 in. (1480 mm)


Clearance.....................................15.25 in. (388 mm)


Seat Level....................................37.8 in. (960 mm)


Weight (Dry) .................................220.2 lbs (100kg)

More 1999 Pictures

 

 
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