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81 Maico 490 or 83 Husky 500?

Joined
Feb 6, 2001
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#1
Well, after more than 15 years away from the dirt, my brothers have brought me back into it. My oldest brother raced Desert back in the early 80s. He just restored his 83 Husky 500. I really like it, but he won't let it go. I want to enter some G.P. out west here maybe next year. I've never ridden a 490 Maico, but hear they are great for G.P. racing. I've always loved the big open class and want a screamer. I know what the 500 Husky can go, but it is a desert sled, so it doesn't do well in the tight stuff. Anybody have any suggestions as to which would be best for G.P. racing?

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weimedog

Damn Yankees
Joined
Nov 21, 2000
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#2
I have ridden the Maico's. My freind raced them during that period and I raced them in the "AW" years. I'm now being introduced to Husqvarna's..

I had a 1984 Husqvarna AE500 for a year and sold it recently to buy and restore a 1982 XC430.

The 83-84 Husky Chassis was heavy but comfortable to race. I like the rear suspension on the 83,84 chassis better than my '82 XC and much better than the Maico's I remembered.

The 82 430 XC I have now is lighter by some but feels TONS lighter than my Old 84 Husky. It doesn't turn as well as the 84 or any where NEAR as well as a good Maico.

I would still rather race my 1982 430 in the evo classes for the following reasons:

1) I can make it turn...if the throttle is on and you are aggressive; its turns fine under power. Just is like a wheel borrow with trailing throttle.
2) It feels real light and doesn't wear me out. ( I'm old )
3) The 430 isn't as brutal as my old 500, lets me go fast (not quite as fast ) for a longer period of time. The 430 is real mellow.
4) Parts are easy and relatively cheap to find.
5) Several dealers still stock new parts and Cagiva is still makeing parts for a lot of the '80's era Husky's. ( I found new rubber boots for the carb to airbox and carb to ered cage...made by Cagiva )
6) Large Vintage crowd supporting Husqvarna's..INCLUDING Cagiva USA who's marketing MGR was hunting a vintage Husky recently. ( Husqvarna Vintage Club is excellent )

What I did was put the twin leading shoe front brake and fork from a 1983CR500 on my '82 430. The brake is much better than the origional single leading shoe brake.

And I have to believe your brother's experience is an asset.

Anyway go Husky for the evo classes, thats my opinion. I put my money where my mouth is here...I have a buddy trying to sell me a real nice pair of Maico's.



[This message has been edited by weimedog (edited 02-06-2001).]
 
Joined
Jun 23, 2000
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#3
if you plan on evo racing check w/local clubs as depending on where you race which classes exist.in Texas we run evo1 (75-77) evo2(air cooled drum brake non-linkage) evo3
(can be single-shock watercooled but no disc brakes).some clubs go by years evo1 (75-77)evo2(78-81). if you go to any vintage/evo nationals you will see tons of '81 490 Maico's up front,not alot of Husky but i sure want a '81 430 like Marty Tripes ran for awhile..go with the Maico better bike as the results prove.

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Rhett
2000 KTM 380SX
75/77/79 Bultaco Pursangs
'80 Montesa 414VG
 
Joined
Dec 4, 2000
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#4
Well RAMSKI, you caught me sitting on a fence post on this one. I've raced a 1982 Husky WR430, 1983-84 CR/XC 500's and now a 1983 490 Maico in Florida Trail Riders, Hare Scrambles series in different years.

The Huskies had twin shocks, the Maico a mono shock. Both work pretty good once you get use to them. The Maico feels lighter and turns on a dime. The compression release sure makes it easier to start, especially during a long race and you are half worn out and don't have the energy to kick the monster motor over. For some reason the Husky was tricky to start. It seemed like every third kick produced enough spark to fire the monster up when the ignition lined up just right. If you know of someone who can fit a compression release on the 500 Husky then go for it if thats your interest.

Then again, the Maico runs strong and is a rocket. The front brake on the Maico had a single leading shoe system that I replaced with a twin front brake system from one of my Huskies.

Depending upon your ability, age, checkbook and motorcycle availabilty, either would be great to start out on. Check out the local club race information and see what class sparks your interest. Find a bike that matches you.

The real fun is being able to participate, meet new friends and go riding at different locations. The other thing is if there is a "significant other", get her involved in the sport also. You can always use a pit crew and then it becomes a family affair.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2001
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#5
Thanks for the great replies. I've been out of the sport for 15 years now and it's great to see so many have a love for the last of the great open class bikes. I like to think of them the same as the late 60s, early 70s muscle cars. As much as I like the Huskys, I think I'll try to find that 81 Maico 490. I just need to decide if I want a fixer-upper or one thats already done. I know I'll learn more doing it myself, but it will also cost more. I think I get something in-between.

I just moved to Arizona from living in Germany the last eight years so I can't wait to see my first vintage MX in two weeks. Thanks again for the replies everyone.
 
- a d v e r t i s e m e n t -

markthomps

Sponsoring Member
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May 27, 2000
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#6
Ramski, get the '81 490 Maico! No comparison IMHO between the King Kong Maico and anything else that was available in the early 80s . . . and I tried them all.

For all the power it puts out, the bike is also amazingly easy to ride. It just hooks up and goes, without any wicked habits. I have a friend who races one against mod bikes in the Expert class, and he still places in the top 3!

Personally, I'd vote for a ready-to-ride, if you can find one at a reasonable price. Also check with Dave Boydstun at AMS Racing in Tempe AZ and Eric Cook at Maico Only in California (go visit VMX magazine at www.vmx-mag.com to see their links). Eric especially knows 490 Maicos and does the best bikes out there. He also has tons of spares, new stuff, etc etc etc.

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'81 490 Maico (King Kong!), 2000 CR250, 74-1/2 GP400 Maico, buncha street stuff
 

mbha

Mod Ban
Joined
Mar 11, 2001
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#7
How can one even compare the best open class bike ever with the heavy
hardstarted, no-turning Husky. This is easy! If you are prepared to take on the maintainace needed by the red precision instrument and you can find one in good working condition, go for it!!
 
Joined
Jul 10, 2002
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#8
I would have to say go red also. I began Twinshock racing about 3-4 years ago on a Maico 400-1976. Since then I have only ridden Maico's. Now it is a 1981 490. I have prepared this bike in the winter time and have ridden it for almost two seasons now without any problems(yet ;) ). Fitted a Mikuni carb, Dutch Power exhaust with homemade silencer. We have about 50-60 members in our Twinshock class, I guess 80% rides a Maico. Parts are available, sometimes expensive though. If you would like to see my bike have a look on http://vmxservice.tripod.com and look under "about me".
I find the Maico's also easy to work on. No expirience with Husky so I can't comment here.
 
Joined
Jan 1, 2001
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#9
vmxservice, I'm going to check out your pictures as soon as I get home. Can't do from here at work, because tripod.com is blocked.

By the way, does anybody know whatever happened to markthomps?
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2001
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#10
I forgot all about this thread I started so long ago. I have since bought a KX500 and have been pretty happy with it. I am having fun with the newer bikes now, but do plan to get into Evo Vintage bikes down the road when I am done with the newer bikes. I have had my eyes on the 1981 Maico 490. Thanks for all the input.
 
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23jayhawk

Sponsoring Member
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Apr 30, 2002
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#11
Vintage, I subscribed to VMX back in about June/July, and Mark was still active as the US contact for that magazine. Not sure why no posting recently...
 

mhardee

Lifetime Sponsor
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Oct 17, 2002
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#13
Originally posted by Ramski
I forgot all about this thread I started so long ago. I have since bought a KX500 and have been pretty happy with it. I am having fun with the newer bikes now, but do plan to get into Evo Vintage bikes down the road when I am done with the newer bikes. I have had my eyes on the 1981 Maico 490. Thanks for all the input.
I know how you feel! I had a 79 or 80 450 Maico that I LOVED.. Anyone that has never RIDDEN a Maico can not appreciate how good they handle.

I, too, bought an '03 KX500 as it seems as they are the only ones left that sell a large 2 stroke anymore - so far, I've been happy, but, it "a'int no Maico"!

 
 

wardy

2005 Lori Nyland Award Winner
Joined
Nov 12, 1999
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#14
well if anyone finds a maico 490 1981 send me a note......I have a 76 husky 250 in darn near orignal condition, but raced maicos mostly.
I would be very interested in a old red beast again......

wardy
 
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Zoomer

Lifetime Sponsor
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Nov 17, 2000
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#15
The last time I talked with Mark Thomspson was at our Azzie Seniors race last Oct, and everything was going fine!

81 Miaco :yeehaw: I had a 83 back then, what a bike. I ran a 81 last year on our local track against the guy that owned it on his 520 KTM.... and beat him, says alot about the bike. (and yea, we are about the same level riding) :thumb:
 
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