Maico is the name of a family business in the Swabian Pfäffingen at Tübingen. It was founded in 1926 by Ulrich mash than mash & Companions and began the construction of bicycles and accessories. From about 1931 also light motorcycles were included in the production and sales program, now under the management of the sons of the company founder, Otto and Wilhelm Maisch.

The beginnings

The first test versions of the Maico motor bikes were equipped with a 60 - cc engine, the ILO engine works. In series 98 cc engines from Fichtel & Sachs and the more powerful 118 cc were mainly - and 150 - cc ILO engines installed. Also, the use of 60 cc ILO, Saxonette, 200 cc Bark and 125cc Sachs engines in small numbers is detectable.

Through the Schell Plan, the National Socialist government, which aimed at reducing the diversity of types in the German Car, Maico was forced from 1939 to build a single model, together with the manufacturers Hecker, Tornax and UT. This model, the K 125 with 125 cc ILO dual-port engine ( single cylinder with two exhaust pipes ) which was mainly developed by Maico and even during the war, in addition to the production of parts from suppliers for the production of armaments, built in small numbers. For export were the 98 - cm ³ - and 118 - cm ³ - models still available.

Production in 1945

After the Second World War, Maico turned briefly to the manufacture of toys and wood gasifiers, but returned in the face of stormy demand for motor vehicles back to the construction of motor bikes back, initially using the new 98 cc Sachs engine with Magura twist shifter.

The production of the attractive K 125 was strongly slowed by lack of supply availability and quality problems of the motor supplier ILO -South in the American-occupied Munich and lasting difficulties in imposing the scarce engines over the border into the French zone of occupation occupied Pfäffingen. Thus, developed and produced Maico initially improved replicas of ILO crankshafts and gears for spare parts requirement to present its own engine for the new model M 125 in the fall of 1948 for the first time. The M -125 engine (known as Maico- Spitz motor) corresponds to only look its ILO model, in fact it was a new development. A key differentiator for ILO is the three-speed twist shifter from Magura.

Displacement Stronger versions of this engine found 175 used in the motorcycles M 150 and M 151, and also in the scooters " Maicomobil " MB 151 and MB. From the beginning of 1952 was for the models M 175, MB 175, and a few copies of the M 151, a new four-speed Fußschaltgetriebe in the old housing form (so-called " Maico- Spitz engine") available.

In 1953 a redesign of the Maico engines. The main dimensions were retained, the alternator has been integrated into the housing, the outer appearance was smoothed and remained almost unchanged in this form until the release of the five-speed models 22 years later. This type of engine (so-called " Maico- round engine") found in different displacement variants for use in motorcycles M 175, M 200 " beacon ", " Passat", M 175 S, M 200 S, "M 250 / M 277 Blizzard ", the scooters " Maicomobil MB 200 " and " Maicoletta " 175, 250 and 277 and in numerous sports machines. The top model of the 1950s was the " typhoon ", an innovative two-cylinder two -stroke engine, ³ with either 350 or 400 cm displacement. The 400 cc model made ​​22.5 hp at 5200 rev / min.

The car construction

Starting in 1954, the general interest in motorcycles in Germany eased, demand trended towards the automobile.

Like many other companies, such as Maico produced from 1955 to 1958 small-car models with all-steel body, water- Heinkel - two-cylinder two-stroke in-line engines 400 and 450 cc displacement with 15 or 18 hp. They reached top speeds of 80 or 90 km / h; the two-seat Model 400 H was prepared in total 3008 times, including at Maico as MC 400 / H in 783 copies.

More successful was in 1955 at the IAA presented four-seater Type MC 500 /4, of the 6301 piece for the price of 3665, - DM were produced. Only small series, however, experienced the combination model MC 500 G ( a total of 21 pieces, price: 4500, - DM), the four-seat model MC 400/4 and 110 km / h fast 20 -horsepower Model 500 Sport, which was produced by the end of 1957 ( only 4 pieces). Apart from the latter model is in these types only to the production continued the champion small car with some further developments.

Because of the declining interest in road bikes and the less successful small cars - episode set Maico now on terrain and motocross machines; sports equipment from the Maico enjoyed at this time a good reputation and were successful.

Production 1959-1966

From 1959 to 1961 Maico was able to deliver the military motorcycle model 250 M / B based on the Blizzard in a quantity of about 10,000 to the German Army and the Federal Border. The Model 250 M / B replaced the little terrain Triumph and DKW machinery previously used, with the work of internal political reason and due to the high number of items had to call on the help of the two-wheeler union in Nuremberg. The two-wheeler union mounted about a third of the machines produced; However Maico also provided for the created in Nuremberg motorcycles engine, tank, forks and hubs.

A new attempt in the field of street bikes mid-1960s seemed at first very successful. The 1966 published model MD 125 was 14.5 hp rated power at that time the most powerful production engine in its class. However, in Germany there was no market for motorcycles of this size, with Maico was hoped to corresponding paragraphs abroad.

1962 Maico bought by the development company OJR ( Oswald Joseph Rosamowski ) a completed certificate from a ring - disc brake is to utilize the weak production in winter with another business. The offered now Maico disc brake as a retrofit solution for cars should attract interested sports riders as customers. Maico offered conversion kits except for the VW 1200 and 1500 as well for the Porsche 356, the at Karmann Ghia and the Peugeot 404.

The big competition

1967 appeared in the chassis of the MD 125 is a moped ( a day in the Federal Republic no longer in use motorcycle class to 50 cc ) under the name MD 50, a model with rotary valve control. However, with this model Maico was unable to threaten the dominance of Kreidler, Zundapp and Hercules machines in this market segment, not least due to various manufacturing defect of the MD 50 adhered and could not be completely eliminated. So also prevented the then unusual six-speed gearbox (from 1972), the excellent chassis which by design rather low-maintenance engine and the reasonable in relation to its competitors purchase price is not that the MD 50 had a bad reputation. The MD 250, a 250 cc variant, most recently in the water-cooled version of MD 250 WK on the market, and the attempt of the built in the 1970s Maico RS 125 motorbike for road racing in larger quantity to sell brought Maico no commercial success. The up to 190 km / h RS 125 was offered until 1974, most recently for DM 6170.00, which corresponds to a current price of 8,700 euros.

An almost legendary reputation, however, had developed by Maico from the mid- 1960s road motorcycles that established the company's success through a variety of successes in motocross in the 1970s. Contrary to other statements, it is Maico not managed to win a motocross world championship title. Besides Åke Jonsson, Adolf Weil and Willy Bauer, Hans Maisch, the son of Wilhelm Maisch, one of the successful Maico factory rider.

Economic problems

According to economic problems - not least because of disputes within the family mashing - it came in the middle of the 1980s, the third bankruptcy, in which the family was finally dissolved.

In 1987, an industrial supplier Lorenz Merkle sen. the remains of the company, including the brand name. Former headquarters was in Nördlingen in Bavaria. Lorenz Merkle jun. began with a redesign of the Maico motorcycles, the innovations have included such as a diesel - powered two -rotor Wankel engine. Mid -1990s, Maico was sold to a Dutch company. 2010, the brand name of Merkle was resold.

Maico motorcycles today

According to a statement on its own website, the company two wheeler Köstler GbR in Leverkusen since 1999 in small numbers again motorcycles under the name Maico ago. In the current offering motocross, enduro and supermoto machines are ³ with water-cooled single-cylinder two -stroke engines 250-685 cm.