Dirt feature: 1982 Maico 490GS-News & Reviews-Motorcycle Trader

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Maico GS 490

13 Jun 2013 | Back in ’82, Geraint Jones rode Maico 490GS to victory in the Enduro Championship — a to a time when enduros truly a test of endurance, and bikes were ferocious but machines…

Words: Jonathan

Back in the early 1980s, German-built Maico 490 Mega 2 was a weapon. It ruled motocross, and in the of enduro great Geraint this particular 490 ruled This bike is, then, the ‘GS’ variant, and on top of that a works example.

It won the 1982 Enduro Championship and it was regular in the then European (now Enduro Championship.

Roll Out The

“It’s a works bike,” Geraint’s brother Gareth, who the master’s bikes back “But I’d say there wasn’t a lot of to the customer bike. The biggest was they’d put a good barrel on it. By I mean one with a good, bore – something they risk on the production bike, uncertain maintenance,” he adds.

Geraint underlines the benefit. advantage of the good barrel was you could run a much tighter and so make good and strong, power,” he says.

“But wasn’t much else by way of resumes Gareth. “The spindles were hollow, for They had a special set-up a short torque arm and quick-release rod that would help it came to tyre changes. The were magnesium and the steering was aluminium, as against the steel of the bike.

I never felt was anything on the bike that the rider couldn’t make a of and fabricate for himself,” he adds.

Not that the average punter, bought a production 490 Maico in was necessarily looking for more Weighing a claimed 103kg and around 41.2kW (56hp), bike wasn’t just a back then – it still is

“It’s incredibly light, you can’t believe,” smiles “You jump on it and you can’t the front wheel down it’s so powerful, so torquey. The wheel was in the air all the time. I think a lot of have a shock if they a good one of these today.

“If you apply the knowledge we have now suspension, and if they had disc you’d be surprised just how they’d be – especially if we were on like the old-fashioned tracks, fewer jumps. And we’d be more fun!”

A regular 450-beater is the Jones brothers’ Of course, talking of power, and all that gets us away another important attribute of Maico we could very learn from today – its

It’s an air-cooled engine so are no radiators or plumbing issues. The 40mm carburettor is controlled by the one cable. If it becomes affected by you can have the float bowl off in a as it’s retained by a single clip.

It’s a far cry from offerings, says Gareth.

“It me mad today when you see the complexity of carbs; the number of screws, let the amount of bodywork you need to to do the same job that took one on the Maico,” he says.

Geraint “It’s true; they’ve got a lot complicated than they to be,” he says. “You at the Maico and it’s so basic, so that anyone could on it – you don’t need to be a genius as not much there to go wrong.

Maico GS 490
Maico GS 490

“You only needed a of spanners and screwdrivers to pull it – I think the only specialist you needed was a puller to take the off. Now, we’ve forced into the four-… by the emissions argument. Bikes are much more complex.

“We argue we’ve progressed, by going the way of single-shock suspension, but we’ve got bigger holes as a and we’ve destroyed the countryside more as a result, haven’t we? a vicious circle.”

Now if this like a couple of bench remembering the old times viewed rose-coloured spectacles, remember talk of progress was just as back in the 1980s as it is now.

“It was an awesome bike,” says “Although we felt – even – that its predecessor, the 440, was the best enduro bike; the 400 before that had been too with not enough torque, the 440 remained quite revvy but had enough torque.

“And then the 490 came with too much power. We doing all kinds of things to it smoother – like the long as you can see. At that time we thinking ‘this is too much!’”

works Maico 490GS is, a monument. To the great long-lap that it and its rider enjoyed – through the British land that followed. A monument, to the robust, simple machine a rider could take armed with just a a shifter and some lock (and, of course, a spare

Quite possibly it marked the of the true enduro bike.

The Man Behind the Machine

Sixty-year-old Jones hails from Wales, where – along his sons – he runs a cattle and Yamaha-backed enduro and adventure school. From 1979 to he was the undisputed king of British racing, winning 10 British – at a time when an enduro a single 250km loop often atrocious conditions. He contested 12 International Six Day Enduros, eight gold medals and silver medals, and claimed positions in the European Enduro (the precursor to today’s Enduro Championship).

1982 490GS

Maico GS 490
Maico GS 490
Maico GS 490

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