1981 Maico 490 Mega 2 – $20,000 SOLD

SELLER SAYS: In 1981, the Maico 490 was considered the best big-bore bike on the track, and in subsequent years one of the greatest motocross bikes of all time. This Maico 490 was originally from the USA, sold in Nevada, then went to Texas where it was raced for some time in local events. The bike was then sold to a collector and ended up in a collection in Casper Wyoming where I purchased it back in 2019. It has the following aftermarket parts fitted to it by the previous owner: Ohlins rear shock gassed and upgraded with Noleen suspension tech for previous owners set up but he never rode the bike. Bike is fitted with a Mikuni carb but the original Bing carb also comes with bike. RST front chain guard fitted, RST rear brake pedal fitted, MOR expansion chamber and PRF silencer fitted. After-market stator and engine mount bracket fitted, black Takasago rims fitted with Bridgestone Battlecross 100/18-64m tires fitted to the rims, aftermarket chain guide fitted. Contact Dean on 0450 xxx xxx SOLD (Adelaide, Sth Aust.)

EDITOR’S COMMENT: Several years ago, The Bike Shed Times sat down and created a list of the then-top ten affordable investment bikes on the market. It was a good list and has proven to have been on the money, at least for the main. We had no intention of including off-road bikes on our list, but there was just one dirt bike we couldn’t ignore — the 1981 Maico 490 Mega  2. Dean’s comment quite rightly points out that the big Maico was the best big-bore MXer of its era, and has gone on to be considered by many (including us) as the greatest dirt bike of all time. Those two points alone make it a great bike to ride in VMX or to add to any collection — but wait, there’s more. The significance of the 1981 model was as much about what happened next; when it all went to poo. In 1981, almost all the big bike brands switched from twin rear shocks to a single-shock setup. The folks inside Maico (the Maisch family) decided Maico needed to follow suit, so for 1982 they redesigned what had been one of the greatest rear suspension set-ups of all time, in a bid to keep up with the fashion of the day. It didn’t work. In fact, it was a disaster. Not only was the engineering design imperfect, but the chosen shock absorber wasn’t up to the job. New stresses from the new geometry caused frames to crack. Then rear hubs started to fail in big numbers, and transmissions too. Maico was swamped by warranty claims and legal action. The damage to reputation was immense, and the company plummeted into the red — and never recovered. In the 1981 Mega 2, the company created a masterpiece and its dominance has never been bettered or forgotten. Learn more here.