Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Maico MD250WK

Fri, June 24th, 2011

NOTE: The MD250WK was never sold outside Europe.

1978-1983 Maico MD250WK
The rotary-valve 250cc two-stroke single's respectable 27 HP could push the 290 lb. bike to nearly 100 MPH, but the engine vibrated annoyingly. The sub-par gearbox was balky and created a remarkable amount of driveline lash.
Despite skinny 32 mm tubes and a very basic steel swingarm, the MD250WK handled well, thanks to quality suspension parts all the way around: Marzocchi forks, Koni shocks and Brembo brakes with Magura master cylinders. Together, they may not have worked any better than Japanese components right off the showroom floor, but they lasted much longer.
For a small, narrow motorcycle, it's visually frumpy, with no impression of svelteness. Most components have a pretty crude and cobby appearance.
The water-cooled MD250WK was a last-gasp development of the air-cooled MD250, which was itself just a bored out 125. The result was over-stressed and fragile. The water pump was an especially slap-dash bit of engineering: it was prone to leak almost immediately and failed often.
The MD250WK had enough power to face freeway traffic, but it buzzed so bad at those speeds riders' hands and feet would go numb. Less than 500 were built while the parent company was heading into bankruptcy, so support is nil and many parts are nonexistent. Despite being maneuverable and handling easily, I would be hard-pressed to think of a worse day-to-day motorcycle.
The Maico was the storied company's last road bike. That fact is not enough of a draw to make me want one.
The MD250WK was both the pinnacle of Maico's street-bike development, and a perfect illustration of why they failed in the market.