Maico 250 WR Cross Country

 

 

 

Make Model

Maico 250 WR Cross Country

Year

1976

Engine

Single cylinder, two stroke

Capacity

247 cc / 15.1 cub in.

Bore x Stroke

67 x 70 mm

Cooling System

Air cooled

Compression Ratio

13.0:1

Oil Capacity

1 L / 2.1 US pints

Carburetor

Bing, 36 mm

Exhaust

Single

Ignition 

CDI Bosch

Starting

Kick

Max Power

25 kW / 34 hp @ 7300 rpm

Clutch

Multi-disc, wet

Transmission 

5-Speed

Final Drive

Chain

Gear Ratio

1st 29.22 / 2nd 21.27 / 3rd 16.18 / 4th 12.26 / 5th 9.80:1

Frame

Chrom Molybdän Rohr

Front Suspension

Maico fork with internal springs and HD 315 oil

Front Wheel Travel

191 mm / 7.5 in.

Rear Suspension

Swinging arm, Koni shock with adjustable rebound damping

Rear Wheel Travel

159 mm / 6.25 in.

Front Tyre

3.00 x 21 in., Metzeler

Rear Tyre

4.50 x 18 in., Metzeler

Rake 

31°

Trail

152 mm / 6 in.

Dimensions

Width:    876 mm / 34.5 in.

Wheelbase

1422 mm / 56 in.

Ground Clearance

241 mm / 9.5 in.

Seat Height

876 mm / 34.5 in.

Wet Weight

118 kg / 259 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

11L / 2.9 US gal

Review

Cycle World, February 1976

 

Maico's Primary involvement with the sport of motorcycling has centered around moto-cross for many years. . .and has proven quite impressive. But that singular focus has had a limiting effect on other areas of competition—such as enduros—which have seen little or no effort put into machine development for the U.S. market.

 

Although a substantial amount of input has been received from riders and machinery competing in European crosscountry and ISDT events, major development efforts at Maico have traditionally gone into motocross equipment, and, as we've already mentioned, the company is on the motorcycle map because of it. Yet ever so slowly the market has begun to cry out for Maico's version of an enduro machine. Not enduro as defined by Japanese terms. . .heavens no. What they wanted was a piece of serious off-road equipment for the serious off-road enthusiast; the same type of machine that Bultaco, Penton and others had been handing the American market for some time. And at last Maico began to listen, releasing in limited quantities machinery based around the precise handling and incredibly suspended motocrossers. They were nothing more than racers with enduro-legal lighting, wide-ratio gearboxes and larger fuel tanks. Just what the cross-country Maico lovers had been crying for. . .nothing more.

 

The "Qualifier" bikes, as they v/ere dubbed by U.S. distributors, weren't perfect, but they served as a good beginning. And it turned out handily that the venture was a success at just about the same time that Maico was debuting its new GP version MXers that boasted some of the most radical changes in years. The results of the "Qualifier" effort and the demand for it paved the way for a similar version of the GP machines. Enter the 250, 400 and 450 WR Cross Country machines. . .Maico's latest motocrossers with wide ratios and features for desert, enduro, qualifier, scrambles, trail and woods riders. At last the demand is being recognized for what it is.

 

Apparently the Maico organization listened carefully to the feedback from riders in the field as to how the new machine should be put together, because they started with the very same chrome-moly chassis from the latest GP motocrossers, exactly the right place to begin. All tubing members are chrome-moly, not just a few selected pieces, and paint finish is a silver-gray. Double downtubes split from the heavily reinforced and gusseted steering head area. From there they continue down to wrap under the engine unit, forming a cradle, then begin upwards again behind the powerplant. For extra rigidity, cross-bracing of these tubes is provided just in front of and under the engine. Tubing behind the engine forms triangles above the swinging arm pivot where it joins upper backbone and rear section framework.

 

Since the machine was built primarily for the purpose of running in endurance type events, where rock and log hazards are often encountered, some sort of underside protection was necessary. So Maico has included an unusual piece of tubing that bolts between both downtubes, forming the engine cradle. It's not a bad idea, but most riders we know will want to fit a really hefty skid plate that will serve to protect not only engine sidecases, but the expensive frame tubing, as well. We know by experience that it doesn't take too much of a whack on a rock to bash in frame tubing. . .and that's no good at all.

 

Keep in mind, also, if you plan to make a protective plate, that clearance will have to be provided for the swing-down centerstand, a feature that allows removal of either wheel without laying the machine on its side. And in case an owner isn't that crazy about the idea of a centerstand, brackets are already welded in place on the frame to fit the sidestand from the motocrosser.

 

Maico frame behavior would give indications that it is a fairly rigid structure. Yet, in fact, there is some engine movement in spite of three mounting locations and head stays. It floats a bit .at high engine rpm. That flex is more than permissable, and is even welcomed, since torque loads and vibrations are less likely to be transmitted to the rider. But where rigidity is needed, it is present, making the Maico's frame an example for others to follow. Wheelbase is 56 in., rake 31 degrees and trail a lengthy 6 in.

 

The swinging arm, also chrome-moly, is one of the longest found in motorcycledom. Flat bracing is welded to the top portion of the arm—required because of the far rearward location of the axle in relation to the lower rear shock mount location, which features three position locating holes. This arrangement, coupled with specially designed Koni Shocks, is good for about 7.5 in. of rear axle travel under full load. Those kind of figures can give a rider plenty of confidence in high-speed terrain crossing.

 

New style Maico forks have gone from external to internal springs, and lost a feature important to an endurance rider. . .rubber fork slider covers. These aren't a necessity by any means, but a nice feature just the same.

 

The new forks are unbelievably tough, featuring 8 in. of usable travel. The front axle is offset forward and adjusts for an ideal amount of trail when the forks are compressed. This also allows for long and strong fork leg castings. Aluminum triple clamps are designed to mount the forks close to the frame's steering head, which keeps things in alignment up front. Sliders are alloy and stanchions are hard chrome; fork seals leak profusely. Though the new units work superbly, we have mixed emotions about their advantages over the old style units, for the endurance riding application, at least. For motocross it may be a different story. In high-speed, West Coast enduros of the desert variety, the new forks have their advantages. Kind of a trade-off.

 

Metzeler four-ply tires are used at both ends, and, again, we had mixed emotions. In our West Coast enduros, we'd prefer a smaller rear tire, say a 4.00, as opposed to the 4.50 the machine comes with. And up front we'd like a larger 3.50 rather than the stock 3.00. Reason? Just our sandy terrain. The 4.50 is a tad hard to get spinning in the soft stuff with the 250 engine, and the front tire tends to plow a bit. Change to harder terrain and the "as equipped" tires are fine, but all riders have their own preferences. Metzelers do work well under a wide variety of conditions, but they are expensive.

 

Alloy conical hubs are beautiful and strong. Brake action is a big improvement over that on earlier Maicos. Resistance to water is average, though recovery time is a little slow. Nine-gauge spokes attach to ridgeless Akront rims, an improvement over previous steel units. Many riders, however, will still wind up switching to the stronger D.I.D. rims, which aren't available in Europe as original equipment for manufacturers.

 

Wheel removal is fast and easy, thanks to the centerstand we mentioned earlier. But to keep the stand from flopping down when riding, we suggest attaching it to the frame with a rubberband cut from an old inner tube, since the return spring isn't strong enough to do the job.

Fenders and airbox are now of unbreakable plastic molded in bright yellow, as is the right-side airbox cover/number plate. There is no provision for mounting a number plate on the left side of the bike, since the high-mounted exhaust system is in the way. The machine is delivered with a front-plate if ordered without the optional lighting kit. To simplify things, you might want to fit a Preston Petty Headlight/Numberplate combination. Fenders are okay as long as the going doesn't get too sloppy. Then, larger fenders would be a good idea.

 

The airbox draws air from under the extremely lightweight seat, which unbolts quickly to reveal the Twin-Air filter element, one of the best. Holes are drilled in the airbox to let water out should it enter, but we'd opt for sealing the holes and protecting the intake area a bit with duct tape.

 

Footpegs are new and vastly improved over the older types. The spring-loaded folding units are amply sturdy and can be easily replaced if damaged. But smooth-soled boots and water might render them too slippery; we still find it hard to beat Bultaco footpegs in this respect. Footpeg placement is just right, high enough to miss most obstacles, but not high enough to put the rider's knees in his face.

A chain guide is standard equipment, but some riders may want to fit a chain tensioner. Maico has also provided a replaceable plastic wear pad over the area where the chain crosses the swinging arm, an excellent touch. But the sidecase should be cut away more near the primary sprocket to allow better access in case of chain loss. In timed events such as enduros and qualifiers, minutes saved here and there can make all the difference in the world when the scores are tabulated.

 

The 250WR a very simple and workable engine unit. There's nothing exotic here, just uncomplicated porting: one intake, two transfers and a bridged exhaust port. Port timing is identical to the motocrossers', but the ports are narrower. Bore and stroke is 67 x 70 mm, for an overall displacement of 247cc. Fuel recommended is pre-mixed Bel-Ray MC-1 at 55 or 60 to 1. The mix is drawn through a Bing 36mm carburetor, which has to be tickled whenever the engine is cool. Access to the carb is cramped on the right side and completely blocked by the pipe on the left. The piston is a forged Mahle using one Dykes ring. The compression ratio is 13:1, uncorrected. Caged needle bearings support both ends of the rod and the crank is ultra hefty. Primary drive is via a duplex chain; and new this time around is a much needed five-speed gearbox.

 

Once a rider can get his or her hand around the ridiculously wide clutch lever (giant hands are a must), they'll find that clutch pull is stiff. . .a muscle builder, in fact. We changed the handgrips immediately, and would get rid of the clutch and brake levers just as quickly were the machine our own. Not one person on our staff could reach them easily. The VDO speedo unit is optional and was almost spot-on accurate. The mount for the speedo is nice and the latest in VDO units has a new easier-to-reach stem on the side for resetting the tripmeter.

 

Power delivery was slightly disappointing on the grunt side of the scale. The revs have to be up some on this one before it begins pulling decently. It's only a drawback if the rider isn't paying attention to what gear the bike is in; a rider on top of the situation won't be bothered. Mid-range and upper end are better, and the machine will get it on with the best of the 250s. With a few personal touches, an owner could have the powerband suited to his liking in short order.

 

Another gripe that is worsened by the lack of strong low-end power is a rather heavy front end. With so much weight forward, elevating the front wheel without effort is impossible. The rider has to be in precisely the right gear and do some tugging on the bars to get that front end sailing.

 

The real joy of a Maico WR lies in the suspension and incredible steering precision. It goes where the rider thinks it to. Very little effort is required to change lines or point the machine in a different direction. A slight shift of weight, a touch of body English. . .and you're there. With more low end and a different pipe, it'd be real close to the ultimate. As it stands, it's a good enduro bike for good riders in difficult events with fast schedules. A few minor touches could dial in the WR to suit any owner's needs almost perfectly. One can't ask for much more than that.