Best Vintage Motocross Bike

Updated on April 4, 2022

Some of the most beautiful motorcycles ever made their debut during the fast-paced decade of the 1970’s, as dirt bike technology advanced at a breakneck pace.
Who doesn’t enjoy the look of vintage motorcycles? I squander an inordinate amount of time on it. They are like to puppies; you want to play with each one. They’re all adorable, but none are cuter than your own favourite. As such, I forgive you if my vintage dirt bike selections differ from your own.
Every adolescent fantasised of being Marty Smith and riding the fire engine red Chevrolet Corvette.

Today’s dirt bikes share one feature: aside from colour, they all appear pretty similar. We played a prank on Destry Abbott a few years back at the Baja Beach Bash. We removed all the plastic from his Kawasaki and switched it with a Honda in the middle of the night. We were astounded at how well the Honda components suited the Kawasaki. Destry had to look among the 60 motorcycles parked at the hotel in the morning to locate his. Once he discovered it, he was still perplexed by the eerie resemblance.

Given that technology drives design, it’s logical that today’s bikes are so identical. However, 40 years ago, the path of technology remained unknown. Manufacturers were still figuring things out, which resulted in a wide variety of attractive designs. This era produced some of the most beautiful motorcycles of all time.

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SLED TRIUMPH 650 DESERT

Yes, they were heavy, but they did not handle poorly. If you remove some of the additional weight and replace the rear shocks with a decent set, you could end up with a pretty dang fantastic ride. And, make no mistake, the thing happened quickly. Take a ride on just about any quality Triumph 650 Desert Sled. You’re likely to leave wishing this was one of your own motorcycles. They weighed around 350 pounds in original form, but that two-cylinder 650cc engine produced a respectable amount of horsepower. And if you’re lucky enough to have straight pipes fitted with megaphones, the loudness was unmatched.

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HUSKY 400 1974

Here is a vintage motorcycle that was not only visually appealing with its chrome tank, but was also light and powerful. It possessed an enormous amount of low- and mid-range power, and a well-spaced gearbox provided the rider with everything he need. Additionally, the bike was narrow and pleasant to sit on. After a few hours on this bike, you’ll wonder why anyone would spend money on a brand-new four-stroke something or other.

MAICO 501

This was the first of the racing bikes to be made available to the general public. When it was introduced in 1973, it felt quite similar to a 400 Maico, but with a little bit of tweaking, it could be transformed into a true monster. It remained a relatively light bike, only a few pounds heavier than a 400. However, it also drove straight, turned effortlessly, and was quite forgiving, particularly at high speeds through sand whoops. Additionally, it was quite reliable; it was not uncommon for riders to get a full year’s use out of a set of rings.

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MAICO 490

This one is not quite as vintage as others. When the 490 Maico was introduced in 1981, it was immediately heralded as the greatest dirt bike ever built. To this day, a large number of people continue to say that. The ’81 model featured a twin-shock suspension and more pure horsepower than anyone imagined conceivable. Ignore 1982. That year, the bike was issued with a dreadful single shock suspension system, which resulted in a large number of motorcycles breaking. Indeed, 1982 marked the beginning of Maico’s demise. Personally, I owned many 1981s and a 1983 with a massive Mikuni carburetor. It smoked every modern four-stroke engine thrown at it. I sold that bicycle a year ago and now regret it.

P11 NORTON

Not only was this four-stroke British twin cylinder an excellent performer, it was also one of the most gorgeous motorcycles ever built. Period. If you ever have the opportunity to ride one in its pure desert configuration, take it! You will have a paradigm-shifting event. The exhaust note, pure power from idle to top speed, and handling are comparable to those of a bike weighing 50 pounds less.

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