Motocross

Wilcomoto 500 – Best of British?

Wilcomoto 500 – Best of British?

The Wilcomoto 500 is an extremely rare and fully British built machine from the early 1980s and a bike that was destined for big things in the motocross world although somehow it never made the impact that was originally predicted…

The Wilcomoto Motorcycle Company was established around 1979 and this bike was the brainchild of the Wilcox family – father Tom and his three sons Steve, Mike and Brian.

From their hometown of Hereford, the Wilcox family had been heavily involved in the motocross scene for many years and were also very accomplished racers and intuitive engineers.

There was absolutely nothing they couldn’t do when it came to the building, repairing, and upgrading all manner of off-road motorcycles.

When they first began designing, manufacturing and marketing this bike almost every single part was made in-house.

This particular bike was #11 off the production line with literally only a very small number of machines ever made during the company’s very short existence.

The Wilcomoto 500 is very unique in that it uses copious amounts of the weight-saving material magnesium in its construction and this precious metal was used in abundance to keep the overall weight to a minimum.

The rear shock and reservoir, top and bottom triple clamps, bottom of both fork legs, engine crankcases, front brake calliper and front and rear brake hubs were all manufactured from the stuff and were totally refurbished.

The machine was totally rebuilt by classic bike builder Keith Ree who restored it for its current owner Terry Pickering.

Wilcox Engineering’s main objective when producing this bike was to give the motocross world a different option to the many models that were flooding the UK at the time from Japanese companies like Honda, Kawasaki and Yamaha.

This bike was an excellent entry-level motorcycle for the would-be Open class racer and costing £1,750 in 1982 it was a highly-competitive price compared to lower-spec equivalent motorcycles.

The word is that the Wilcomoto factory, unfortunately, suffered a major fire around 1984 not long after this 500 went into production and the subsequent damage razed the entire building to the ground.

Many of the remaining machines and the high-class CNC tooling to produce the bikes were also destroyed to which end the Wilcomoto name then seemed to just fade away into obscurity before it even had a chance to make its impact on the motocross world.

Words & photos: Chris Montignani

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