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Can-Am bikes, stories?

smb_racing

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Jul 31, 2000
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#1
anytime I ask anyone in vintage racing about Can-Am they always seem to have great stories about these high horsepower yet ill handling bikes, although mine isn't considered vintage ('84 ASE) it's still a great conversation piece, I'm currently engaged in a time consuming rebuild which is unlike any other I've experienced, it's really interesting how this bike was ahead of (and in some cases behind) it's time. I was kind of wondering if anyone else had some stories about these bikes, also I was considering an older project bike (late to mid 70's MX-3 or MX-6).

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Jeff-
'84 Can-Am ASE 250 (brutally fast rat bike)
'93 Kawasaki KDX200 (bored 40 over, FMF pipe, A-Loop suspension)
 
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#2
I had a 1979 Can Am 250. Ill temperd beast. Lost more flesh on this bike than all my other bikes combined (9). It was my first dirt bike, so I shouldn't rag on it. Good motor in a bad chassis.

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2001 KDX 220
 

Shaw520

Damn Yankees
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May 14, 2000
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#3
I had a 74' Can-am 175, same deal, powerful motor with alot of tourge and screaming top end, in a chassis that would be better suited to a small army tank.
I finally siezed it up, and after taking it apart, I found the rotary valve imbedded into the engine cases. It went to the scrap yard in a basket after that one.
 

smb_racing

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#4
I decided my Can-Am would look unlike any other people had seen, which not many people had ever seen one so it was simple, I took the bike completely apart, painted the frame sort of a dark red color, clear coated it with hi-temp ceramic clear coat, looked exceptionally good, but the bad part was right after I did that the motor seized, so my project remains unfinished, I had visions of putting on an '85 ASE seat cover which is red with white Can-Am lettering and all black plastic, will look nice if I ever finish it
here are a few photos
http://albums.photopoint.com/j/AlbumIndex?u=1429550&a=10769107

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Jeff-
'84 Can-Am ASE 250 (brutally fast rat bike)
'93 Kawasaki KDX200 (bored 40 over, FMF pipe, A-Loop suspension)
 
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#5
my Can-Ams did not quailfy as vitange. I had an '86 560 Sonic, '87 250 ASE. Both bikes were very fast but not quick. My 250 was geared so wide that you could plonk real slow and It took me a case repair to find out it was a 6 speed. The 560 was the same. Most mx tracks were a 3rd gear only all day race.

The dumbest move I ever made was selling them. If you ever get to ride an atk, you know exactly what they were like.

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A psyclemaniac who will race anything
 
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Shaw520

Damn Yankees
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#6
smb, Checking out your photos sure brings back memories of my Can-am days, I think it is very cool to restore one of these rare beasts. Your right, the engines seem to have been way ahead of their time, and parts of the chassis's were behind the times. But these motors made very impressive power, and I think that is what made them desirable.
Roost On !!
 

smb_racing

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#7
for an old bike mine didn't run badly at all, I was fairly impressed by it's power and simple design (I could do the top end on it in 15-20 minutes) no powervalves but yet this weird rotary valve on the intake, no reeds on this model as there were on the Can-Am 390's and 400's, actually mine didn't handle too teribly either, the previous owner jacked the forks up in the clamps to make the bike shorter as it has a really high seat height, this resulted in some headshake up around 5th or 6th gear, seat is hard as a rock though, after I finally get up the nerve to fix the motor it'll be good as new, my friends keep telling me to take the motor and make it into a go-cart though, but that'll never happen (although it would be sweet).

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Jeff-
'84 Can-Am ASE 250 (brutally fast rat bike)
'93 Kawasaki KDX200 (bored 40 over, FMF pipe, A-Loop suspension)
 

rda

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Jun 20, 2000
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#8
i used to have a can am 500, not sure what year, it had a mono shoch and drum brakes.

one time the piston skirt broke, i checked around and a new one was going to cost $300. i took it to a machinist and he squared the edges on it and welded the cracks. now it was missing about a 1/2 inch on the intake side, which changed the porting making it even faster!! the bike was still running good, but in those days my maintenance techniques were poor and the neglected rear wheel bearings shattered and destroyed the hub. at that point i gave up on her and sold the bike to the dealer i had been getting parts from.
he said he was going to sell the engine to a guy to use in an ultralight.

that bike was a death trap, all that power, and the brakes wouldn't even lock the rear wheel.
 

smb_racing

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#9
hello rda,
man I haven't seen this thread in months, thought maybe okie had taken it out with the trash ;)
good story about your 500, in my operators manual for my ASE (yep an original operators manual) it has some info on the 500MX model. One of the more interesting things I noticed was this
CAUTION: Due to its larger bore, special attention must be brought to the 500MX engine break-in procedure.
 
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#10
I had a 1978 MX-4 250. I got it from a dealer that sold ski-doos in the winter and was only open from 6-9pm cause he had another job. It was a second hand bike belonging to the only pro in our area and it was worked. I rode it in the dark and pulled the front end up in 4 gears and bought it for $500. For an extra $100 I got a matching set of Can-Am leathers,jersey and an open face helmet. We are talking factory! It had a fork extension kit and Works shocks to give it 12" of travel. Stock was 9.8". It was evil......... but it was cool. I still have the scar on my side were the pipe burned a hole in me when it fell on me in a muddy corner and I was trapped underneath it. I raced 6 motos on it and finished 2. I managed 4 holeshots(this bike was way fast). I remember the adjustable steering head and the Marzocchi forks. It was orange 20 years before orange was cool. I remember changing the tranny oil and loosening the bolt and ....boing...wrong bolt...and the kickstarter would hang limp. And the kick starter was on the left. You got off and kicked it side saddle. It had a square edge on the gas tank and I hit my nuts on it 100 times. It had the ugliest Super Trapp type silencer in the world. It had cool Sun rims with spikes on the inside of the rim to pop your tube and hold the tire when you gassed it. And speaking of gas, it had a Bing carb that you primed instead of choked. I remember the night before a race my friend was picking me up and he came over and I had the cases split and he said "your not going are you". We went and he raced the first moto and I raced his bike in the second moto. Thanks Frank. I wanted to be a motocross star more than life itself. Later that year a good friend, Billy Watson, died in a racing accident in Ohio. The bike got sold and motocross was forgotten. 20 years later I went to the Anaheim Supercross and watched Ernesto Fonseca win on a 4-stroke and something clicked. I sold my street bike 2 days later picked up a 250f and put on Billy's racing number #775. It was fate. We both got a second chance....
 
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SFO

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#11
Eddies Evergreen Marina.
The local Ski-Doo dealarship in Oshkosh Wisconsin.
I remember the MX-6 250 someone traded in there.
W0W!!!
I must have been 11-12 years old.
It looked tricker than I could percieve.
Orange.
Proud.
Wow!
Later on, about ten years later, I bought a Moto-morini from the guy who bought the MX-6 from Eddy.
We both remember seeing that bike for the first time.
Thanks for reminding me off that experience.
Bill
 
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#12
One of my friends had a new 125 Can Am back in 74 (owned a Steen before). Great bike. We used to get him to jump off the manure ramp at our friends dairy farm for fun. Almost a 10+ vertical drop off an extremely slippery surface. Great entertainment for a bunch of eighth grade country bumpkins with too much time on their hands. I had a Kaw 100 with a "Bill Wirges" pipe. I didn't try the jump but it sure was good training trying to keep up with that little rocket.

My brother in law bought a 250 Can Am. Either 74 or 75. It was the easiest bike in the world to ride wheelies on. Lots of power to keep that front end up. He is currently in the process of getting the bike running. Can't waite to ride it again. Maybe he will even let me ride it in a vintage race:) .
 
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#13
my can-am

Hey guys I am new to this stuff . I need of some help. I got my hands on a 1980 can-am mx6 400 . It. In great shape needs a little love but everything is there all stock . But I just have had very little luck finding any info on this bike can some please help and point me to the right place or people thanks flypro111:
 
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