This is a 1979 Can-Am 250 air-cooled two-stroke with rotary-disc induction. This particular bike has had only two previous owners in its 39 years and has very low hours on it. Mostly original, it has sat outside for the past two years.
The original owner bought the bike to bring him hunting! As seen in the photos, there are two fins broken off the cylinder, apparently from hastily leaning the bike up against a rock to take aim at a moose!
In mostly original condition, it is in need of some TLC as the photos show. The wheel rims are from Sun Alloy and are still in very good condition.
These are very cool machines with Marzocchi 38mm damper-rod magnesium forks, magnesium crank cases and engine covers.
All the cycle parts are glass blasted, ready for refinishing. The engine cases are also ready but the cylinder and head are to be left in their alloy finish.
While I’m not a big fan of powder coating, I’ve decided to opt for that finish on the frame and cycle parts, as this is going to be a working dirt bike. The expansion chamber and silencer are in excellent condition and will be black ceramic coated.
The front and rear brake plates are magnesium along with the crank cases and engine covers. Very light and very cool!
I’ve found a used cylinder to replace the original with the broken fins. It will however need a rebore and new piston.
Now that the whole bike is completely stripped down, I will be getting all the fasteners zinc replated to restore the original finish.
All the “Pumpkin Orange” parts have now been re-finished along with the crank cases, engine covers and black parts. The chassis fasteners have also been returned from being zinc plated.
As time permits over the next few days, I should get to put together all the sub assemblies in readiness to build up onto the chassis.
There are still a few parts back ordered and the cylinder is at the shop to get rebored. All the engine internals are cleaned, inspected and bagged ready for assembly. All new engine & gearbox bearings and seals fitted. The seat is at the upholstery shop for recovering, due back in early November.
When all the parts are in hand and sub assemblies are built up, then I will assemble everything onto the chassis.
Lots of progress today on the Can-Am. All the sub assemblies are built up now ready to assembly to the frame. The new Michelin blackies are due at the shop on Friday……pity I’ll be on the road for the next few weeks, unable to spend time in the shop.
Now that all the chassis parts and sub-assemblies are ready, I’m fully expecting to have a rolling chassis by the end of the day. Unfortunately the cylinder is not yet back from being rebored, but the rest of the motor is set up and ready to install in the chassis.
The bench space that the Can-Am occupies is needed on Monday morning to move forward with the GPz 550, as that project needs to get finished within the coming week. There are some electrical issues with the GPz that have taken a long time to troubleshoot, but I’m hoping to resolve them and get the motor running before the weather fails.
The newly rebored piston was returned from the machine shop today. After checking the ring gaps, the chamfers on the ports were all checked and found to be good. The piston was fitted to the motor, then the squish band and compression were checked.
With the motor now complete in the frame, the fork oil was filled etc. Final checks and all chassis fasteners torque up.
Just waiting on the new rear fender to arrive along with the fork gaiters. The seat is due back from upholstery in the first week of November.
Now that the seat has been returned about a week earlier than expected, I think we can say that the Can Am is finished!
This has probably been the fastest nut & bolt restoration that I’ve ever done, 21 days since I tore it down.
This build was made up of a very tight pre-planning schedule which makes for an accelerated build time. All the glass blasting of cycle parts, engine & exhaust system was done in house before sending out for powder coating along with the chassis fasteners and components for being re-zinc plated. The parts inventory was ordered and delivered promptly. Cylinder boring completed in advance of schedule and the seat was re-upholstered and returned a week earlier than expected.
Big thanks to the following suppliers for their enthusiasm and help on this build:
- Glenn & Michelle Grier
- Impact Coatings
- Centennial Plating
- Echo Cycle
- Mots Machining
- Volker Urban
- DC Plastics
Still to find are a few minor parts including: “250” & “MX5” fork decals, OEM tool kit & mounting kit (almost unobtainium) and a chain guide block.
Today, I received fork decals in the mail for the MX-5. These were made from drawings I supplied to my friends Kevin & Clodagh Bedford in Limerick, Ireland. Clodagh is the owner/operator of her own graphics business in Limerick. The original graphics for the MX-5 are NLA, but the graphics Clodagh produced are highest quality, finished with a UV laminate to protect from the elements of the weather.
I can’t speak highly enough about the service and enthusiasm that both Clodagh and Kevin brought to the finishing touches to the Cam-Am project and I highly recommend their services for any NLA, obscure or off the wall graphics needed to finish off any motorcycle project, custom, original or otherwise.
In closing, Kevin & Clodagh are not just suppliers to the trade & our sport, they are also hardcore motorcycle enthusiasts who own more than a few solo motorcycles along with a Kawasaki ZX11-powered sidecar outfit for taking their little girls on motorcycle trips as well.
Gotta love that!
Lastly, today I got the swing arm back from getting re-powder coated after welding on a fitting for a side stand. This stand and fitting is from a Can-Am Qualifier which I welded onto my own swingarm. It’s a nice addition to the bike and makes for a much easier time moving the bike around and while out on the trails.