The settling in process: Building a bike is only the first stage, you’ve to make it work after that.

Hopefully many of you will recall the Can-Am project we did in these pages a few years back.

I made no secret of it at the time that it impressed me in several ways, not in the least as to how it performed once it was up and running. To be honest a Can-Am wasn’t the first choice of motorcycle that sprung to mind when my bluff was called and there was a small budget available to buy and rebuild an enduro bike.

But as the budget was so small all thoughts of exotica were quickly dismissed and the Can-Am met the brief and met it so well I liked the idea of owning one myself, so I bought a pile of bits. Without the impetus of meeting a magazine deadline my own build was a leisurely thing and it often had to be put to one side as other things took precedence – but eventually it was built into a running machine and used in an enduro last year.

There were a couple of issues with it. I’d loosely assembled the Bing carburettor to fit in place while other things were measured and had forgotten to tighten the jet block properly. Throughout the weekend fuel consumption rose alarmingly though the bike ran well right up until the jet block dropped out and it stopped running.

Bike stripped
Problem is with a Can-Am in order to do anything to the carburettor almost all of the bike has to be stripped from the front mudguard back. Okay, a slight exaggeration but the tank and seat have to come off and the exhaust system too and that’s just if the throttle cable needs changing. Sure enough with the carburettor off and stripped, there was the jet block sitting in the float bowl and needing only a few seconds with a spanner to refit it securely… plus half a day to reassemble the bike.

Now one of the things that had been suggested for the project bike was a longer swinging arm from the Qualifier model. It’s only an inch longer but an extra inch can make a difference. In this case there is a little more straight line stability, plus the rear suspension has a better angle and an easier life.

There wasn’t the scope to do this on the project bike but for my own machine I wanted a few upgrades so a Qualifier swinging arm went in, Hagon sorted out rear dampers which were a little longer, 20mm seems to stick in my mind without consulting the notebook. Of course altering one thing affects other areas too and now the rear brake rod was too short for comfort.

It connects up and the nut goes on but a longer one will be needed really but that’s not a major problem. I’d realised moving the rear wheel back even as little as an inch might allow the knobbles on the tyre to catch the edge of the standard – military green – rear guard so with the bike up on the bench and suspension units removed I lowered the workshop stand until the mudguard rested on the tyre. Yes, it was close and a Qualifier guard would be better but it did clear and I wasn’t expecting the units to compress that much anyway so all was well for Vinduro Hot Trod 2016.

However I’d forgotten about the slight flex or whip in the end of a guard, especially one with an ex-army tail-light fitted. Seriously these things are so big they could almost be used as emergency shelters and they’re weighty too. I’d also not taken into account what would happen when landing from a jump with something my weight on the saddle.

More damaged
I actually heard the crunch over the noise of the engine as tyre met mudguard and mudguard came off worst and as the day went on it just got more damaged until all that was holding it together was the thick rubber number plate mount.

The tail-light was lost in the wood section though a German friend – Thomas Haak – over for the event mentioned he saw it flying free but then someone ran over it. Suffice to say the guard is now in the rubbish bin.

The Qualifier swinging arm is slightly different to the T‘n’T original one in a couple more ways too. It doesn’t have a side stand mount as standard though thanks to some fancy filing by me and some fancy welding, not by me, it does now.

It is also wider at the wheel spindle end and the original wheel doesn’t fit as neatly. Obviously the chain has to line up and this is the deciding factor as to where the wheel sits in the swinging arm and the gaps either side are made up with distance pieces or as has been for the past year… a lot of washers. Not any more though, a nice piece of alloy tube was purchased at Newark Autojumble and some careful work with my small Hobbymat lathe and there is now a distance piece of the correct size in place. See, it’s just a matter of development.

Tim

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