Before the Can-Am…………………was the Bantam

Bombardiers first foray into dirt bikes was with rebadged Garelli’s. In 1971 they introduced three models – the Junior Cross which was identical to the Garelli model with the exception of the Bombardier tank decal.  The Trail and Cross models were based on the Broncco mini bike, but came in unique orange and yellow colours respectively.

I’ve been after a Cross mini bike for a while (no I don’t why) and when I spotted a complete bike on Canada EBay, I just had to buy it. Problem was it was 5,000 miles away. Jason of 219 Cycle Salvage went out of his way to assist, with an offer to crate and help with the shipping. Rod Taylor of Pack & Send Newbury joined in the madness with an offer to ship it. Once we got DHL to act (very poor service), the bike enjoyed a personal flight to the UK.

Its now been disassembled and spread through the country as various people undertake the powder coating, blasting, painting, part sourcing and rechroming. I hope to have it together for the Telford Show in February.

As there is very little information about these bikes, if you have one, drop me a line.

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Alloy Can-Am – sale, trade or lend?

The story of Fluff Brown’s alloy Can-Am is elsewhere on the site, but after a few months (which extended to two years!), the rebuild is now almost complete. I switched my mind halfway and decided that it would make a great pre-’74 MX bike.

What’s the future for it? Not sure but drop me a line if you fancy it. I continue to reduce my collection so always willing to discuss a possible sale or trade. And if the right person steps forward may even consider lending it for the next season.

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What a Lovely Pair

Paul from Lockport NY, recently sent me a couple of photos of some rather nice rebuilds. He added the following note:

I started on the bikes in the middle of December last year so they came a long way in 8 months, could not have done this with out E Bay, I think I am one of there gold customers.

A question on fuel tanks, the TNT has a NOS tank that I sealed the inside to hopefully keep it from yellowing, the MX tank I sealed the inside twice, epoxy primered then base coat - clear coated with urethane clear,let harden a month before applying decals. After I had gas in it a couple weeks, the decals started to bubble at the rear of the decals on both sides of tank, not the complete decal just 3-4 in at the rear. Can’t wrap my head around why that is happening after sealing inside of tank and painting outside.

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Old Karibou Racing – Philippe Vellas to race at the Hot Trod

The Captain of Old Kariboo Racing from France is Philippe Vellas, an ex top flight French enduro rider, will be making the trip to cold and wet Northumberland to race the Hot Trod. With 4 years with the French SWM team riding with Giles Lalay, his race record in the very tough and competitive French enduro championship includes: 1983 – 2nd on a Puch Frigeirio 250, 1982 – 5th on a SWM 125, 1981 – 2nd on a SWM 175 and 1979 – 9th on a BPS 125. During 1983 Philippe then moved to Husqvana for the next two years where he competed in the ’83 and ’84 ISDE.

Unfortunately a bad accident finished his racing career for over 20 years, until he discovered vintage enduro. And on his return what was his weapon of choice?, yep a 280 Can-Am Qualifier.

Philippe is now one of the leading competitors in the French vintage enduro championship, including a 3rd at the Auroux 2012. Not bad considering the two riders ahead of him were Laurent Pidoux and Frederique Olivier!

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The latest rebuild – the Canned-Ham Qualifier 175!

There comes a time when you turn 50 and decide that you really need a mid-life crisis. The result is an insanely expensive rebuild of a Qualifier II 175.

Big thanks to Ady Kent of Motax Restorations for taking on the project and despite my endless nagging and changing of mind, he persevered and delivered a superb rebuild. Other supporters of the project included Tony Murphy for the engine parts, Tony at DC Plastics for plastics, Trimmania for the seat, Martin at MotoSWM for headlight and Mark at Kamar for the YSS shocks.

The original bike was the first officially imported Can-Am into the UK and spent its early years at the hands of various dealers and trade shows trying to drum up sales and dealerships. Liberated from a shed from the the original importer, 30 years of damp meant a full rebuild, including a replacement NOS frame.

The midlife crisis demanded something different, so the custom seat, black wheels, MX plastics on a Qualifier, SWM headlight and the other modifications gave me a unique bike.  Soon to be seen being thrown down the track at the next vintage enduro event!

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