Location: Ontario, Canada
Rewind to 1984, I was 11 years old. My father was taking me to see a few dirtbikes that were for sale since he had promised me a dirtbike for my birthday.. The first one was a 77 Honda XL 175, the other was a 1980 Yamaha Yz80 and the 3rd was this big orange thing called a 1981 Can-Am Qualifier 175, that was the very first time I had seen or heard of a “can-am” motorcycle… I test drove the Honda(Nice easy smooth running bike), the YZ didn’t want to start and the Can-Am sounded too intimidating to me so I never wanted to try it, had that high strung 2 stroke sound that scared me.. I was 11 and a total newbie with dirtbikes! He decided to get me the Honda since he thought the Can-am was too much for my first bike, probably a good thing that he was a responsible Dad. I rode that Honda forever it seemed like..
Growing up as a kid I would hear the older guys talking about Can-Ams and their incredible power but never had the chance to actually see one in action. Until one day I encountered a 1980 MX6 250(ironic that I own one of these now) on the trail.. At that time I was riding an old Honda 83 Cr125 which to me was fast. When that guy on his Can-am pulled up beside me on that stone road I looked over and nodded then burried the throttle thinking I was going to walk this guy with ease.. Man I was Wrong.. All I remember was him hitting the throttle, I could hear that Rotax engine turn on and a split second later I was being riddled with stones to the point where I had to slow right down.. Open face helmets were terrible for that.. That bike took off like a missle, I had no chance on catching him at all. First Encounter with a Can-Am and I got schooled.
Over the years I had kind of forgotton about these bikes, they were always known to people as “bikes you can’t get parts for” which isn’t the case these days. About 8 years ago a good friend of mine called me to help him tune up this old MX bike he got for real cheap, when I arrived I found him standing there next to an old 78 MX370.. I couldn’t believe it, I thought “awesome!” That’s what sparked my interest back up for these bikes.. So fast forward 8 more years and here I am with 3 Can-ams. They’re great bikes! With sites like VintageParts 4 U in Ontario Canada, RTRmoto and Tony Murhpy in the U.S you can get anything for these bikes. It’s really not any harder getting parts for these these bikes than it is a japanese Honda or Yamaha.. The hardest part is waiting for the parts to arrive..
I spend a lot of my free time riding trails and Motocross Tracks.. The tracks are a good place to go to sharpen your riding skills.. The handling and braking on these bikes aren’t like the modern bikes but power wise they can run with any of them.. These bikes are timeless classics.. Thanks to Chris for a website that other Can-Am enthusiasts like myself can share pics and stories.