Can Am Bombardier - Twin
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Can Am Bombardier D2-492-21-20
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 500
Model : Twin
Production : 1976 - 1976
Category : (R) Street Bike


500 Can-Am -1976

No business like snow business

The huge Bombardier industrial group is one of the world's biggest manufacturers of snowmobiles; engines are supplied by its Austrian subsidiary, Rotax. In 1973, Bombardier's Canadian factory at Valcourt decided to enter the motorcycle market and its Can-Am 125 and 250 sparked a real revolution in American off-road circles.

Rotary Inlet Valve

The prototype appeared on Canadian racetracks in 1975 and used an unorthodox power unit. It was a compact horizontal twin designed for snowmobiles by Rotax; it developed 60-85 hp in standard and racing tune. Its most original feature was a rotary intake valve mounted above the gearbox and driven by a train of gears. The biggest task in converting the engine for motorcycle use was replacing its automatic transmission by a fivespeed box. The engine was suspended from a girder frame and its compact dimensions allowed the fuel tank to be housed under the saddle on the road version; the dummy tank served as a luggage box.

Killed by the Anti-Smog Lobby

The definitive roadgoing version appeared in 1976 and was so full of promise that public opinion saw Bombardier as a potential challenger to the Japanese. But the antipollution

laws decided otherwise. They banned this 500 in the United States from 1980 and Bombardier wisely decided to halt production after scarcely four years rather than make the huge investment that would have been necessary to comply with the regulations.


Engine: 500cc twin-cylinder two-stroke

Power Rating: 65-80 hp

Valves: single gear-driven rotary valve

Fuel System: two Mikuni carburetors

Transmission: 5-speed, duplex chain final drive

Suspension: telescopic forks (front); swinging fork with twin spring/dampers (rear)

Brakes: disc (front & rear)

Wheels: light alloy (front & rear)

Weight: 331 lb (racing version)

Maximum Speed: over 100 mph


The short but brilliant career of this major Canadian industrialist in the two-wheeler world was frustrated by hostile legislation.

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

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