Costa's Cool Bike
Pics Text & Photos courtesy of Costa Zarifi
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Here's a change of pace for you! On the Left, my '73 CCM, in a past life. Riding it is John Makin, the previous owner. Conditions appear to be a little brisker than I generally like to encounter on a bike, but there you go! Ice racing is quite popular up here, with several clubs sponsoring events, and a bewildering variety of machines competing. At one recent event, the range went from a vintage Grumph, to modern CR500s.
On the Right, another of my own bikes at the hands of its previous owner! David Makin is riding his (then!) 1975 CCM. This is a bike which had an unusual competition history, having been imported originally for the purpose of ice racing! Marc Corriveau, from the Montreal area, was the original owner; the second owner was Lee Racicot, well-known Ottawa roadracer and dirt rider, who ran a Can-Am dealership in those fine days. David was about the third. I'm afraid that I'm not entirely clear about the bike's competition history, but I do know that it included at least one catastrophic failure (which I can tell just from glancing at the original cases, at rest in the garage!)
Principal differences from the '73 model included reverting to the long stroke crank, as a result of unacceptable top end wear, and a new frame and suspension. The frame changes also resulted in revisions to the bike's oiling, with an inline cartridge filter (on the return side) being inserted into the frame's front downtube. Engine oil was now returned from what used to be the pressure relief valve, and feed came from one of the rear down tubes.
1975 was also the first year of the long
travel bikes: front suspension travel is now in the area of 9", while the laid-down
rear shocks allow something like 6" in the back. On the whole, it gives a much more
comfortable ride than the typical British scrambler, while also giving a comfortable seat
height. The inseam-challenged should have no real problem riding one of these (provided
they can persuade it to start, in the first place!
This bike also has all the good stuff: magnesium alloy wheel hubs, fork yokes and engine covers, as well as the later splined clutch hub (say goodbye to broken clutch tapers!)
The '75 provides a riding experience that's remarkably different from the 73. For all that the engines are so similar, and the name on the tank the same, the added suspension travel makes the younger bike (not surprizingly, I guess) a lot easier to ride under almost all conditions. When the going is smooth though, I think I prefer the lower, though: the lower seat height makes it an easier ride on something like a flat track, or an ice racing oval.
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