The Canary Conversion - pushing the limits of sanity

Optimizing the Piaggio MASTER 500cc CVT part VI


( The conversion formerly known as the Colt 3 double Woody ;)

How to get the most acceleration for free by optimizing the amount and weight of the rollers and fine-tuning the distance between the driving pulley halves to optimize for your riding style and conditions.
This is an additional tuning of the already very efficient Colt Conversion.

Consumption Canary Conversion  start 2010-10-20

click on the buttons to go to the mileage logs
Spritmonitor.de Spritmonitor.de Spritmonitor.de
Spritmonitor.de Colt Conversion 5000 km test
Spritmonitor.de Factory Setup 5000 km test

Spidermax mostly with 2 persons ca 400 kg (900 lbs) total
Typical riding conditions are 20% mountains 20-60 km/h - 50% slightly hilly 40-90 km/h - 30% slightly hilly 100-145 km/h

You will notice that I get a lower millage than most people, but if you see my riding conditions above you will get an idea why. The Burgman 400 needed around 4.5 l and the Pegaso 650 6.5 l per 100 km. Both were ridden more conservatively than the Spidermax.

If you want to compare 250 other scooters to my numbers, check out:
MPG Guide: The Fuel Economy Of 250 Top Selling Scooters
To better understand what is going on, read The Colt 3 Conversion first.
Then check out the 7 links below to get an idea how this all developed.


To get the awesome low (30 - 50 km/h) and medium (50 - 100 km/h) speed response from the Colt 3 Conversion and the perfect high speed (100 - V-max) response from the Colt Conversion.

The Setup:

Colt Conversion (4 instead of 8 original rollers) link 1 link 2 link 3
this gives you 20% to 40% faster acceleration depending on the situation
3 mm washer (instead of 2 mm washer between the driving pulley) link 5 link 6 link 7
this gives you better acceleration up to 100 km/h and higher low speed rpm
Double Woody with 12 gram total (2 rollers with a wooden, instead of the steel insert) link 4
this cancels out most of the too high rpm above 100 km/h from the washer mod

First impressions:
The low speed response is a less good than the Colt 3, but improved to the Colt Conversion.
The low speed (10-25 km/h) hill climbing has a good throttle response and with 2000-3500 rpm an acceptable rpm band for sustained slow riding. This should be close to 1000 rpm more than with the factory setup.

Low speed WOT is noticeably improved compared to the Colt Conversion but does stay 200 to 400 rpm below the Colt 3.

From slow driving to WOT the rpm jumps very fast to 7000 and stay there until 80 km/h is passed.
This is near the optimal rpm for the max torque and power.
I am happy so far.

Where the Colt 3 above 100 km/h at WOT often was around 7700-7900 rpm it stays now below 7500 rpm and this is important since from 7000 to 8000 rpm you loose 15% torque and you feel that.

This was exactly what I hoped the double Woody would do. The Woody is too light to have much of an impact in the low and mid rpm but when we get above 6000 the two 6 gram wooden inserts do their magic. The bring the rpm down a bit so we are in the max power area but loose not too much on torque.

Testing my hill (see above) I reached 130 km/h same as the Colt Conversion and 10 km more then with the Colt 3.

The V-max is slightly above 150 km/h (could not test on my usual place so far) and the whole high speed behavior is close to the Colt conversion wit noticeably reduced rpm.

I will test this setup further and will try to get some 15 mm wood to make inserts for the 4 steel rollers and see if there is a difference in behavior.

Interesting fact:
the 4 year old rollers were 16 mm inside, the new one are 15 mm. So they changed the material from the metal inserts.

So far I am very happy with the outcome and consider my goal reached.
Since this setup is optimized for my style of riding here on the Canary Islands I will call it from now on the Canary Conversion.

Now my problem is that I have to suck on sour lemon drops while WOTing to keep my grin in check or I start looking like a character from South Park,

First solo test run after the new clutch was installed.
The rpm jumped quickly up to 7000 rpm where I thought I would find the max acceleration at WOT but it felt there was something missing. I was happy how this mod did bring the rpms down from the Colt 3 just like where I wanted them to be, but I missed that kick in the back accelerating I got from the high rpm of the Colt 3 Conversion.

I had found some 15 mm round wood and was trying out some inserts for the 4 steel rollers but the wood was not heavy enough. I measured around 1 gram and that would not work.
So I went to Plan B.

Removed the 2 woodies and reduce the 3 mm to 2.5 mm.
To find a washer with a 22 mm hole and a thickness from 2.5 mm is not easy, so I looked around what I had laying around and found a key ring what was barely 22 mm wide and exactly 2.5 mm thick.
This item got drafted for my test.

Yes it works, and yes it will be replaced with a fitting washer but for now to get an idea if my speculation is right regarding the behavior of the transmission it will do.

My first test ride was awesome.
Medium speed WOT in the lower 70th. Max speed 160 km/h down hill and around 155 on the flat. Noticeable more kick in the back at medium speed WOT.
Improved  response at higher speed (above 100 km/h).
WOT at 120 km/h below 7400 rpm.
WOT at 140 km/h below 7800 rpm.
With the Colt 3 the 8000 rpm started to show even below 100 km/h (but without the limiter kicking in).

The rpm / power / torque curve might be a bit different between the Euro3 and the Euro2 engines. The Euro3 has 40cc more to make up for the loss in the more elaborate catalytic converter. All my tests are made for the Euro2 engine with 460cc, the results might be a tiny bit different for the Euro3 engines.

I think this is as high as I can get the engine without noticing the fall off in the upper 7000 rpm band and as responsive as possible with the drastic reduced roller weight.

Just finished a high speed test over 150 km.

100 km/h @ 6500 rpm
120 km/h @ 7100 rpm
140 km/h @ 7600 rpm
sustainable speed 150 km/h @ 7800 rpm
V-MAX is 158 km/h @ 8100 rpm
Speed between 110 and 150, mostly in the 120 to 140 area.
Consumption 5.3 l per 100 km what is in par with the factory setup and the Colt Conversion.

Original Factory Setup

Colt Conversion

Canary Conversion

Another 150 km test the exact same route this time in the 100-120 km/h range did show no difference in consumption, so no need to ride too conservative in the hope to save money.

Compare the factory original against my conversions

speed - factory - Mustang Con - Colt Con  - Canary Con - Colt 3 Con
020 - 2100 rpm -  no data   - 3000 rpm - 3000 rpm - 3000 rpm
040 - 3000 rpm -  no data   - 3700 rpm - 4000 rpm - 4000 rpm
060 - 3700 rpm - 4000 rpm - 4500 rpm - 5000 rpm - 5000 rpm
080 - 4500 rpm - 4500 rpm - 5000 rpm - 5800 rpm  - 5500 rpm
100 - 5200 rpm - 5200 rpm - 5500 rpm - 6500 rpm - 6300 rpm
120 - 6000 rpm - 6000 rpm - 6000 rpm - 7100 rpm - 6700 rpm
140 - 7000 rpm - 7000 rpm - 7000 rpm - 7600 rpm - 7500 rpm
V-max - 169 km/h - 165 km/h - 160 km/h - 158 km/h - 148 km/h

The speedometer is 4% on the fast side compared to the GPS
It is quite hard to measure the rpm exactly since the Mustang to Colt 3 have an increasing rapid throttle response so even a fraction of a twist brings the revs up or down quite a bit.

For me this setup is as close to perfection as it gets.
Amazing that just half a mm thicker washer would have such a huge impact in combination with the Colt Conversion.

As you can see from the information collected in this blog post in theory things what should behave in a certain manner often behave unexpected. So nothing beats the trial and error and retrial with a different setup until you get what yo want method.
I think I passed the 40 times mark how often I opened and closed the transmission cover.
My initial fears that just using the electrical impact wrench could damage maybe some bearings or so seemed, after this amount of loosening and tightening the two nuts, unnecessary.

What conversion is the right for you?
Stay with the original if you are happy with the performance.
Choose the Mustang Conversion if you are riding mostly in high speed situations but want a bit more acceleration all around. You can reach the same performance with 8 new rollers of 16 gram.
Choose the Colt Conversion for the  most dynamic all rounder.
Choose the Canary Conversion if you want some extra acceleration but are willing to sacrifice some high end speed (this is a no brainer for me since our max speed limit is 120 km/h and I am mostly below 140).
Choose the Colt 3 Conversion if you seldom ride above 100 km/h since this conversion is optimized for low and medium speeds.

Let me try to give you an idea what shaving off a second or less in an WOT accelerating situation could mean.
If the Canary conversion brings just half a second more accelerating around 80 km/h you need 10 meter less distance to pass a car.
From the feeling I have comparing the Colt with the Canary, a bit below a second seems about right. To measure this exactly is not possible with the equipment I have.

I enjoy the faster response of the Canary Conversion but it seems this time I have to pay the price at the gas station. After testing in all riding conditions there is a constant 6-10% higher gas consumption. So I will go back to the original 2 mm washer and stay with my Colt Conversion for now.

The values for consumption below are not valid. After going back to the "normal" Colt Conversion the consumption did not drop as expected. I also noticed that the motor is running rougher and the cold engine needs more time to start. My Malaguti Spidermax has now run for over 40000 km and I think a valve adjustment is overdue. I keep you posted.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for share your work!!!!!

    En español me defiendo algo más, muchas gracias por compartir todas tus pruebas, nos da buenas referencias para los que llevamos ese motor Master.



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