From the September/October 2011 issue of ATV Rider Magazine
In recent years, when Can-Am released its new ATV or side-by-side lineup it seems there has always been a single machine that stands out in the limelight. Last year the Commander SxS was the showstopper, and before that the X-model upgrades to both the sport and utility models drew all eyes. When we were invited to Hickory, North Carolina, to see what the company had in store for us with its 2012 lineup, we could only imagine what would be awaiting us.
Just when we think our industry cannot get any more interesting we have a company known for innovation show up with all the bases loaded. From the word go, in the 2012 Can-Am lineup we find the Commander gets a special package that will make it an even more luxurious machine for the trail.
The Can-Am Commander 1000 LTD streaks down the trail with an 85-horsepower Rotax engine. If you’re a color person, then the choices are two, including the new Pure Magnesium and Orbital blue, which are actually painted on so the finish can be waxed just like your car! To name just a few, the loaded LTD includes ACS (or air-controlled suspension) that is in-cab adjustable, a full stereo sound system with dual speakers, a Garmin in-dash-mounted but removable GPS and a two-piece roof with a half windshield. The 2012 Commander LTD also comes complete with the standard XT package, which gives the happy new owner the 4,000-pound winch kit, 26-inch Maxxis Bighorn tires on new 12-inch “centerless” wheels as well as steel bumpers.
This machine is loaded, and the days of digging through catalogs to find which OEM accessories to buy next for the Commander have been pretty much taken care of by our friends at Can-Am.
During the history of ATVing the age-old battle continues to ripple in homes all over the nation. The husband gets all giddy thinking of the newest ATV in the dealer’s showroom while the wife stands off at the finance table trying to figure out what the advantage for her is when it comes to signing on the dotted line. Well, the peeps over at Can-Am have their own plan of salvation for those husbands whose wives are on the fence about purchasing the new ATV.
The 2012 Can-Am Outlander Max 800R XT-P covers most concerns the wife may have.
The Max line of Outlanders gives the family a two-up riding configuration with the sporty go-fast looks. The 2012 Outlander Max 800R also comes with the ACS suspension and aggressive styling for which the XT-P package is known. The trick 12-inch beadlock wheels are black with yellow accents wrapped in Carlisle ACT radial tires. The CRS (or convertible rack/seat system) turns the luxurious trail machine for two into the rage-rider-ready 800R that most racers at heart love to ride.
The Outlander Max 800R XT-P also comes equipped with Can-Am’s newest power steering that is affectionately called the “Tri-Mode Dynamic power steering,” and this feature alone will make your day on the trails easier to negotiate. This power steering is very similar to last year’s version, but there are now three options on sensitivity instead of last year’s two. This package is sure to convince the better half that the purchase is mutually justifiable!
We saved the best for last. The brand-new totally redesigned Can-Am 1,000cc family of off-road fun is here. Stepping into the model year 2012, Can-Am has announced a new version of the original Outlander and Renegade ATVs. The Outlander 1000 and the Renegade 1000 families are not only a totally new breed of Can-Am powerhouses but the tires are quite possibly the only item that hasn’t been changed on the team.
The look of the Renegade will remain very similar to those from years past, but the Outlander will get a totally new look! The 82-horsepower, 1,000cc V-twin in these brothers uses a redesigned airbox for taking that deep breath and an all-new exhaust for the exhale. Adding an improved larger radiator means the impressive engine size will not get too hot under the summer heat.
The Outlander G2 models are available in an XT package only with the optional Tri-Mode dynamic power steering technology. Under the fenders we found the new SST G2 frame. The frame has a twin tubular concept that Can-Am claims to add durability and better chassis roll which translates to better handling. The new framework also has a lower center of gravity that will add to the overall handling of the machine. Can-Am had goals with the new frame that included strengthening and reducing the overall amount of parts needed. The rear trailing arms have been lowered on the frame and the trailing arms themselves received a total makeover. The arms are laid down more to give the machine a “geometric squat” which transfers the Rotax power to the ground. In our opinion the system looks very similar to the Commander rear suspension.
The front suspension on the G2 chassis also got redesigned for 2012 with a laundry list of features. A new true dual A-arm design incorporates dive-control geometry that helps the rider maintain control during braking and cornering. Reducing the kickback felt in the handlebar was also a goal during the redesign, and Can-Am claims to have met the mark.
To recap this information, the redesign will affect the models like this: The Outlander 1000 is totally new from the ground up as is the 800 versions of the single-rider Outlander machine. The XT package is the only special package that is offered on the 1000 and the 800R Outlanders. Now, when you get to the Renegade you’ll find that the 1000 is only offered as a base or with the X XC package. You’ll have to get the XT version of the Outlander or the X XC version of the Renegade to get the new power steering.
With one day to test and three weeks’ worth of information in our hands we focused on the biggest news of the day, and that was the Can-Am Outlander 1000. This machine has the power, and it’s found just off of idle in crazy amounts of tire spin and mayhem! As we had mentioned earlier, our ride location was in the hills near Hickory, North Carolina. We had the trails to ourselves, and to test the biggest bore in the lineup we needed every bit of it. The feel of the new Outlander is one of comfort, and everything is placed in an easy-to-reach location. The seating was comfortably plush, and thanks to the traditional full floorboards the mud stayed under the fenders. There is plenty of room for the big guy in the group on this machine.
We should make one thing clear—we did test the power steering on the Renegade and the new Tri-Mode dynamic PS on every level, and it worked flawlessly, but our Outlander 1000 didn’t have the power steering. We do hope to get a full test on the Renegade soon. We chose the base-model Outlander 1000 to get a feel for what the stock version may be like. Keeping in mind that the new steering geometry is possibly set up more for the power steering unit rather than without, we found the steering effort was a bit heavy on our base-model Outlander 1000.
When we think about the engine in this new Outlander it does bring a smile. Keeping the front of the 1,000cc-powered Outlander down is a job as the engine blasted to life and reached seemingly endlessly for more and more top-end! We had a short but very enlightening stretch of roadway to open the beast up, and all we could think was wow! I tried to reach a potential top of the motor’s ability to perform, and even from a half-throttle cruise to slammed full tilt the engine would break the tires loose and change my mind about challenging it.
Stopping the beast is left to the ever-powerful 214mm dual-piston brake calipers, with one on each of the front wheels then one more on the right rear trailing arm. They functioned without a hitch. You just need to realize that the amount of time you give yourself to stop has to increase with this big powerplant! As far as the new suspension goes it was easy on the ride at lower speeds but seemed a bit uncomfortable when the speeds picked up.
Overall, the line of Can-Am off-road adventure machinery has changed dramatically and to put it all in one article is just impossible. We hope to have a longer test session with these machines soon, so stay tuned! ATVR
|Pros/Cons||Can-Am Outlander 1000|
| +||Awesome amounts of tire-shredding power|
| -||Steering is heavy without power steering|
| =||Overall the new Outlander is a great platform and the power is unbelievable|