If you were to look up the word renegade in the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, the definition reads: “a deserter from one faith, cause or allegiance or an individual who rejects lawful or conventional behavior.” When Can-Am released the Renegade line of sport-utility ATVs, it picked exactly the right name for the machine since it is like no other utility machine on the market. Over the years the Canadian ATV manufacturer has continued to make the quad better, but for 2012 the Renegade was taken to an entirely new level. If you picked up the September/October issue, you would have seen that we had a very limited time to test Can-Am’s new lineup of ATVs, and with the Renegade 1000 X xc we had no time at all, which is why we requested that one be sent to our home office in Southern California.
What’s The Big Difference?
For the new year, Can-Am gives owners the option of either a 500 or 800cc engine or the new 1,000cc, 80-plus-horsepower, ground-shredding powerplant. In terms of the chassis, it was also updated with the new SST G2 frame, which has a tubular concept that’s supposed to add durability and better all-around handling to the ATV. With the extra ponies of the bigger engine, we definitely feel it was a necessary change. The difference between the standard Renegade model and the “race-ready” X xc version is the latter comes equipped with tri-mode Dynamic Power Steering (DPS), front and rear Fox Racing Shox HPG piggyback shocks, 12-inch aluminum beadlock wheels, heavy-duty aluminum skid plates, wind deflectors/hand guards and the X xc race-inspired graphics and seat cover. While visually it might not seem like there’s a huge difference between the two machines looking at them side by side, the performance on the trail is definitely noticeable.
My initial experience of riding the base-model Renegade 1000 left me slightly intimidated, to be honest with you. I’ve had plenty of time aboard our 2011 Outlander 800 and feel that the power of the engine is amazing, and when I had my first ride aboard the 1,000cc Renegade, I felt there was no comparison between the two. The new engine might sound similar to the 800, but there is a lot more pull when you stab the throttle. I rode down a relatively tame fire road on the base-model Renegade, and the power of the engine brings you up to speed quickly, almost too quick for the stock suspension. I found that the lack of power steering and base-model shocks made the unit a handful to handle. For people who want the power of the machine in slower conditions like mud riding it would be perfect, but for riders who like to aggressively hit the trails, the handling left me wanting more.
To test the Renegade 1000 X xc, we took it to our Southern California testing grounds in the San Bernardino National Forest, which might not be a race-type environment but does provide plenty of trails that will test every aspect of the machine. Before I opted to hit the trail, I fired up the machine to adjust the DPS. This was a very simple procedure that is done through the push of a button on the left side of the handlebar. I found the best setting was on medium, so that I had plenty of steering assistance yet not too much to give the front end too light of a feeling. With my adjustment made, it was time to hit the trail. The initial stab of the throttle brought back that arm-pulling power I remembered from the intro, and it amazed me how quickly I could see the speed on the digital dash jump from the mid-20-mph range to almost 50 mph in the blink of an eye, although the thick bar pad did make it difficult to see the dash.