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.
Our area had been hit by heavy rains in the last few weeks, which left plenty of deep rain ruts and choppy terrain to compare to my previous experience. My experience with Fox Shox has been positive and left me feeling good about what this machine would now be able to soak up. The first rut I encountered, which was much deeper and wider than what I had been exposed to at the intro, was sucked up by the machine as if it never existed, and this gave me the confidence to push even harder. As the speeds increased I could tell that the shock upgrade and DPS make a huge difference in how the Renegade 1000 handles on the trails. Whereas the front end seemed to wander around on the standard, this machine tracked straight and even took the hit of exposed boulders from the ground with minimal feedback through the bar.
As the day progressed and I became more comfortable, I opted to push the limits further, even to the point of catching some air on one of the choppier trails. If I cleared the small double, the landing was easily absorbed, but if I pushed the limits, the rear bucked as if I was riding a bucking bronco. I’m sure it could be dialed in a bit more with the adjustments on the shocks, but we also need to take into consideration this isn’t a motocrosser and it does have some limits. To give it a real GNCC test, I took the machine on some water-laden trails to see how much water abuse it could take before any signs of trouble would surface, and I was pleasantly surprised. After multiple water crossings with plenty of splash, it was apparent I was going to be waterlogged before anything came close to the belt. It was also through these crossings that the heavy-duty aluminum skid plate came in handy as I bounced off numerous submerged boulders that were looking to destroy the undercarriage of this machine.
At the end of the day as I made my way back to my truck, I started to take notice of the smaller things. Such as how the 25-inch ITP Holeshot ATR tires held traction and made turning predictable and that the clutching of this machine was almost spot-on to deliver power at the precise moment you needed it. You do need to be aware of how strong the decompression braking on this machine is, because it can cause the rear end to come around on you in loose terrain if you’re not paying attention. Even if you’re flying on any kind of paved surface, if you chop throttle, this thing will start to lock up the rear end to slow you down. My only gripe about the Renegade 1000 X xc, and I’m sure it isn’t specific to this model, was that I had a faulty seat latch on my unit that caused the seat to unexpectedly pop off at inopportune times and was a little annoying. Overall the machine was solidly built and a blast to ride.
Worth The Price?
If you’re looking at potentially purchasing a new Renegade 1000 and are struggling to determine whether the $2,500 difference is worth getting the X xc package over the standard model, it really depends on what you plan to do with the quad. If you’re simply going to set it up for mud riding with a lift kit, huge tires and snorkel, then the X xc is not for you. That’s what the Outlander X mr is for. If you plan on doing any kind of racing or even medium to aggressive trail riding, this is the machine you need to get. The effectiveness of the Fox Racing suspension and DPS make this machine well worth the money you’ll spend to make you comfortable on the track or trail. To sweeten the deal you get a set of killer beadlock wheels, hand guards to keep branches from taking off your fingers and a graphics kit that will help make you look fast even if you’re not. No matter what, you just need to make sure you’re comfortable and capable of handling this kind of machine as it was definitely made for more experienced riders. ATVR
2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000
Type: 4-stroke SOHC V-twin
Bore x stroke: 91x75mm
Fuel system: Fuel injected with 46mm throttle body
Starting system: Electric
Drive system: Shaft, selectable 2x4/4x4 with Visco-Lok front differential
Transmission: CVT with high/low range, reverse, engine-braking
Front: RS-type dual A-arms with Fox Racing Shox HPG shocks/9.0 in.
Rear: Torsional Trailing arm Independent (TTI) with Fox Racing Shox HPG shocks/9.3 in.
Front: ITP Holeshot ATR 25x8-12/Cast-aluminum beadlock
Rear: ITP Holeshot ATR 25x10-12/Cast-aluminum beadlock
Front: Dual 214mm vented discs with hydraulic twin-piston calipers
Rear: Dual 214mm vented discs with hydraulic twin-piston calipers
Wheelbase: 51.0 in.
Claimed dry weight: 687 lb
Ground clearance: 12.0 in.
Length/width/height: 86.0/46.0/45.0 in.
Seat height: 34.5 in.
Fuel capacity: 5.4 gal.
Lighting: Fender-mounted projector-beam 60-watt headlights with tail/brake light
Instruments: Multi-function gauge with speedometer, tachometer, odometer, tripmeter, hourmeters, fuel level, gear position, 4x4 indicator, diagnostics, clock, auto shut-off
Colors: Black/yellow with X xc race-inspired graphics and seat cover