So, you're looking for a mid-size ATV that is equally affordable and reliable, right? You say you want power steering but you could live without it, correct? How about pricing comparisons? Do you want to move into a category that can give you what you really want, but your mind says the price is probably too much? Have you shied away from certain ATV manufacturers because you assume their price tags are too big? All your questions could be answered, because the company that builds great machines and reliable-yet-powerful equipment has a great bargain in their mid-bore category!
Let's look into the Can-Am Outlander 500. This little slice of heaven comes straight from the Valcourt, Canada manufacturer, packed with some great features that Can-Am considers more of a value than comparably priced units. The 500cc market has many competitors, but with the power of the V-twin fuel-injected Rotax engine in the Outlander 500, the power range in this machine is greater than most. This 46hp machine is a solid six ponies ahead of the pack even though in some cases it's 50cc smaller! The power of the machine is kept cool by a large radiator and fan, so no need to panic on the slow trails or when working the machine.
The Outlander 500 uses the SST G2 frame design, which is proven to be a better-handling version of the Outlander frame. Standard dual A-arms up front and the Can-Am technology known as TTI (or Torsional Trailing-arm Independent) out back give the Outlander better handling characteristics. According to Can-Am, this rear suspension technology eliminates scrub or wheel arc in the up and down movement, which can make an off-road vehicle more difficult to handle in tough terrain. The suspension travels 9 inches in the front and 9.3 inches in the rear, and this machine gives an ample 11 inches of ground clearance.
As you roll down the trail, you will notice the comfort of the saddle on the Outlander 500 as well as the prime location of the many switches and gauges mounted around the bars. The digital gauge cluster gives information on your speed, engine temp, 4x4 indicator and fuel level, to mention just a few. This machine also comes equipped with the D.E.S.S., or Digitally Encoded Security System, that no other unit in this category has...or any competing category has for that matter. This means that if your machine somehow winds up in the hands of unauthorized riders, they will not be able to start it! The ECU is programmed to accept only the coded key for the machine and no other. (A trip to the dealer for a key will reveal the stolen machine and land the crooks in hot water.)
A couple of other features exclusive to the Outlander family are the LinQ system racks that provide volumes of space to attach gear for those long rides or work days around home. The special LinQ attachment system allows you to tie on an additional 100 pounds in the front and 200 pounds in the rear using the special attachment clamps. Getting the weight of the machine stopped are 214mm dual-piston caliper brakes with drilled rotors up front and a single unit out back for stout braking under harsh conditions. The hydraulic brake setup gives the rider confidence in knowing he/she is in control. If you ride in the dark, the 240 watts of lighting will keep the trail lit up, and with a 12volt accessory outlet you can bring along small electronics to make the ride a bit more enjoyable. Of course, there are accessory packages for the Outlander 500 that include a DPS (Dynamic Power Steering) model, which gives the consumer Tri-Mode Dynamic Power steering, Visco-Lok QE front differential and 12-inch cast wheels. The XT package for the Outlander 500 adds additional items such as a winch, heavy-duty front and rear bumpers, handle bar deflectors and much more.
This machine provides an extremely comfortable ride, giving the rider confidence to tackle any terrain, and its price isn't far off from comparable units in its displacement class. In fact, in some cases it's cheaper when all options are considered. Handling is predictable at any speed, and at the end of our ride our only wish was that it had a little stiffer spring for quicker cornering. The Rotax V-Twin power is very responsive and lends to years of fun and reliability on the trails. This Can-Am Outlander 500 is a great package for those shopping the mid-bore offerings who want it all.
-Great engine performance from the big Rotax
-Priced right in the market
-Stiffer steering without power steering
-Soft front shock springs
-Visco-Lok QE diff not included on base model
500-550cc Utility ATV Comparison Chart
Honda Rubicon 500...$7999/$8699(EPS)...499cc SOHC, Hondamatic transmission
Polaris Sportsman 550..$8699 (EPS only)..575 lbs. payload & 1786 lbs. towing capacities
Suzuki KingQuad 500.$7899/$8599(EPS).Locking front-differential, 0% APR for 5 years
Yamaha Grizzly 550...$7999/$8699 (EPS)...558cc SOHC, 3-way locking differential
2014 Can-Am Outlander 500 4x4
MSRP: $7799 / $8699 (DPS)
Engine Type: 499.6cc, V-twin, liquid-cooled, SOHC, 8-valve (4-valve/cyl)
Bore x stroke: 82 x 47 mm
Fuel system: 46mm Throttle Body, 2 Siemens VDO injectors
Starting system: Electric
Drive system: Selectable 2w/4w shaft driven with Visco-Lok front differential
Transmission: CVT, sub-transmission with high, low, park, neutral & reverse. Standard engine braking
Front: Double A-arm; 9"
Rear: Torsional Trailing arm Independent; 9.3"
Front: Dual 214 mm ventilated disc brakes with hydraulic twin-piston calipers
Rear: Single 214 mm ventilated disc brake with hydraulic twin-piston caliper
Claimed dry weight: 713 lb.
Ground clearance: 11"
Seat height: 34.5"
Fuel capacity: 5.4 gal
Towing capacity: 1,300 lb.
Rack Capacity Front/Rear: 100 lb. / 200 lb.
Lighting: 230-watt from twin 60-watt projectors and dual 55-watt reflectors with tail light/brake light
Instrumentation: Speedometer, tachometer (bar graph RPM, bottom bar numerical RPM), odometer, trip & hour meters, diagnostic center, gear position, engine hour meter, 4x4 indicator, temperature and engine lights, fuel gauge, clock, auto shut off after 15 minutes
Colors: Viper Red, Yellow (DPS)