"The XT package made a great-looking...
"The XT package made a great-looking machine even better, but we were... in for an even bigger surprise."
The Commander 1000 X is for the person who wants the best performance SxS machine that Can-Am has to offer. Upon first glance you could tell this is a performance machine since it has been outfitted with the same Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires mounted on black 12-aluminum beadlock wheels with yellow beadlock rings, rock sliders, heavy-duty front bumper and a super-stylish X-package seat trim and graphics scheme. Upon closer inspection you will notice the shocks are much different than what is on the base and even the XT model. The 1000 X is equipped with Fox Racing Shox that feature piggyback reservoirs that are fully adjustable for high/low-speed compression and rebound as well as preload. To further enhance the stability of the machine, the Commander 1000 X comes with a 5/8-inch-diameter front sway bar to reduce body roll in aggressive cornering.
After a night of drooling over these machines we were ready to take to the trails and see how well they performed. On paper and to the eye, one would think these are the best machines available, but there is only one good way to find out and that is to put the beasts through some rigorous testing on trails and swamps. Luckily, the Fairmont Château in Montebello had a huge 36,000-plus acre of property where Can-Am blazed trails for us to enjoy. From fast fire roads to tight, technical trails winding in and out of trees and rock gardens, they gave us every terrain we could want to use for our testing purposes.
Of course, the machines in biggest demand were the Commander side-by-sides, so Thad and I quickly commandeered a 1000 X to see if it would live up to all of the hype they'd built up about it. As soon as I sat in the driver's seat I felt as if I was in the cockpit of a race truck, and anxiously turned the key and pressed the starter button on the dash. The roar of the powerful 1,000cc powerplant quickly engulfed us making us buckle in and quickly secure the side nets so I could drop the shifter into high range and roll out of the staging area. As soon as clear road was in front of me I put the skinny pedal down to the floor and let the mighty Commander stretch its legs. From the fast open road, I veered off to a trail that wound us through the thick forest filled with tight turns, exposed roots and muddy creek crossings. The Fox Shox easily soaked up everything that stood in its path leaving a great plush ride for us in the cab.
As Thad grew antsy to sit behind the wheel himself, I pulled off and we traded places. A quick slide of the seat adjustment and Thad was on the throttle the instant I had my seat belt buckled. I've never been a huge fan of being a passenger in any SxS vehicle, but with the supplied passenger handholds and overall comfort of the machine, I felt very secure as he whipped around the corners pushing the Commander 1000 X to its limits as we made our way back to the staging area to swap out for a quick comparison with the Commander 800R. As we took to the same trails, we did feel that the 800 had plenty of power but just didn't get to its top speed as fast as the 1000, which we figured to be between 70 to 75 mph. The one thing we definitely did miss was the plushness of the Fox Shox as the standard binders that came on the R and XT models seemed to blow through the travel much faster, which was as expected. All in all we were definitely impressed with the Commander line of side-by-sides from Can-Am and are gearing up for the battle to see who gets to keep a unit for some long-term testing and possible performance mods in the future.