Review: 2010 Can-Am Outlander 500 Max XT
Riding in Style
Having ridden the entire 2010 Can-Am Outlander ATV line-up in May 2009, we targeted the Outlander 500 Max XT for a more personal look. Since this is a two-up quad, it would throw its own challenges our way and this is why we chose it. Could you ride two people on a 500cc machine and still conquer obstacles in the trail that would not be a problem for the larger displacement kin? In my heart I kind of knew that the Can-Am wasn’t going to disappoint.
Background - About the Outlander 500 Max XT
The Outlander family from BRP has been known for its intense power in general, and with Rotax power under the seat, its bound to be plenty. The 40.4 horsepower V-twin uses an 80-degree stance with a single overhead cam spinning atop each cylinder. The four valves per cylinder set-up gives plenty of fuel into the combustion chamber while getting it out just as well. This fuel is delivered to the cylinder by two Siemens VDO 12-hole injectors and air is added to the mix by volume through the 46mm throttle body. All this makes the power of the Can-Am Outlander 500 Max XT very manageable.
The suspension on this trail boss is similar to its single-seater brother with only a few exceptions. The longer SST (Surrounding Spar Technology) frame and wheelbase on the 500 Max gives a very stable ride and makes controlling the bars effortless. With the same TTI arms that have become a staple in the Outlander family, the 500 Max will not waiver while heading down the trail.
The Max XT version addresses comfort front to back, so that both passenger and driver have a great experience. The passenger is seated well-forward of the rear wheels, making for a more enjoyable adventure for them. Seating in the passenger area is " stadium style". This means the passenger rides slightly above the driver, which gives the co-pilot their own clear view of the trail. The rear floorboards are raised so the passenger has plenty of grip when the driver gets brave. The multi-position passenger handholds are also nice and this gives extra confidence to the passenger. The extra padding and backrest on the seat make a long day on the trail an enjoyable one.
The newest add-on for the Outlander family is the power steering. Man, it’s as nice as it gets. The Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) has two settings, with separate duties on the trail, letting the driver choose how much assist they want in varying terrains.
The front fascia has been changed to match the 800R, giving the aggressive yet tamable look that we had hoped for last year. The colors have remained the same with a Can-Am yellow, red or the exclusive “NEXT G-1 VISTA Camo". Custom cast-aluminum wheels adorned our steed, and of course this XT wouldn’t be the same without the BRP XL 300lb winch up front. Great stuff packed onto this machine at a reasonable value.
We have had the great opportunity of getting to know this machine for a few months now and it has been a blast. Traveling up into northern Georgia we found some secret riding areas that put our Outlander 500 Max XT to the test. Although most of the time was spent riding with only one person, we did get a couple of chances to put the Max to the Max. Riding two-up can be a challenge, as the driver does need to be a little more cautious due to the responsibility that’s looking over your shoulder. The amazing thing is it’s easy to forget that you have a passenger on board with you. Sure there were times in severe rocky areas that a little drag could have been noticed with only 500 cubic inches powering the ride, but there wasn’t many. The sheer power of the Rotax V-twin is incredible.
Having DPS lightened the feel of the steering, and helped negotiate the roughest and tightest sections as well. The steering effort was just that - effortless! I have heard it said by several serious racers of the Can-Am Outlander that getting used to the power steering is just a couple rides away and when you are in the zone there is no going back.
The months of abuse that we have dished out to the Outlander have not even phased it. The tires have held up to our abuse and with little effort the engine fires to life in seconds. The looks of the XT package brought many positive comments and it made us proud to be sitting on this machine. We had a great opportunity to use the BRP XL winch also - and it wasn’t because the Outlander needed it. From the control tower (drivers seat) I had to help a poor ATV rider get his ride out of a bog. The 3000lb winch gently pulled the 600lb+ 4x4 out of a large swampy mess with little effort at all.
It was fun to get to know this machine better over the last few months and I can't wait to see what comes in model year 2011.