In the heat of Austin Texas, media from around the ATV industry finally had a chance to get questions answered and see what the engineers from Bombardier Recreational Products had been working on, to step onto a higher level with their 2009 Can-Am lineup. Would it be the longed-for side-by-side? Well not yet - the engineers at Can-Am tell us we will have to wait until 2010 for the first prototype side-by-side out of the Valcourt-based company. Although there are still some products hiding in the wings, we can share with you the Utility side of arguably the hottest company on the market today.
Starting with the most popular of the Utility side of Can-Am’s line-up, we get hands on with the Outlander. These ATV’s have become so popular and adding special features to each displacement level has brought a spotlight to the Can-Am brand. Of course we had a chance to ride each and every one of these beauties but let's talk about what makes the Outlander name a great package for any rider.
All 2009 Outlanders have the Rotax power, which makes them very dependable in any conditions. The Rotax twin is electronically fuel-injected and all the Outlanders come with the 46mm throttle body downdraft system that allows precise control of the beast. The Visco lock transmisson progressivly puts the power to the ground in all four wheels. We have always considered the Visco lock setup to be at the top of the game. These are just two of the many features we have come to enjoy about one of Can-Am's star products.
All the same features that have made the Can-Am Outlander what it is today have been traced into the newest line of offspring. The Outlander 800 has now taken a moniker that most would associate with a race heritage and that’s the name of 800R. The new Outlander 800R has several new features that will keep this flagship out front of the competition. The power of the new motor has so much more to offer the general trail rider and if you want to go fast, well, just hang on and push the throttle. Pick-up is crazy fast and the power range is smooth but not overwhelming. The claim is 9% more power and you can feel it right away. The power in this 800R makes its muscle with a larger air filter, custom cams, optimized intake runners and a recalibrated ECU.
But power isn't the only thing that Can-Am revised on the Outlander. The look of this beast had also been changed just a bit to make it stand out from the crowd. The sleek look that the new Outlander carries is very distinct, with a fascia exclusive to the 800R family. It is a very aggressive new style that we fell in love with almost immediately. There is also a new XT-only bumper package front and rear that sets the rolling palace aside from the competition. The plastics are covered in new style graphics for a more custom overall appearance and the belly of the beast is covered with a Centre-Spar impact- and scratch-resistant skid plate.
The remaining parts on the new 800R have been carried over from last year's model. You’ll find that the 650,500 and 400 have all been carried into 2009, with few modifications outside the graphics and the new center skid plate on the bottom of the machines.
The limited edition series of Max Outlander 800’s has been changed slightly as well, mostly on the color scheme and the addition of the 800R front fascia. The updated color is a Radiant Red metallic, which stands out and is surely going to get some attention. The LTD Max has long been known at Can-Am as the benchmark for a touring style ATV. These rigs are super comfortable and with the extended frame they have super handling, and to be quite honest, you never really know you have a passenger on-board. The LTD version comes with a GPS unit that is removable to use anywhere you choose, and many of the same cool features that you cannot get on any other Outlander. Having had one of these Outlander Max units for over a year, it has become my favorite for my wife and I.
The Renegade has had a facelift as well. There is a new red color and as of last year you can get the X-package that gives you the all black version of the Renegade. Like it’s heavier brother, it too has the 800R option and it comes in a more tame 500 as well. The 800R has to be the biggest improvement in Can-Am’s entire utility line. Its what most riders have been waiting for. Feeling out the change is real easy but the brave are the only ones willing to get the throttle open wide enough to get to it. The 800cc rotax is a very powerful engine as it is and adding the extra ponies will have the Thrill Billies gassing it all over the trails.
So what do we think of these awesome products?
Riding the Outlander and Renegade 800R versions left us with a new-found shine in the Can-Am stable. The power difference was noticeable and the smooth delivery of that power was refreshing. The Renegade 500 version had to be the easiest to tame in the woods. The 500cc displacement engine on the Renegade gave us the power we needed and the control/management ability to just open it up and cruise. Our trip around the trail on the Limited edition model was like cruising a Cadillac through downtown. The suspension was plush and gave us even more reason to love this machine.
Although the price tag on the Can-Am Max LTD ($9,799 for the Outlander Max 800R; a whopping $10,849 for the XT package) isn’t for the squeamish, the ride is well worth every penny. So what else can we say about the Outlander and Renegade line of ATV’s, but "simply fabulous."
There are many companies competing for this market real estate and I'd say it gets tougher and tougher every year to be better, but BRP is surely pinching off their part. Stay tuned for more news about Can-Am sport products coming next month!