Can-Am Outlander Resurrection

Dec. 14, 2010 By Rick Sosebee
This machine is about to become as close to its 2011 siblings as we can get it with several really trick modifications.

Since 2006, we have witnessed the Can-Am Outlander become a game-changing, utility-faced powerhouse of a machine develop into a championship-winning crown jewel for a company out of Valcourt, Canada. This machine quickly gained prominence in the world of off-road racing through many hours of R&D in the racing world of Grand National Cross Country (GNCC) and other series.

My first experience with this machine happened after a call from a local photographer needing assistance, asking me to meet him at a trail system in North Georgia. The bright-yellow, fierce-looking machines were rolled off the back of an old box van, and the proud riders stepped from behind the cab. These guys were well known in our industry, and they came to this meeting with the biggest grins I had ever seen in anticipation of what they were about to reveal to us.

Renegade trailing arms can be used to level the playing field for the machine.

Many months past after the initial discovery of this machine, and a friend called to let me know that they had a used Bombardier Outlander 650, soon to be renamed to Can-Am Outlander, if I was interested. I jumped at the chance to own one of these machines, but this one was “in disrepair” according to the dealer. That didn’t matter at the time, and that’s what gets us to this point today.

Many parts on this rehab project were purchased off eBay and Craigslist on the cheap.

This tired Can-Am Outlander 650 needs a face lift, and I think it’s time we get it looking and running like its 2010 siblings. There are many items I want to address in this resurrection, and many more I will surely find along the way. Some of the things I want to do are just cosmetic, but others will make this machine handle like a dream and rock the wooded trails of North Georgia.

The dash plastic on our 2006 650 is trashed to the max and will get replaced to the ATV a new look.

The more aggressive styling of the 2009-2011 Outlander 800Rs really caught my attention, so add that one to the list. We want to change the front fascia to match the newer models, and we will show you how to do yours as well as the part numbers you’ll need to make the swap. There will be suspension adjustments that should help us get around corners better and balance the overall chassis performance. We have tossed ideas around of adding rear TTI arms to the Outlander from a sibling machine to lower the rear, and also add brakes to the hubs on the rear of our beast. The frame on our machine has survived many good hiccups in the trail, and we intend to finally get some much-needed gusseting to the frame for the next bump in the trail.

Our stock arms are sufficient for general trail riding, but with the amount of improved ground clearance with aftermarket arms I think we will update this also.

Our build will take many different routes, as some parts will be bought gently used and many tricks of the racing trade will be included to make working on the beast just that much easier. We have plans of updating the 2006 intake and fuel rail to the 2009 and newer version with quick disconnects, and with the larger intake manifold we should see a little performance boost, too. We cannot forget to install a new air-box and custom air filter setup from Twin Air as well to keep the ingestion of clean air available to feed the beast. I have many little tricks and one might say “why even try?” but if you have seen the price of a new Outlander lately you might understand.

The steering stem and tie rod mount has shown its weakness over the years, so that’s another mark on the to-do list.

Digging deeper into the engine and CVT transmission on our ride we will be using a trick, new custom-weighted clutch kit from the mud-racing world that shall allow us to adjust when and to what extent our power gets delivered to the ground. The addition of Can-Am’s race series CVT Belt will also assure that we will have some front end lifting torque to get over the diggers and fallen trees. We have planned to replace all existing bearings on the machine that slow our roll and any seals that even look like they might leak.

Some nuts are hard to get to but when permanently fixed to the machine there’s nothing to worry about.

From the driver’s seat we will add a custom seat cover, some rider-friendly handlebar accessories like hand guards and very user-friendly grips for those long days in the woods. The foot wells on the “outty” will receive new foot pegs that will be recognizable as a stock, heavy-grip OEM Can-Am part as well. This is just so we get a firm hold on what is sure to be a fast and fun, yet inexpensive, land-bound missile.

The rear differential and battery can be destroyed without proper protection, so I’m on it!

Some products we can expect to install on this build will be straight from Can-Am, and others will include items from leading aftermarket manufacturers like the ones listed below:

Twin Air filters, Mike Penland racing, All balls bearings, Epic racing, HMF, Spider grips, OMF wheels, Maxxis tires, WARN winch, G4 graphics, Rick Sosebee customs and many more.

The central brake will have to be removed to make room for a brand new setup!

There are so many things in store for this machine, and though I might be a little vague in the description of this project, I can assure you it will be one feature-filled adventure for all of us, and I hope to show you, the reader, tricks to improve or update your Can-Am Outlander as well!


The stock shock towers on my ‘06 Outlander have been tested to the max, and adding strength to these is a must. Newsletter
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