Test: Can-Am HD10 Defender Pro DPS

Farm Trader takes a closer look at the Can-Am HD10 Defender Pro DPS

The Can-Am Defender Pro DPS offers outstanding deck carrying capabilities 

While this time of the year normally sees a small army of people flocking to Mystery Creek for New Zealand National Fieldays®, the repercussions of COVID-19 have put paid to that. The annual event is the perfect opportunity to see the latest machinery releases and innovations, and the Can-Am site never disappoints. 

Traditionally, this site showcases new and popular Can-Am models along with the crowd-pleasing super spec’d, mud bashing dream machine. This year, the Can-Am HD10 Defender Pro DPS would have been one of the star attractions, but without that opportunity, we decided to take matters into our own hands and test drive the machine over a weekend of work and play time.

The massive 138cmx180cm rear tray (or flat deck!)

Having been released to the New Zealand market a few months ago, this model is no muck-around toy. Can-Am has gone big with this machine, but just how big? With the rear tray weighing in at 4.5-foot wide by six-foot long, there’s not going to be much you can’t haul on the back of this bad boy.

Wider than standard, the wheel track offers great stability 

Thanks to the team at NV Motorcycles in Morrinsville – the local dealer for Can-Am –
we were lucky enough to get a demo model delivered to us for a long weekend of test riding.

Put to the test

The gas strut allows tipping of rear deck while loaded

In all honesty, it has to be said that first impression of the Can-Am HD10 Defender Pro DPS is that she’s bit of an ugly duckling. Others on farm who shared their thoughts followed a similar vein, along the lines of it being ‘a bit of a bus or stretch limo’.

There’s some truth to these comparisons, given that the chassis has come from the Defender Max range, which has the ability to carry six passengers, with a more standard size rear tipping tray.

Rugged styling, with bright 140W front lights

However, it’s a valuable lesson in not judging a book (or side by side) on first appearances, as once behind the wheel, it’s an absolute cracker. Our test location halfway between Matamata and Te Aroha meant we had a variety of terrain and conditions to challenge different features of the Defender Pro.

One area I thought it would struggle was over rough undulating terrain. With the long wheelbase, I was expecting to get hung up and bellied at every opportunity. To its credit, this only happened once (not that I didn’t provide plenty of opportunity for this to happen), and when it did, I just backed out, picked a new line, and it was no issue.

The longer wheelbase Can-Am thrives on the rough and challenging hill climb

Where the long wheelbase did shine was uphill and downhill. This machine climbs like a demon; wet, slippery hill climbs were no problem. With Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tyres fitted as standard, they dug in and found plenty of traction and also cleared nicely in heavy mud situations.

Adjustable suspension on all four wheels

They also look pretty cool on 14-inch, black cast aluminium rims, providing strength without the weight. Plenty of power is supplied to the wheels by way of the 976cc, 82hhp, petrol Rotax engine.

Kitted up with guard extensions and front windscreen, two of the many optional extras

With only a handful of bales on the rear tray, I was only using about half of that power, but it’s always good to have extra in reserve to get through challenging situations. Next up came some testing in the sandpit on some uneven heaps left by recent digger work.

This is where I thought we would be stuck and bellied in no time, but to my surprise, the Can-Am Defender Pro thrived, with the shocks keeping the wheels on the ground, the Visco lock of the front axle providing drive to the front wheels as needed, and with four-wheel-drive engaged, there was no stopping the big beastie.     


The engine bay is completely safe to clean with a pressure washer

There are pretty much two types of people when it comes to riding bikes – those who want the supposed low-down torque and economy of diesel and those who like the more instant power provided by a petrol power plant.

I fall into the latter category, so in that regard, the Rotax power plant ticks all the boxes for me. Not only is it pumping out 82hp from a twin-cylinder 976cc petrol engine but it also sounds pretty darn good.

Excellent under deck storage, accessible from both sides

Refinements have been made to the firewall to reduce engine noise which is a plus. Also, on the Defender Pro models, the engine is quite a distance from the driver, mounted at the rear, with the large storage compartment in between further acting as buffer.

As far as ongoing costs, Can-Am has an impressive service interval, with initial service at 1000km and subsequent services at 3000km. In terms of speed, with the full power key, this beast is capable of speeds over 100km/hr (yes, I had to test that also and did it with a smile).

Proximity key attached to starter key to govern engine output/top speed

For on-farm work, I’d estimate an average speed of 10km/h, which would make services roll around every 300 hours. If that was the case, I would probably service a little sooner as preventative maintenance.

It would be interesting to see what servicing would be required after clocking up 3000 hours. One thing that helps in the maintenance department is being able to hose the entire engine under the deck.

Off on another mission

On this model, this presents no problems, so long as you stay away from the air inlet behind the driver’s seat. With a gas strut, the deck can be released and lifted with one hand to check oil and radiator coolant, which probably takes less than one minute. The generous 40-litre fuel tank should be enough to get you through even the biggest day’s work. 


  • Plenty of storage, under deck as well as within the cabin
  • Customisation with accessories to suit requirements
  • Long service intervals
  • Largest tray size available
  • Easy to clean
  • Smooth easy to shift transmission


  • Rear visibility when loaded/backing
  • Not really nimble in tight situations, although not as bad as I was expecting

Can-Am HD10 Defender Pro DPS specifications


Rotax HD10 V-Twin, liquid-cooled, EFI


976cc, 82hp



Transmission PRO-TORQ transmission, extra L/H/N/R/P
Power-steering Dynamic Power Steering (DPS)
4WD system

2×2/4×4/ and rear locking diff Front Visco-Lok auto locking front differential


Front, arched double A-arm 27.9cm travel. Rear, arched TTA with external swaybar 27.9cm travel


Front, dual 220mm discs with hydraulic twin-piston calipers
Rear, dual 220mm discs with hydraulic single-piston calipers
Park brake-transmission


Front, Maxxis Bighorn 2.0  27x9x14 inch. Rear, Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 27x11x14 inch

LxWxH 390cm x 163cm x 198cm
Wheelbase cm


Ground clearance


Dry weight

726kg (estimated)

Cargo box

180.3cm L x 138.4cm W x 25.4cm H

Cargo box capacity


Storage capacity

Total 356L, under deck 316.5L

Towing capacity 1134kg
Load capacity 771kg
Fuel capacity 40L 

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Photography: Mark Fouhy

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