Getting Dirrrrty

By: Shane Solomon, Photography by: Lou Martni and BRP

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The Can-Am ATV range launch

Getting Dirrrrty
Getting Dirrrrty

Last year, Can-Am chose a small local tract of farmland outside Rotorua to host its release of the new model range and we were lucky enough to have been invited to partake in some off-road ATV fun. Shane went down to the aromatic thermal resort, seeing as he hadn’t ridden anything approaching an ATV since he crashed his uncle’s three-wheeled Honda farm bike into a fence back in the early 80s…

Can-Am designers and engineers took the all-terrain vehicle world by storm when they arrived in the well-established ATV market in the late 1990s. With BRP Can-Am’s passion for innovation and world firsts, it soon got ahead of the competition. Can-Am was the first to equip ATVs with the TTI rear suspension, offering superior comfort in any conditions thanks to the unique placement of the two independent pivot points.

It was also one of the first to offer a manufacturer-approved ATV for two people combining maximum power, handling and traction.

Can-Am is focused on the ATV sport market and its 2009 ATV line-up makes it known just how serious it is about it. BRP is a leader in the snowmobile market with Ski-Doo, in the watercraft market with Sea-Doo and its Evinrude Outboard motors. It is serious about doing the same in the ATV sport market.

The Outlander has been a serious contender in the sport-utility market ever since BRP introduced the Outlander 400 in 2003. The Outlander family has expanded each year, adding 500cc, 650cc, and 800cc versions with multiple models of each. These go all the way up to the two rider Outlander Max 800 HO EFI Ltd, which is a full luxury touring ATV. When I say touring, I mean touring the backblocks and forests of course, not the entire country, although if you fitted road tyres…

For 2009 the Outlander family does not get any new members but it does get many upgrades. All 500, 650 and 800 models get a new digital gauge and a redesigned CVT sealing system to keep the belt and clutches dry when the weather gods get mad. The 800 gets new EFI mapping, which gives it 11 percent better fuel economy. That is a significant boost given today’s petrol prices. There are additional styling updates across the board and a new 3000-pound winch on the Outlander XT package.

Can-Am introduced the Renegade 800 to the market for 2007. It is in a class of its own, which we will call the Sport 4x4. Unlike the normal 4x4 ATV, the Renegade is void of racks. It carries a sport-tuned suspension yet retains full 4x4 capabilities. The Renegade 800 oozes testosterone like a round of the V8 Supercars.

For 2009 Can-Am adds to the Rengade line-up with a new 500 model. The Renegade 500 is virtually identical to the Renegade 800, with the only difference being the Rotax 500 HO EFI V-Twin power plant. Also new for the 2009 Renegade is split brake controls. Like most sport bikes you can now control your front and rear brakes separately. In my opinion this gives the rider much better brake control. The Rengade models also get the improved Visco-Lok calibration and better CVT sealing.

The DS family gets three new models and loses one. Going away is the DS650, first introduced back in 1999. This has won numerous Baja championships and has proven popular with desert and dune riders but it is heavy and outdated in the current marketplace. Of course the biggest news is what is sure to be the most innovative ATV of the year, the new DS 450 EFI. With a totally new design with its aluminium frame and construction, this DS 450 is one that any Jedi Knight could use to tame the dark side of the force.

Here are some details about the DS450: The lightweight and trademarked ALTEC dual-pyramid aluminium frame is said to be 13 percent lighter than the best in-class competitor. This pyramid design already has time in the field with BRP’s Ski-Doo and REV-XP snowmobiles. It has KYB HPG aluminium body piggyback, fully adjustable shocks to absorb the terrain and disc brakes with 182mm wave-type discs, inverted twin-piston callipers and 198mm wave-type disc in rear. Racer fans might enjoy the kick-up foot pegs and detachable headlights and interchangeable fenders.

Oh…and the new Rotax 450 single cylinder engine is something to be proud of as well. Its top-end DNA comes from its cousin, the Aprilia RSV1000. With a free-flow air design and largest claimed piston bore, intake valves and throttle body, you can bet this has every potential to be a crowd pleaser.

But not to be left out are two all-new youth models a DS90 and a DS90X. Both feature four-stroke engines, long travel suspension and a built-in throttle limiter with a tether engine shit-off switch, so the wee ones are always in control. They also feature day lights, unlike the majority of the youth models on the market.

This next year will be a very important one for Can-Am. The success of the new DS 450 EFI could have a very large impact on its future business. The innovation in the new DS450 will also have a significant impact on the ATV industry itself. Just how will the other manufacturers respond with new products of their own? What other new innovations may come out of this? It can only be good for the rapidly growing ATV sport in this country.

As you can see, the 2009 lineup from Can-Am is full of options for just about everyone in the family, from the small youth models to a choice of few big bore sport and utility quads. By the start of the summer, dealers should have these units in stock. If you get a chance, stop by and take a look at all the models available.

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