2014 Can-Am Test Ride
We were honored to receive an invite to travel with Can-Am to Albany, NY and test out the entire 2014 line-up of Can-Am UTV’s. I must admit, New York seemed like a strange place for us all to travel too for a a ride event but we packed our gear and flew to Albany with bells on! Upon arriving to our ride site we chose to focus on 2 specific new machines for Can-Am, the new Maverick Max 4 seat machine and the new Maverick X-XC 60″ trail version of the Maverick. We did put some time in the Maverick itself just to compare how it felt amongst its thinner sister and bigger brother machines. One thing remained true between all 3 Mavericks and that was the power is awesome! Something about that torque filled Rotax V-Twin just makes us giddy inside!
The area we were riding in just outside of Albany is a private UTV/ATV park that sits on about 2000 acres of privately owned land. We were educated that in New York ATV recreation has been all but wiped out due to the governments relationships with extreme “tree hugger” type organizations. Just about all public OHV areas in New York have been shut down which has forced the states off-road activists to seek out private land owners who want to essentially turn their land into riding locations so that the states enthusiasts can still express their love for the sport without having to travel out of state. This closure of OHV land has all but killed ATV/UTV sales in the state of New York but there is an internal fight taking place to get more private land opened up to help revive the states ATV/UTV hobby. After spending 2 days riding on this private piece of land we realized just how cool it was to ride in New York, a state known for its big city but has some of the greenest back country. Our trail system consisted of tight wooded areas, high speed meadow like trails, water crossings and one fun to play in gravel pit!
I jumped into the Maverick Max, a 4-seat machine thats approx 30″ longer than the standard 2-seat Maverick. The Maverick Max X-RS has Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering, QE Front Differential and oversized front disc brakes making this unit the one to buy for sure! My first impression upon seeing the Max in person was “WOW, its long” but all of that went out the window upon apexing our first turn. Just like transitioning from an XP to an XP4 you quickly realize that the machine doesn’t drive as long as it feels. Stability was increased with the added wheel base and in my opinion the 101hp Rotax V-Twin power became more manageable. In the 2 seat version the power can be scary at times, making the machine feel squirly upon acceleration in lose dirt or under a sharp high speed turn. The Max due to its added weight and size isn’t as “quick” perse as the 2-seat version but that Horse-Power is still there and when jumping into the throttle it becomes much more predictable to use. We did play with the new Tri-Mode DPS a bit. The way it works is you can actually adjust how much assist you recieve from the power steering. This is super cool if you are a high speed driver who wants little assist or a low speed driver who wants a lot of assist. In our case we put it on maximum assist and ran it just like that for most of the time. I have a feeling most others will do this as well but having the ability to tune your power steering is just one more unique feature that no one else currently has outside of Can-Am. I quickly familiarized myself with the machine and began to push it, finding its limit around turns and seeing just how far we could hang it out without losing control. Surprisingly I couldn’t find the limit, no matter how hard I swung it around it remained planted firm to the ground and the acceleration allowed us to walk the back end around turns in a way that was very fun and exhilarating. The handling is very predictable, the braking was superb for a large machine and like the Maverick and Commander the user ergonomics are the best in the industry. I was quickly falling in love with the Maverick Max! You would think in all our years of testing we would learn to not go for the top model of machine before trying the base model but when I see all these new machines my instinct tells me to go get in the biggest, fastest, most hooked up machine that is in the lineup.
After running the X-RS I jumped into the base model Maverick Max. The first thing you notice is the big digital cluster in front of the steering wheel is gone and replaced by the smaller digital gauge. That alone is enough for me to want to spend the extra bucks and get the X-RS but I know for many its not a deal breaker. Once moving I could instantly feel the lack of steering assist being that the base unit does not have power steering. In our 2 seat Maverick its not that big of an issue but in the Max its almost a necessary component. This machine is just too big to not have it, especially at slow speeds. I hope in the future that Can-Am would just include DPS on all models, DPS should be a standard feature in our opinion. Suspension wise the base model didn’t feel any different despite only having 2.0″ FOX Piggy Backs in the rear vs. the X-RS having 2.5″ shocks but I assume all that would change in some bumpy terrain. We kept the Max out of most of the tight trails for obvious reasons and so with that I would say that if your primary style of riding is tight, twisty, wooded trails the Max may not be your ultimate choice. Despite not feeling long when driving, it still is. High centering can be an issue with the Max so being cautious of what you are trying to traverse over or crest needs to be on your mind when off-roading this beast but overall we loved the machine. Its predictability, comfort, styling, power, and suspension make the Max an instant favorite for us! We hope to get one of our own to play with!
After driving the Max I decided to get some seat time in the standard Maverick. Getting in an hitting the throttle you instantly realize how much quicker, more nimble, and lighter the 2 seat version is. It felt like I could whip that thing through any obstacle or trail after spending a couple of hours in the Max and upon entering one of the designated high speed loops I found myself seeing just how far I could push the machine. I love the Maverick. Its throttle response and seat of your pants acceleration makes it really exciting to drive. At times it can feel a bit like riding a bull, something it turns out that Can-Am likes to do.. I’ll save that story for another day.. haha But it can be a handful when hitting he throttle, whipping the machine back and forth and going through bumps. Within minutes I quickly understood what it was like to race GNCC and now I can say with absolute certainty that those racers are nuts! Blitzing by trees with only inches to spare, under acceleration, while bouncing over large exposed roots is a real challenge but extremely fun at the same time.
The Maverick was fun in the trees but now I wanted to see what the 60″ X-XC was all about!! Climbing into the X-XC felt like climbing into a standard Maverick. Upon first glance you don’t really notice the narrowed wheel base and the a-arm suspension looks to be designed in the exact same manner as the 64″ Maverick. But once you start you wheeling through the tight trails you quickly see what a difference those 4″ make on the wheel base. The narrower X-XC inherently feels a bit more tippy but it also feels a lot more nimble. It took a second for me to adjust to the narrowed wheel base but then once I did I found myself pushing the limits of this machine harder then I did the wider Maverick and way harder then I could have done in the Max. The X-XC’s power combined with the Tri-Mode DPS and FOX suspension make this the ultimate woods racer and in my opinion will become the top choice for GNCC style racers. You could turn this beast on a dime, essentially pivoting around a tree 180 degree without even thinking twice. Its agility is far superior to anything I have ever wheeled through the trees, only the RZR 570 comes close but the Maverick X-XC has the 570 dominated in the power department. 20 minutes in the X-XC was all I needed on my first run to instantly make it my favorite tight trail machine but after an hour it had me thinking that maybe I should head east more often and start running these GNCC races because I felt like I was really getting it on in those tight trails… hahah Reality is, I would probably have my shorts handed to me but in all it gives you confidence to race through those tight twisty trails at speeds you could never do in a wider machine. I really enjoyed the X-XC. It gave me a sense of playing in a go-kart and instilled confidence when driving at speed next to trees and tight wooded areas. It still felt a bit top heavy at times but you quickly adjust to that as a driver. If I was a trail rider this would be at the top of my list. However as a southwest desert guy the Maverick and Maverick Max would still be my choice for the wider trails, high speed bumps and dunes. In the end I really like the Maverick lineup of machines and I am thrilled to see another OEM giving Polaris a run in the sport-rec department. Everyone needs some competition to force you to push yourself, your product and your brand to higher levels. I hope that this added competition amongst OEM’s only further pushes our sport. Kudos to Can-Am for a job well done serving multiple markets and riding styles!
I would like to give a special thank you to the entire Can-Am staff. I had a fantastic time with them in New York, riding mechanical bulls and riding Maverick’s. I look forward to our next adventure together and hope to be able to bring even more Can-Am related news and information to all of our readers and members. Until then, enjoy the photos and jump into our forum and feel free to ask away if you have any questions surrounding this new lineup of Can-Am UTV’s!
See all details of the line-up including more photos and specs here: http://www.utvunderground.com/2014-can-am-model-year-lineup-5898.html