First Ride – The Maverick Missile

First Ride – The Maverick Missile

2013.can-am.maverick1000r.yellow.left.riding.up-hill.jpgNot long ago, Can-Am introduced their high performance Maverick 1000R Side x Side, but we were only allowed a mechanical sneak peak.  Since then we’ve been counting the days until we finally could climb inside and turn it loose, and Logandale, Nevada was just the place to see what the Maverick could to.  

Maverick Magic

The Maverick 1000R gets its styling from Can-Am’s Commander Side x Side although there are major differences.  At the front, the Maverick gets Can-Am’s dual head lights, but the styling team raised the hood angles to mimic the front bodywork design of a Baja conquering, trophy truck.  Under the hood is a large, flat pleated air filter and the panel is easy to lift off for quick filter checks.  The rear section of the Maverick looks awesome with minimalistic body panels that hint at huge wheel travel, again like a trophy truck.  Rather than a dumping cargo bed, like the Commander, the Maverick gets a trick cargo deck with plenty of tie down points.  The Cargo deck is actually the rear cargo rack from the Outlander ATVs, and it works great in its new role, as do the tail lights which are off the ATVs as well.  It’s a clever use of existing parts to increase efficiency and we like it!  With the area around the muffler now open for better airflow, temperatures around the exhaust system are reduced as well.  There is an accessory box which quickly and securely fastens down to the rear rack if you need one.    

The crew compartment of the new Maverick looks nearly identical to the Commander, and most of the components will be very familiar, but the base unit gets a nice LCD digital instrument cluster above the tilting wheel, while the X-package gets the dual, analog and digital gauge package that pivots with a custom wheel.  Both work fine, but the X-package wheel and instrument cluster look a little nicer. Though on the trail, you’ll rarely look down and never know the difference.  2013.can-am.maverick1000r.yellow.front_.riding.up-rocks.jpg

The basic protective cage structure from the Commander is used on the Maverick, but seating position has changed for more comfort and a lower center of gravity.  We do like the seats which do a great job of holding you in place, although you can feel them flex at times.  Shoulder and lap belts are just like those in your truck, but Can-Am easily has the best side protective nets in the industry which are stylish, strong, and clip in place quickly and securely thanks to the automotive style seat belt latch.  We love ‘em!  One really trick feature is the seats can be removed and used as camp chairs, and the passenger gets a couple very nice, ergonomically designed hand holds.  What it adds up to is Can-Am has the most stylish, refined crew compartment in the sport.    

Unleash the Beast

It was time to see what the Maverick was made of and we strapped ourselves down into the seats and clipped the side nets in place.  We really like how the driver’s seat can easily be adjusted.  With a stab at the start button, the engine sprang to life and the rumble below hinted at the claimed 101hp within.  Since the engine is mid-mounted for optimum weight balance, it’s a little louder in the cab area than on some other models, but the engine noise is acceptable.  The Maverick is equipped with the same CVT transmission as the Commander; although Can-Am has doubled the belt strength for both models.  We slipped the transmission into High and headed for the trails.  Because of the reshaped hood, the slightly different seating position and different front end geometry, the front end of the Maverick feels a little longer.2013.can-am.maverick1000r.yellow.left_.riding.on-dirt.jpg

On the trail the Maverick 1000R responds completely different than the Commander.  Since the Maverick was designed strictly for high-performance fun, power delivery is much more responsive.  Stab at the throttle and you’ll get an instant reaction from the 101hp motor. The Maverick 1000R is also equipped with Can-Am’s split personality “standard” and “sport” mode power selection button which selects a pre-set map offering different power delivery modes.  As with most riders, we used it in Sport mode.     

Can-Am claims 15% more power from the Maverick engine than the Commander and a big part of that comes from better airflow which they call High-Flow Dynamics.  The air intake location, the air plenum size, and both the intake and exhaust valve size were all increased and compression was increased to 12.0:1.  A new closed loop EFI system and throttle knock sensor mean you can run 87 octane fuel (it’s optimized for 91) and an exhaust gas sensor checks for a complete burn.  Exhaust tubes are now a dual, tuned length system that flows through dual mufflers at the rear.  The Maverick 1000R is also the first Side x Side to come with a catalytic convertor.  Power delivery is excellent and instant.2013.can-am.maverick1000r.close-up.front-suspension.JPG

Suspension & Shocks

Our experience with the Commander led us to expect a lot from the Maverick 1000R suspension.  What it delivers is outstanding.  At the front, the Maverick uses dual A-arms, but at the rear, Can-Am engineers came up with a whole new, five link rear suspension design.  Just like Can-Am’s trailing arms suspension, the new Torsional Trailing Arm design, (called the TTA) is designed for consistent suspension geometry with minimal wheel scrub and camber change.  Longer suspension arms help maintain consistent angles, and the front pivots on the TTA system reach forward practically into the seat base.  The design increases weight transfer to enhance the tire-to-ground contact, while at the same time increasing bump absorption, traction and overall suspension control.  Can-Am also used spherical bearings at suspension pivot points, and the entire design looks very clean.  The new MAVERICK 1000R gets FOX Podium Performance RC2.0 piggyback shocks at all corners and the shocks are fully adjustable and rebuildable.  Total suspension travel is 14” at both ends. 

We were happy enough at normal trail speed with the FOX shocks, but only when you really start to push the Maverick can you appreciate how good the shocks really are.  Heading into an unending whoop section, we had to see what it could do, and as we put the throttle down, the Maverick leapt forward.  Skimming along the top of the whoops was easy with the Maverick; it’s well balanced, and it held its line perfectly.  The stock shocks were doing an EXCELLENT job of controlling our ride with no swapping or pitching.  We can think of no base model shock that has ever worked better.  In fact, about the only advantage of the larger FOX 2.5 shocks from the Maverick 1000R X RS package would be a little more adjustability, and a larger volume of oil which would take longer to heat up.  We LOVE the shocks and wouldn’t change them for most riding. 2013.can-am.maverick1000r.close-up.steering-wheel.JPG

Brakes, Tires, & Steering

Going fast is a big problem if you can’t bring everything to a quick stop.  Thankfully, Can-Am gave the Maverick disc brakes tucked inside each wheel, and braking action was predictable and consistent with no noticeable fade.  The Maverick also has enormous engine braking that does an excellent job of helping you control descents.  In low it will creep down hills at about 3mph, while in high you can expect 5 of 6 mph.  Touching the throttle at any time removes the engine braking and about the only limit to the braking system will be available traction.  

It seems like about half of today’s Side x Sides come with Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, and the Maverick does as well.  That’s fine by us; they provide great traction in sand, mud, snow, and rocks and they resist side wall cuts that would leave you walking.  The only drawback to the Bighorn tires is they wear faster than we would care for.  Thanks to a stiff sidewall and an all-new, beefy tube chassis, which is twice as rigid as the Commander chassis, there is little body roll on the Maverick.  It feels solid.  Even the Maverick’s aluminum wheels have been designed to reduce overall weight while still retaining strength.  Steering is consistent and it responds well with good feel at the wheel.    

Maverick Mayhem

Whether it was the base model Maverick 1000R or the high end Maverick 1000R X RS, the new Can-Am lived up to our expectations and then some.  It’s radically different than the Commander and a legitimate contender for top honors in its class.  Can-Am has even promised us a four seat Maverick next summer, but until then, we’ll gladly take it the way it is.  The new Maverick 1000R is highly refined, precise, powerful, and built for action.  That’s just the way we like it!  

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February 2, 2013

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