It took an extra year of rumors and speculation, but when CAN-AM pulled back the curtains to reveal their 2011 new model lineup, there was not just one new Commander Side X Side but FIVE --and they looked stunning! Body styling fit in perfectly with the CAN-AM penchant for an aggressive, in-your-face, muscular look that hints at the performance within. From our first ride, it was clear this was a whole new level of UTV performance whether it was the COMMANDER 800, 1000, or the go-for-broke 1000 X-Package.
It’s often the details that make or break the overall design, and the first place we look is under the bodywork. There are some very creative engineering teams in the power sports business, but the new Commander Side X Sides showed exceptional work by the crew from Valcourt.
It’s easy to overlook the smaller displacement ATVs in favor of maximum power and features offered on larger models. For most owners, however, the extra power isn’t needed and can be intimidating, and a smaller displacement engine in a slightly smaller chassis gets the job done perfectly. The Grizzly 450 EPS was designed with that in mind.
Everybody likes to push the throttle to the stops and feel a burst of power from a big bore engine now and then, and the top utility ATVs from Polaris, Yamaha, Arctic Cat, Suzuki, Kawasaki, and Can-Am are all more than capable of delivering a solid punch, followed by an adrenaline shot to your spine! The performance from top of the line utility ATVs is truly incredible, but 99% of the time all the power isn’t really needed! Far more important to the overall performance of a vehicle is handling and suspension.
Testing the Kawasaki Lineup in the Bluegrass State
Whether above ground or a half mile beneath the surface, mining is a tough business. It's dusty, loud, and dangerous, but a vital part of our countries energy chain, and that's not going to change anytime soon. As long as we keep using electricity, we'll need mines to help keep the river of energy flowing, but in the case of surface mining there is a concern even after the energy is extracted. Like the early morning fog that silently drifts between the mountain tops and through the valleys, the question has always been what to do with the area once the mining is completed.
Most ATV owners use their ATV to do a little work around the farm or yard, to get back to the hunting stand, or for weekend recreation exploring a leafy forest trail. Maximum pulling power and top speed are not a high priority, but handling, performance and reliability is. While big bore ATVs are typically seen as those offering 700cc's or more, there are many excellent mid sized utility atvs ranging from 450 to 650cc's providing more than enough power for the vast majority of consumers, and with the features they desire.
The Honda Off-Road people like to say, "Adventure isn't paved." We couldn't agree more, and in the history of ATVs, we can safely say no other company has played a bigger supporting role in off-road adventure than Honda. They were leaders with ATVs right from the beginning, and although the competition has become extremely good, with some specific models even passing those in the Red Rider’s lineup, Honda is still the major player today.
Can-Am Releases the Most Anticipated Side-x-Side in Years
It's been over 5 years since the speculation, supposed sightings, and internet conjuring began. Loyal Can-Am fans and Side x Side enthusiasts riding every other brand have been waiting to see the latest innovative off road machine designed by the high performance crew from Valcourt, Quebec. While a few speculated that any new model would surely be designed only for utilitarian work, permanently resigned to construction or farm duty, those who studied the Can-Am design philosophy across their other product lines expected nothing less than cutting edge performance.
Every so often while exploring a new ride area, we’ll stumble onto a vehicle we haven’t seen before. Then again, sometimes it stumbles onto us. Such was the case when a charismatic character called “Tinley Park Dave” clattered by us at the Badlands Ride area in Indiana. With World War II helmet slung low on his head, unfastened strap swinging in the breeze, heavy work gloves on the stick, and dark shades and heavy work coat completing the image, we managed to flag down General Dave’s one man invasion force. This guy had a story, and we were eager to hear it!
Most manufacturers have nightmares about extra unaccounted passengers on any vehicle they build. For years, the rule of thumb with ATVs was "one seat and one set of pegs equals one rider only." A trip to almost any riding area more than illustrated the real world practice of people riding double, however, and although we ALWAYS follow proper safety practices and do everything we can to encourage others to do so as well, we could see the point of riding double in some cases. It was only natural to take your significant other along for an enjoyable day of exploration.