XC Xtreme – Can-Am Renegade 800X xc

XC Xtreme – Can-Am Renegade 800X xc

2010.can-am.renegade800x-xc.yellow.front-left.jumping.in-air_0.jpgOne blow out the cob webs ride on the Can-Am Renegade 800X-xc is enough to convince most riders they have met their match. Developed with the help of the Can-Am racing team, The 800X xc was meant to deliver performance that nothing else could touch, and it does not disappoint. The 800X xc is loaded with a host of unique features we couldn’t wait to try, and we wanted to see what this racer had both on the track and on the trail.

Maximum Power

The 800X-xc is powered by a liquid cooled, 799.9cc, 8 valve V-twin engine fed by dual 46mm throttle bodies and electronic fuel injection. Can-Am claims the standard Renegade 800 cranks out 71 hp and we’ve never questioned it! A CVT transmission and a good belt get the power to the ground, and shaft drive transfers the power from the transmission to both the front and rear wheels. One feature everybody loves about the 800 motor is the sound, and a throaty growl simply oozes performance and gives fair warning to anyone with their thumb on the throttle. More importantly, the engine seems well balanced and feels smooth with no vibration apparent in the pegs or at the handlebars. Getting underway is as easy as slipping the right hand lever into whatever gear you want, and making sure you’ve got it pointed in the right direction.2010.can-am.renegade800x-xc.yellow.front-right.jumping.in-air.jpg

XC Chassis

Unlike every other ATV which has a perimeter tube chassis, both the Renegade 500 and 800 are built on the Surrounding Spar Technology frame, or what Can-Am calls SST. Basically, the Can-Am SST chassis is built upon a single, massive main spar down the center of the ATV which helps center the weight and makes for a clean design. At the rear is another Can-Am exclusive feature, and instead of the multiple tubes and components common to a dual rear a-arm system, Can-Am outfits the Renegade models with a super simple and beefy trailing arm rear suspension. It’s simple, clean, and it works. The advantage is, when the rear wheels encounter an obstacle or bump on the trail, they don’t have any wheel scrub or geometry change throughout the suspension stroke. They basically go straight up and down! A traditional dual A-arm setup swings on an arc radius and as a result the geometry changes as the suspension moves. At the front the Renegade does utilize a dual A-arm suspension system with forged aluminum upper A-arms, but there is one additional feature found on the front end.

Sway bars are common on racing vehicles, particularly those that see high cornering forces. They’re nothing more than a mechanical application to physical laws. Newton’s law says a body in motion tends to stay in motion until acted upon by an outside force. The sway bar is that outside mechanical force, and as your body and the vehicle want to “roll” to the outside of the turn, a sway bar helps reduce that tendency by taking that natural body roll and forcing the inside front wheel to stay planted. They help you corner faster and it definitely works on the XC. We could power through the corners much faster than on the standard Renegade.

The Renegade 800X xc also gets a little protection from outside forces in the form of an aluminum skid plate. Can-Am outfitted the XC with a sturdy aluminum skid plate that runs the length of the chassis, and whenever we heard a rock clank off the bottom we were happy to know the underside of our XC was well protected.2010.can-am.renegade800x-xc.yellow.front-right.riding.on-track.jpg

XC Comfort 

Can-Am ATVs always feel roomy to us and they seem well suited to larger riders. The Renegade 800X xc is this way also, and from either a standing or sitting position is quite comfortable. We like the different seat cover on the XC! It’s grippy and does a good job of holding you in place, but doesn’t continually work your pants down like some covers to. Just ahead of the steering column is a center mounted digital display that is easy to read while underway and displays fuel level, rpms, mph, total miles and trip miles, diagnostics and it even gives a little greeting when you flip the digitally encoded security system key on. The advantage of the D.E.S.S. key system is that there is no way to start the Can-Am without the key, and only your dealer can reset it for you. Control layout is very good and everything is within easy reach, with the shift lever mounted just ahead of your right knee, and everything else on the handlebars. We’ve never been overly fond of the quirky handlebars on other Renegade models, but on the 800X xc the bars are a “fat bar” design with a much better bend. They feel natural! A large foam pad protects your face from the mounting clamps, and we’re glad to have this as well. We really like the excellent raised aluminum foot pegs of the Renegade models, but it will be important for riders to keep a good edge on the aluminum by taking a file to them now and then. While the Renegade is MUCH more sporty than the traditional 4wd ATV and does not have any racks, it does have a small cargo deck with 4 tie down points behind the rear seat and an enclosed compartment behind the rear tail light.2010.can-am.renegade800x-xc.yellow.front_.riding.on-trail.jpg

Suspension Upgrades

The suspension on the 800X xc is a major upgrade over the traditional Renegade chassis. We’ve always thought the Renegades were plush on the trail, but the XC package offers adjustability as well. Can-Am equipped the XC package with KYB-HPG aluminum piggyback reservoir shocks with dual speed compression, rebound and preload adjustments on the front offering 8.5” of wheel travel. At the rear are KYB- HPG shocks with remote reservoirs featuring dual speed compression, rebound and preload adjustments, and 9” of travel. We love the adjustability of the shocks at both ends, and they are excellent quality units. Every rider that tried the 800X xc was impressed!

Racers know the importance of a good set of bead lock wheels and Can-Am installed them right from the factory on the 800X xc. Each wheel gets a beefy bead lock ring on the outside, but on the inside the wheels also have reinforcing rings. We also noticed the wheels are balanced, and with the speeds this ATV is capable of it’s not a bad idea. Tough ITP Holeshot tires are found at both ends, and they are more than capable of getting a solid bite on the terrain. Get behind another rider with a set of them on his quad, and you can expect everything on the track to be shot your way. They also wear like iron and with almost 2000 miles on our Renegade 500 they have lost some of their edge but have never leaked.

Dynamic Power Steering

The first thing most people will notice about the 800X xc is the looks. The bright yellow bead lock wheels, striking black and yellow color scheme and catchy graphics all give the XC a strong, beefy look that would make any muscle beach ‘roid boy proud! The next thing they notice is the sound when they start the engine, but the feature they remember most is the steering.2010.can-am.renegade800x-xc.yellow.right_.riding.on-track.jpg

Can-Am gave the 800X xc Dynamic Power Steering. DPS is a system that allows the rider to adjust the power steering to a couple preset options simply by pressing the button on the left handlebar. It makes a HUGE difference. We like a little more feedback and feel in the system, and after a couple test rides determined DPS MIN was best for us. Whichever you choose, you can say goodbye to arm pump after aggressive, all day rides. We love it!

First Ride – First Race

Can-Am is a major supporter of ATV racing, and they make it an integral part of their development program. The Renegade 800X xc was a direct result of what they learned on the track so that’s where we took it first. As we rocketed off the line at the start of a Cross Country race, we knew we had a winner. The XC pulled like a guided missile towards the first turn, and with complete confidence in the tires and chassis we railed the outside line with the power on. This was going to be fun! We sailed over a couple jumps with ease, and a couple turns later dove into the woods for the first test. We were a little concerned about the overall size of the XC and our ability to wind between the trees. It can be a handful fighting a quad this big through a tight and winding course, but DPS put our fears to rest. It was no problem snaking through the trail. The DPS is a HUGE advantage in the woods. As the trail emerged into open field and long, sandy straights we cracked the throttle and blasted towards the other side of the field. Small bumps were easily soaked up by the plush suspension, and when launching over jumps the 800X xc was very predictable. You’re not going to muscle it around in the air, but it flies in a very neutral position so you won’t have to. It was extremely confidence inspiring both in the woods and on the open track. Usually as the laps wind down in a Cross Country event so does our energy level. It’s not easy to wrestle any quad for a long race, but at the end of our race we felt GREAT! Even on a sport quad that doesn’t happen, but the DPS and a smooth suspension made a HUGE difference in our energy level. The proof was in the details, and our last lap times were actually faster than some of our first!2010.can-am.renegade800x-xc.yellow.right_.jumping.in-air.jpg

Trail Impressions 

Cracking the throttle on the Renegade 800X xc is something like being shot from a cannon. Clutch engagement seems smooth and predictable, but when you need a burst of power there is nothing like it. Once on the trail it’s easy to control, and the fuel injection system features no hesitation and provides excellent, instant throttle response.

All test riders really liked the adjustable suspension, although they thought the front end was a little soft as it came from the factory. We opted to adjust the compression valving a couple clicks stiffer, and to increase the rebound speed by one click. This made the suspension much more balanced from front to back. With the adjustability built into each shock you can easily dial it in for your riding style or trail conditions. The overall conclusion from any rider is that the Renegade 800X xc is an absolute blast to ride, but is definitely meant for highly experienced riders as well. The only limitation we found is in long, repeated whoop sections where the suspension could begin to swap at times. We believe this is due to the frame which is built on a single center plane, and as it is loaded first on one wheel, then rapidly unloaded, it has a tendency to spring back, eventually going into a slight harmonic imbalance, and repeating the cycle until you’re out of the whoops. It’s not unlike that Tacoma Narrows bridge video on a much smaller scale. When the chassis is loaded unevenly from one side to the other in whoops it almost certainly flexes slightly and then has to spring back.2010.can-am.renegade800x-xc.close-up.front-suspension.jpg

Nuts and Bolts

Clean oil and clean air are essential in keeping your quad alive, and on the Renegade the oil dipstick is on the right side of the engine, the battery is under the seat, and a pleated filter is located in an air box behind the steering column. Most of the bodywork can be removed without tools, and because of a careful air inlet design the air filter stays quite clean and dry under even the most extreme conditions. The air box lid is held closed by several snap clips that are easy to use, although we ignore the one behind the gear shift lever because it’s almost impossible to reach and not really needed anyway. With the easy access to the oil and air filter there is no reason to ignore maintenance on this quad.

Trail and Track

There is nothing quite like the Can-Am Renegade 800X xc. Cracking the throttle and both hearing and feeling the performance as you rocket forward borders on a religious experience, and it’s one we intend to repeat often. We’ll be seeking divine inspiration all summer on the track and the trail!

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September 1, 2010

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