q Our biggest complaint on the awesome new Can-Am Commander is that in some situations we find limits to the rear suspension sooner than we feel we should. In deep whoops, the rear bottoms out, kicks and swaps. And, on some larger jumps, the rear end bottoms out. While the stock Commander shocks are preload adjustable, that ability does not help the problem. What it needs are compression and rebound adjusters to fine-tune the ride.
To get these features, we turned to Can-Am’s Canadian neighbor, Elka Suspension. You can bet Elka had an early Commander and had a head start in building aftermarket components for this rig. Elka is sponsoring several Commander pilots for the 2011 GNCC season.
For our Commander, we ordered a set of stock-length, piggyback-reservoir-equipped shocks that are fully adjustable with high/low-speed compression, rebound and preload dials. This is the same product we used bolts on, on the early Yamaha Rhinos that made them corner and handle great. The Commander products retail for $1,190 per pair.
TOUGH TRACK TEST
Installation on the four new shocks only took a few minuets. Eight bolts, two 15mm wrenches and one floor jack got it done.
Before the dust settled on a stock shocks test session, we were back out on the test track with the four new Elkas installed. Over the big jumps and drop-offs, the Elkas worked great right out of the box. Bottoming out was eliminated. Flying was level, and landings were plush.
To get the Commander to work well in the whoops, we did, however, have to do a little fine-tuning. After a few adjustment sessions, we settled on a good setting from the stock positions. We increased the high-speed compression dials five clicks and slowed the rebound six clicks.
Now we could hammer the whoops without any kicking or bottoming sensation. The heavy Commander still sticks to the ground well, instead of skipping over the bumps like the Polaris RZR does. Feelings when we hit small square-edge bumps and rocks in the trail were also reduced to almost nothing.
Elka’s fix for the Commander worked. We’re not sure why Can-Am didn’t use Elka’s help in the development of the stock shocks setup, but luckily for Can-Am racers and trail explorers, you can get your Commander working like it should. To order a set of Elka shocks for any ATV or UTV, give them a call at (800) 557-0552. q
The Elkas worked much better out of the box than the stock shocks. To get them working perfectly, we ended up with a slightly slower rebound and harder compression setting than how they were delivered.
The Elka shocks feature a thicker shaft, larger body and a reservoir to hold more oil. These shocks sell for $1190 per pair, have high/low speed compression and rebound and preload adjustments.
When we finally took a spin in the Commander at our local OHV area, we realized the suspension wasn’t as good as reported in the initial test. In deep whoops, the rear suspension runs out of travel, then packs up and kicks or swaps.