ATV TEST: 2022 CAN-AM RENEGADE X XC 1000R
No wonder it dominates the GNCC series By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Has anyone ever turned a machine over to you with a warning? “This thing has a lot of power so be careful!” No statement could have been more relevant to this machine. There was a time when 4×4 quads were earnest and capable but far from thrilling. Those days are long gone, and modern big-bore 4×4 quads are anything but boring. Now there are even sport 4×4 quads that make only the barest nod towards utility. If ever there was a dedicated, competition-ready sport 4×4, the Renegade is it.
Our experience with it has been enlightening. It is a ton of fun (actually, less than a half ton if we are accurate), and the more we rode it, the more we learned to respect it and employ the different power modes to enhance our ability to control the beast.
At 91 horsepower, the Renegade’s Rotax 976cc V-twin engine needs all the tame-ability it can get, and three selectable maps are your answer on the trail. Can-Am’s Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) is a throttle-by-wire system, so throttle response is immediate but smooth. With iTC, you can instantly select a fuel-injection mode on the fly. It makes sense that the selector switch is right on the throttle housing. You change between Eco, Normal and Sport modes.
The power dominates your first impressions. Despite the “careful” warning, we indulged our inner little kid and immediately put it in Sport mode. We noticed that the power is seemingly endless yet very smooth. Low-end torque isn’t so uncontrollable that it’s hard to hang on, but you soon realize that Sport setting is for when traction is abundant, you have lots of room ahead or your goggles are full of sand dunes dead ahead. It is punchy enough to pick the front wheels off the ground if you’re not careful. That is not usual for CVT drivetrains.
The mid-to-top part of the power delivery is where we learned to respect the acceleration. The power is so incredible and smooth as the CVT endlessly and seamlessly adjusts the drive ratio, you don’t realize how fast you reach high speeds. While climbing rain-rutted hills, we were able to accelerate faster than we could realistically handle, which added to the smile factor.
In Normal mode, you still have plenty of power with the edge taken off the low-end bite of Sport mode. Eco mode is much more controlled and is nice if you’re just exploring. For example, we took one trail that required all our attention because it was just wide enough for the Renegade. On a trail like that, it was nice to not have the punchiness of the other two power modes. Some of our most experienced riders used the Eco setting almost exclusively.
A continuously variable transmission delivers power to all four wheels through the shaft drive. The automatic transmission has high and low forward gears, neutral, reverse, and park. The rear differential always remains locked, but the front is controlled electronically through the Outlander’s computer. Can-Am’s Visco-Lok front differential locks when the system senses rear-wheel slippage.
SLOW AND WHOA
During our early miles we noticed that the engine braking was enough to throw us forward if we didn’t brace ourselves. In low gear it was particularly noticeable. Pick up the pace in high range, and the engine braking was our friend. Slowing down the 710-pound machine can be a handful if you’re charging into corners. When we were pushing the speed and hammering the throttle, we felt a correct amount of engine braking without it lunging us forward too much.
The front brakes are dual hydraulic discs with twin-piston calipers and 214mm rotors. The rear brake is a single disc with a twin-piston caliper and a 214mm rotor. The brake lever on the left side of the handlebar engages all three brakes, but braking power is proportioned towards the front brakes. The foot-operated brake pedal on the right floorboard is in a slightly awkward position when aggressively attacking the trails, although it is still useful. We primarily used the hand-brake lever during our rides. Because of the weight, it does take some time to find how late you can leave braking and still be ready for corners or obstacles.
FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE OR TWO-WHEEL DRIVE?
We found that four-wheel drive was most suitable for 90 percent of the riding we did. We often like to ride in two-wheel drive aiming to turn more with the rear end. In the case of the Renegade, we found it would break the rear end loose too easily and possibly spin us into the weeds if we weren’t gentle with the right thumb. We felt more control through corners in 4WD.
SUSPENSION, DIMENSION AND FEEL
In the Can-Am’s front end you’ll find arched double A-arms with a front sway bar and 9.2 -inches of travel. The front shocks are the highly rated Fox 1.5 Podium RC2s. In the rear, Can-Am stuck with an independent torsional trailing arm (ITT) design with 9.9 inches of travel utilizing the Fox 1.5 Podium RC2 shocks.
The wheelbase is 51 inches with 10.5 inches of ground clearance. It was enough height to get us over most rocky trails we hit and low enough to feel stable at speed or when cornering. High-speed fire-road riding was confidence-inspiring, and the harder we hit uneven spots in the road, the smoother the suspension seemed to work. The machine kept surprising us with stability, whether we hit big rain ruts or jagged rocks.
If we weren’t really hammering the corners, the front end wanted to push a little bit. It took some body English and getting in a more forward position to convince the front end to get maximum traction. Some riders may want to soften the suspension just a bit to help stick to the ground. This is especially true for people who aren’t riding at race pace very often. Racing and sport riding are what the Renegade was designed for, so it’s not a surprise that it feels stiff at times.
Cornering feel was almost like cheating and really impressed us in a couple of areas. When we were hauling down fire roads, the stability and confidence were seemingly endless through sweeping corners even when slightly off-camber or rocky. Weaving through technical, uphill terrain was some of the most fun we had on the machine. Again, 4WD was our best friend through those types of sections, and it not only helped maintain the front end’s forward motion, but made the steering accurate and planted.
Sharp, slow-speed turning was a little frustrating at times. For example, when we wanted to make U-turns on the trail, we had to exaggerate weighting the front end to get the front wheels to stick and not just slide. This is a large quad, and many two- or three-point turns were made to get turned around. Similarly, in reverse, we had difficulty getting the front wheels to hold traction even in 4WD.
LIGHTING, GAUGES AND KEY
The Renegade comes stock with four 60-watt fender-mounted headlights with rear tail and brake lights. The lights are impressive at night, although we did minimal night riding. It also comes pre-wired for an aftermarket winch that could come in handy. We discovered that when caution let us get stuck near the top of a pretty sketchy rock crawl. A winch would have safely bailed us out. The main gauge includes all the usual meters, along with a clock and 4WD indicator. The key is a digitally encoded piece that clips on tightly instead of being inserted in an ignition switch.
Dynamic power adjustability is key for getting max enjoyment from the Renegade. Plain and simple, this is a race-performance sport quad that should be respected on the trail. Of course, it has the power to do utility work, but really is better equipped for sport riding and competition. We love the aggressive sound, look and color of the machine.
At $13,199 it comes race-ready, although many of the top pros make modifications and often use different tires and certain components. Personalizing the suspension settings for particular riding areas and conditions or for rider skill levels can pay off well. You can check out different price packages and build options at www.can-am.brp.com.
SPECS: 2022 CAN-AM RENEGADE X XC 1000R
Engine Rotax V-twin, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 5.4 gal.
Transmission Automatic CVT
Final drive Shaft
Front Dual A-arms w/ 9.2”
Rear Torsional trailing arm independent (TTI) w/ 9.9”
Front Dual hydraulic discs
Rear Hydraulic disc
Front ITP Holeshot ATR 25×8-12”
Rear ITP Holeshot ATR 25×10-12”
Ground clearance 10.5”
Curb weight 710 lb.
Rear 35 lb.
Towing capacity 1300 lb.
Colors Desert Tan & Carbon Black, 850/1000R; Chalk Gray & Magma Red, 1000R