Don’t be ashamed. We all do it and it’s perfectly normal. We all ride utility quads faster than they were designed to go. Even though there’s a well-trod path to building a 450 race quad, building a high-performance 4×4 is a little more off-beat. But the needs are almost the same. One of the first stops should be suspension if you like crossing rough terrain at speed.
Can-Am knows that, and that’s why the Renegade 800 was built. It’s a 4×4 aimed at getting across ugly terrain and doing it [quickly]. The Renegade has a long list of specialized features that make it the king of the sport 4x4s. But after racing our Renegade in the Six Hours of Glen Helen, we began to wonder if the Renegade could benefit from a further upgrade in the suspension department. Race Tech was happy to help.
THE G3-S SOLUTION
Race Tech is well-known in the suspension revalving business. More recently, Race Tech expanded into shock manufacturing by merging with TCS. That company actually had its roots in Race Tech, and now has come full circle.
Race Tech borrowed the Dirt Wheels test Renegade and used it to develop the G3-S shocks for a Can-Am application, so we were particularly interested in the results. The Renegade X-XC version already comes with top-notch KYB shocks, although the shocks on the less-expensive R version are more basic. Even compared to the X-XC shocks, the Race Tech suspension is a step up. Each of the shocks is designed with an aluminum piggyback reservoir and a 46mm aluminum body with a 16mm shaft. So far that’s not so different from the KYBs. Our G3-S shocks came with triple-rate silicone springs, but two things really set the Race Tech shocks apart from production shocks. First, they are made to order in the U.S., which is an incredible advantage in the suspension business. No matter how good the original hardware is, KYB has no idea who you are and what you do. When you order custom shocks, you specify your weight, skill level and terrain. That’s even more of a benefit with a utility quad because the factory can’t officially acknowledge how fast most people want to ride their 4x4s.
THE ROUGH STUFF
We took our Renegade to a fast WORCS-style cross-country course that had steep hills and whoops. Part of the course was fast fire road with light choppy bumps, other parts were badly beaten up from a recent race. First we rode with the stock shocks. We dialed them in as best we could, and frankly we were surprised at how well the Renegade performed. It dealt with straight-on bumps well, but didn’t like off-camber sections or G-outs. After that, we had Rob Brown from Race Tech install the G3-S shocks.
Afterward, the G-outs were much more manageable. We could charge through sections where the big Renegade struggled before. And in off-camber sections, the machine had much less roll tendency. We weren’t especially happy in one sections where we had to contend with a steep, rough down hill. The Can-Am would hit bumps and get a little sideways. Rob dealt with that by increasing rebound damping. That’s the true beauty of the Race Tech shocks. The external adjusters on most shocks give you a very limited latitude. With the G3-S shocks you can make adjustments with a screwdriver that would require full disassembly and revalving with other shocks.
In our testing we also discovered that the big tires that come stock on most utility quads can throw a wrench into the most careful suspension tuning efforts. The tires have a lot of bounce, and there’s nothing that can be done to the suspension to correct that. We clearly were outside of the Renegade’s comfort zone. If were planned on riding it exclusively on this type of course, we would have lower profile tries.
But still, the Race Tech shocks were a definite improvement. Could we have attained much of the same benefit by rebuilding the stock KYB shocks? Perhaps. The X XC version of the Renegade comes with good hardware, and you might be able to get away with the stock stuff–Race Tech will respring and revalve each end for $720. That‘s not a serious option for the R version. There, going to the G3-S shocks is probably the best solution, and that costs $1699 for each set of two. For more information, contact Race Tech at (951) 279-6655.