2010 ATV of The Year – Can-Am Renegade 800R EFI X xc

Ren·e·gade (ren′ə g�?d′): n. 1) One who rejects a religion, cause, allegiance or group for another; a deserter 2) An outlaw, rebel 3) An ATV that breaks conventions, pushes the envelope and is worthy of the 2010 ATV Magazine ATV Of The Year award.

ATV Magazine’s 2010 ATV of the Year – Can-Am Renegade 800R EFI X xc

Look up the word “Renegade” in your home dictionary and you’ll see several definitions — few of which are complimentary: Traitor. Outlaw. Deserter.

When it comes to the Renegade ATV from Can-Am, however, a better description might be “one that carves its own path, or breaks convention.” You can now add “ATV Magazine’s 2010 ATV Of The Year” to that definition.

Since it was first introduced in 2007, Can-Am’s Renegade has stood out. Oh sure, others had produced four-wheel drive ATVs with a sporty feel (see page 36 for current entries), but none were as capable and brutally intimidating as BRP’s entry. The Renegade offered more power, a wider stance, better suspension, a stronger frame and a modern design. It wasn’t just the latest entry in the 4×4 sport category, it essentially redefined the class, immediately making other well-intentioned machines seem highly inadequate while leaving them in a heavy roost.

Now for 2010, Can-Am goes one step further, with the Renegade 800R EFI X xc. Playing off the goodies and upgrades found on the Can-Am DS 450 X xc, this high-end ’Gade includes upgraded shocks (piggybacks in the front, remote reservoirs in the rear), beadlock wheels, an aluminum skid plate, hand guards, aluminum handlebars and special graphics and seat cover.

What takes it over the top is the addition of Can-Am’s unique Dynamic Power Steering (DPS) system that’s unlike any power steering system on the market. The two-stage system lets the driver decide the level of assistance (Min or Max) he or she wants. In addition, the high-tech system utilizes magnets, a 50-amp motor and a high-powered 650-watt magneto to prevent fading and improve consistency.

Like other power steering systems on the market, the DPS features varying levels of assistance, based on the machine’s speed, the throttle position and other factors. But unlike other systems, the drivers can choose, while moving, exactly how connected they want to feel on the trail. Beyond that, the new Renegade X xc also benefits from the quick engaging Visco-Lok QE diff lock system.

Total it all up, and you have the most powerful, most fun, high-tech sporty four-by-four on the market. From its unique projecter beam headlights to its 71 hp engine; from the Digital Power Steering system to the compression and preload adjustable suspensions, the Renegade X xc is a cut above its competition. If that’s your definition of a Renegade, so be it. But its credentials are the very definition of ATV Magazine’s ATV Of The Year.

2011 Arctic Cat Mud Pro 1000 vs. Can-Am Outlander 800R X mr

A couple of years ago, Arctic Cat shocked the ATV market by introducing a model built specifically for mud riding. The guys and gals who live to

2011 Arctic Cat Mud Pro 1000 vs. Can-Am Outlander 800R X mr

challenge their machines and their own skills in deep water, swamp-like conditions rejoiced — finally a manufacturer had acknowledged and legitimized their form of fun, while at the same time creating a capable machine that could save owners thousands of dollars by not forcing them to buy and then heavily modify other four-wheelers.

Yes, the original 2009 Arctic Cat Mud Pro 700 H1 was a runaway success, both for those customers but also for Arctic Cat. The brand has been in the ATV market for 14 years, but it seems in recent years it has been trying hard to define itself with interesting models like the 1000-class Thundercat (now the 1000 LTD) and this Mud Pro line. For 2010, Arctic Cat topped itself in its self-defined mud class by bringing out the Mud Pro 1000 and also offering the Mud Pro 650.

Cat’s ability to corner this new niche of the ATV market is over, however. Can-Am’s Outlander ATVs have been quite popular base machines for racers to modify in competitive mud racing, so it only seemed natural that it would be the next company to develop a from-the-factory bogger.

Can-Am’s answer is the 2011 Outlander 800R X mr — with the lowercase mr standing for “mud racer.” Its take on a factory mud machine doesn’t include the big external snorkel found on the Mud Pro, but it features bigger tires and wheels, power steering, plus an adjust-on-the-fly air suspension that allows drivers to give their machines 2 inches of lift for mud riding, or let the air out for the trail ride to the mud hole.

Of course when we first spied the Outlander X mr we immediately started plotting a shootout pitting it against Cat’s Mud Pro 1000 — hey, it’s our job to think about and then execute such plans. It’s just a coincidence that deep water mud riding also happens to be a blast — it’s not our fault that sometimes our jobs are a lot of fun. It makes up for all of the long days in the office where we have to put up with each other.

Mudding Right

Let’s get this out of the way right up front: We know that mud riding can be controversial, and we know that in many areas the actions of a few recluses driving into sensitive wetlands are a real threat to our riding rights — not to mention a threat to those wetlands and the lifeforms they house.

For our test, we went to a purpose-built mud bog — we didn’t just tear up our local neighborhood swamp. We contacted Bob Schmidt, a local off-road enthusiast. He and his crew built us a custom pit on his land, which has been used for mud bogs for years, all the way up to hosting mud competitions for big four-wheel drive trucks and buggies.

The area was perfect for our test and included various depths and thicknesses of mud and water, including one monstrous and sticky sippy hole that stopped everything we threw at it.

2011 Arctic Cat Mud Pro 1000

2011 Arctic Cat Mud Pro 1000: Features Benefits

As we said, the Mud Pro started it all, and immediately separated itself from the rest of the ATV market.

Its most notable feature at a glance is the bright green snorkel that stands 12 inches above the front rack. It provides air to both the engine and the clutches while seeming to scream, “Go ahead and sink me past the rack — I dare you!”

Cat’s Mud Pro machines are lifted slightly, providing 14 inches of ground clearance and 10 inches of suspension travel, according to the spec chart. Independent, dual A-arm designs are found on all four corners, with coil-over shocks. That ground clearance is also enabled by 28-inch Maxxis Zilla mud tires that ride on 14-inch aluminum wheels. One-inch lugs provide clawing abilities.

For 2011, the Mud Pro 1000 comes in an extended version of Cat’s base chassis, featuring the same 58-inch wheelbase found in the company’s two-

The Mud Pro’s snorkel cuts through the bogs like a shark’s fin, and prevents the entry of water to the engine and CVT.

passenger TRV machines. The 700 and 650 Mud Pros have a 50-inch wheelbase. A longer wheelbase generally enables better traction and is preferred by most in the mud racing crowd — before mud-specific machines were available from the factory, many racers started with extended, two-passenger machines from Cat, Polaris and Can-Am as their base due to the longer stance.

Plastic, angled footrests on a raised rear platform are new this year with the chassis change on the Mud Pro 1000, giving riders an easy place to stand and get leverage when the going gets tough, er, deep.

Power comes from the largest displacement engine in the ATV market — a 951cc, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected twin with a unique snort. The four-valve engine with a single overhead makes about 70 hp, putting it on par with Can-Am’s 800R powerplant. Power is put through a traditional CVT-style transmission, with high, low, neutral and reverse available through the selector on the left front fender.

For 2011, Cat went to 3.1 gears vs. 4.0 on the 2010 models for more snort down low. Also, the factory beefed up the axles, making them a claimed 66 percent stronger than last year’s model and eliminating an area of potential failure.

Two- or four-wheel drive is selectable utilizing a switch on the right handlebar pod. Other standard equipment on the Mud Pro 1000 include large front and rear bumpers and a high-end, easy-to-read gauge that includes 14 inputs — from the standard speedometer and tachometer and fuel level information to indicators signaling when the high beam lights are on, when the differential is locked and warnings for temp or oil pressure. Like on other Cat ATVs, a handy storage box is found right in front of the driver’s seat, and the handlebars feature a single-lever brake that controls front and rear hydraulic stoppers.

The Mud Pro 1000 is available in orange and black or green and black and retails for $13,299. Its spec weight is 851 pounds dry and it comes with a 3,000-pound winch.

2011 Can-Am Outlander 800R X mr

2011 Can-Am Outlander 800R X mr: Features Benefits

It’s not surprising that the born-to-be-competitive clan in Quebec pounced when it saw an opportunity to jump into the mud bog racing scene. This is the same brand that changed its image a few years back and now has the highest output engines in virtually every class it which it competes — including the amazing base Outlanders, the rough-and-ready Renegades and the DS450.

Beyond that, Can-Am loves to prove its might and market its brand via racing, from MX to GNCC, so joining the deep water fracas came as no surprise.

What is surprising, however, is just how far the company went with its inaugural stock mud racer, the Outlander 800R X mr. The company didn’t just lift an existing machine, slap on some tires and raise the intakes — instead, the X mr is truly engineered for its task.

The base is the Outlander Max platform — a stretched chassis with a 59-inch wheelbase. The machine is suspended by a dual A-arm front and Can-

The Outlander’s raised radiator improves cooling and protects it from damage.

Am’s exclusive Torsional Trailing Arm Independent (TTi) rear suspension, like other Outlanders, but this buggy has a unique twist: Air Control Suspension (ACS).

Utilizing an on-board air compressor — activated by using a button on the gauge, followed by a button by the driver’s left thumb — the rider can select between one of six different pre-sets for the air bladders on the high-tech Fox high-pressure gas, coil-over shocks.

The technology was first introduced on Can-Am’s most luxurious two-upper, the Outlander Max 800R LTD, to allow riders to remotely adjust the preload on the shock for carrying one or two passengers in varying conditions. On the X mr, however, it’s all about ride height. When fully jacked up, the X mr looks like a super modded monster and rides a full two inches higher than in its lowest setting. And in deep water, a couple of inches can make a huge difference.

Ride height, ground clearance and deep mud capabilities are also allowed by the huge, 30-inch Gorilla Axle Silverback tires with tall 1.5-inch lugs. They are mounted on 14-inch cast aluminum wheels. Ground clearance measures 14 inches when the suspension is fully extended, according to Can-Am, or 12 inches when at the lowest setting.

Further enhancing its mudding capabilities, Can-Am engineers moved the radiator up onto the front rack and created what the company calls its Integrated Snorkel System (that’s ISS, in Can-Am’s “everything needs call letters” speak). It features raised air intake for the engine as well as intake and exhaust for the CVT transmission up by the gauge pod. It’s not as eye-catching or quite as high as Cat’s large snorkel, but it’s effective for all but the very deepest water situations.

Powering the beast is Can-Am’s 71 hp, fuel-injected, liquid-cooled 799.9cc twin, featuring a single overhead cam and the coolest sound of any stock engine in the sport.

Topping it all off is the dual-mode Dynamic Power Steering system, which provides light steering and easy handling important both in the soup and on the trail. Four-wheel drive is available at the flip of a switch, and the quick-engaging form of Can-Am’s Visco-Lok engages the second front tire when slippage is noted from the other front tire.

The Outlander 800R X mr has a claimed dry weight of 669 pounds, comes in yellow and black, features with a 3,000-pound winch and retails for $13,099.

Lasting Impressions

It terms of pure hooting-and-hollering, laughing-inside-the-helmet and mocking-your-co-workers fun, our mud shootout (sarcastically code-named Mudgate) was likely the most hilarious comparative test we’ve ever conducted. Both of these machines made mud riding so much fun because they were so capable — and that made us want to push the machines and ourselves further and further.

But unlike parents when asked to compare their children, we were allowed to pick favorites, and in this case the award goes to the new kid on the block — the Outlander 800R X mr.

Getting stuck, and winching your buddies, is more than half the fun of mud bogging!

For starters, it was far more capable in the mud, thanks to the huge tires, the adjust-on-the-fly suspension and the power steering. All of them allowed this machine to more easily be handled in the wet soup — just the tires alone would have made a huge difference, but the rest of the package takes this machine one full step ahead of the Mud Pro. Add in a spec weight that’s almost 200 pounds lighter and a pricetag that’s $200 cheaper, and this comparison isn’t very close.

The Can-Am was also more capable on the trails, showing surprising agility for its size — thanks again to the power steering, flatter cornering and the adjustable suspension system.

The Can-Am Outlander 800R X mr features integrated handguards that attach at the handlebar end. They actually allow the driver to get some leverage on the outer edge of the handlebar when rocking it in the mud, though the end will loosen under enough pressure. It also features two rear storage boxes, which is great, but they did take on muddy water in our test.

No machine is perfect, of course, and our biggest complaint about the X mr is the brakes. We’ve long complained about Outlanders’ exposed discs when they get wet, and that’s certainly the case with this mud buggy. The rear brake in particular creaks and groans when wet, and becomes grabby. We’d love to see a sealed wet brake added to this machine.

The Mud Pro is a good machine; it just got topped by the newer X mr. We’d love to try it with the Can-Am’s larger tires, and we’re fully expecting to find power steering on Mud Pro models in the future. The key will be whether Arctic Cat can add those features without raising the price tag and becoming less price-competitive with the X mr.

The Mud Pro has slightly wider handlebars, a 2-inch receiver and more usable space on the front rack. It’s a little less agile on the trails than the X mr, and both feature a single-handle brake control that controls both the front and rear stoppers.

At the end of the day, both of these machines will take you through deep water mud bogs better than any other stock machine available, but the X mr has replaced the Mud Pro as the king of the swamps. We can’t wait to see how Arctic Cat responds with future mud-focused products.

ATV Riding in Tug Hill New York

Sometimes, riders can find a hidden gem in the seemingly most unlikely places – like right under their noses.

Tug Hill is the premier powersports playground of New York State, and quad riders flock here from late winter until hunting season begins. But theroads and trails on the published ATV trail map are only the beginning of the riding available on and around this famous plateau. Much of the best riding is relatively hidden, and only the few who live here or frequent the area often even begin to really know the whole system.

We spent a Saturday exploring some of the lesser known by-ways and trails with our friends from the New York Trail Riders Organization (NYTRO) Northern Chapter, one of several four wheeler clubs in the greater Tug Hill area.

Since the State of New York has recently closed many trails and roads to ATVs in the greater Tug Hill area, NYTRO North has gone on the offensive to create new riding opportunities. Beginning two years ago, the club has generated more than 50 miles of new trails and ATV-legal road sections connecting those trails in southern Jefferson County on the Hill’s northwestern approaches, as well as three new parking areas to serve them.

This is grassroots trail development at its best. Many of these new trails are located on land owned by NYTRO North members or in county forests. The club has covered most of the expenses for insurance, signs and the culverts required by the county, and has done the necessary work with member-owned or borrowed equipment. NYTRO North President Mike Bellinger says some of the local townships have been very supportive, and the Town of Lorraine, understanding the potential for economic development, has helped the effort by contributing materials.

A Magnificent Morning

After an awesome breakfast at the Pierrepont Diner, we unloaded in the Village of Lorraine, a small settlement near the edge of the white space on the map that represents the heart of Tug Hill. The next three hours were spent riding good roads, not-so-good roads, minimum maintenance roads and all kinds of trails, some of them deliciously difficult and gooey two-tracks, the kind that have your tires tossing off stuck-on mud for a couple of miles after you return to a road.

Much of this trail system is buried deep in the forest and you wouldn’t find it unless you knew the area intimately because most of it is not on the Tug Hill ATV trail map. If there was ever a good reason to join an ATV club, access to quality riding like this is really it.

Bridges were all solid structures and trail signage was generally adequate on most trails. Key turns were marked and speed limits were posted in some places. From other signs, I noted that some of these routes were also snowmobile trails, which accounted for them being easy riding with flat surfaces, plenty of elbow room and good bridges. Some other trails were relatively new, rough and narrow two-tracks. Yet more trails took us through growths of huge ferns, a sign that the area had been reforested relatively recently. In one spot we stopped to inspect tree damage from a small tornado that came through a few years back.

Heading south, we got as far as Center Road in Boylston, just across the line in Oswego County. After a trail break, we headed out toward the main part of the Hill in Lewis County for lunch at Tuggers in Barnes Corners. The later part of that ride was quick transit on roads open to ATV traffic with the final approach on the tavern’s short local access trail. Other wheelers were parked around the front door when we arrived, and that’s always a good sign. The excellent lunch was filling and relaxing.

Afternoon Surprise

We mounted up again and used a short access trail to get to the Creekside Convenience Store for gas. The convenience of pulling right up to the pump is one of the best things about riding Tug Hill.

Off again, we headed down into Lewis County for a look at new trail development going on there. Riding the roads open to our quads, we did find a couple of new off-road trails that you would almost certainly miss if you didn’t know where they were, or at least weren’t paying close attention to find them. Again, they aren’t on the Tug Hill ATV trail map. The one we tried was obviously brand new and showed very little use. A rough, rooted and rather tight two-track through the trees, it was freshly marked with surveyor’s tape and came out to a side road after a quarter mile at most.

Heading back toward Jefferson County, we ran into just enough precipitation to make us stop and don our rain suits. The liquid sunshine wasn’t heavy and didn’t last long, though, and any rider knows a little rain provides great dust control.

As we re-entered the Village of Lorraine, we took the Lorraine Loop, one of the recently developed NYTRO trails. Running the edge of the forest, the loop got us back to a connector road that took us to another hidden gem. Bellinger led us to the top of a hidden gorge on the South Sandy Creek. Just a couple miles from Lorraine, this apparently unnamed gorge that we estimated to be 300-feet deep is an awesome place for a trail break. We paused for a while to enjoy the unexpected surprise, then mounted up again.

From there it was back to the trucks. I showed 72 miles for the day, a good day of riding in almost any area, but an even better one for Tug Hill because we rode trails that most people just don’t know are there.

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