We were pretty impressed with BRP’s new solution (2013 Can-AM Maverick 1000 X-rs) for satisfying the high-performance cravings of their glutton for adventure followers. Honoured to have the opportunity to fully experience this vehicle on a regular basis, making us almost forget we had to stop and take time to write, to share our fun with you, the curious and savvy off-road enthusiast. When we made first contact with it, early this year, at a one-day press event near Las Vegas, everything was perfect: the weather, the ride area, those great-looking and sounding Can-Am Pure-Sport Side x Side vehicles of course, but more importantly, the company of Pro ATV Champion Josh Frederick, generously driving these Maverick units for us that entire day.
First, I would like to take a moment to mention how deeply saddened we were when hearing news of Josh having a terrible crash, racing his Can-Am DS 450 at a WORCS round held in Lake Havasu City, Arizona on March 24, 2013. It left him paralyzed from the chest down. Josh has since shown incredible courage and resolve in trying to cope with this unexpected life challenge. He was very excited about the arrival of this new, very powerful and efficient Can-Am race-ready Side by Side, since he was just starting to enjoy racing in a Commander and had high hopes of being much more competitive in this new vehicle. Josh helped me take great photos of two different Maverick models that day and to get a feel for what it’s like to ride in the passenger seat of such an impressively high-performance off-road race machine. This really down to earth Champion, admired for his talent, hard work and sportsmanship, got me feeling like we had been trail riding buddies for years after only a few minutes into our first ride. News of this accident greatly affected me, even if I have so far only spent one day with him. I truly wish he can keep the strength to live a fulfilling life and glad to have gotten to know him a lot more by following his rehabilitation progress on the web. Josh’s Journey Blog has daily updates and photos of the challenging journey towards his recovery. He started riding at the age of 6, and began racing at 16. He turned Pro in 1994 and raced as a privateer. In 2008, he began racing with team Can-Am/DWT/Motoworks. Josh has earned several championship titles, including 2005 Best in the desert, 2011 & 2012 12-Hours of La Tuque, 2007, 2008 & 2010 WORCS, 2005 SCORE and last but certainly not least the 2012 SCORE which included the impressive Baja 1000 victory.
The power and beauty of our 2013 Can-AM Maverick 1000 X-rs, (I know it’s not ours but let me just pretend we don’t need to ever bring it back to them) can be a source of inspiration for Josh and others struggling with such devastating injuries, always displaying a will to conquer the difficult, vanquish the challenging.
Certainly positive are the reactions to that first glance of this aggressive-looking terrain gobbler. The Maverick exudes Can-Am DNA, oozing it through the multiplied edges in its body panels, which we found to be intelligently attached, so to minimize the chances of needing replacements after unfortunate off-road mishaps. The Intelligent Throttle Control, Torsional Trailing A-Arms (TTA) independent rear suspension, multipurpose rear rack with LinQ quick-attach system, removable free-standing seats, tilt-steering, Visco-lock front diff, CVT system with a new belt reinforced with Zylon, Digitally Encoded Security System (D.E.S.S.™) anti-theft system, with 2 different keys and this list of features goes on and on. Let’s not just be repeating what you already know or can easily learn by going on the Can-Am website, and talk about a few other things. Like the fact that the vehicle will actually tell you to put your seatbelt on with a scrolling message on the fancy-looking dashboard, and refuse to accelerate until you do. Very nicely done! They should have put one on the passenger side as well, but I personally don’t think anyone should need to be told, as it should come as second nature. That feature is made possible by the Intelligent Throttle Control. We got little more familiar with what it does, by pressing the gas pedal with our hands, while the vehicle was on Park, up in the trailer. A quick enough tap on it, will cause no climb in rpm at all, right down to the floor even if you’re quick enough. Remember, you have to click in the driver’s side seatbelt for the engine to fully respond. We then pressed the Sport Mode switch mounted in the center of the dash and tried it again. We noticed that the pedal becomes a little bit more responsive to input. What does this mean while you’re driving? A much smoother feel to the power delivery, which is great for when going through very demanding terrain that shakes up the occupants. This indirect type of control is seamless most of the time, but some racers might detect its presence a little more than others, and wish for something more precise.
On occasion, when negotiating a tight turn aggressively, going from hard braking to full on the gas again, a sizable hesitation can occur, if your foot action is too quick. A shorter hesitation can also occur and shouldn’t be confused with a lag in the driveline. Actually we are very satisfied with how the clutch puts the power to the ground. The acceleration is very linear and seems never-ending up through the entire RPM range. All but a few seconds at full throttle, will mean that you are over my own unofficial, yet crucial to my continued enjoyment of such vehicles, speed limit of 90 km/h. At that speed and higher, things get way too tricky driving anything off-road and the consequences of a small driving error can have much more serious repercussions. I have a lot more fun playing with the generous torque, great handling characteristics and almost invincible suspension from 0 to 80. This way even if something does go wrong it will only make for good conversation later around a camp fire.
We love the wide stance, light yet solid center-less beadlock wheels, awesome Fox shocks with the full dual-speed compression, rebound and threaded preload adjustments, for those opened up areas. Out of the woods, with a lot of room to move, like in a big sand pit or ideally a homemade track on a good sized piece of private land (Thanks Pat!), I was in absolute heaven choosing to draw as many long fast curves as possible in my improvised track design. Most lumps in the ground are better conquered when going faster, as the vehicle soaks it all up and almost nothing is left to be felt by the occupants. That’s where this vehicle shines the most and feels the best, for me anyway. When in tighter trails which we also have a lot of on other lands (Thanks Ben!), it starts to feel bulkier than its direct competitors, but the fun factor stays full-on because the vehicle seems to transform into another type of vehicle, truly magical. All of a sudden, it felt like something along the lines of a mean sounding rock-crawling Jeep. The sound changed from a constant sweet high-revving scream (rudely measured at around 85 decibels with our intelligent phone app, a level considered non-damaging to the ears, for up to 8 hours and greatly reduced since you’re wearing a helmet) to a series of repeated punches of much lower growls, echoing through the trees. The high, rearward and close to the edge seat position sort of works on your psyche and keeps you far from the vehicle’s true limit, while carving through turns, which I found to be a fun element. In other words you don’t need to be going all that fast for the fun factor to be thoroughly present. This position also means you have a lot of hood up front and don’t get to see much of the ground just ahead. I do have to mention that the 13’’ in ground clearance and awesome shocks meant that we really didn’t need to see obstacles from that close. Anyway, most of the time I realized that I’ve slowed down too much, thinking I’m going to have to pass there again at some point with a little more confidence. No joke! The fun factor always stays way up with the Maverick! It reminded of a pretty crazy and spectacular extreme 4×4 show I recently attended and I couldn’t help but think that my Maverick, eh I mean this Maverick, could have done very well on that challenging course, complete with deep stretch of mud, crazy rock climbs and reasonable jumps. Of course, I just had to suggest that they include them next year.
The true magic of this particular vehicle is the part that is hidden right in the center of the vehicle. Almost everything was redesigned in and around BRP’s 976cc SOHC, 8-valve (4-valve/cyl) liquid-cooled V-twin, in order to maximize the potential of this mighty engine. Compression was pumped up to 12 to 1, they beefed up intake and exhaust valves and created an all-new breathing system for it, following a philosophy which they like to call High-Flow Dynamics. So, the big Rotax, centered in this vehicle for optimal cornering capability, pumps out a whopping 101 HP! Mostly possible because of air intake, combustion and exhaust flow optimization, which is known to improve engine efficiency. From the independent air intake runners used to feed each cylinder to the tip of the high-flow dual exhaust, everything was closely studied and designed for more performance. The centered position does great things for the handling of this tighter radius turning Full-Sport Side x Side. The downside will be felt most by your mechanic, who will have to remove quite a bit of fasteners before he can get to the major components of the vehicle. Thankfully, they’ve created an easily accessible and out of the elements maintenance area under the hood that allows quick access to the air box, radiator and coolant overflow. Fuses and relays are also easily accessible.
The rearward punch into the backrest is truly intimidating at first; reminding you of how important it is to be fully covered in protective gear. This isn’t your regular recreational off-road vehicle. It is capable of much more spectacular things than most, so it is very important to familiarize yourself slowly with the very high-performance handling and power characteristics of this type of vehicle. Understand that adding a kill switch and number plates is just about all you need to do to it to be competitive in a Side x Side race. Although many were quick to compare it to the Polaris RZR XP 900 and Arctic Cat’s Wildcat 1000, the Can-Am marketing team included, I find it is important to point out that each offers a very different off-road experience than the other in feel, and that only a test drive of each will reveal which is best suited for you. Yes, the Maverick does win the three car drag race by a little, but that shouldn’t have a true impact on your choice of vehicle. Same goes for the sand dune hill climb test, which has nothing to do with most people’s riding conditions here in Canada. Truth is the Maverick has a lot going for it and doesn’t really need be compared with anything and I totally understand a person being convinced after just checking it out in a showroom and seeing it in action on a monitor. There is no denying that it looks absolutely awesome and that alone could be enough to convince a buyer to sign. When the big round start button in the center of the dash is pressed and the rumble of superb duel pipes start caressing your ears, it gets way harder to resist! I don’t know about you, but I’m still trying to fend off anyone to try to pinch me or something of sorts to wake me up. This dream I like very much and want to stay in it! Just pulling this vehicle in a trailer is an experience in itself. This machine is the absolute conversation blender, attracting comments and questions like no other.
Purposely making driving errors is my way of testing the quality in handling and safety of such vehicles and I was happy to find the same high-quality in suspension that will enable users to play with all that power safely. Don’t forget that such Full-Sport Side x Side vehicles, are now the cream of the crop as far as stability goes.
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Can-Am Off-Road Website