View Full Version : First Ride On Renegade!!!!

12-07-2006, 09:37 PM
A few days after the last GNCC race, I was in my local Can-am dealership, Swampfox Motorsports, meeting Jimmie Odell for the first time. Jimmie is a district sales manager with Can-am, who also races the GNCC circuit from time to time. He also ran the Baja 1000 this year with Mike Penland. Jimmie informed me that Can-am would be sending demo Renegades out to a six dealers across the country. Before being put into production, the demo units were going to be field tested for 2000 miles then returned to the factory. After M&J Sales in Chapmanville, WV received the Renegade, Jimmie invited me to ride. M&J was selected partially because they are located near the trail head of the Hatfield McCoy Trail. A perfect proving ground for any machine.

Before I begin my review, I feel it is important to let you know my style of riding . My first year in racing in the GNCC circuit was 2006, unfortunately I was unable to run the entire series due to complications following a surgery. During the season, I never finished lower than 5th place and finished as high as 2nd in the Utility Modified class. When I ride, I ride wide open. Typically on a practice track for a several hours two to three times a week. I rarely trail ride, and only use my utility for racing or practice, so my views are obviously going to be different than some. In 2000, I purchased my first utility, a Wolverine. Since then I have owned a Grizzly 600, Grizzly 660, Honda Rincon, Bruteforce 750, Wolverine 450, Bruteforce 650 SRA, and most recently a Outlander 650. I chose the 650 so that I would also be eligible to race in the WPSA series. As you can see I have experience on a great deal of machines, and unfortunately they need replacing often. To aid in the review I invited two of my friends to join me and bring their machines for a heads up comparison . One machine was a highly modified Kawasaki Prairie with a 770 big bore kit and Elkas all the way around. The other was my modified Outlander 650, and our tour guide was on a Outlander 800.

We got to the riding area, unloaded the bikes, and suited up. I of course ran straight to the Renegade and fired it up. Immediately I noticed small differences; totally different gauge layout , adjustable handle bars, aggressive foot pegs, and viewing front tires much like a sport bike when looking forward. Once I let it idle for a minute we were off. Obviously I had to see what it had so I cracked the throttle wide open . Instantly I was looking at the sky until the trail made me let it down. At that point I believe our trail leader realized this was not going to be his typical demo ride.

Working our way down off a very steep mountain I realized the Renegade had tremendous engine braking. Even better than the outlander. Possibly due to the difference in weight it is very noticeable. At the bottom of the hill we crossed a creek. Thatís when I realized I was more than likely going to get wet. After crossing dozens of creeks during the 43 mile ride, I was surprisingly dry, but donít expect anywhere near the mud and water protection of a true utility bike. Of course this is not a utility bike it is more like the greatest machine to ever be conceived and hard to categorize.

As I rode the Renegade I was literally in disbelief. I imagined it was going to be an Outlander in sporty plastic and with stiffer front suspension. There is nothing further from the truth. I found myself scratching my head in amazement, of how Can-am could take two machines that share the same frame and drive train and make them so different. I previously mentioned we brought other machines to compare the Renegade too. Well I brought the wrong ATVĎs. It would have been much more comparable if I would have brought a Raptor 700 and a V-force. This feels nothing like my Outlander, when we would rotate riders I was sick when I would have to get back on my bike. The same bike that before getting on the Renegade I thought was the greatest. If you gathered a group of folks together who knew nothing about ATVís and had them ride each of these bikes one after another, people would bet their salaries that the Outlander and Renegade had nothing in common, especially the frame.

It all really starts with the suspension. Everything appears similar, yet is dramatically different. Up front the A-arms are different and position the shock not only at a vertical angle, but also horizontally. When the suspension flexes it moves up and back, not just up and down. This allows the weight of the entire machine to accept the blow, not just the front end. The front springs are not dual rate. They are progressive with preload adjustment. The springs were set in the middle position and a little stiff for me, however I weigh 150 lbs soaking wet. To the average rider they would probably be spot on. I rummaged through the tool kit and found a preload adjuster and quickly set them to the softest setting on the rear and just one notch to the softer side on the front. Thatís all it took it was perfect.

Its hard to explain how well this bike handles. You quickly forget you are on a 600 lb 4x4. When compared to other utility machines the Renegade is so unbelievably planted. There is no body roll, or top heavy feel. The front end does not push through the corners, it just simply carves the corner. There is no nose dive, or feeling of an unsettled bike. This machine will make you ride it hard and fast. I know I will be faster just because of the improvements in how it corners. I have seat time on a Raptor 700, to me the steering feel and the cornering are close. The more intensity at which you push this machine, the more confident you become.

Now I am sure you are all wondering what about the power. Is there really any doubt? Itís a monster. It is faster out of the hole than the Outlander 800, and just pours it on. The power is precise and easily controlled, but make no mistake this machine is not for the inexperienced rider. I am used to the Rotax power, and didnít feel the need to make that the main focus of the article. The guy who hasnít ever ridden a Can-am or a highly modified Kawasaki V-twin, be prepared to have your arms stretched and your heart to skip a beat. It will be wildly intense.

I know you are wondering, ďso whatís wrong with itĒ. Well, not a whole lot. I am telling you Can-am has hit a homerun. However, they should have separated the braking system. Itís a sport machine, give it sport bike brakes. The tire selection of the ITP Holeshot ATRís are perfect for traction and handling, but suffer from week sidewalls like many factory tires. I had two flats during my ride. Granted we were in some rocky conditions. As a matter of fact, we even cut a Bighorn. However the Bighorn took a major hit from a very sharp rock. The ITPís were just getting shredded in what I consider a pretty average day of riding in the mountains of West Virginia. Another problem with this machine is that it will be hard to keep friends if you are riding a Renegade, because you are going to embarrass your buddies quads.

The Renegade is simply the most amazing 4x4 ever built. Have doubts? Ride one it will make a believer out of you. This machine is for the sport bike guy who wants a little more, its for the utility rider who likes to push it to the limit, it is for me, I know that. I have been wanting a machine like this since I rode my first Wolverine, and I know a lot of you have been too. Thank you Can-am for finally building it. Thanks to Jimmie Odell, M&J Motorsports, and of course my dealer Swampfox Motorsports for the opportunity.

12-08-2006, 10:28 AM
Enjoyed the review! I look forward to taking one for a spin! ;)


12-18-2006, 04:37 AM
Good review. Hard to belive it is that good. But Can Am ussually does some good work. I guess we will see

12-22-2006, 04:41 PM
Sounds like a sweet bike. Hatfield McCoy has some nice riding areas. I was down there over the summer with some dirtbiking buddies, and I swear, I could have been up in those trails all day and not even know it. Too bad I can't get a Renegade because it sounds like a pretty good match of a bike for me too.

Crazy Diamond
12-29-2006, 10:29 PM