Maverick Fun Times Four

Maverick MAX Headlines Can-Am 2014 Lineup

Published in the September 2013 Issue September 2013

If you read our review of Can-Am’s Maverick X rs in the August issue of Dirt Toys Magazine (“The Best Ever Can-Am Side-By-Side?”, page 14), you might remember that we were pretty darn impressed with that vehicle.

So when we finally got some seat time in the new Can-Am Maverick MAX four-seater it was fairly similar to our amazing Maverick X rs ride experience--times four. It was probably even more impressive than the X rs because the MAX model we drove featured Can-Am’s exclusive Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering (the X rs we rode did not have DPS) and all the handling and power we experienced on the two-seat Maverick but now four people can enjoy it instead of just two.

We say “finally” because the handful of the Maverick MAX vehicles Can-Am brought to the media intro in New York state were in high demand from all the riders there. While we had to wait for our turn, we sure weren’t disappointed with the vehicle when we did get to slip behind the wheel and ride across several miles of trails the Hilltown Riders OHV club maintains outside of Albany, NY.

We readily admit we were a bit skeptical about being able to fully experience what the Maverick two- and four-seat vehicles have to offer while riding in the woods of the New York countryside. We found the trails to be fun, have some variety (ups and downs, creek crossings, mud holes, open areas, tight twisties through the trees, etc.) and show some teeth against the Mavericks.

Having said that though, we know we didn’t experience all that the Maverick MAX has to offer--yet. We think there is more pent up power we weren’t able to tap into like we did when we rode the Maverick X rs in the high desert and sand dunes of eastern Idaho. We know what the Maverick X rs exhibited during our ride so we have a good idea of what the MAX is capable of.

MAXimum Ride

The Maverick MAX is just one of several Can-Am vehicles we were able to ride during the two-day media event, so there is plenty to write about. However, space is limited so we have to pick and choose what we’re able to cover in this story. The Maverick MAX is high on that list, as are several key features spread across many Can-Am vehicles.

So we’ll talk in more general terms about some features that you’ll find on several Can-Am vehicles, sometimes both ATVs and side-by-sides. Other features are exclusive to one type of vehicle, i.e., ATV or side-by-side. Most of the features we talk about here do have to do with the side-by-sides as that is what we spent most of our two days of riding in.

Then we want to talk about the Maverick MAX, Can-Am’s newest side-by-side.

The overriding theme we once again come away with after riding a variety of Can-Am vehicles is what we call (not Can-Am’s words, but ours) the company’s “one-upmanship” of its competitors on several features.

For Example

First, for example, several manufacturers have power steering on their vehicles, on both ATV and side-by-sides. Can-Am ups that by having Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering, which gives the driver an option of how much steering input in three different settings (MIN-MED-MAX) the vehicle provides. This, compared to the competitors’ single setting.

Here’s another shout out for power steering. Not all Can-Ams have DPS and we spent a fair share of time on both non- DPS and DPS models over the two days of riding. As we’ve mentioned before, Can-Am’s non-DPS models have pretty decent steering and handling. But the DPS makes it just that much more fun to drive. We find the MAX setting just about does the steering for you as you don’t have to provide much steering input. After experimenting between all the settings on tight woods trails and over any rocks we could find, we found we actually prefer the MIN setting as we like to have more “say” in the steering input. It’s not really a contradiction on our stance of loving power steering and then using the MIN setting. We just found that the MIN setting provided the right amount of input we were looking for. We can see, however, how the MAX setting would be great in a setting like the slickrock and boulders on the trails in Moab, UT.

When riding the non-DPS models, it was definitely more work to maneuver through the tight trees. We could even feel a little arm pump going on. While Can-Am has some of the best handling non-power steering vehicles, we prefer the DPS models.

Next in the one-upmanship game, is tilt steering wheels on side-by-sides. A handful of manufacturers offer adjustable or tilt steering wheels--you know, where you can adjust it up or down. With the Can-Am system, when you tilt the steering up or down, the gauge goes with it. That means you always have a clear view of the gauge as it’s not blocked by the steering wheel.

And how about this? Again, a small number of manufacturers have an adjustable driver seat, so you can move it forward or back so the driver can easily reach the pedals.

You need tools, however, to make adjustment and then its into maybe two or three set positions. Can-Am one-ups that by using an automotive-style adjustment where you just reach down between your legs, move the lever and move the driver seat where you want it in any number of positions.

This next one is a Can-Am exclusive and a feature we paid a lot of attention to while riding in New York. The Intelligent Throttle Control (iTC) is an electronic throttle-by-wire system offering a smooth throttle delivery even if the driver’s foot is bouncing due to the rough terrain. The iTC system—which features a rider selectable twin-mode toggle switch for throttle control—can detect unwanted bounces and then filter the input, resulting in more throttle accuracy, especially at low speed.

Eco-Sport Modes

Drivers can choose between an Eco mode and a Sport mode, which offers linear throttle control. The Eco mode smoothes out the “peaks and valleys” when you’re foot is on or off the gas pedal, bouncing around. The Sport mode does allow the driver to be more engaged in the low-end throttle response and is the mode we preferred during most of our riding just because we like the feel of blasting out of corners or getting in and out of the throttle during certain times. It’s kind of fun and cool to have the option. Can-Am is all about options.

One more. Horsepower. Can-Am kicks butt and is taking names in this category, especially with its side-by-sides, which pull hard from bottom to top. The Mavericks are especially powerful—with their claimed 101 hp—and it doesn’t matter if it’s a two- or four-seater. Yes, you notice the extra two passengers in the back on the MAX but not much. The 1000R EFI V-twin is stout; the machines are clutched well and pull hard down straightaways, rocket out of corners and fly off the line after a dead stop. One of your challenges just might be to get the tires—beefy Maxxis Big Horn 2.0 tires no less—to hook up when you mash the throttle.

There are more, but those features are just a few that really jump out at us. Some seem small, especially when you’re talking about the entire vehicle, but many times it’s the small things that make a difference.

Zeroing in on the Maverick MAX, we spent most of our time driving the 1000R X rs DPS model, which has the added features of Tri-Mode DPS, Visco-Lok QE, an updated 3-D analog/digital gauge, front and rear Fox Podium X Performance RC2.5 HPG piggyback shocks and 12-inch aluminum beadlock wheels. The base Maverick MAX does not have DPS and uses Fox Podium X Performance 2.0 HPG piggyback shocks on the front and rear suspensions, two of the major differences between the base model and X rs.

Longer Base

The MAX wheelbase is 29.5 inches longer than the Maverick two-seat model, providing the extra room for two additional passengers. The rear passengers have the same seat ergonomics as the front passenger with a handhold on the center console and grab bar near the cage. The rear seats are also raised 3.5 inches, allowing for better visibility for the passengers.

We didn’t ride in the rear seats but repeatedly quizzed our passengers who did. Two of the passengers spent much of the second day riding in the rear seats and said they were comfortable the entire time. We also looked to see what kind of clearance there was between their knees and the back of the seat in front of them. They easily had 3 or 4 inches of clearance.

The handling on the Maverick MAX was great. The TTA rear suspension easily handled any bumps we could find and tracked straight when we did fly over the bumps. We’re pretty sure we used just about all the 14 inches of rear travel (it’s 14 inches in the front as well) a couple of times as we roamed the New York countryside.

2014 Can-am Maverick Max
engine: SOHC, V-twin, 8-valve (4-valve/cylinder)
Displacement: 976cc
Fuel system: Fuel-injected with iTC
Cooling: Liquid
Fuel Capacity: 10 gallons
Transmission: CVT, with H-L-P-N-R: 2WD, 4WD andVisco-Lok
Front suspension: Double A-arm, 14 in. travel
rear suspension: Torsional Trailing A-arms, FoxPodium X shocks, 14 in. travel
Brakes: Hydraulic disc
Front Tires: Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 27x9-12
rear Tires: Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 27x11-12
wheelbase: 113.8 in.
Length: 148 in.
width: 64 in.
Height: 78 in.
Ground Clearance: 12.5 in.
Dry weight: 1,547 lbs.
MsrP: $ 18,299

As we found with the Maverick X rs we tested earlier this summer, the harder you ride the Maverick MAX, the better it performs. That ups the fun factor. Imagine if the opposite were true: you have to back off the harder you ride. That’s not nearly as fun.

With the extra weight of the vehicle (1,547 lbs. vs. the Maverick’s 1,297 lbs.) and the potential of two additional passengers, Can-Am went with larger front hydraulic disc brakes for increased stopping power. The front brakes on the MAX are 220 mm, compared to the Maverick’s 214 mm size. The rear brakes on both the Maverick and MAX are 214 mm.

All those individual features we mentioned above— adjustable seat, tilt steering, iTC, DPS and, of course, the horsepower, are found on the Maverick MAX X rs.

Additional Rides

We want to mention a couple of other Can-Ams we spent some time on and had a great time with. Those are the Maverick X rs DPS and Maverick X xc DPS. Of course they both have the 1000R engine and are fast. We liked the X rs, as you probably already guessed, because of the DPS. The Maverick we test rode earlier this year, as we mentioned, didn’t have DPS so the power steering just ramped up the fun of this model. Along with the DPS, the rs gets the Visco-Lok QE, Fox 2.5 Podium Performance shocks, beadlock wheels, mudguards and rock sliders. You can get the X rs without DPS but we say, “Why?”

The xc, on the other hand, includes a narrowing kit that makes the vehicle 60 inches wide, compared to the standard Maverick which is 64 inches wide. The xc does have DPS, Visco-Lok QE, Fox 2.0 Podium X Performance shocks, rock sliders and beadlock wheels.

Other vehicles we really had a blast on were the Commander 1000 XT-P, Outlander 500 and an accessorized Outlander 800 designed to run in the mud. The Outlander 800 with those accessories isn’t meant to replace the X mr, the machine you’ll want if you’re a serious mudder, but it was fun in the mud holes we found.?

Looking back on the two-day New York ride, we wish we would have had more time to ride more vehicles but it was long enough to reaffirm that across the board, Can-Am vehicles have plenty of horsepower and excellent handling.

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