Introduced when the Can-Am brand was reborn, back in 2007, the Renegade, with its 800cc liquid cooled V-twin engine with electronic fuel injection, coupled to a CVT transmission, was a recipe for success with experienced ATV riders craving the ultimate in power and trail capability. All four wheels aggressively spewing dirt, sand, snow, or anything else for that matter, higher than any had ever been able to, on what instantly became a hit with ATV riders with extreme needs. This ride offers explosive power that can surely be a challenge to manage for most ordinary trail users, but is surely a joy to own for the tad extremist dirt throwers among us.
We would have wished upon a few different little changes to make the mighty Renegade 800R better than it already was, throughout our especially long testing with a 2008 unit and available power certainly wasn’t among the factors we had complained about. Sadly, the only change done to this new 2010 basic and yellow copy our friends had readied for us to test, was to harness even more power from Can-Am’s already very potent and innovative Rotax® 799.9 cc fuel injected V-twin. Now at 71-hp, it is claimed the industry’s most powerful engine by its maker and we believe it. Only the very lightweight KTM 525 XC and the Polaris Outlaw with the same engine, have been able to keep up with it when the rider was perfect in execution with the clutch and well timed gear changes. All the improvements put forward in 2010, were rather reserved to the all-new X XC version of the same machine. Why we couldn’t get one, we’re not entirely sure. Trust me that was the one we wanted to get! New dual mode dynamic power steering, new aluminum beadlock wheels with bright yellow and very hot looking inner reinforcement rings; quicker engagement point on the Visco-Lok; KYB remote reservoir shocks with dual speed compression; rebound and preload adjust. These facts should have been enough to have us throw a tantrum and collectively bang the floor with all limbs in the BRP lobby, right? I wanted the other one!
So be it, anyway I was just kidding around, we can’t get enough of this basic version, it’s still a Renegade, only the most awesome looking and most powerful 4X4 quad we would never have even dreamed a possible reality, before it actually came about. Who are we to complain? BRP is always really great at giving us the opportunity to thoroughly test their rides for very long periods of time. That fact alone is quite telling of their devotion to always better themselves and offer the finest possible products to their clients. With this specific unit, we had the pleasure of using it from winter right into late spring, for pretty much any sort of trail riding conditions you can think of. At least our task was quite clear from the first very responsive push of the thumb, it was pretty simple, push this new one to its full potential as we had with the previous one, and maybe try and throw in a few new extra challenges for good measure.
Thanks to our newly found friends at Saisons Express, a fairly young landscaping company in Léry, Québec, we now had access to one very special place to really put this particular unit through the rigors of all types of ATV riding styles. The few acres of land they own and use, merely to dump the many different piles of rocks they collect and sell on a regular basis, are strangely also graced with just about every type of obstacle a quad can come across in any trailing conditions. Of course, no problem in finding some cool rock crawling challenges in the center of this natural ATV testing paradise I had just found. We could even choose from many differently sized and laid out huge rock piles. We just couldn’t help but think and point out how much this place would have been perfect to test the X-XC’s more advanced suspension elements and the different and quicker engaging of the Visco-Lok front differential. Also, a short but extremely technical section of trail runs along the wooded eastern edge of the area.
One quick and fun S turn into the woods and you are thrown right into the action. Oh, left or right? Who cares, both holes looked deep enough to swallow the whole Renegade! The splash was, of course, as huge as the ride is. Diving in, being the simple part, getting out the tricky, but oh so satisfying one! As always, the beast found its way through just about anything. The objective now, was not to find out if this quad could conquer a given obstacle, but rather keep on riding in extreme conditions, as long as was physically possible for us old riders, to see if we could make this ride quit before we did. We were satisfied that both the CVT and air intake system had a pretty good seal to them. So I went on, and came back, and then on again with a loud encouragement from Fitto my partner in crime. Progressively transferring power from a slipping front wheel to the gripping one, the Visco-Lok front differential found grip automatically at all times.
There were no buttons for me to push or levers that need my hand to leave the grip of the bar at moments where steering ability is also crucial. Letting me gain a certain consistency in my rhythm, the system was still able to give me 100% lock-up, with no rev or speed limiting, when more aggressive negotiation with the mud under me was needed. This ingenious system truly can make such muddy trails conquerable, in a more speedy fashion than most other big bore quads. Of course, this sort of behavior might not be your chosen technique, and I have to admit having a preference for a slower and studied approach to obstacle conquering, with every mud hole taken care of one by one, and a manual control on the diff-lock. For this and a few other reasons, this ride was much more appealing to us, old riders, on flatter, more open grounds. Still, I think, it is important to mention that the double A-arm set up delivers precise handling and control in the roughest of terrain. It also delivers a smooth ride on leisurely trail rides.
This 80º V-twin engine is a joy to spark to life, with a distinct low growl that can alone intimidate some in saddling it. The 800R engine’s performance always stayed at its peak, regardless of temperature or altitude, thanks to its sophisticated electronic fuel injection system. The liquid-cooled, single overhead cam power plant has four valves per cylinder and is fed by a 46mm throttle body and two VDO Siemens fuel injectors. Power is plentiful to say the least, and Fitto seems to love finding ways of displaying this trait to on-lookers, off in the distance with things like a giant roost in the sand at the dunes, a snow tornado on the ice, or a dust storm on a wide stretch of trail. Talk about a quad being thoroughly tested! We finally had some dry sand and dirt to play in at our favorite riding spot, but Fitto was looking instead for snow to get stuck in. The poor guy finally succumbed to his off-road extravagance and the limp home mode flipped on for the very first time.
In the heat of the moment, I thought he had totally killed it. I didn’t have any pity for the Renegade, as I judged that nothing unusual had been done to it. We eventually identified the problem; the TPS (Throttle Position Sensor) was unplugged by what we guessed to be packed snow. Merely re-plugging it and a system reset at the shop was needed to bring the ride back to new. We were relieved, of course, and agreed that it was pretty cool that the machine knew to protect itself as such. On the other hand, we couldn’t help but think that we would have been less pleased if we were hundreds of kilometers deep in the woods. Then again, other machines will keep running with certain problems staying un-noticed, until more costly mechanical failure occurs.
In conclusion, we have to say that the 2010 Can-Am Renegade 800R EFI is tough to beat, if you need the maximum adrenaline pumping, possible from a ride in the trails. Now with even more power, the Renegade 800R even blows past fast and light 450 racers or 525 enduro sport rides. Among what we love on this beast: perfectly big and solid kick-up pegs, too much power, excellent protection from water infiltration and its, yet to be matched, aggressive beauty. On the down side, a foot brake pedal positioned too high and lacking precision; plastics that crack or snap out of place when the ride gets too rough, and rims that easily damage and let air out. It’s a shame that these less good things carried over from older Renegades, but if you have read this issue’s cover story, you will understand as we do, that the Can-Am team was very busy, coming out with many other very cool vehicles. Maybe, now that the Side X Side thing is done, they might think of re-working the Renegade a bit more. I’m hoping this awesome sport ride one day loses the engine braking and gains a precise control of the rear wheels under braking. Other suggestions would include having all four lights turned on when clicking on the high beams; better protection from flying debris; and plastics that better handle the cold.
Despite the fact that this ride has its race-engineered high-pressure gas shocks, with five adjustable preload settings to keep landings under control, and handle in a sporty yet still comfortable fashion, one should really try and keep all four wheels to the ground at all times with this very potent quad. Truth is a simple incident can turn deadly with such a big and heavy machine! Yes, this is what can be called a sport quad but it is no high flying MX track racer, Enjoy it, but be very careful!
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Can-Am Off-Road Website