Commander 6 month review.....

MHC73

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My first review of the Commander was one of the first posted on this site. I've owned it since February and it now has 620km and 53 hours and was one of the first few in Alberta.

After my first real trip out this spring I was impressed with the machine and its durability as I posted in another thread. After many more miles I am still impressed and have no buyers remorse.

I do have a few issues and will get into them...

After my first review I was told by my salesman that it was the most honest review he had seen to date and he was going to print a copy and let other read my thoughts. I hope this will help a few people make a informed decision either way. I find today that most forums are jammed up with too much negativity, biased, and brand bashing; that we've lost so much good info it all the B.S.. First off I've owned 2 Rhino's and put them thru hell and not once was I ever let down with a Yami. I've owned Honda atv and still do, Suzuki atv, Kawasaki atv, Polaris atv.... all good machine with their own sets of problems...some more than others.

To my surprise my Can Am had a three year warranty. I like to see a manufacturer standing behind their creations.

Can Am's first year Commander at first glance is a very nice high tech SXS utilizing new and current automotive technology. Component wise the machine has held up very well. I thought for sure the fender flares would get torn off very quickly but I was wrong. Plastics has taken some good bumps and stood up well. I even bounced off a steel pole with the front and rear passenger fender and door and no damage. Fenders front and rear flexed and didn't break but the door took a good hit a deep scratch. All body panels and accessories look as new with the exception of a few reflectors and some scratches.

Rotax is solid. I did take the machine in for its first service at 20 hours with the dealer replacing one front CV boot. Service was pricey but worth keeping the warranty gods happy. Since the service the Cow has ran very well and had not one issue. I've driven in all types of conditions, from sand, mud, big hills, skegg, rocky creeks, cut blocks, beaver damms and more. All types of terrain the machine gets very hot inside but it doesn't effect the engine at all with the fan cooling the 1000CC engine with no issues. I had thought the CVT would be affected from the header running directly under the clutch, but no... it works fine, so far. Inside the heat at times is tremendous and wrapping the underside of the panels and exhaust is something Can Am should re-think. You can literally cook an egg on the console at times and forget about leaving the 1/3 windshield on; the heat is just too much. Saying that I also have a roof and doors that stop the air circulating through the cab. In the winter plowing snow, I know I won't get cold. I still haven't taken the time to utilize any heat wrap products.. On my to do list. Air box seals up great and after all the miles absolutely no dust but buy the engine pre-filter to protect the motor. Cheap protection.

CVT has been good, from towing to pulling other machines out to basically whatever I could through at it the clutch and belt have held up. The noise from the clutch still bugs me. I would like to see Can Am go a little higher end with a better set up like a STM or CV Tech styled system especially for the price tag we pay to own a Commander. Belt issues.... none, but a few friends have shined one or two up learning pulling people out of hole.

Speed and performance are very good; Can Am is always pushing for more as are owners. For a mid level machine my XT works.... well. 1000CC's are very fun. I've impressed many riders with what its capable of doing. Scared myself a time or two and passengers equally. I had one rider that thought she was a speed freak until I showed her what speed and performance truly are... Raced other brands, SXS and quad and won many more than I lost. For a 1500lb plus machine.... again impressive. I would spend the money and upgrade the tie rods as I find the stockers too light for the weight and speed of this machine. Knowing one guy who has broken two tie rods but both his own fault. Also, cheap protection.

The visco lock front diff. could engage faster but it worked well for me in the situations I got myself into. It takes I would guess 4-6 full revolutions to fully engage. Can Am should put in a quicker engaging unit for the harder core riders. For your average everyday user it works. I would rather have reliable and slower engaging than the opposite where you break axles and diff's when locked up tight. Rear diff. is loud. Reason I heard was the gears were cut straight with not off angle so your hear the gear set click as it works. Again, a minor issue that doesn't effect the rear diff. performance.

Passengers of mine have commented on interior loudness. I don't find it too bad. Having said that my machine will trap a lot of sound with the roof and doors installed. It's hard to have a conversation at speed in any machine, Rhino, Rzr, Commander, Cat.... etc.

The suspension has grown on me. The XT set up works okay for entry level shocks but I have played with the settings a fair bit. The Fox's ride very nice and add a great degree of comfort. I will also be adding an upgraded shock set, Elka's, King's, of Fox's, eventually. The Limited with be a cadillac with the air ride set up.

Box storage is awesome, man you can load this machine up. Also, an ammo case fits perfectly under the drivers seat for a water tight solution to a tool kit. In the box everything stays planted, nothing fly's around or out for that matter, in the under storage you can cram totes and gear and for the most part everything stays dry. Towing is equally impressive. I put my 18' boat in and put of the lake, towed the boat to town to gas it up, towed a 5' tub trailer thru the hills all loaded with gear. CVT system handled everything very well and the power is great.

I will say the ITC system ( intelligent throttle control) works too well and can be a pain in the ass. I like it for the most part but at times you can't get radical enough. In rough country it does work well making the ride much more smooth and enjoyable. With this much power Cam Am did a smart thing with ITC probably taking a page from the Yamaha play book with all their lawsuits.

Electronics all work well. The integrated Warn winch is slick wired directly into the machine. The projector headlights
are cutting edge for the SXS market and work awesome but are not as good as HID's and LED's aftermarkets having compared all three types together. Tilting gauge cluster is great. Very cool at night and great look. Having the programmable keys are nice and a cool feature. Great idea and a good safety feature, also like ITC a first in the industry. Performance mode makes this Cow grow wings. Flat out hauls. Great feature being able to tone if down on the trials then flip the switch to fly down the roads. Score another one for Can Am.

Aftermarket parts I've added are a set of Pro Armour doors, Pitbull Growlers 27.5" tires, aluminum roof, decal kit, and Can Am's added bumpers, end gate protector, engine pre-filter, etc. So far I love the doors and think that ALL SXS should come with some type of door system as an added level of protection. Doors will save lives and injuries. Windshields, same story. Will save lives from getting stabbed by a trees. For the price we pay for these toys I think all the manufactures could do a better good a protecting their clients kinda like Yamaha did with there recall on the factory door system. Pit Bull Growlers are a amazing tire that has surpassed my expectations. I am so happy I bought them save the price. The 8 ply radial tire really gave me a reassuring feeling knowing I have some very tough rubber protecting me and my passengers. Not very much wear either... rubber is holding up well after a fair bit of driving paved roads.

So in short, a very good machine even with the quirks. I can't compare the Cow to the Rzr line being they are so different in what they are built fore and I'm not the type to bash one brand for another. For my use the Commander is a good fit with the power, performance, adaptability, towing, and hauling. In my view brand loyalty is earned. Yamaha would have got my business because I loved my Rhino's but not offering anything fresh changed my mind. Can Am has earned my future business with a very good first SSV that has over achieved in so many ways and never let me down. But one huge issue is the price. Before I thought, WOW that's way too much money, but after owning one and truly enjoying it I can justify the expense. My family loves it and every ride I go on I end up with a big sh$t eating grin when I hammer the throttle.

Can Am did a solid job on it's first SXS and I will expect more and more from them as shown already in the new Limited with air ride, stereo, build in GPS and compressor. Seeing the progress in the SXS market over the last year is very exciting with the new pure sport Polaris XP 900 and the soon to be released Arctic Cat Wildcat. Can Am will have to push forward again with a pure sport version of their own or release something else to contend with Polaris's market domination with the Rzr platforms. Can't wait for what's coming around the corner..... My long winded 2 cents....
 

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MHC73

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I don't think you can go wrong with a set. Sure there heavy and pricey but in this case you get what you pay for; our contact was Matt at ATV Outfitters. Saved us a good deal of money, just have to wait a few weeks to get the them, but an 8 ply radial that is good in all conditions... I would buy them again.
How's you Cow doing? You haven't posted pics in a while. Did you ever get your cage installed?
 

MATTIAC

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I should have a pic today of it all complete, I didnt get the cage till 2 weeks ago, installed it and brought it to CR Racing for him to build be a aluminum roof. I should have it back today. here is a pic pre roof
16142200.jpg
 

EMANAARON

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Sweet machine. Curious as to if there are any problems with the exhaust being so Low, IE in the Water Mud Etc.
 

MHC73

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Thanks....
No problems with the exhaust being so low other than the heat trapping in the cab. I'm sure its like any machine if you shut down in under water....
The muffler is an automotive style can and the pipe comes in fairly high.
 

Puba

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How are you guy's finding the heat in the cab/seating area when out on a long ride?
 

MHC73

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You know Dale.... sometimes its alright. Depends on how fast you ride. Slow bogging or technical riding it gets warm for sure. Trail riding it's not so bad. Hauling down the road you don't even notice. I'm still going to wrap the exhaust all the way to the can and heat tape the panels and CVT. Nice roof

Mattiac... looking good. Better get a decal kit, we did all our x's and they look so cool. AMR Racing. I waxed mine 5 times before the decal kit was put on, now I wax the decals. Man... no real scratches, worth the money....
 
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MATTIAC

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when its super warm out we usually stick to the lake and pool, when the weather is a little worse then we ride more. there is some pretty good heat, but come winter time the family and I will love the heat
 

MHC73

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I notice the heat when it melted my truck remote control in my centre cup storage area. We were driving slow (15kph) and towing a quad trailer full of smaller people and gear. Climbing hills and sand dunes also carrying a full load of supplies and 2 dogs. So, to say the Cow wasn't working was an understatement. I learned a valuable lesson. That's really my only big issue and its not that hard to fix.
 
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