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By: Ray Barnard

Can-Am's Outlander 650 XT A Gluten for Punishment

I’ve made up my mind.  I Can-Am, can you?

Just a little while back I made up my mind on just which ATV I was going to purchase. Of course, this was after reading every on-line forum on all of the different ATVs I could find on the Internet and visiting the showrooms of all the dealers in this area.

Pictured is my Can-Am ATV before I took it out in the woods for punishment. Also pictured is the "basic" safety equipment one should utilize when riding any ATV.
Pictured is my Can-Am ATV before I took it out in the woods for punishment. Also pictured is the "basic" safety equipment one should utilize when riding any ATV.

I settled on the Can-Am Outlander 650 XT from Bombardier. The closest dealership for the Can-Am is Bluegrass Cycle Corral in Lexington, Kentucky. Bluegrass is also very big into motorcycles, with KTM and Kymco offerings.

Rodney Norris, manager, is everything one could expect to find in a knowledgeable salesperson. He knows his product; and I was convinced after talking to him, that the Outlander was the one I wanted to nestle my posterior on.

I tried to weigh all of the advantages and disadvantages of the machines that were available locally here in Danville, Kentucky and in Lexington.

It was very difficult for me to pick out just what I wanted. There were so many choices in ATVs and so many models of each brand to choose from.

One factor that weighed on my mind was the fact that I am not a good “shade tree” mechanic. All of the subtle differences in throttle bodies don’t mean a thing to me. So, getting a unit with few, if any, service problems was a consideration.

“Hey, Ray! What kind of an engine is in that thing?” a friend might ask.

"I don’t know, but it runs when I turn the key and hit the starter button!”

In all seriousness, I’m not that bad, it’s a Rotax engine, but I really don’t have a lot of mechanical knowledge. When friends start getting into the technical components of an engine, I really get left behind. I just marvel at their ability to know what is going on inside an internal combustion engine.

I had made up my mind that I wanted at least a 500cc machine so I would have plenty of power to pull a plow. If I find the right property to hunt on, I would like to have the wherewithal to establish a food plot on that property. Access to a plow has been offered. I hope that offer is still there if I find the right property. In any case, I would prefer to have a machine with a good low range that could take care of this chore.

Independent rear suspension was another quality I wanted on my machine. Rock climbing isn’t in my future unless it’s the only way out of the particular property I might be on at the time. Comfort from beginning to end was what I was searching for.

Most independent rear suspensions rotate outward. The Can-Am’s rear suspension goes straight up and down. Some folks say that this feature contributes to body roll. However, it remains to be seen just how much this would affect the ride-ability of the Can-Am for this particular person. Off-camber situations are something I prefer to avoid if at all possible.

Top-end speed is only important if I happen to need it. However, having the fastest machine is not the goal I am trying to attain, although I know the speed is there if I need it. Most of the time, if you have the top-end speed, you have plenty of low-end torque; and this machine sports the full 650ccs that it advertises.

The Can-Am weighs 649 pounds and is heavier in weight than most of the machines in this class, but the power curve is better than all of them in the 650cc class, or says everything I read on the forums and advertisements.

Pictured is "Barney's red sled." It consists of a red S10 truck with a topper, a red Gator trailer, and a red ATV. I guess that's enough red, but then again.....
Pictured is "Barney's red sled." It consists of a red S10 truck with a topper, a red Gator trailer, and a red ATV. I guess that's enough red, but then again.....

I purchased the ATV in Lexington, and that could be a disadvantage if I have a lot of service problems because of the distance I would have to travel for service. However, the fact that this ATV has the normal six months of factory warranty, and also was eligible for another 36 months of limited warranty weighed into my decision.

A cheaper interest rate was another factor. The other machines I looked at had interest rates that averaged 2% higher. In the grand scheme of things, 2% can add up to a lot of money on a vehicle over the period of a loan.

This Can-Am is an XT. It is an electronically fuel-injected V-twin. It will scoot you back on the seat when you push the throttle. It also has aluminum wheels, radial tires, and bumpers front and rear. Handlebar guards are another added feature that will make a difference in cold weather and in wooded or weedy riding areas.

A factory-installed Warn 2.5 winch also was a plus for this unit.

I owned a Yamaha Kodiak a few years ago and installed a Warn winch on that machine myself. The winch came in handy in at least one “hairy” situation. It was also utilized in the erection of a tree stand in the deer woods, and in moving a few logs. Maybe one might not have to use a winch often, but when you need one, it’s always best to have a good one available.

I just wouldn’t have one without a winch. This Can-Am also has the remote winch control attachment in the front access compartment. You just plug it in and stand clear of the ATV to do your thing with the winch.

All of the stuff mentioned above is good, but one of the main reasons I picked the Can-Am is I just liked it.

The seat fits my posterior really well and is really comfortable.

Whatever a person picks is his or her personal preference; and that said, I must say I really do appreciate the consideration given to me by our local dealers when I was looking at all of the different brands and different models.

The Outlander is the “one to beat,” on the speed side, if that’s your thing.

I do think that it would be a really good thing to add a set of skid plates to the underside of this machine. That option could probably apply to all of the ATVs on the market.

This ATV is red, red, and red. I have a red truck, a red trailer, and now a red ATV. Maybe I’ll call myself, “The Scarlet ATVer.” That sounds better than “The Scarlet Can-Amer.”

At this point in time, having gotten a chance to ride my Outlander a little bit, I just love the thing, and am looking forward to warmer weather so that I can multiply my chances to take it out into the hinterland, and in doing so enhance my riding abilities.

You can climb on this ATV, turn the key on, hit the starter button, and it immediately starts. I think it would start even if it were buried in the snow. The electronic fuel injection seems to be just that good.

Service after the sale is a consideration in any purchase whatever it may be. I think I have made the right decision.

In my opinion, this ATV is a “doozy.”


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