New utility ATVs from BRP add farm work capability to their rider-focused designs. Jane Carley tries out two of its latest machines.
Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has added two new utility quad bikes to its Can-am range, with an eye to taking on the current market leaders.
Using Rotax engines designed to offer more horsepower and torque compared to units of a similar capacity, along with higher towing capacities and keen pricing, the company is aiming to get a foothold in a relatively new sector.
The Can-Am brand is well established in the leisure and sports markets and has been extended to include a utility side-by-side, the Commander, in recent years, while last year’s Outlander 400 was a useful first foray into farm quads.
So what can another entrant to the already busy utility bike market offer? The Can-Am Outlander L is available in two models – the L450 which has a 427cc Rotax single cylinder engine delivering 38hp and the L500 with a 499.6cc Rotax V-Twin engine delivering 46hp, both considerably more than their competitors’ models of the same size.
A 6x6 version of the Outlander has also been added to the range, featuring on-demand six-wheel drive and with the option of EC road homologation. A ‘work key’ is supplied to restrict forward speed to 40kph for road use.
Popular with shoots and forestry contractors, the Outlander 1000 6x6 can be supplied with a variety of rear cargo boxes which could make it an alternative for purchasers who are considering small UTVs.
An 82hp Rotax V-Twin engine packs a decent punch and with a load capacity of 363kg on the flat bed plus 750kg towing capacity it could make light work of winter feeding.
Despite its six-wheel layout the 6x6 is an agile, manoeuvrable outfit with the benefit of Dynamic Power Steering (DPS), offering the extra stability to tackle more extreme terrain. A sway bar can be engaged to balance heavy loads or released to boost manoeuvrability.
As with the four-wheel machines, a digital dash makes it easy to keep track of speed and operating information, and the controls are well laid out and comfortable to use.
The Outlander 1000 is available in practical grey and prices start from £14,582 plus VAT.
Can-Am commercial manager Paul Wood says: “These engines give more torque which means the V-Twin in particular is more economical, with lower cost of ownership and higher residual value as they do not have to work as hard.”
Of equal importance in the field, it means the Outlander can climb steep, slippy inclines steadily with no heroics or heavy revving.
BRP has used the G2 chassis from its leisure quads with Visco-lok automatic engagement of the front differential and the option of power steering to give improved handling to match the extra muscle. To this has been added torsional trailing arm independent rear suspension and double A-arm front suspension, with specific shocks calibrated for the task in hand.
It makes for a surprisingly comfortable ride, even when dashing along a bumpy farm road or clambering over ridges and furrows.
Ground clearance of 267mm (10.5 inches) is useful to prevent bottoming out on rutted tracks.
A two-range CVT transmission makes for easy driving, with high range proving capable in most conditions, while confident engine braking keeps everything under control on a steep descent.
“Feedback from farmers has been highly positive – they are impressed with the ride and the good access, especially where they are having to get on and off the bike frequently,” says Mr Wood. “The higher specification for the suspension also increases grip by enhancing ground contact.”
Front and rear racks have been redesigned with work in mind, giving improved sightlines, and rack capacity is 163kg combined. The LinQ quick attach accessory system allows a variety of attachments to be fitted, but a 10.9 litre water-resistant rear box is standard.
“We can put together packages of accessories to suit a particular job – front and rear bumpers, mudguards and heated grips and throttle have proved popular with farmers,” says Mr Wood.
Towing capacity is a beefy 590kg and the hitch is fitted as standard ready to accept a tow ball of the purchaser’s choosing. A two-seater version can also be specified with a longer wheelbase – the rear rack space is not compromised and it can be easily switched back to a single seater.
Prices of the L450 start from £4,582 plus VAT with the L500 at £5,565 plus VAT; a two-year warranty is standard and there is a choice of red or grey.
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