With the growing poularity of side-x-sides and the versatility of a sport utility ATV, the pure sport market just isn’t as red-hot as it used to be.
These ATVs are still a ton of fun though and if you’re not a racer or not interested in throwing down full pop for the latest and greatest, here’s a look at three late models that you might come across if you’re in the market for used iron.
2009 Can-Am DS 450 X mx
The power from the Can-Am’s Rotax mill seems to be corked up and begging to be released.
Down low the motor likes to stumble and jump as if it needs to breath better. Out of the hole, the Can-Am feels sluggish and while we know the power’s there, it doesn’t translate to the track as well as it should.
Its ITP tires really grab dirt and hook up well, however the lack of low-end torque is costly. Once you get through to third gear you start to realize the Rotax needs to get spinning before the power hits.
At a certain point in third gear at about half throttle, you can actually feel the motor spool up and come to life. This turbo-like response is a little unnerving and can be distracting when approaching the face of a big jump or whoops section.
While we’re being kinda hard on the Rotax mill, we do know that with the right accessories the motor really comes to life and works well. Perhaps for a novice rider, its power delivery makes it a handful.
The Can-Am is one of, if not the smoothest and easiest to maneuver ATVs both in the air and on the ground. The tight cockpit and bar riser puts all the important stuff close and help you to slide to the inside on hard berms and shift your weight while in the air to level out a crooked take off.
The near-perfect seat is easy to move around on and never gets in the way plus the foam seems neither too firm nor too plush. The foot pegs are big and wide and supported by a sweet set of aluminum nerf bars in case you lose your footing.
While most riders may not be conscious of the affect unsprung weight has on the reflexes of a 4-wheeler, the DS uses a lot of high tech components to reduce weight not carried by the suspension.
Lightened and re-thought axles, wheels, hubs etc. mean that when you launch off a lip crooked or come down sideways, the inertia of everything attached outside the suspension has far less leverage over the stuff above, including the rider.
The DS can land in the most awkward and off-axis ways and still not produce swapping or the feeling that you’ll be thrown off. It’s all so seamless you don’t notice it until you get on a different ATV.
The DS 450 MX features some of the highest tech factory shocks available from a dealer showroom. The KYB gas piggybackers up front and the remote reservoir gasser in the rear all use Kashima coated shock shafts.
High speed and low speed compression adjusters plus rebound clickers and a dual rate spring put these shocks right up there with the very best aftermarket stuff.
On the track the DS pounds back the stutter bumps and moguls and frequently accepts impacts that would require weeks of kidney dialysis to recover from on any other bike.
The link between low unsprung weight, low overall vehicle weight and a high quality suspension package noticeably puts the DS at the front of the pack. While you will pay a little extra for the MX package, the benefits far outweigh any extra coin you’d have to fork out.
The DS 450 is a very serious bikes probably best suited to the hardcore, closer-to-a-pro level racer. it has its quirks, but they could probably be ironed out with some help from the aftermarket. Its power delivery is probably beyond the comfort zone of anyone less than a highly experienced dirt meister, but we loved its high tech features and absolutely premium equipment list.
Would a serious, experienced racer podium the DS450 MX? We wouldn’t be surprised at all.