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2011 Can-Am Commander 1000 XT Review Photo Gallery

We take Can-Am's recently released UTV, the 2011 Can-Am Commander 1000 XT, out to the Oregon Dunes to rip through sand and evaluate its claim as an ultimate workhorse. Check out the full story in our 2011 Can-Am Commander 1000 XT Review

Slideshow
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Okay, so we did find one thing that kinda bugged us. For riders around six feet, that top horizontal netting strap is directly in the rider's field of vision. Anyway, many riders will eventually get some fancy aftermarket netting, if not full side panels. The seats, with their three point belts, are extremely comfortable and supportive.
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Instead of conventional A-arms in back, Can-Am uses what it calls a Torsional Trailing Arm on the Commanders, as well as on its big four-bys. Because a trailing arm moves in a longitudinal rather than a lateral plane, wheel scrub (change in track width) is reduced and traction remains more consistent over bumps. Wheel travel front and rear is ten inches.
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The XT (here) and X models come with higher-traction, more puncture-resistant Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires; in the front 27x9-14, and in the rear 27x11-14. The X model also comes with beadlocks.
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Top speed is around 70 mph, which is plenty fast for most off-road riding situations.
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Instead of conventional A-arms in back, Can-Am uses what it calls a Torsional Trailing Arm on the Commanders, as well as on its big four-bys. Because a trailing arm moves in a longitudinal rather than a lateral plane, wheel scrub (change in track width) is reduced and traction remains more consistent over bumps. Wheel travel front and rear is ten inches.
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Even in hard turns, the Commanders stay flat and predictable. This is the X model with beadlock wheels; they look nice, but they're overkill for dune riding.
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The dunes present a tough challenge for any vehicle, including a side by side. The sand robs power and a relatively heavy vehicle (compared to a bike or quad!), can simply dig a hole for itself rather than launch forward. The XT we tested with sand tires performed admirably in the dunes.
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We spent several hours on a Commander 1000 XT and had a blast. Of the three off-road areas at the Oregon Dunes, Winchester Bay (here) has the most varied and challenging terrain.
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The Commanders don't have the performance of the fastest sport quads, but by maintaining momentum it's possible to keep up on a fast ride.
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It's heavy, but it jumps! Even with the stock shocks, landings are smooth, without too much bouncing. Even the severe G-outs you sometimes find when transitioning from the flats to a dune slipface are smoothed out. Some people feel that the stock shocks are too soft, but they are preload adjustable.
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The four, 60W stock lights provide very good illumination. For this dune test, up front we ran ITP Mud Lite tires, 28x10-12. All four of the stockers are Carlisle Black Rock 27x9-12 and are said to work well.
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Rear tires for this test were 26" STU Sand Blasters on DWT Blue Label rims. Even though the Sand Blasters are straight paddles and get a lot of forward bite, steering is still precise and powerslides are possible. All these sand tires come from Fullerton Sand Sports.
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Like all Can-Am products we've tested, fit and finish on the Commanders is excellent. The XT model we tested here is outfitted with a comfy steering wheel with a brushed aluminum center. Apparently, Can-Am's lawyers were sleeping when the dash design was presented to them for approval; look at all that dead space on the right that could have been used for yet another snappy warning sticker.
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There are three basic configurations of the Commanders. Left to right: X, base model, and XT. We tested the XT.