2009 Can-Am DS450x MX and XC

The stable of race-bred ATVs has just become a bit bigger

Aug. 01, 2008 By Ricky Sosebee

The family of race-bred ATV’s in the Can-Am stable has just become a bit bigger, with the pair of fire breathing engineering marvels that are ready for battle. There are two very different DS450’s to look at so sit still and be patient as we tell you about the new kids on the block.

Back in the early years Can-Am brought racing talent clammering to get a chance to ride the industry’s best motorcycles. Today we have MX/Motocross ATV racing and XC/cross country ATV racing to draw that same passion.

2009 can am ds450 ATV

What you get Box Stock

In stock form the DS450 contains many features that are still included on the 2009 versions. The base model has upgrades that can make racing a little less expensive for amateurs to get into, and can be updated to get more-advanced riders up through the ranks. There is the Rotax 4-TEC electronic fuel injected engine that takes its design from the Rotax v990 used in road racing bikes. This engine has been tweaked to withstand the tough off-road riding styles of cross country and motocross racing, and with EFI you’ll notice a sharp and crisp throttle response that makes the Rotax engine rip to life. This engine is also ready for race-tuning right out of the box.

2009 can am ds450x mx xc atv brake caliperThe front suspension on the stock DS450 gives up 9.5 inches of travel with 10.2 in the rear. This will all change though with the race-ready MX and XC versions. The front suspension is also called the R-type double A-arm design by Can-Am and it really soaks up the bumps, along with tracking straighter.

Both front and rear shocks as you’ll remember form last years DS450 are KYB made and High Pressure Gas shock or HPG for short. These shocks are compression and rebound adjustable with a threaded preload adjustment. This makes getting the ride comfort at any speed on the track or trail worked out beautifully.

Having a lightweight rear swinger, hollow axle and extended reach hubs gives the rear of the DS450 less un-sprung weight and that translates to a faster response and more stable handling for the machine. The brakes are also designed by Wilwood who manufactures braking systems for high speed race cars. They have the developmental power to stop the world.

Can-Am has designed what they think will revolutionize the industry, in that the inverted dual piston caliper is mounted inside the disc instead of outside like typical ATV brakes. This allows the kingpin axis and ball joints to be extended into the wheel farther. This engineering helps reduce wheel scrub and steering kickback.

Can-Am DS450x MX

So starting with the MX side of things, let's look at what Can-Am claims will catch the industry off guard.

Go to Page 2 for video and more details...

Can-Am DS450x MX


2009 can am ds450x mc atvOf course the stock DS450 will make its return for 2009 but this is where things change - and its called the DS450x MX. This quad has been specifically designed for the motocross racer in mind. The sleek lines and low center of mass makes the DS450 MX a potent motocross machine.

The front suspension is where the intense motocross styling is first noticed. The A-arms are two inches wider than its stock form, which gives the DS450 MX a 50-inch wide stance and gives relief the racers wallet from the price of expensive aftermarket A-Arms. The Camber and Caster is fully adjustable on the MX model so getting the race ready quad steering control dialed is easier than ever. Both front and rear suspension travel is identical at 10.7 inches. The shocks on the MX version are Kashima coated to reduce friction and shock fade. You get quality nerfs with nets and ITP quadcross tires mounted on ITP T-9 beadlock wheels on the rear and standard rolled edge rims in the front.

The rear axle in the DS 450x MX is adjustable as well. Removing or adding spacers on the axle can change the width of the rear wheels. The adjustments can be made from a narrow 46 inches on out to 50 inches in half-inch increments.

On the styling side of things you can easily remove the headlights and the fenders are easily changeable as well.

With the highlights on the MX side of Can-Am’s DS450x MX we also see many little things that make it an awesome value. The DS450x MX is even factory-equipped with a tethered kill switch, which is required by most racing series.


Can-Am DS450x XC

The DS450x XC version has very similar features but is designed for a more woods-friendly ride. The front end is a modest 46 inches wide, so the machine will walk through the tight stuff with ease. An anti-vibe steering stem is also part of this package and its +1 as well. Riders can keep some cash in their pocket, as most would add this feature before serious competition.

2009 can-am ds450x xc atv

The shocks on the DS450x XC are very similar to the MX version but these are limited to only 9.6 inches of travel in the front and 10.5 in the rear. The Suspension is also fully adjustable with compression, rebound and preload adjustments, but unlike its MX brother, it only has caster adjustability on the front A-arms. Nerfs are also supplied in this package, with the addition of heel guards. If you are uncomfortable riding with nerfs (and brave with your feet), they can be removed very easily.

The rear axle is adjustable so when the track allows, you can still get more width in the rear wheels by simply adding spacers.

When we think of woods racing, we also think of stumps and rocks that destroy your ride - right? Well, Can-Am thought of that as well and with factory-installed skids on the belly and rear swinger it is protected right from the showroom. They even thought about your hands and controls, as Can-Am gives up hand guards on its XC ride.

With all these features it’s a sure thing that riders can keep their minds on the race, already having the basics they need to be competitive.

Go to Page 3 for Ride Impressions...

A New Fan of Motocross

2009 can-am ds450x mc

Riding is always the fun part of our product introductions, and I discovered some things about myself that made me fall in love with one of these machines...

Our first ride of the morning was on the DS450x MX.With a few adjustments I found a very comfortable ride position. The bars needed to be moved forward and up just a bit so I could feel more in control while standing in the attack position. The suspension also needed some tweaking to get my weight more evenly sprung.

Once on the track I noticed how smooth the power delivery was and the motor had to be twisted up just a bit to get into the power range. Once I made several laps I began to get brave and took some chances that I wouldn’t normally take. The quad just seemed to fit my riding style and I started to get some air for the first time.

The DS450x MX felt very nimble and controllable in the air. The lightweight construction made it feel like I could throw the quad anywhere I wanted and recover with little to no problem. As my ego took over I found myself jumping farther and higher. I have to explain that I have never felt comfortable enough on any quad to jump long distance and quite frankly the height of these jumps would normally make me a bit sick. So as I began trusting the DS450x MX more I found out what it was like to ride a motocross style ATV - and I liked it.

With jumps checked off my "to do" list, next it was the whoops section of the course. The DS450 likes to go fast, and figuring this out is helped me become confident in opening up the beast. I was hitting the rhythm section like a Pro in only an hour of riding. Its truly amazing how a quad setup can change how you feel about a specialized form of racing. The cornering was great and this quad seemed to handle high-speed corners very well. Smooth and agile with plenty of power was my final thought on this version of the new DS450x.

Cross-Country Confident 2009 can-am ds450x xc

The DS450x XC wasn’t much like its MX counterpart even though it had many of the same features. The power seemed to be more responsive and snappy but this could be gearing as well. The power came on quicker and needed a bit of harnessing to make the ride smoother.

The suspension was set a bit harsh but that’s also very adjustable and I’m sure with a few days of riding we could have worked that all out with no problem. The cross country version of this machine handled well and made some tight trails with ease, but I think it needs to be a bit lower. I love the fact that it comes with a tether kill switch and hand guards from the factory. I'm also a big fan of the factory ITP beadlock wheels all the way around on this model. These guys researched and hit a home run with these little features.

Overall I was very happy with both machines. As technology and the factory engineers actually listen to the riders and see what is commonly being done via after-market products, the units coming out to our tracks will be more and more ready to race, right off the trailer.


2009 can-am ds450 atv jump

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