2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000 and 800R Review: First Impressions

Lucas Cooney
by Lucas Cooney
Performance like no other sport-oriented 4x4

As it seems to do every year, Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) has unloaded a bundle of new goodies for 2012 Can-Am off-road lineup.

In an industry that craves power, BRP has doled it out in spades by bringing the potent engine from the Commander 1000 UTV to the ATV family in the form of the 2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000. The Canadian manufacturer also gave the Renegade 1000 and Renegade 800R a completely retooled chassis for the upcoming model year.

If Utility 4×4 ATVs are your thing, you can read about the 2012 Can-Am Outlander 1000 and 800R here.


BRP didn’t touch the 71 horsepower, 799cc, V-Twin engine of the Renegade 800R, so we’ll jump right into the ridiculously powerful mill of the new Renegade 1000. According to BRP, the 80-degree, 976cc, fuel-injected V-Twin produces an industry-leading 82 horsepower.

2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000

Beyond a boost in horsepower and displacement, the minds at BRP also wanted to get more clean air into to engine so both the big bore Renegades come with a brand new air box. The reconfigured air box has been placed higher and more centralized location for filtering and processing air. According to BRP, the new air box features a dual-room design that improves the air filtration process and the quality of air. It does this by capturing dirty air in one portion of the box and clean air in another section before it sends the air to the engine. The air intake is also higher in the frame, which was designed to improve the Renegade’s performance in the mud and water.

2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000

When the filter requires maintenance or inspection all you have to do is remove the seat, console plastic and exterior push plate. The air filter is attached to the air box housing with a new screw-on system and push plate, which create a tight seal.

The 2012 Renegades also come with an updated transmission cover with an improved seal, while a dedicated drain plug has been built into the cover. The automatic transmission (High, Low, Park, Neutral, Reverse) comes with standard engine braking.

BRP knows a machine like the Renegade will be ridden hard so the engineers added a larger radiator with a cooling capacity of 27 kW on the Renegade 1000 and 22kW on the Renegade 800R, compared to 14 kW on the 2011 800R.


2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000

Not merely satisfied with introducing a new powerplant, BRP also made wholesale changes to the Renegade chassis. Highlighting the updated chassis is the next generation Surrounding Spar Technology (SST) G2 frame. BRP says its welded-steel frame has fewer parts and offers updated geometry for increased structural integrity, improved durability and precision handling.

In addition to the new frame, BRP engineers also went to work on the suspension. The redesigned double A-arm front suspension features what BRP calls dive-control geometry and now offers 9.0 in. of travel. As for the back end of the Renegade, it is outfitted with a reconfigured Trailing Torsional Independent (TTI) rear suspension. The TTI was redesigned to offer increased rigidity and more travel (9.3 in.) while including a removable external sway bar. As well, the TTI now features lower pivot points to help improve traction and better transfer power to the ground.

Other changes to the 2012 Renegades include new 12-inch cast-aluminum “computer optimized” wheels (mated to 25-inch ITP Holeshot Air tires), which feature a center-less design to reduce unsprung weight. Slowing things down are two 214mm disc brakes with twin-piston calipers in the front and rear. Finally, lighting has been enhanced to improve visibility on the trail thanks to 240 watts (4 x 60w) of illumination and range has been increased thanks to a larger (5.4 gal.) fuel tank.

Early Riding Impressions

2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000 X xc

We’d like to get a little more seat time to give you a full review of the 2012 Renegades, but here are some early thoughts from our test rider.

As expected, the new motor in the Renegade 1000 is a beast. Acceleration is incredible and the engine produces absolutely brutal power, despite nice manners at slow speeds. In the right hands this would be an awfully tough ATV to beat in a lap around your local trail.

In our opinion the Renegade 1000 is an ATV for highly experienced riders who crave outrageous performance. Newer riders should look elsewhere as this is the kind of power that can get away from you. Even the Renegade 800R is hugely powerful machine that demands respect from its rider, but it’s a little easier to manage.

Renegade X xc Package

Can-Am’s off-road lineup is full of different option packages and the Renegade 1000 and 800R are no exception. A cross country racing option package (X xc) is offered for each engine variation. According to BRP, the Renegade X xc machines were built off the feedback of the Can-Am GNCC racers.

2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000 X xc

Headlining the X xc package is Tri-Mode Dynamic Power Steering, which now allows the user to choose between three different levels of steering assistance (MIN, MED and MAX) depending on the terrain. According to BRP, this technology includes a Direct Link setup that uses advanced magnetic field sensors for faster response to steering input, resulting in less steering lag. Less kickback and more trail feedback is supplied to the operator because of the 50:1 final gear ratio, which is the largest in the industry.

2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000 X xc

All DPS-equipped Can-Am models also come with the Visco-Lok QE calibration, which offers quicker engagement of the front differential. It progressively transfers power from a slipping front wheel to the gripping one – automatically with no buttons to push or levers to pull. BRP says the system produces no wheel hop or driveline wind-up so the system is transparent to the driver.

2012 Can-Am Renegade 1000 X xc

The X xc package also includes Fox Racing Podium X piggyback shocks with high- and low-speed compression adjustability, rebound and preload adjustment. Other features include 12-inch aluminum beadlock wheels, X xc specific graphics, X-package seat cover, aluminum skid plates, handlebar wind deflectors, aluminum taper-profile handlebar, and a more powerful 650-watt magneto.

Related Reading

2009 Can-Am Renegade 800R EFI Review

2011 Can-Am Commander Preview

Lucas Cooney
Lucas Cooney

I have been working exclusively in digital media since 1997. I started out with TSN.ca, spending nearly nine years creating and editing content on Canada's leading sports website. I left to join VerticalScope, Inc., one of the world's largest online publishers, to start a number of powersports publications. While at VerticalScope, I've helped create and oversee content for a wide variety of different publications, including ATV.com, Off-Road.com, ArcheryTalk.com, Tractor.com, RVGuide.com, and many more.

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