Here’s Why the 2024 Can-Am Maverick R’s Suspension Is So Weird
Strange as it looks, the company says it improves load distribution and steering geometry.
Avert your gaze from the top of the page for a second. Pretend that picture doesn't exist. Focus on the 2024 Can-Am Maverick R's stellar highlights, like 240 horsepower from a turbocharged three-cylinder and a seven-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission. Bask in its impressive stats, which include up to 17 inches of ground clearance.
Now, look at the picture again. Is all that enough to make you forget the front suspension looks like a praying mantis' arms?
You tell me. It's unique, as boomers say when they hear their grandbaby's name starts and ends with a "z." And Can-Am swears that the Maverick R is better off with the tall-knuckle front suspension for a few reasons, like better load distribution, improved roll center height, and spot-on geometry.
"With the upper ball joint above the wheel, it gives more flexibility than a conventional
suspension design to achieve the desired steering geometry," Can-Am told me via email. "Minimized spindle length, scrub radius, and kingpin angle provide effortless, predictable, point-and-shoot steering and reduced kickback in rough terrain."
I'm no engineer but I can see what Can-Am is saying here, and the 2024 Maverick R is clearly focused on high-speed desert running. It's now the most powerful UTV in its class, as it bests the Polaris RZR Pro R and its 225-hp four-cylinder. Can-Am also boasts of its impressive suspension travel, which measures 25 inches up front and 26 inches out back. It surely soaks up the sand whoops with ease, especially if you buy the top-end Maverick R X RS with Smart Shox.
It measures 77 inches wide—five inches more than the Maverick X3 RS—and the upper control arms are made with stamped steel. Initial reactions have made some riders' concerns clear about whacking them on trees and what have you, though Can-Am says they're mighty strong. The potential trade-off there is added unsprung weight, but on-scene repairs would be complicated if they were made of aluminum. Regardless, upper arm load reduction measures 85%, so they're at least more likely to stay in one piece.
Because the upper links are located above the wheel now, their tendency to roll is theoretically reduced by 50%. They also help keep the tires planted in hard turns by reducing camber changes throughout the suspension travel range. While critics may knock their appearance, nobody's likely to complain if they perform as Can-Am has promised.
Finally, for anyone worried the unusual front suspension will drastically limit maximum tire size, those in the picture are 32-inch ITP Tenacity XNR rollers. You can apparently fit 35-inch rubber without any mods, which is an extremely common upgrade in the performance side-by-side segment. Going taller than that would probably require some fabrication magic, but then again, nothing in the category is meant to handle 37s, or what have you, from the factory.
It's a bold decision, to be sure. There's plenty of buzz online as people comment for or against the wild suspension design. What's important to remember is that no one can make a full assessment until they've driven it, so we'll have to wait until then to make the final call.
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