By Jon Crowley
Can-Am introduced the 50-inch Maverick Trail for model year 2018, and then the 60-inch Maverick Sport for 2019. Included in a late 2019 model offering from Can-Am was the Maverick Sport RC. The Maverick Sport RC immediately caught my eye. I had my first opportunity to see one first-hand at the 2018 Sand Sports Super Show.
The new Maverick Sport X rc side-by-side vehicle is based on the 60-inch Maverick Sport, but then adds Smart-Lok front differential, high-grade FOX shocks, winch, HMW skid plate, arched A-arms, 30-inch tires and a wider 64-inch stance.
Since rock crawling is kinda my thing, I was immediately drawn to the new Maverick Sport RC. In 2017, we were able to test the new Maverick X3 X RC at the event, and found Sand Hollow a great location for testing.
I had the 2018 SxS Adventure Rally on my calendar and figured that this would be the ideal location to put the new Maverick Sport RC to the test as well. All the stars aligned and Can-Am sent a Maverick Sport RC to Moto Zoo in St. George for me to test.
The first thing I noticed on the test unit, was that it already had some accessories on it – roof, LED light bar, tire carrier, stereo, exhaust and bed extender. These items do not come on the base unit, so keep that in mind.
I added a whip flag and we immediately headed to a trail called Double Sammy. This trail is close to the main area at Sand Hollow State Park and is a great test for a rock crawler. It was pretty late in the day, and we were in the shadows for a lot of the trail. Thus the videos are a little dark.
We made it though most of Double Sammy in ROCK mode on the Smark-Lok front differential. There were a few times when I put it in DIFF LOCK mode just to make it easier, but I was very impressed with how well the front differential locks up in ROCK mode.
The next day, we hit up three more trails at Sand Hollow – Plan B, The Maze and West Rim. These trails are also no joke and we found that the Maverick Sport RC did quite well.
Maverick Sport RC really shined with three important rock crawling features:
- Low range gearing is very low. We never slipped a belt in three hard days of rock crawling.
- Smart-Lok differential offers a great variety of options that all work as advertised.
- Large tires fit without modification (no lift, arm upgrade or plastic cutting required)
One thing I noticed pretty quick is how stiff the sway bars are. The Maverick Sport RC comes with front and rear sway bars that give me more sway control that I like for a rock crawler. Easy enough to remove the front sway bar, but I wanted to give the Sport RC a good shakedown in stock trim before making adjustments.
The other negative that I noticed is front visibility. The front hood is taller than necessary, especially above the tires and I found myself looking out the side door often to get a better view. I think the front hood is built more for esthetics for the entire Maverick Sport line than function for the Sport RC model. In an ideal world, I would have designed the hood with the shocks poking through like the X3 to lower the profile as much as possible. But I do understand that it wouldn’t make sense to have a whole new hood just for this one model. Watch the video below and you can get the idea.
Testing with 33-inch Tires and Front Sway Bar Removed
On Saturday, I decided to act like the Maverick Sport RC was mine and make a few alterations. First on the list was to remove the front sway bar. The Sport RC comes with front and rear sway bars and they do a great job keeping the vehicle flat in trail type conditions. But for more extreme type of rock crawling, that much sway control isn’t preferred. The sway bar is easy to remove and the rear provides more than enough sway control for normal trail riding. If I could, I would like to add Walker Links to the rear sway bar to get a little more flex out of the vehicle, but the links are very short so they won’t fit.
Next thing I did was to see if a larger tire would fit without interference. I chose to go a little over-the-top with new net 33-inch Kanati Terra Master tire mounted on OMF beadlock wheels. This gave us almost 18-inches of ground clearance!
We ran 12PSI on the stock Maxxis Liberty tires and this is more appropriate for all-around terrain. But for pure rock crawling, lower is better so we aired down to 7 PSI for better traction.
One thing I noticed while changing tires was the wheel stud size. These studs take a 17mm lug nut and are definitely smaller than on the Maverick X3. Pretty sure they are a 10mm stud and I think the larger 30-inch tires that the Maverick Sport RC comes with warrant a larger wheel stud. This is even more of a concern when you upsize to a 33-inch tire.
I also adjusted the FOX Q3 shocks to the softest mode all around (1 is soft and 3 is most firm). These shocks come with a single spring and I think running a dual rate with a softer upper spring would improve overall ride quality and may help loosen up the suspension movement at the same time.
After swapping out tires, we did Nasty Half and then Double Sammy again for a full comparison.
Removing the front sway bar made a huge difference. Much more articulation than before, but I’d prefer even more. Maybe Walker Evans Racing can figure something out with their Walker Link packing, or someone will come up with a lighter rear bar. You could also remove the rear bar as well for pure rock crawling, but I like to have some sway control on my vehicles.
I really enjoyed rock crawling with the small changes I made. It is very impressive to take a stock vehicle and upsize to a 33-inch tire without any modifications. Even more impressive that the low range on the Maverick Sport RC is low enough to run these big tires without the belt slipping. I believe the new Maverick Sport RC is a great rock crawling platform to customize to your specific taste.
Front and rear approach and departure angles are excellent and having the rear a-arms allow the front tires to roll up to ledges without hitting any suspension (like you would see on a trailing arm suspension).
The Smart-Lok differential shined all during our test. With the option to select between four modes: 2×4 / 4×4 fully locked / 4×4 ROCK and 4×4 TRAIL you really get the best of all scenarios for any type of terrain and driving style.
I am looking forward to doing more rock crawling in the Maverick Sport RC and comparing it directly with my Maverick X3 RC, so stay tuned. We may just make it down to Johnson Valley for some King of the Hammers pre-running to see how it does on these extreme rock crawling trails as well.
It will be interesting to see if the Maverick Sport RC finds a niche in the rock crawling market. With a MSRP of $21,299, the Maverick Sport RC is $1700 less than the Polaris RZR XP1000 Rock & Trails edition and $2700 less than the 120HP 64-inch Can-Am Maverick X3 RC. All of these vehicles have excellent low range gearing and 30-inch tires, but the Maverick Sport RC has less suspension travel and a little less horsepower. The Maverick Sport RC is the only one of these Rock Crawling specific models that has rear a-arms, so we will see if that makes a difference to buyers.
- Low range gear ratio is awesome for technical rock crawling
- Ability to fit larger tires without modification
- Smart-Lok front differential
- Nimble 64-inch width
- A-Arms in the rear
- Winch included
- HMW skid plate
- Arched A-arms
- Large glove box
- Full doors
- Large 10 gallon fuel tank
- Ground clearance
- Approach and departure angles
- More than 140 accessories available from Can-Am PAC
- Visibility over hood is limited
- Small wheel studs
- Stiff sway bars
- Does not include roof
- Price – $21,299
- “Upgraded” PAC exhaust it too loud