When it comes right down to it, the best part about riding is watching the trees zip by in the corners of your vision, feeling the wind rush through your cab, and seeing that next turn come flying at you, all while keeping an iron grip on the steering wheel.
We’re talking about going fast, and if you’re thinking about getting a Can-Am Commander, or just want to know what your Commander is capable of, you’re in the right place. We’re taking a look at the Can-Am Commander’s top speed, so you know how it stacks up.
There are a few different specs on a Commander that really define its performance and top speed. A UTV’s performance is made up of its:
Horsepower and weight are well known specifications that are provided by the manufacturer. Performance is sometimes simplified to “pounds per horsepower.” This is a little too simple, but it makes it easy to understand a machine’s power output. The lower your pounds per horsepower, the more power your UTV has to move forward.
The gear reduction is another matter. From the engine, to the transmission, to the wheels, there are gear reductions built in. These gear ratios in the drivetrain are what ultimately determine the Commander’s torque and top speed. This is harder to define and inefficiencies throughout the drivetrain can negatively impact performance.
Gear reductions are designed to match a machine’s purpose. Faster machines have smaller gear reductions to give them a higher top speed. Working machines have bigger gear reductions to give them more torque for towing and hauling. The Commander and all of its variants are somewhere in between.
So let’s take a look at the 2021 Can-Am Commander 1000 first:
That gives it 16 pounds per horsepower.
And now the older Can-Am Commander 1000 models (2020 and earlier):
That gives it 14 pounds per horsepower.
Remember, pounds per horsepower isn’t the whole story. The Commander’s drivetrain will determine how that translates into top speed—we’ll take a closer look at that later.
But it’s not all about the Commander 1000. Let’s take a look at the 800.
The Can-Am Commander 800R XT is an incredibly popular machine today even though Can-Am appears to have dropped it in favor of an all 1000 cc model lineup. Let’s take a gander at its specs:
That gives it 18 pounds per horsepower—more than the 1000 models, which is expected on a small engine.
But what does that mean in terms of the Can-Am Commander’s top speed? Lets take a look.
The Can-Am Commander 1000’s top speed is about 75 MPH.
This number will be affected by the weight of your cargo and passengers, the altitude you ride at, the current weather conditions, and accessories on your vehicle. Your mileage (per hour) can and will vary.
The Can-Am Commander 800R and 800R XT top speed is about 70 MPH.
Again, your environment and modifications can affect the top speed you experience.
Like we mentioned earlier, one of the biggest limitations on top speed is the drivetrain. One part of your drivetrain that’s relatively easy to modify is the CVT clutch. With different springs and clutch arms, you can increase your Commander’s top speed. You can’t change your engines power output this way, but you can get more power to the ground with proper tweaking. It’s worth a shot if you’re itching for some extra speed.
The Can-Am Commander’s top speed is high enough to get up to some pretty wild shenanigans. But it doesn’t do you much good if you can’t control it. Luckily, the Commander has generally great handling at any speed.
From the 2013 lineup on, Can-Am has produced Commanders with dynamic power steering. That means it reacts to your speed to give you the right amount of assistance whether you’re going 7 MPH or 70 MPH.
If you have an old worn out power steering kit on your Commander, or you happen to have a model that never had power steering in the first place, you can upgrade with a SuperATV Power Steering Kit.
The width of the Commander also aids its high-quality handling. The narrowest model is 58.6” wide and the widest is 64” wide. No matter what Commander you have, you’re in the goldilocks zone that gives you a tight turning radius and excellent stability.
The Can-Am Commander’s excellent handling profile perfectly complements its 70+ MPH top speed.
Just because your Commander can hit a top speed of 70 MPH or more, doesn’t mean it’s a good idea without a few accessories.
Here are a few of our favorites that will keep your Commander in one piece, keep you comfortable, and make sure you’re having the most fun possible:
With a fully outfitted machine, you can be confident you have the strength to hit your top speed safely… and avoid getting bugs in your teeth.
With the complete redesign of the 2021 Can-Am Commander lineup finally out, we’re interested to see if the Commander gets any more power or speed in future models. It might be unlikely, but it’s one of the most exciting redesigns in recent memory so we’re optimistic about the Commander’s future. You can read all about the 2021 Commander lineup here.
Until then, you can hit the trail in whatever Can-Am Commander you have and enjoy the 70 MPH wind in your hair.