Alas the day of the Bruin has come to an end. If your not sure what I am talking about you can look back here on my review of our Yamaha 350 Bruin.
On one of our recent rides my son who is now 15 asked if he could take my 2012 Outlander 800 XT for a rip while we were playing around in the gravel pits in the Nisbet Forrest. Once he experienced a water wheelie in the waters around the pit he was hooked and the call for more power began.
Now I am not a fool, I know a young rider can't handle the power of an 800 which is what got me thinking about a 650.
As always I am working with a limited budget. The upgrade from a 350 Bruin to a 650 Outlander was going to cost at least $2000 over top of what I could get for the Bruin so I needed to look at the older models.
|Not exactly the meanest looking face. The older Outlanders sported this "happy face"|
before a more aggressive looking redesign in 2009
So that settled it, I began my search for a G1 Outlander 650.
I was under the impression that it would be easier to find a 650 because more people would be buying the larger 800 but that wasn't the case. I finally found one in my price range around an hour and a half away from where I live, and I pounced on it like a cat on a mouse.
The model I ended up buying was a base model 2007 Outlander 650. There was also an XT package was available in this model year which would have added aluminum wheels and a push bar. The appearance of this machine was very utilitarian, basically looked like a farm quad.
|Peeling painted steel wheels and factory tires makes this machine look like a sleeper|
It's amazing how accustomed I have come to aluminum wheels on an ATV, and how steel wheels and factory tires makes a machine look docile. The fact that the paint was peeling on those steel wheels didn't help.
My test drive was just around the farmstead of the owner on gravel but I was immediately impressed with the power. A little too impressed being that this ATV was going to be used for novice riders. The stock tires showed a lot of wear and are also very light which I thought may have been adding to feeling of power. I am of course comparing it to my 800 and it was scary how similar they felt, so much so that I was contemplating not buying it. But I did and mostly because I realized it had a throttle limiting screw that could be used to slow the machine down for my inexperienced riders.
A couple days after purchasing the machine we took it up to camp and gave it a good test run. The handling is everything I have some to expect from Can Am, it doesn't lean in the corners and stays nice and flat. Doesn't dive on heavy braking or squat on heavy acceleration. Everything was predictable.
Being able to get it flat out on the trails was where I saw a slight difference between it and the 800. Where as the power of the 800 never really seems to fade out you do notice a slight fade at higher speeds with the 650. Where as I have been quoted as saying that "No matter how I pushed its limits, it always had more. More power, more speed, more acceleration." in regards to the 800, I can't say the same about the 650. There is still ample power to do everything you want and it'll still scare you, just not in the same crazy psycho beast way that an 800 will.
|Now sporting Maxxis Bighorn tires and ITP Delta wheels|
The 650 HO engine is awesome, it is a V-Twin and has that gorgeous hum. And if your worried that it doesn't have enough power I can assure you it will still beat out any stock 4x4 from Honda, Yamaha or Suzuki. But if you were to ask me if faced with a decision between purchasing a new 650 or 800 I would take the 800 just because of the wow factor of the 800.
|My first Outlander 650, a 2010 with power steering and my friends King Quad 700|
More to come...