Mudfest Part 4: The Best Can-Am mods in the mud

Can-Am® off-road riders really stand out on the grounds of Okeechobee’s Mudfest. They’re already on the biggest, baddest, best-performing rides in the world, while others are left to look on in awe from the seat of something else. That said, there’s no denying the true Can-Am rockstars at Mudfest have a little something extra on their rides.

Drew Scola’s Can-Am Renegade ™ 1000 X™ xc  is one of the unquestioned kings of Mudfest. His bike is a cornucopia of modification madness: six-inch CATVOS lifts, Gorilla axles, an East Coast ATV snorkel kit, a Dalton Industries clutch kit, and High Lifter Outlaw tires.

There’s no doubt it looks good. But that means nothing if it doesn’t perform in the deep Okeechobee mud.

Drew is perched high on his ride thanks to the lift kit, which raises the ground clearance of the Renegade and also allows more room for larger, mud-specific tires. While most other ATVs get stuck in deep mud or water, Drew glides above.

The clutch adds the torque required for mud riding in deep mud holes and reduces transmission wear in these extreme conditions. The proof is in the riding. Drew, along with the rest of the Jersey Boys in his crew, can tackle the extreme mud holes with ease at MudFest.

So what’s it like riding this beast?

“It’s nasty,” Drew says. “The clutch kit you can feel, definitely helps. It’s way tougher than anything else, that’s for sure.”

Of course, you can always ride your Can-Am vehicle straight from the dealership into the mud.

Jim Carmen is on a stock Can-Am Renegade™ 1000 X™ xc, while his son, Troy, rides a stock Can-Am Renegade™ 800R X™ xc.

While the mods other Can-Am owners might have are pretty cool, Jim says he’s doing more than just fine.

“I don’t have a snorkel on that bike, but as high as they put it, I was able to go through a lot of deep stuff,” Jim says. “It’s definitely a blast knowing you’ve made it through it. Of course, a lot of people will gather up and ask ‘Wow, that bike is impressive. What is that?’”

Whey they find out it’s a Renegade, they’re even more surprised to find this is the model you can take right from the dealer to a place like Mudfest or enter into races.

“All my bikes are stock, I buy’em, I run’em, and the races we enter with them, we get first or second all the time,” Jim says. “I’m saying second, because my son will actually outrun me on the 800.”

Aside from beating other rides in performance, power and handling, Jim also uses his stock Renegade to pull other riders out of the mud. Considering what most people are riding at Mudfest, that’s almost a full-time job.

For those that do mod their Can-Am off-road vehicle, one name stands out above all others – Gorilla Axle.  Gorilla is known for creating top-of-the-line mods and even helped BRP with the testing of the Can-Am Outlander™ 800R X ™ mr in order create the ultimate mudding vehicle.

When you purchase an X mr from the dealership, it comes equipped with numerous mud-riding features, from Gorilla Axle’s 30-inch Silverback tires to an Air-Control Suspension system that allows the rider to raise the machine when going into the mud pit, yet lower it for riding to and from the holes – all with the push of a button.  ATV Magazine named the Can-Am Outlander X mr its 2011 ATV of the Year.

Gorilla Axle manager Greg McMullen, who helped design the X mr, explained what makes it special.

“It’s an ATV built strictly for mud racing and mud riding,” McMullen explains. “It’s built so the customer can go straight to the dealer, and get something already set up with bigger tires, and axles and a raised radiator purposely for mud riding. It’s top of the line.”

Ben Teaford, who’s riding the X mr, would agree. There was a moment going through some deep, thick mud where it looked like he might get stuck. But just by carefully throttling his ride and taking advantage of the big Gorilla tires, he pulled himself out.

“There’s nothing bigger than the X mr, it’s probably the biggest bike out here and more adaptable than anything with the air shocks,” Ben says. “I got stuck earlier, I bottomed out, but I just raised up and drove right straight through it.”

Gorilla Axle got its start making heavy CV axles — the joint that transfers power to the tires — for front-wheel drive cars. As more people started adding large mud tires to their ATVs and tearing up the CV joints, they shifted to ATV axles.

Today, Gorilla makes everything you need to run through the mud, and it makes them the right way.

“All of our products are made in the USA in the heart of Louisiana’s mud-riding country, we’ve been in the business longer than anyone for heavy duty axles and CV joints, and we use the highest grade material available,” Greg says.

To be sure, the Can-Am Renegade and Outlander X mr ATVs are drawing their share of envious stares at Mudfest. But Chris Bowen’s Side-by-Side, the imposing 2011 Can-Am Commander ™ XT ™ side-by-side is another Mudfest monster.

Chris drove to Okeechobee with a group of friends from Tampa Bay, where there’s plenty of good riding. But Mudfest is the best place to test the capabilities of his tricked-out Commander.

“Oh man, I have all kinds of stuff,” Chris said of his mods.

That includes Gorilla Axle Silverback tires and rims, CATVOS control arms, which add strength and ground clearance, HMF exhaust, which helps maximize power, as well as snorkel and lift kits, for riding through deep water and mud.

“We’ve had money sunk into these things with tires and lift, but with this I was so shocked with what it was able to do going through all that mud,” Chris says. “I was really surprised.”

Unlike many at Mudfest, Chris and his friends can go wherever they want. There’s rarely a moment when they’re not on their Can-Am vehicles. Whether it’s simply getting around the grounds, flying through the mud or riding through the water, there’s not a square foot of Mudfest left unconquered.

“With the tires alone, the treads and the paddles on it, I can go through the mud a lot easier,” Chris explains. “For the power and the price, it’s unbeatable.”

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