TurnKey UTV Builds A Baja Commander

Dave Blum is a hardcore Can-Am fan with one of the most out-of-this-world Can-Am Commander side-by-sides that you’ll ever see. After noticing his incredible Commander, the Can-Am team caught up with Dave for an interview. Here’s what he had to say about riding a Can-Am vehicle and about his Commander:

Q: How did you get involved in off-roading?

A: I’ve loved off-roading since I was in my teens.  I started with 4×4 trucks and bikes till I was 30 years old, then quads till recently.

Q: Is this your first Can-Am?

 A: No, my first Can-Am® was a 2008 Outlander™ MAX 800R EFI. Great machine, but felt the need for the cage after riding pretty hard in the Nevada Black Rock Desert. With two of us on the Outlander flying through the desert on all kinds of terrain really had me thinking. I took the Commander® the same area when I got it and had an absolute blast. And to think it was totally stock.

Q: What inspired you to select a Can-Am Commander for the build?

A: I knew that Can-Am made a quality product and really loved the Rotax® motors. I looked at the competitor’s side-by-sides and really didn’t think that any of them compared to the Commander quality and loved the size of the cab. I also called a few guys in the know and they all said Commander.

Q: Why did you select TurnKey UTV?

A: I started out by reading up on what Turnkey had built and what their philosophy was. I did more research by reading on the Commander forums about all the different products and manufacturers out there. Made a few phone calls and came to the conclusion that Turnkey would build what I wanted. I talked with Adam several times before making my decision. Their long travel kit combined with Elka shocks was well designed and truly tested, taking it as far as Baja 500 with Avid Racing. Avid never had any problems with their suspension in the BITD (Best in the Desert) series they ran and the Baja 500. That spoke volumes to me.

Q: How long did the build process take?

A: It took about six months. I wasn’t in a big hurry but really wanted some real doors and nerf bars. Turnkey hadn’t made any to date and the ones on my Commander were their first. Mike did a great job on them. They were exactly what I wanted. Also, I had some special requests, like a rack for my Hobie fishing kayak. I want to take the Commander to Baja for some off-roading and fishing. With the kayak rack, I can fish some great areas along the Sea of Cortez.

Q: What was your reaction when you saw it completed?

A: I was very impressed. I had received pictures along the way from Turnkey, but they didn’t do the build justice. Seeing the whole project come together was extremely impressive. Well done Turnkey!!!!

Q: What do you think makes the Can-Am Commander so good?

A: I like how solid the Commander is; the room in the cab, the gauge setup and the great Rotax® motor.

Q: Where are some of your favorite places to take your Commander?

A: My Commander hasn’t seen much off-roading yet. It only had 10 hours on it when we did the build. It will be seeing the Black Rock Desert, Nevada, Baja, the Sierras in California, Pismo Beach, Oregon Coast, Moab and who knows where else.

Q: Can you tell us about your most memorable ride so far with your new Commander?

A: The only ride so far was the Black Rock Desert in Nevada. Had a great time and rode for eight hours and put 100+ miles on it. Sure glad for the rear storage. Had my cooler & extra gas, what else do you need?

Q: Any upcoming plans for rides or trips with your Can-Am?

A: Still working on fine tuning it and the graphics, “Baja Commander.” Definitely have several ideas for rides. Meet a guy last week at the BITD Silver State 300 that lives in Utah and invited us to his place. We talked about a trip to Moab. It will be well used and well-traveled. I can’t wait.

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