There are few places in the United States of America that give us a good sense of wide-open freedom like the great state of Texas. With land reaching far and wide it just seems to go on forever and especially if you travel Highway 20 west from Waskom to El Paso. Just a few days ago we were treated to a few days on a 40,000-acre ranch in deep west Texas with friends and the Can-Am Cadillac they affectionately call the Can-Am Defender Max “Lone Star” Edition. This 2019 Defender HD10 was driven in what some consider very rough terrain and others wouldn’t even venture to try their hand in the sharp rocks of the Chinati Mountains here. It takes a rugged and well-suspended yet powerful machine to make the day-to-day travel in this terrain.
The 2019 Can-Am Defender Max Lone Star Edition was our chariot for an adventure chasing wild game, but the ride and the machine’s capabilities soon became the topic of our discussion. The tall 13-inch ground clearance gave us room under the Defender for the large igneous rock formations in the truck roads and seemed to be adequate enough even for a little off-trail excursion to pick up a harvested Aoudad. Our rig had the special-edition aluminum rock sliders on the edges of the lower frame work, so some speedy glancing blows were not taken seriously at all. Another fine feature on the Defender was the fact that the A-arms are arched, both front and rear, to give up even more broad space and extend the ground clearance even more across the width of the rig. In this type of terrain these seemingly minor features become real game changers.
Power is another topic that earns this Defender Max praise in fireside chatter. The Rotax 976cc fuel-injected V-twin is not only one of the most powerful engine platforms on the market but Can-Am’s ability to allow the driver to control how the power is delivered makes it pretty fascinating. Can-Am developed a triple click rocker switch, which is located in the center of the dash, that allows a selection of Eco/Normal/Work in order to manage power delivery. If you need to save fuel or be more conservative, then of course Eco is the choice, but if full 72-hp delivery is what you want, then switching to Normal mode will provide that adventure. However, if you are rolling the hills like we had been, we found that Work mode worked really well to help manage power delivery and to smooth out the jittery throttle input from our foot bouncing around on the pedal. There is plenty of go right under your foot if you need it, and over the three days we rode here it proved to be very functional no matter what we were doing.
In the cab you not only have the traditional Versa-Pro bench seating but it is so roomy that even any big ranch hands can breathe a sigh of relief. The Defender’s popular on-dash removable storage/glove box feature makes hiding small items perfect, and for those slightly larger things like our cache of ammo and hearing protection for those big-game encounters we were more than prepared.
We mentioned the igneous rock formations in our ride location just a bit ago and one thing that makes a trip in the off-road terrible is a flat tire. Can-Am has dressed the wheels with what some consider the toughest tire on the market, the Maxxis Bighorn 2.0. As we picked up the speed on the ranch roads the smaller rocks did not concern us, but when encountering larger rocks at speed it is very easy to pinch-flat a tire of any type. The thorns on those yucca and other prickly bushes also pose a threat to an air-filled cavity. The Maxxis tires gave us confidence that we at least had a better chance than most when it came to this type of terrain.
The “Lone Star” part of this working trail cruiser included some really cool styling components. First off, the badging for this special edition is pretty sweet. The features that are exclusive to this machine are custom-cut and -sewn, embroidered seating; chrome “Lone Star” badges; aluminum rock sliders; full HMW skids on the belly of the beast; and a pretty stout steel front bumper. You also get a 4,500-pound winch, full hard roof, as well as Dynamic Power steering for the rough, just to mention a few. The towing capability in the HD10 model Defender for 2019 has also been raised to an incredible 2,500 pounds. This will take the adage of working the Texas-sized “back 40” to an all-new level.
There are times when we know we are blessed to be able to experience our surroundings, but what makes it even more memorable are the types of machines we get to see the world in. Our Can-Am Defender Lone Star Edition did make a great impression on us and we made memories during our trip in the land of the big Lone Star!