The list of pure sport ATVs has slowly dwindled over the years, as manufacturers have moved more towards utility-sport ATVs that offer a better mix of both recreation and workability.
But for those who enjoy the ride and feel of a strictly sport-focused ATV, there are still a number of options to choose from.
One of the best racing quads of all time is the Can Am DS 450.
This guide will provide a full review of the DS 450 including its top speed, specs, main features, and pros and cons.
About The Can Am DS 450
The Can AM DS 450 was a pure sport ATV that saw an eight-year production run from 2008 until 2015.
Boasting excellent low-end torque and being the lightest sport ATV in its class at the time, it had one of the best power-to-weight ratios of any sport ATV ever made.
While this model was built as a true race ATV and heavily modified towards providing an edge on the track, owners found that it more than held its own on the trail as well.
And it came truly race-ready, without the need for modifications in order to keep up with some of the faster sport ATVs at the time.
The Can Am DS 450 was extremely popular among the ATV racing crowd after its first year in production, and was then quickly followed up with two additional models to suit the most popular types of racing.
The DS 450 X MX was motocross focused, while the DS 450 X XC was cross-country racing focused.
I’ll provide more detail on how these models differ from the base model shortly, but we’ll start with the DS 450’s key specs and features as a whole as they are mostly identical.
Can Am DS 450 Top Speed
The Can Am DS 450 top speed is between 77 and 80 mph in stock condition, which is pretty darn impressive for the 450cc class.
While the DS 450 X MX and X XC are a bit more customized to be racing models, they max out at the same top speed as that of the DS 450 base model.
Key Specs & Features
Powered by a 449cc single cylinder Rotax engine with an output of around 45 horsepower, the DS 450 offers impressive speed and power across all throttle levels.
The powerful engine combined with an aggressive valve set-up and double overhead camshaft make the vehicle bolt forward as you throttle it.
This throttle response makes it an excellent jumping ATV, but also requires some getting used to initially.
An impressive combination of speed, power and torque make it an excellent overall quad when it comes to racing and trail riding.
While it does well climbing hills, it can’t quite compete with some of the more powerful sport quads, especially in softer terrains like sand dunes.
|BRP Rotax, Four-Stroke, DOHC
|Bore x Stroke Ratio
|97 x 60.8 mm
A chain drive supplies power to the DS 450’s rear wheels, with this model only offering rear wheel drive.
Riders have the ability to manually shift to five different gears, each of which offer a good range of speed so it requires fewer shifts than many other sport models.
These models do not offer a Reverse setting, which is a bit of a drawback when trail riding.
|Chain Drive, Solid Rear Axle
|5-Speed w/ constant mesh
|Gear Shift Pattern
|1 – N – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5
Tires & Brakes
The Can AM DS 450 is equipped with 21-inch ITP Holeshot tires in front and 20-inch ITP Holeshot tires in back.
The MX and XC models come with different tires suited to their specific race styles.
The MX features 18-inch tires that are stiffer and boast an inner reinforcement ring to help withstand high speed cornering.
The XC boasts 20-inch tires that are more rugged and feature treads more suited to cross country riding.
All models feature hydraulic disc brakes in the front and rear that offer plenty of stopping power in any terrain.
|21 x 7-10, ITP Holeshot
|20 x 10-9, ITP Holeshot
|Front Brake Type
|Dual Hydraulic Disc
|Rear Brake Type
The Can Am DS 450 features independent Double-A Arms in the front and a swing-arm suspension in the rear.
This system makes for a smooth ride in any terrain and easily soaks up bumps, holes, or chop in the trail or track.
The shocks help offer riders a firm but forgiving ride and make landing jumps much less jolting. They are preload adjustable and give riders the ability to experiment and find the perfect setting for their weight and riding style.
The base model DS 450 offers 9 inches of ground clearance, while the two race models offer closer to 7.75 inches.
|Independent Double-A Arm w/ Adjustable Preload
|Swing Arm w/ Preload Adjustable Shock
|Front – 9.5 inches, Rear – 10.5 inches
The Can Am DS 450 features a compact size and light weight that is essential for racing, with its weldless frame cutting out a few extra lbs.
At only 345 lbs, this quad feels light as a feather while handling. Though built to race, this compact build and light weight make it a great trail option as well.
The MX model offers an extendable 50-inch long-travel width designed for better stability and cornering while track racing.
The body and seat of the DS 450 are both narrow with smooth surfaces to assist in making body transitions while riding. Riders get the feel that they are actually sitting atop the machine.
While the seat is narrow, even bigger bodies should have no problem comfortably sitting on and riding this model.
The position of the handlebars offer a comfortable riding stance, and the space extending down from the seat to the foot pegs is comfortable even for those with longer legs.
The wide foot pegs and deep heel guards offer better leverage and stability when cornering and landing jumps.
The Can Am DS 450 consists of three different models:
- Can Am DS 450 (base model)
- Can Am DS 450 X MX
- Can Am DS 450 X XC
The Can Am DS 450 base model is the focus of this article. While the 450 X MX and 450 X XC do offer some upgraded components, almost all of the specs are the same as those of the base model.
The 450 X MX was designed specifically with motocross track racing in mind and includes a number of features specific to this style of racing.
It comes equipped with motocross-specific tires, beadlock wheels, nerf bars, and a few other motocross-focused upgrades. Most notably, it offers an adjustable 50-inch long-travel width for better stability and cornering.
The 450 X XC was also designed for racing, but more for the cross-country variety than for motocross.
As a cross country-focused model it comes equipped with racing tires made for cross country terrains, beadlock wheels, nerf bars, and heel and hand guards. This model is tuned to withstand the abuse of cross country racing.
Can Am DS 450 Price
The following table shows the original manufacturer recommended sales prices and current retail values of the Can Am DS 450 according to JDPower.
|Year, Make & Model
|Average Retail Value
|2008 Can Am DS 450
|2009 Can Am DS 450
|2010 Can Am DS 450
|2011 Can Am DS 450
|2012 Can Am DS 450
|2013 Can Am DS 450
|2014 Can Am DS 450
|2015 Can Am DS 450
ATV Trader, Facebook Marketplace, and other online marketplaces seem to support the average retail estimates above, with most used models priced between $2,000 and $5,000 depending upon the year and condition.
Pros & Cons
While the Can Am DS 450 underwent numerous updates and upgrades during its seven-year production run, owner feedback has highlighted a number of pros and cons pertinent to these models as a whole.
- Light weight makes it perfect for racing and very easy to handle.
- Exceptional power to weight ratio.
- Steering is impressive and offers easy cornering and handling.
- Quad doesn’t dive into corners while braking.
- Excellent throttle response and torque make it great for catching air.
- Preload adjustable suspension and shocks make for smooth ride and landings.
- No modifications needed to keep up with any stock sport ATV on the track.
- The weldless frame is prone to bending – the front of the frame, frame rails, and footpegs don’t hold up well over time, especially when jumping.
- Many models experience overheating issues due to the design of the coolant system which consists of a capless radiator making it prone to airlock.
- Stock wiring and wiring harnesses sub-par.
- The electrical system is hard to troubleshoot.
- You have to remove the plastics to access the engine, radiator, or ECU, which can be a pain.
- Lack of reverse gear for trail riding.
- The clutch was known to be faulty in early models, leading to rivets shearing off and in some cases the entire clutch blowing and needing to be replaced.
While new units are no longer available, used Can Am DS 450’s still seem to be as reliable as they come.
If you’re searching for a pure sport ATV for racing, trail riding, or general recreational riding, the Can Am DS 450 is right up there with some of the best sport models ever made.
For more on some of the sportiest ATVs you’ll see on the trail, check out the following guides: