Can-Am has found its footing by fusing comfort and toughness in its Defender series. These machines have excellent hauling and towing capacities, superb handling and power, and numerous additional features to meet your demands, but what is the top speed?

The top speed of the Defender is governed. Depending on your model it is 50 mph, 62 mph or 66 mph.

I have collected the numbers in this article from specs sheets, and from watching many YouTube videos where Can-Am Defender is driven fast. You can be sure that we haven’t just collected theoretical data, but also checked how the Defender performs in practice.

Additionally, we’ll give you 6 suggestions on how to ramp up your Defender and increase the top speed, so read on!

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What Is the Can-Am Defender Top Speed?

A 38 hp Rotax 427cc single-cylinder engine propels the Can-Am Defender HD5, a 50 hp Rotax 799.9cc V-twin engine powers the HD8, and an 82 hp Rotax 976cc V-twin engine powers the HD10. The Can-Am Defender HD9 has a 65 horsepower, 976cc V-twin engine, whereas the HD7 has a 52 horsepower, 650cc single-cylinder engine. The Rotax engine is liquid-cooled and needs no break-in maintenance.

Can-Am Defender Model YearTop Speed
2021 HD5Limited to 50 mph/ 80.5 km/h.
2021 DPS HD5Limited to 50 mph/ 80.5 km/h.
2021 HD8Limited to 50 mph/ 80.5 km/h
2021 DPS HD8Limited to 50 mph/ 80.5 km/h
2021 Max DPS HD8Limited to 50 mph/ 80.5 km/h
2021 Max DPS HD8 GLimited to 50 mph/ 80.5 km/h
2021 MDPS HD8 OCLimited to 50 mph/ 80.5 km/h
2021 XT HD8Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2021 MAX XT HD8Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 HD7Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 DPS HD7Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 XT HD9Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 MAX HD7Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 HD9Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 DPS HD9Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 MAX HD9Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 MAX DPS HD9Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 XT HD9Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 MAX XT HD9Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h
2023 MAX LONE STAR HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h
2023 Limited HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h
2023 MAX Limited HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h
2023 MAX XT HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h
2023 MAX X MR HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h
2023 Pro XT HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h
2023 6×6 DPS HD10Limited to 62 mph/100 km/h
2023 6×6 Limited HD10Limited to 62 mph /100 km/h
2023 6×6 XT HD10Limited to 62 mph/ 100 km/h
2023 PRO Limited HD10Limited to 66 mph/106 km/h

See the video below for a top speed run with a Defender Limited.

The driver says, “It felt like it wanted to keep going, but it just hits 66 mph, and it looks like the limiter kicks in”, and that is correct!

Also read: How to Bypass Can-Am Key? Read This First!

How to Boost Can-Am Defender Engine and Top Speed?

The horsepower, drivetrain, weight of the passengers and baggage, the terrain, the weather, the altitude you ride at, and the accessories on your vehicle are just a few of the variables that determine your Defender’s peak speed.

By ramping up the engine and engine related parts, the Defender will definitely reach a higher top speed.

If you still have factory warranty on your Defender, I advise against ramping it up. Introducing changes to your Can-Am could void the warranty, meaning if you run into any major issues, you’ll likely have to pay for those yourself. So, first check your warranty before you make the alterations.

You can boost the engine output and top speed of your Defender. However, keep in mind that the UTV is not designed for this, which can cause more wear and tear, resulting in more frequent maintenance.

There are several ways to make the Defender faster, (but remember, this is at your own risk) including:

1. Tuning the Engine Control Unit

Reflashing the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) or Electronic Control Module (ECM) is one of the simplest ways to raise the peak speed of your Can-Am Defender. It will increase the acceleration, power at cruising speeds and hill-climbing performance of your vehicle. There are numerous ways to flash the ECU on a Defender, and many companies, including Monster Fuel Injection, MRRPMCycle, etc., have speciality tunes to raise Can-Am UTVs’ top speed.

An ECU modification will allow 100% throttle in high, low, and reverse and raise all limp mode activations. It will also increase the speed limiters in high and low and boost the rev limit on the UTV to 9,500. Additionally, an ECU reflash can remove the axle or shaft saver feature, add over four degrees of ignition timing, and turn on the radiator fan at an angle of 180 degrees.

Your Defender can become faster only by making one of these modifications. However, when you combine them all and adjust the fuel timing and air levels for aftermarket intakes and exhausts, your stock Defender will be transformed into a hyped-up Speedy monster!

While some Defender ECU flashes are created for 87-octane fuel, others are made expressly for drivers using 91-octane fuel. Although some riders might utilize premium fuel to make their vehicles faster, running premium fuel on stock motors has no advantages. Premium fuel may make carbon buildup worse in the Can-Am Defender and negatively influence cold starting.

2. Adjusting the Gear Ratio

Everything has gear reductions, from the engine to the gearbox to the wheels. The drivetrain’s gear ratios ultimately determine the torque and top speed of the Defender. Characterizing it is more challenging, and performance problems brought on by drivetrain inefficiencies can occur. When constructing gear reductions, the machine’s function is considered.

Faster machines use smaller gear reductions to boost their top speed. On working machines, more significant gear reductions offer more torque for pulling and hauling. Change the gear ratio by switching the front or back sprockets. Most people gear down, which requires mounting a bigger rear sprocket to improve acceleration but reduce peak speed.

Choose whether to enhance top speed or acceleration. A new sprocket and clutch kit can result in a noticeable improvement. The most common are the 14-tooth sprockets, with an average price of $15.29 each.

3. An Upgrade Clutch Kit

Your vehicle’s response and top speed will improve after installing an aftermarket clutch. The package modifies your RPM curve to enhance power. So, you can increase your top speed and acceleration with a suitable kit. New springs and weights that alter the self-timing adjustments and speed frequently come with the clutch kits.

Clutch kits are simple to modify for various riding conditions, riding styles, and engine swaps. An advantage of using a clutch kit is that it enhances torque, power, top speed, and throttle responsiveness. The belt’s life is further prolonged by less belt slippage and heat accumulation. Can-Am Defender clutch kits are available for around $433.00.

4. High-Flow Air Filters 

You should regularly check and clean your air filter. By limiting airflow to the combustion chamber, a dirty filter might cause your engine to suffocate while you’re driving. You can enhance the performance of the machine by replacing the stock air filter with a high-flow air filter. A better intake increases airflow to the engine, and the richer air-fuel mixture produces more power. A high-flow air filter offers one of the easiest ways to improve your engine’s performance.

K&N is a reputable and market-leading air filter producer in practically all power sports and automotive applications. You can get K&N high-flow air filters from $16 upward.

5. Aftermarket Exhaust

Popular ways to raise the performance of the UTV include upgrading the Can-Am Defender exhaust system. It allows the engine to exhaust more, so it pulls in more air. A high-flow air intake arrangement enhances the performance of this system. A performance slip-on muffler is a go-to substitute for changing the exhaust system when there are time or financial restrictions.

It is the most popular technique because it lets you swap out your stock muffler for a lighter one. In addition, slip-on muffler cores provide significantly higher exhaust flow rates than the heavily baffled factory systems. The power output from the performance slip-on muffler is higher, but it is still much less than what you would receive with a full-performance exhaust system. Couple a high-flow intake system with a slip-on or complete exhaust system for more powerful performance.

Generally, performance exhaust systems resemble cones and gradually grow larger or broader than factory exhaust systems. More air is delivered to the engine thanks to the cone’s shape, and the richer air-fuel mixture results in a notable power increase. You can get an aftermarket exhaust system for Can-Am Defender for an average of $539.99.

6. Tuning Fuel Injection 

To maximize your engine’s performance, you should improve fuel delivery after tweaking the intake, exhaust, or both. You need expert fuel injection system programmers to improve your fuel system. Dynojet created the popular fuel injection systems for performance and sports vehicles.

The Dynojet Power Vision EFI Tuner is a versatile gadget that can be incorporated into the wiring harness already present on your Defender. You can increase power output by carefully managing the fuel delivery to your engine. The cost of the Power Vision tuner for Can-Am Defender is $451.99.