Can-Am Maverick X3 & Smart-Shox Technology

Can-Am gave us both a nice and needed surprise by announcing its 2021 lineup this week. After reading through the press release, sitting in on a video conference call, and getting some time to sleep on changes to the Can-Am lineup, one thing is clear. The 2021 “new” to the Can-Am lineup revolves around a new technology: Smart-Shox.

2021 Can-Am Model Lineup With Smart-Shox 


Yes, Can-Am is known around the off-road press as the company that goes “all in” on fancy names for its technology, and Smart-Shox is no exception, but, to be fair, this technology does have a Can-Am spin on Live-Valve shock technology giving it every right to name it whatever Can-Am wants to name it. Smart-Shox does live up to its name! Can-Am is always looking to push its models just a little bit further, and we can see it in this technology.


Smart-Shox Introduction Video 

By now you have probably concluded that Smart-Shox technology has something to do with self-adjusting shocks, which is nothing new. Polaris introduced RIDE DYNAMIX back in 2018 on a RZR Turbo sporting FOX Live Valve shocks, and, since then, others have followed suit. Most notably would be the 2020 Honda Talon X4, and now 2021 Honda Talon Live Valve model. We drove the Polaris RZR RIDE DYNAMIX at the introduction and then did a review video which you can watch below. No matter what the model FOX Live Valve shocks can adjust the valve inside to the shock based upon commands from a computer process inputs from sensors around the vehicle. When the valves are adjusted on-the-fly the suspension can then adjust to the terrain in milliseconds to offer the ride a person is looking for, such as comfort or aggressive handling. Things like wheel speed, shock position, gimbal readings, acceleration, braking, and other readings go into the what the shock is told to do. The real question is, what has Can-Am done to push this technology further and what makes it better than the competition?


Smart-Shox Technology Video 


Smart-Shox Tech

There are a handful of things that set Can-Am’s Smart-Shox technology apart from other industry Live Valve options. 

  1. By far the biggest difference in Smart-Shox is the system controls both compression and rebound. The benefits of this are HUGE! Being able to control compression only lends itself to bounce on the the rebound. However, being able to control rebound means taking the bounce out keeping the machine tracking straight no matter the terrain. This is a game changer.
  2. Smart-Shox has the fastest shock valve in the industry. The system can adjust itself from full-soft to full firm in .017 seconds and is changing up to 200 times a minute, giving almost real-time adjustments. This is accomplished by having an internal valve rather than an external one.This also means Smart-Shox is “reading” the terrain and constantly adjusting for it.
  3. Smart-Shox has more sensors and inputs than any other system. While most Live Valve systems rely on the IMU to sense wheel speed, roll, steering input, acceleration, and braking, Smart-Shox has 8 additional sensors on the suspension itself to give details on what each individual tire and wheel is doing. The system reads the terrain, and then makes adjustments.

2021 Can-Am Model Lineup With Smart-Shox


Smart-Shox Driving Modes

Research has found most people are not comfortable making suspension settings, and, even fewer ever make changes. Smart-Shox takes all the adjusting needed to a single rocker switch that controls three ride modes. Take your pick of Comfort, Sport, and Sport + modes with a flick of a the rocker switch. For Comfort mode, think big comfy Cadillac mode. Sport and Sport + modes ramp up the stiffness for a more connected feel combined with a stiffer and firmer feel. Casey Currie, professional racer and DAKAR winner, said Sport and Sport+ feel more like driving a race car, and the feel changes instantly when going from one mode to another.


Can-Am Pro Drivers Put Smart-Shox Through The Paces On Off-Road Trip

No matter what mode you choose you get bottoming out as well as topping out protection. In other words the system will compensate for anything crazy that happens in any mode.

2021 Can-Am Model Lineup With Smart-Shox


What does Smart-Shox mean for you?

This is the real question right? Can-Am always add a “plus” sign any technologies that it puts on its vehicles, and it is clear Smart-Shox is no exception. The ride using on Smart-Shox should be the best in the industry if for no other reason than the vehicle can control rebound. That is truly a big deal. You are going to get an exceptional good ride no matter what your driving skill level and experience. Since the system can track the terrain and make adjustments per wheel up to 200 times a second, that keeps the ride as good as possible while maintaining control. You can choose the mode so easily, and benefit from the changes in the settings without getting out of the driver seat. The Maverick X3 with Smart-Shox means you can corner faster than every before because the vehicle can stay flat in the corners. Yes, other Live Valve vehicles can stay flat in the corners, but they can’t adjust as quickly as Smart-Shox… at least for now

2021 Can-Am Model Lineup With Smart-Shox


Some Other Smart-Shox Facts

  • Currently Smart-Shox is available on the Maverick X3 X rs Turbo RR and Maverick X3 MAX X rs Turbo RR, which makes sense as these models are really the Can-Am Maverick X3 flagships.
  • Smart-Shox was optimized for those who ride the desert and dunes. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t work well on trails, but it does mean high speed is where the system comes alive.
  • When you launch the Maverick X3 into the air meaning the shocks are full extended, Smart-Shox was help dampen the landing with a progressive rate of resistance in the shocks offering a much smoother landing.
  • Though Can-Am has done extensive testing, if a sensor on the Smart-Shox fails, the system will go full-firm for safety.
  • You can add aftermarket suspension components, as long as, you keep the sensors distance from each other the same.
  • You can send these FOX Live Valve shocks to FOX for servicing or further customization such as changing the valving them.The Smart-Shox system can then “re-learn” the details of the shocks so everything works correctly.
  • The Smart-Shox system will not be offered as an accessory since other parts around the Maverick X3 would need to be changed.
  • There is already talk that Can-Am will consider adding this technology to other Maverick X3 models if the customer demand is there.


For more info on the 2021 models, you can check out