Can-Am Motorcycles: Returning to the Roots

Can-Am Motorcycles: Returning to the Roots

Once upon a time, Can-Am bikes were the cream of the crop in the motocross scene. Starting in 1973, the company built high-performance race bikes, instantly recognizable in their distinctive livery. And then, in 1987, they stopped.

For the next 19 years, the brand snoozed like Sleeping Beauty until returning in 2006 with a range of off-road vehicles. Since then, Can-Am has pleased riders with its three-wheelers. But over the past 35 years, it hasn’t made a single new motorcycle—until now.

In early 2022, Can-Am dropped a bomb and announced it would return to motorcycles to mark the brand’s upcoming 50th anniversary. But there’s a twist—the new Can-Am bikes will be all-electric. Recently, we received some additional details about what to expect.

The first two upcoming models are titled Can-Am Origin and Can-Am Pulse (unless the brand changes its mind). Can-Am states the Origin will be a “dual-purpose” bike that harkens back to its track and trail legacy. The Origin is intended to be capable of traversing both paved roads and rougher trails. The Pulse, on the other hand, will be a street bike through and through. Can-Am promises a balanced and agile riding experience for a daily commute in urban environments.

Powering both bikes—and likely the entire range—will be Can-Am’s proprietary Rotax E-power electric motor technology. We don’t know the specifics of the powerplant’s capabilities yet, but Can-Am claims Rotax will put out enough horsepower and torque for highway speeds. The bikes are set to have fast charging, sucking juice from standard Level 2 charging stations. As a side note, the Energica Experia (see Oct ‘22) comes with a Level 3 charger as standard. It’ll be interesting to see how the charging times compare between the bikes. Going forward, the Rotax motor will find its way to all electric vehicles produced by Can-Am’s parent company BRP.

Naturally, it’s impossible to say how the Origin and Pulse will handle on the road. Can-Am says that the smooth and simple (in a good way) experience will suit both beginners and veterans. As with any electric bike, there’ll be no need to mess about with a clutch or transmission—just twist the throttle and go. In electronics, Can-Am highlights the high-performance LED headlight (rather standard on bikes these days). The brand also says the bikes will provide a “truly connected experience,” which to us sounds like good smartphone integration.

Style-wise, we know what we’ll be getting. Both bikes have a modern, angular design that takes some cues from the brand’s old motocross machines. We can probably expect them to be available at least in the showcased gray-and-yellow colorway.

Can-Am says it’ll release the full specifications of the bikes in August 2023 to coincide with its half-centennial celebration. The electric bike range is set to hit the stores in mid-2024. In the meanwhile, keep an eye out for the other two bikes featured in Can-Am’s original teaser video of the electric bike range.