UTV Product Reviews

Can-Am Commander Replacement Shock Review

Product Review

Can-Am Commander Shock Upgrade from Elka Suspension
Elka Stage 4 Shock on the Left – Factory Commander XT Shock on the Right

Can-Am Commander Factory Replacement Shocks


The Elka Stage 4 SXS shocks are the obvious choice for drivers seriously committed to the cutting edge who refuse to make any compromises. These drivers and racers demand the highest performance and the most adjustability to suit their aggressive and fast style of riding.

These shocks feature independent adjustability of the high- and low-speed compression which allows you to adjust your suspension to react differently to big hits, sharp edges and jumps as well as for cornering and accelerating. Racing conditions can vary dramatically from one track to another, and sometimes even within the same track. With the Stage 4, you can make your suspension react with optimal efficiency over an entire track without compromise.

Unless you ride in the same terrain day in and day out, you need a shock that is adjustable. With two way compression adjustment and rebound adjustment, Elka Stage 4 shocks fit the bill perfectly. Whether you are cruising with your Mom and want a soft ride in the forest, or if you are on a fast guy’s ride in Glamis and want to catch some air and not worry about g-outs, the Elka shocks have the adjustability to handle it.

Compression Adjustment

Elka's High- & Low-Speed Compression adjuster

Elka’s High- & Low-Speed Compression adjustment is an internal cartridge with two distinct circuits that control the hydraulic resistance for both high-velocity and low-velocity oil displacement. This enables very advanced fine-tuning for different types of impacts that would otherwise require the rider to make a compromise between a more comfortable softer suspension and a high-performance harder suspension.

With this adjustment, the rider can have the suspension set to react differently for high-speed situations and low-speed situations at the same time so the shocks can react differently for riding situations that would otherwise require a compromise to be made between opposed optimal settings. Learning and understanding how to dial-in the High- & Low-Speed Compression adjustment might require a little time and effort, but it will reward the rider with a suspension that work wonders over any kind of terrain and obstacles.

The larger black dial is for high speed compression and the smaller, red dial is for low speed compression adjustment.

Rebound Adjustment

Rebound adjustment on the Can-Am Commander Replacement Shocks from Elka

The rebound adjustment controls the speed at which the shock absorbers return to their fully extended position after being compressed from an impact. Although the rebound valving is customized for your riding type, sometimes you might need to further adjust the rebound. Since not all riding conditions or tracks are the same, the rider will want to adapt the rebound damping to match them.

By adjusting the rebound properly, the wheels can stay on the ground as much as possible to get maximum traction and reduce the bucking effect of the spring pressure pushing back after an impact. Elka Suspension offers two types of rebound adjusters (depending on vehicle model): an easy to use twisting knob and a compact adjuster that can be set with a flat screwdriver, both of which have detented clicks.

Riders looking for more versatile suspension will greatly benefit from the rebound adjustment as it allows optimal performance, comfort and traction by helping to keep the wheels on the ground. Racers, on the other hand, really need this adjustment to be able to adapt to different tracks.


Elka Stage 4 Front Shock for the Can-Am Commander

The removal and replacement of the front shocks on the Commander is super simple.  Stock hardware is reused and the misalignment spacers on the shocks were the perfect size.

Elka Stage 4 Rear Shock for the Can-Am Commander

The removal of the rear shocks takes a little more effort just to get the bolt out of the factory shock.  Nothing out of the ordinary, just need to work at it for a few minutes longer than the front. This is probable due to the sway-bar. Once the factory shock is off, the new Elka shock bolts right up.

Setting Ride Height

Once the shocks are installed, it is time to set the ride height.

Elka Stage 4 Shocks on a Can-Am Commander - Checking Ride Height

You want to measure ride height with your Commander loaded as you would on a typical ride with passengers, fuel, tools, etc.  My goal is to use Elka’s recommendation of 12 1/2″ right behind the front a-arms and 12″ right near where the trailing arm attaches to the frame.

Elka Stage 4 Shocks - Adjusting Ride Height

Before adjusting the pre-load collar on the shocks, jack the vehicle up so the collar will spin with less pressure.

Elka Stage 4 Shocks - Adjusting Ride Height

Loosen the bolt that holds the collar tight.  Then rotate the collar to achieve the desired height.  Make sure to load your Commander up and take it for a short spin before measuring ride height again.


Since I ride in a variety of terrain, I really like to have the ability to adjust the shocks for maximum comfort and performance.  For example, in a rock crawling environment where speeds are slow, I want a ride that is more like a Cadillac.  But get me in the dunes for a fast ride and I want a shock that can handle the chop without knocking my fillings out, and not collapse on g-outs.

The Stage 4 Elka SxS shock is perfect for this. With Elka’s High- & Low-Speed Compression and Rebound adjustability, it is like having shocks that are well suited for all environments.

Video from Sand Mountain with Elka Stage 4 shocks and stock arms

Can-Am Commander video with lots of camera angles

Other Photos:

Elka shocks and Muzzys exhaust - Can-Am Comander 1000Can-Am Commander 1000 XT at Sand MountainCan-Am Commander 1000 XT at Sand MountainCan-Am Commander 1000 XT at Sand Mountain

Contact Info:

Elka Suspension

Website:  www.elkasuspension.com

Elka Suspension was founded in 2000 by the association of the three current owners. In its first years, the company focused mainly on performance and racing ATVs. By then, the stock suspension on those vehicles was not as refined as it was on motorcycles, which left a lot of room for improvement. Our company has been the first to offer separate external adjusters for high- and low-speed compression for ATV applications.

We quickly became one of the leading suspension manufacturers with our unique philosophy: every customer deserves the same high-quality products and attention as any professional racer, regardless of their riding abilities. We believe that professional racers are not the only ones who deserve the performance of a custom-built suspension system. What works for them should also be put to work for you. That’s why we use our valuable racing experience to develop advanced shock absorbers and make them available to everyone.

From the beginning, we have been committed to our customers. Our company has earned its reputation one customer at a time by offering truly custom-built suspension products, delivered within the fastest turnaround time in the industry and backed by the best customer service. Our staff has always been composed of dedicated people with a strong passion for the sport; we truly live and breathe for racing and riding. Racing has taught us many things: most importantly, that it takes dedication and hard work to take the lead position — then even more to stay up front.

Today, Elka Suspension is a successful company and yet remains true to its roots: designing and manufacturing of high-quality suspension components that address the specific needs of each customer.

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