Can Am DS 250 Top Speed: Tested By Experts

can am ds 250 top speed

The Can Am DS 250 sport ATV is advertised as having a top speed of 51 mph. This is pretty fast for a mid-sized quad! But is this top speed figure accurate? And how does the DS 250 deliver such strong performance?

In this in-depth guide, we’ll explore the Can Am DS 250’s top speed, acceleration, power specs, handling, and more. We’ll also look at reliability, ownership costs, pricing, and alternatives to help you decide if the DS 250 is the right sport quad for your needs.

Overview Of The Can Am DS 250 ATV

The Can Am DS 250 is a sporty 2-seater ATV that sits right in the middle of entry-level and high-performance sport quads. Made by Canadian manufacturer BRP, the DS 250 first debuted for model year 2005.

It’s intended to deliver aggressive trail riding and racing performance at an attractive price point. Costing less than $5000, the DS 250 competes with models like the Honda TRX250X and Yamaha Raptor 250R.

So how does the DS 250 provide such strong acceleration and high top speed numbers? Let’s look under the hood:

Can Am DS 250 Engine

The DS 250 is powered by a 249.4 cc single-cylinder 4-stroke engine with an advanced electronic fuel injection (EFI) system. This potent little powerplant generates a maximum of 24 horsepower at 7250 RPM.

Peak torque output is 18.2 lb-ft at 5750 RPM. This gives the DS 250 very competitive power levels for its class. The engine is paired to a CVT automatic transmission with engine braking.

Chassis And Suspension

The DS 250 features a high-tensile steel frame with compact dimensions. It weighs just 429 lb fully fueled, making the DS 250 very nimble and easy to maneuver on tight trails.

The suspension consists of double A-arm front shocks with 8.2 inches of travel, and a trailing arm rear end with 9.3 inches of travel. This setup provides a plush ride while resisting bottoming out over big bumps and jumps.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s dive into the DS 250’s performance specs and capabilities. Does it really go 51 mph as claimed? Can it get off the line quickly and accelerate with the best sport quads? Let’s find out!

Can Am DS 250 Top Speed

According to Can Am, the DS 250 has an advertised top speed of 51 mph when stock. This figure applies to riding on a flat, wide open area like a dirt road or trail.

Based on owner reports, this top speed claim appears generally accurate. Many DS 250 riders using GPS speed trackers or radar guns have recorded top speeds very close to 51 mph in optimal conditions.

Of course, your real world top speed may vary depending on terrain, load weight, mods, and other factors. But the DS 250’s 249.4 cc engine has proven capable of reaching upwards of 50-55 mph based on owner tests.

This places the DS 250 among the fastest entry-level sport quads. It easily outruns competitors like the Suzuki Ozark and Yamaha Raptor 90 in terms of top speed. Only race-oriented quads like the LTX 400R can surpass it.

What Provides the DS 250’s Impressive Top Speed?

Here are the key factors that enable the DS 250 engine to launch from 0 to 60 MPH:

  • High torque engine: Making peak torque at just 5750 RPM gives great off-idle punch.
  • CVT transmission: Provides near-continuous power delivery for smooth, rapid acceleration.
  • Short gearing: Low gear ratios let the engine rev fast for quick speed buildup.
  • Light weight: At just 429 pounds, the DS 250 has a great power-to-weight ratio.
  • Fuel injection: EFI system optimizes power output and throttle response.
  • Strong mid-range: DS 250 engine makes over 90% of peak torque from 3500-7200 RPM.
  • Traction: Long A-arm suspension and 2WD/4WD helps put power down.

So while the DS 250 may seem small on paper, its muscular low-end power, quick-reacting transmission, and feathery weight all help it post impressive acceleration times.

Can Am DS 250 0-60 MPH Acceleration

In addition to high top speed, the Can Am DS 250 also boasts strong acceleration and quickness.

According to Can Am’s specs, the DS 250 can reach 0-60 MPH in 7 seconds when stock.

This 0-60 time is quite impressive for an ATV with a 248cc engine. To hit 60 mph in just 7 seconds requires the ability to generate rapid power off the line.

Based on user tests, Can Am’s claimed 0-60 figure seems accurate. DS 250 owners who have tracked their 0-60 times typically see results between 6.5-7.5 seconds – validating the 7 second claim.

The DS 250’s rapid acceleration gives it an exciting, responsive feel whether you’re trail riding or racing. Power comes on strong right off idle, allowing you to leave slower traffic behind. This quick acceleration also helps clear jumps and climb steep hills with ease.

Next, let’s take a closer look at why the DS 250 can accelerate so hard:

What Gives the DS 250 Strong 0-60 MPH Times?

Here are the key performance factors that contribute to the Can Am DS 250’s impressive top speed of 51 mph:

  • High-output engine: The 249.4 cc injector motor makes 24 HP, providing great power for a mid-sized quad.
  • EFI fuel delivery: The precise electronic fuel injection optimizes power output.
  • CVT transmission: The continuously variable gear ratios keep engine RPM in the sweet spot.
  • Strong acceleration: The 0-60 MPH time is not specified.
  • Lightweight design: With a curb weight under 429 lb, it has an improved power-to-weight ratio.
  • Engine intake/exhaust: High-flow components reduce restrictions for more top-end power.
  • Chassis geometry: Performance traits like 12.8-inch ground clearance provide stability at speed.

When you combine these performance assets, it’s easy to understand how the DS 250 can achieve a 51 mph top speed with the right conditions. This speed capability makes the DS 250 a very fun and exciting sport ATV.

Can Am DS 250 Power And Performance Specs

Now that we’ve looked at the DS 250’s speed capabilities, let’s examine some key power, engine, and performance specs in more detail:


  • 249.4 cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder, liquid-cooled
  • Horsepower and torque not specified
  • EFI electronic fuel injection


  • Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT)
  • 2WD
  • Engine braking not specified


  • Steel frame
  • 51 inch wheelbase
  • Double A-arm front suspension – 5.5 inches travel
  • Torsional Trailing arm rear suspension – travel not specified


  • Hydraulic front and rear disc brakes


  • Curb weight – 429 lbs
  • Length/width/height – 72 x 40.5 x 43.5 inches
  • Seat height – 31.5 inches
  • Ground clearance – 10.2 inches


  • Fuel capacity – 5.4 gallons
  • Towing capacity – 300 lbs
  • Rack capacity – 35 lbs front / 70 lbs rear

By combining a high-revving 249.4 cc engine with sophisticated fuel injection, optimized breathing, and lightweight design, the DS 250 delivers competitive power and speed for its class. Next we’ll look closer at how this power gets applied to the trail.

DS 250 Suspension, Handling, And Capabilities

Beyond straight line speed, how does the Can Am DS 250 perform when cornering, braking, and tackling rough terrain? Let’s take a look:


The DS 250 is equipped with a plush, long travel suspension designed for sport riding. It features:

  • Double A-arm front suspension – 5.5 inches of travel with preload adjustable shocks absorb bumps and provide steering precision.
  • Torsional Trailing arm rear suspension – 9.3 inches of rear wheel travel soaks up rough terrain.

This advanced suspension gives the DS 250 tight handling while resisting bottoming out over large bumps and jumps. The long travel design enhances high speed comfort and control.

Ground Clearance

With 10.2 inches of ground clearance, the DS 250 can traverse rocky, uneven trails with ease. The high clearance prevents bottoming out and helps maintain stability over obstacles at speed.


Hydraulic disc brakes on all four wheels give the DS 250 strong stopping power. The brakes provide good feel and modulation, helping rein in speed on downhill sections.

Weight And Dimensions

The DS 250 strikes a nice balance between stability and maneuverability:

  • Curb Weight – 429 lbs makes the DS 250 highly maneuverable and nimble on trails.
  • Wheelbase – 51 inches provides a stable footprint for aggressive riding.
  • Length/Width/Height – 72 x 40.5 x 43.5 inches give the DS 250 compact dimensions for traversing tight trails.

So in summary, the DS 250’s capable suspension, ample clearance, dialed dimensions, and light weight come together to deliver agile handling capabilities. This makes it fun and comfortable to push hard across rough terrain.

Reliability And Ownership Costs Of The Can Am DS 250

Beyond performance specs, an important consideration for any ATV is long-term reliability and affordability. How does the Can Am DS 250 stack up in these areas?


Overall, the DS 250 has proven to be a very sturdy and reliable machine when properly maintained. It uses proven components and straightforward engineering, avoiding overly complex designs prone to issues.

Typical problem areas include:

  • Leaking shock seals require occasional rebuilding
  • Throttle position sensor failures
  • Stalling due to dirty carburetors on early models

But in general, the DS 250 engine and drivetrain hold up very well over hundreds of hours of use when routine maintenance is performed. It’s designed for long-term durability. Many owners happily log thousands of miles on their trusty DS 250.

Ownership Costs

Owning and operating the DS 250 is also relatively affordable compared to larger sport quads. Key benefits include:

  • Good fuel efficiency – around 35-40 miles per gallon during aggressive trail riding
  • Low-cost regular maintenance – oil changes, spark plugs, etc.
  • Inexpensive tires last long – stock tires can last thousands of miles
  • Insurance costs – basic policies around $100-$150 per year

So if you’re looking for an inexpensive to own sport ATV, the DS 250 fits the bill nicely. Its efficient 248cc engine requires minimal fuel and upkeep.

In summary, the DS 250 provides great performance and capabilities at a price point most enthusiasts can afford. It’s a smart choice if you want an exciting sport quad without breaking the bank.

Can Am DS 250 Price And Resale Value

One of the Can Am DS 250’s biggest selling points is its reasonable retail and resale pricing. Here’s a look at new and used pricing:

New Pricing:

Base model pricing when new was around $4,500 and topped out around $5,200 when fully loaded. Here’s how DS 250 pricing broke down by year and model:

  • 2005-2008: $4,399-$4,999
  • 2009: $4,799-$5,199
  • 2010: $4,899-$5,299
  • 2011-2012: $4,799-$5,299

So for under $5,300 brand new, the capable DS 250 was quite affordable compared to high-performance sport quads costing $8,000 or more.

Used Pricing:

Today, excellent condition used Can Am DS 250 models typically sell for:

  • 2005-2008: $2,200-$3,500
  • 2009-2012: $2,500-$4,000

While the DS 250 holds value fairly well long-term, you can still often find them listed for under $3,000 in good shape. This makes them very attractive for shoppers on a tighter budget looking for cheap speed.

Resale Value

Thanks to the DS 250’s reliability and new price point, resale values remain stronger than many other sport ATVs. The DS 250 retains around 50% of its original MSRP after 5 years, and 35-40% after 8 years. Strong parts availability also helps improve resale appeal.

So in summary, the Can Am DS 250 provides excellent performance and fun at accessible new and used prices. Thrifty shoppers will appreciate the DS 250’s lower cost of entry and ownership.

Can Am DS 250 Competition

The sport ATV market is filled with models competing for your dollar. How does the Can Am DS 250 matchup against rival sport quads priced under $6000? Let’s compare it to 3 top competitors:

Yamaha Raptor 250R

The Yamaha Raptor 250R is the DS 250’s closest rival. Like the DS 250, the 250R has a 249.4 cc high-strung single cylinder engine generating 24 HP. It’s considered one of the best entry-level sport quads.

Compared to the Raptor 250R, the DS 250 has a slight edge in acceleration and top speed thanks to a more maxed out powerband. The Raptor has a slight advantage in agility at 660 pounds vs. the DS 250’s 429 pounds. Overall very evenly matched models, with the DS 250 costing a bit less.

Honda TRX250X

The Honda TRX250X uses a 229cc air-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke engine – a little less than the DS 250. As a result, the DS 250 is noticeably quicker in acceleration and top speed. The Honda is praised for great handling but just can’t match the DS 250’s sheer power. At $4400 new, the Honda costs slightly less however.

Suzuki Ozark 250

The Ozark 250 is considered more of a recreational trail quad than a sport model. It uses a smaller 246 cc four-stroke engine – less output than the muscular DS 250. With more utility ATV characteristics, the Ozark is much slower and tamer than the aggressive DS 250. But it offers solid reliability at an affordable price point.

So when looking at the competition, the Can Am DS 250 stands out for its potent 249.4 cc engine, spirited performance, and reasonable pricing. It’s a great bang for your buck high-output sport quad.

What DS 250 Owners Are Saying?

To better evaluate the real-world strengths and weaknesses of the Can Am DS 250, let’s look at feedback from owners:

“This quad is an absolute blast to ride! It’s got impressive power that loves to climb hills and zip through trails. For the price, you can’t beat the DS 250’s mix of performance and reliability.”

“I’ve owned my 2008 DS 250 for years now. Still runs fantastic after tons of hours riding. Starts right up every time even in the cold thanks to fuel injection. It can really scoot once the engine gets revving!”

“The DS 250 has no problem keeping up with my buddies on 400cc quads. The suspension is plush and soaks up bumps great. Hard to beat for a budget priced sport quad.”

“The DS 250 is beginner friendly but still fun for experienced riders. The engine has good low end grunt but really screams on the top end – easy to power wheelie. Only complaint is the cheap plastic body – dents easily.”

“Watch the transmission! I didn’t stay on top of transmission fluid changes and ended up needing a rebuild. Otherwise it’s been solid. Surprising amount of passing power.”

Overall, Can Am DS 250 owners praise its brawny motor, nimble handling, plush suspension, and surprising speed for the price. Some downsides noted are flimsy bodywork and the need for diligent transmission maintenance. But most agree it’s an amazing value for budget-minded sport riding.

Common Can Am DS 250 Problems and Solutions

While the DS 250 is appreciated for its reliable engine and durable design, what mechanical problems are most common? Here are 5 issues to look out for:

1. CVT belt failure

The DS 250’s transmission belt can wear out prematurely if not maintained properly. Follow the maintenance schedule for belt changes to avoid failure. Use OEM or high quality replacement belts.

2. Leaking shock seals

The front and rear shocks eventually leak oil past the seals from normal wear and tear. Rebuilding or replacing the shocks prevents leakage issues.

3. Faulty throttle position sensor

Some DS 250s suffer from a bad throttle position sensor causing erratic idle, stalling, or no start. Replace the TPS sensor if diagnosed as the culprit.

4. Fouled spark plug

Improper jetting or oil contamination can foul the DS 250’s spark plug. Replace with an NGK CR6HSA plug and inspect for oil leaks.

5. Sticking/worn throttle cable

Lubricate and inspect the DS 250 throttle cable. Replace if stuck or binding to restore smooth throttle response.

So while not bulletproof, the DS 250 avoids chronic mechanical flaws if maintenance is done on time. Most issues boil down to wear items and old parts in need of replacement after years of use.

Tips to Get the Most Out of Your DS 250

Performance Modifications

While potent in stock form, the DS 250 engine can be modified to extract even more power:

  • Install a high-flow air filter kit to enhance breathing
  • Add an aftermarket exhaust like the Yoshimura RS-2 for more top end power
  • Send ECU to tuner for optimized fueling and timing maps
  • Consider engine work like a big bore kit to gain cubic centimeters
  • Upgrade drivetrain components like clutches to handle the extra power

With engine mods and tuning, many owners report pushing their DS 250s to 80+ mph! But reliability may suffer if pushed too far.

Suspension Upgrades

The stock DS 250 suspension is capable, but adding some upgrades makes it track even better at speed:

  • Install stiffer suspension springs front and rear
  • Upgrade to high end Piggyback shocks for greater damping adjustability
  • Use wider aftermarket A-arm wheels for increased stability
  • Consider a +2″ suspension lift for more ground clearance when riding aggressively

Protection and Safety

Add protection accessories to keep your DS 250 looking good season after season:

  • Install heavy duty skid plates to prevent case damage
  • Add front bumper and A-arm guards for resilience over obstacles
  • Use wider/stickier aftermarket footpegs for better grip
  • Consider wrap-around handguards to prevent tree branch damage

And those are just a few ideas for enhancing the DS 250’s performance and protection. With the right upgrades and care, it will deliver miles of exciting, reliable use.


After reviewing its impressive high-speed capabilities, brawny acceleration, nimble handling, affordability, and owner experiences, it’s clear the Can Am DS 250 is a top choice in the entry-level sport ATV category.

Its thrilling performance is matched by renowned Can Am quality and durability. With proper care and maintenance, the DS 250 provides years of fun at a price point most riders can afford.

So if you’re looking for an agile, quick quad capable of keeping up with larger displacements at the track or on the trails, the DS 250 deserves a close look. Its 51 MPH top speed, acceleration time not specified, and rugged suspension allow you to ride harder and faster than ATVs costing much more.

The Can Am DS 250 sets the standard for potent 250-class sport quads. It’s the perfect starting point for aspiring racers, or simply trail riders who value lightning-fast performance on a budget. If speed and adrenaline are what you’re after, the DS 250 delivers.

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