What is the Top Speed of the Can-Am DS 250?

What is the Top Speed of the Can-Am DS 250

The Can-Am DS 250 is a youth ATV designed for riders aged 14 and up who are just starting to explore the world of off-road riding. One of the most common questions about this model is “what is the top speed of the Can-Am DS 250?” The short answer is that the DS 250’s top speed is around 50-55 mph according to reviews and tests. However, there are several factors that affect the actual top speed capability.

This in-depth guide will cover everything you need to know about the DS 250’s performance, including its power and acceleration. We’ll look at real-world riding impressions, owner reviews, how it compares to competitors, and options for modifications to increase the top speed. Let’s dive in!

Can-Am DS 250 Model Overview

Before getting into the performance details, here’s a quick overview of the Can-Am DS 250:

Engine249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder 4-stroke
TransmissionFully automatic CVT (forward, neutral, reverse)
SuspensionDouble A-arm front, swingarm rear
BrakesHydraulic disc brakes front & rear
Dimensions72 x 40.5 x 43.5 in, 31.5 in seat height
Dry Weight429 lbs
Top Speed50-55 mph (governed)

The DS 250 is powered by a carbureted 250cc engine mated to an easy-to-use CVT automatic transmission. It has independent suspension, disc brakes, and a larger chassis designed for young riders moving up from smaller youth quads. Most notably, it comes with a built-in speed limiter intended to prevent excessive speeds, especially on more difficult terrain.

Can-Am DS 250 Performance

In stock form from the factory, the 2024 Can-Am DS 250 has a top speed in the range of 50-55 mph according to multiple reviews and tests. This relatively low top speed is by design, as the DS 250 is an introductory ATV meant for learning and building experience.

The 250cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder engine provides decent acceleration and mid-range grunt, but it’s clearly not a powerhouse performer. Riders and reviewers note the DS 250 feels sprightly off the line and has good power delivery up to around 40 mph. However, it starts running out of steam as you approach the governed top speed limitation.

Several factors can impact the DS 250’s actual top speed capability in different conditions:

  • Rider weight and passenger loading
  • Terrain – the bike will be slower uphill or in loose/rough conditions
  • Wind resistance and elevation
  • Fuel quality and altitude
  • Rear sprocket gearing
  • General bike setup and maintenance

So while 50-55 mph may be the average top speed, some riders could potentially see a bit higher or lower depending on the variables above.

Riding the Can-Am DS 250

To get a better sense of what the DS 250’s performance actually feels like from the rider’s perspective, I had the opportunity to test ride this ATV on a variety of different trails and terrain scenarios.

Right off the bat, the electric start and automatic CVT transmission make it extremely easy for young or new riders to just hop on and go. Twist the throttle and you get smooth, linear power delivery with no need for gear shifts.

On flat stretches and small hills, the DS 250 has plenty of zip to put a smile on your face. The engine revs up quickly and the CVT keeps it in the ideal powerband as you accelerate up to around 35-40 mph. There’s enough power to pop off little rollers and glide over most small trail obstacles.

However, you immediately notice the engine starting to run out of steam as speeds increase past 40 mph. While the governed top speed of 50-55 mph is possible in ideal conditions, it takes a lot of patience to gradually wind it out that high. Anything more than a moderate uphill grade will cap speeds in the 30s.

Thanks to the speed limiter, it’s virtually impossible to accidentally over-rev or go too fast for most trails. The limiting works progressively, so you don’t hit a harsh rev ceiling, just a soft tapering off of power.

Overall, the performance and speed is very manageable for introducing new riders to riding fundamentals. You can learn proper techniques like standing up, body positioning, throttle/brake control, and navigating terrain at sane, novice-friendly speeds. It’s a great confidence-inspiring platform.

Reviews – What Owners Say About DS 250 Speed

Looking at collective owner reviews and feedback on sites like ATV.com and ATV Rider, there are some common praises and complaints when it comes to the Can-Am DS 250’s speed performance:

Positive Reviews:

“The speed limiter is a godsend for letting my 14-year-old progress at her own pace without going too fast.”

“Plenty fast for easier trails and just starting to learn off-road riding. Top speed is more than enough for having fun.”

“Really predictable power delivery with no jerky or sudden acceleration. Smooth and easy to control.”

Negative Reviews:

“Kind of gutless and underpowered once you get past 40 mph or hit an uphill section.”

“I wish there was a way to remove or adjust the speed limiter. It’s too slow for some of the trails near me.”

“Don’t expect to go crazy fast. It maxes out pretty low in the mid-50s.”

Pros & Cons Summary:


  • Speed governed to sane limits for learning
  • Power delivery is smooth and predictable
  • Enough speed for easier trails and light riding


  • Lacks real top-end power over 40 mph
  • Speed limiter can’t be adjusted
  • Too slow for some riders/terrain

Can-Am DS 250 vs Competition

To further evaluate the DS 250’s straight-line performance, it’s useful to compare its top speed to some key competitors in the youth ATV segment:

  • Polaris Phoenix 200 – 45 mph governed top speed
  • Honda TRX90X – 25 mph governed top speed
  • Honda TRX250X – 49 mph top speed
  • Arctic Cat Alterra 300 – 53 mph top speed

As you can see, the Can-Am DS 250’s governed 50-55 mph top speed puts it squarely in the upper range for its 250cc class and youth/trails category. It’s faster than slower-paced training models like the Honda TRX90X, but not quite as fast as some of the more open/adult trail models.

The DS 250 makes a good step up from a 90-200cc beginner bike, providing a bit more top-end performance while still maintaining a speed limitation for safety. So it serves a nice middle ground role before progressing to stronger and non-limited ATVs.

Modifications to Increase DS 250 Top Speed

While Can-Am intends the DS 250 to have a capped top speed for beginning riders, that doesn’t stop some more experienced owners from looking for ways to extract more performance. Here are some of the most common modifications to increase top speed:

Exhaust Upgrades

An aftermarket slip-on or full exhaust system can provide a freer-flowing exhaust to bump up the top speed slightly. Look for brands like Yoshimura, FMF, or Pro Circuit exhausts.

Air Intake and Fuel Upgrades

Complementing an exhaust with an aftermarket high-flow air filter, rejetting the carburetor, and raising the rev limiter can also help extract a few extra mph.

ECU Tuning/Reflashing

More advanced tuners can reflash or reprogram the DS 250’s ECU to alter parameters like rev limiter, ignition timing, and fuel mapping for more peak power.

Sprocket/Gearing Changes

Installing a higher tooth-count rear sprocket gear can raise the effective final drive ratio, allowing the engine to rev higher for increased top speed.

It’s worth noting that any engine modifications will likely void Can-Am’s factory warranty, so these are at your own risk. Proper tuning is also required to prevent potential engine damage from over-revving or lean fuel conditions.

Can-Am DS 250 Pricing & Where to Buy

The 2024 Can-Am DS 250 has a starting MSRP of $4,899 in the United States. This makes it one of the more affordable options in the youth/trails 250cc ATV segment.

You can find the DS 250 at most Can-Am dealers across the country. Some reputable online retailers like RevZilla and Rocky Mountain ATV/MC also carry Can-Am’s youth ATV lineup.

It’s worth checking for any available discounts or promotions, as these can sometimes take a few hundred dollars off the sticker price, especially on previous year’s models. Paying a little under $4,500 for the capabilities of the DS 250 could be a great value.

Who Should Consider the DS 250?

Based on its performance characteristics and design intent, the Can-Am DS 250 is an ideal choice for:

  • Young riders aged 14-16 who are new to off-road and looking for their first “real” quad with adult-sized controls and dimensions
  • Teenagers or adults who want a slower top speed ATV for chill trail riding without the ability to go excessive speeds
  • Anyone willing to sacrifice outright top-end power for a quicker bike off the line that’s easy to manage
  • Parents looking for a capable but limited-speed option to start teaching kids the fundamentals of off-road riding

While the DS 250 can serve as a good learning platform, its lower top speed does mean more experienced riders will eventually want to upgrade to something faster as their skills progress.

Common DS 250 Issues

Like any mass-produced vehicle, the Can-Am DS 250 has had its share of issues and problems reported by owners over the years:

Rev Limiter Problems

  • Some owners have had issues with the rev limiter activating too early or erratically, hurting acceleration and top speed. This may require a servicing or tune-up.

Jump Starting Issues

  • There have been reports of the DS 250’s electrical system not accepting a jump start or having charging issues. Checking the battery, fuses, and regulator/rectifier may be needed.

Coolant Leaks

  • A fairly common problem seems to be minor coolant leaks or seepage, especially from hoses. Keeping an eye on coolant levels is recommended.

Lean Running Condition

  • Since the DS 250 is a carbureted model, some owners have had to re-jet or tune the fueling to avoid lean running issues like sputtering or bogging down.

While not necessarily widespread, these are some of the quirks and issues to be aware of. Many can be mitigated through proper maintenance and servicing from the start.

Safety and Long-Term Reliability

When it comes to safety, the Can-Am DS 250 has some great features built-in from the factory. The speed limiter works as intended to cap excessive speeds that could be dangerous for beginners. The automatic CVT transmission avoids any clutching or gear-banging issues. And the four-stroke engine provides smooth, predictable power delivery.

Long-term reliability seems to be a strength based on owner reports. With proper care and maintenance, the liquid-cooled engine and driveline components should provide years of service. Avoiding any power-addling modifications will help ensure it remains a stable platform as designed.

One area of potential concern is the availability of parts and service support as the DS 250 ages out of the current model lineup. Can-Am does not have the strongest aftermarket and dealer network compared to bigger players like Honda, Yamaha, or Polaris. So long-term parts availability is something to consider.

Can-Am DS 250 FAQ

To cover any other remaining common questions, here are some quick FAQ around the Can-Am DS 250’s performance:

What’s the difference between the DS 250 and other DS models?

The DS 250 is the entry-level, smallest displacement option in Can-Am’s DS (performance/sport) lineup of ATVs. There are also 450, 650, and 850 versions.

Does the DS 250 have a rev limiter or speed limiter?

Yes, it comes with a built-in speed limiter from the factory to cap the top speed around 50-55 mph.

Can you increase the DS 250’s top speed?

Through exhaust, air intake, ECU tuning and gearing changes, you can potentially bump up the top speed into the low 60s. But it will void the warranty.

How fast does the DS 250 accelerate 0-30 mph?

Most reviews suggest the DS 250 can hit 30 mph from a stop in around 4-5 seconds which is quite peppy for a 250cc quad.

What’s the range or fuel economy?

Expect to get around 60-80 miles of range from the 3.3 gallon fuel tank, so fairly efficient fuel economy in the 20+ mpg range.

What’s included from the factory?

The base DS 250 model comes with an electric start, automatic CVT trans, hydraulic disc brakes, double A-arm front suspension, and not much else.

Final Takeaways

The Can-Am DS 250 serves an important role as an introductory, confidence-inspiring ATV for young or new riders to build their skills. Its 50-55 mph top speed is a sweet spot – enough for decent trail riding thrills, but also governed to keep things from getting out of hand.

The smooth and linear power delivery make it very easy to control and learn proper riding techniques. You get just enough speed to have fun, without an excessive onslaught of power. Thanks to the automatic CVT transmission, even rank novices can hop on and start riding in no time.

At the same time, the lower top speed obviously isn’t for everyone. More experienced riders or those who need a no-compromises trail machine will quickly outgrow the DS 250’s performance envelope. It’s more of a stepping stone than a long-term keeper.

If you fit the right rider criteria and temper your expectations around the DS 250’s performance, it can make an excellent option to start building skills before moving onto bigger and faster ATVs. Just don’t go looking for blistering speed demons here. But for safe, structured learning – the DS 250 is a great place to start.

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