2012 Can-Am Spyder First Ride Review

For 2012 all of Can-Am’s three-wheeled roadsters get new colors and amber-colored, multifunction LCD displays for better nighttime visibility. The RS-S models have new gas-charged FOX Racing Shox in the front suspension. Spyders are powered by Rotax 998cc, 60-degree V-twin engines, and four of the six models are available with either semi-automatic (SE5) or manual (SM5) five-speed transmissions with reverse gear. Can-Am’s Vehicle Stability System (VSS) combines stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking and dynamic power steering to keep all three wheels gripping the road. Consequently, the Spyders don’t lean, so you position your body to the inside of curves while muscling through curves and turn without countersteering.

I recently rode the RS (sporty) and RT (touring) Spyders for the first time on a 120-mile loop in the mountains and desert north of Los Angeles, and they get a big thumbs-up from this two-wheeled fanatic. The result of studying and combining the desires of sport motorcyclists and convertible sports car drivers, Spyders come in two basic flavors. The RS models are lighter, sportier and have more aggressive steering. For long-distance and two-up riding, the RTs have 41 gallons of onboard storage, an adjustable electric windscreen, cruise control and heated grips. Four RT packages (standard RT, RT Audio & Convenience, RT-S and RT Limited) range from luxurious to over-the-top luxurious. I put about 50 miles on the RT Limited (an optional trailer is available!) and found it has a well-cushioned seat with excellent lumbar support and offers great wind protection at the touch of a button.

Can-Am Spyder RT
Spyders don’t lean but they’re still loads of fun in the twisties if you readjust your two-wheeled mindset. The RT Limited is all-day comfy for two-up touring and has 41 gallons of onboard storage.

The Spyders bring wind-in-your-face thrills to riders who want that extra wheel, and BRP is attracting a lot of motorcyclists with them. Prices range from $16,499-$28,899.


  1. I recently test rode the 2012 RT and found it be great. Having owned 2 Goldwing trikes in recent years, I’ve been considering the RT for the paddle shift feature. I was pleasently surprised of how it worked so smoothly. I will wait for the 2013 models to come out to decide what to buy. Maybe a few 2012 models will still be available. Too bad the 2012
    does not come with driver footboards tho. Aftermarket boards vary so much in price.

  2. I recently purchased a New 2012 Can Am Spyder RT Limited Pearl White due to medical conditions of late; knee replacements. I’ve ridden over forty years plus with two wheels but now have moved into the three wheel realm. It took me approximately thirty minutes to get use to it and have been ridding it ever since. Comparison to two wheels, it’s a different theme but gives you the same experience with a “Y” factor approach. I debated on the 2013 model with floorboards, I like to move around and the pegs suite me fine; my wife does like her floorboards though. All in all, this beats the Harley and Honda Trikes, has everything we need for a short get away or a trip out West. No regrets, love it, keep an open mind and enjoy the ride after all it’s the journey that counts.

  3. I average 29-32 mpg during my first 1200 miles on my 2013 RT in aggressive riding using regular 87 gas here in USA.

    My right foot prefers the PEGS due to the brake pedal position and my anti-floorboard preference was reinforced while driving an RT Limited loaner for 3 hours during my 600 mile dealer checkup.

    I perform higher-speed curves by hunkering my body forward and low while leaning my shoulder and face into the wind in the direction of the curve.. then throttling up speed once I’m about half way through the curves. Very similar to driving a snowmobile.

    Do not micro-manage the steering on Spyder.. allow it to drive, just keep it between the lines and after you get a 1,000 miles under your belt, you will then be a master.

    Spyder is more stable at cornering and handling curves at-speed VS the Harley Tri-Glide and Gold Wing trikes whose design leads to more of a snowplowing-effect through the curves. You will never curb-rash your rear wheel in a Spyder because the widest point is always in front of you, sharp cornering is safe and thoughtless whereas with the Tri-Glide and Honda trikes you’re rear is too wide and you are constantly trying to avoid running your back wheels over or into curbs, sign posts and shrubbery.

  4. Any issues with engine heat? I’ve been told that the earlier Can Am models produced a lot of heat for both the rider and passenger.


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