BRP’s Can-Am three-wheelers have come a long way since the first model was introduced back in 2007. What started out as a single Spyder roadster powered by a 998cc V-Twin has grown into three distinct platforms that include a total of 10 models, with base prices ranging from $8,999 to $29,999.
There’s the light, sporty Ryker platform, which includes a base model available with a 600cc parallel-Twin or 900cc inline-Triple, plus 900cc Sport and Rally models. Each has a Sport or Rally ride mode that allows playful drifting on pavement or dirt.
Next up is the feet-forward, cruiser-touring Spyder F3 platform, with four models powered by a 1,330cc in-line Triple, including the F3, the F3-S Special Series, the F3-T with saddlebags, and the F3 Limited full-dress tourer. For luxury touring, there is the Spyder RT platform, with three models also powered by a 1,330cc Triple: the RT, the RT Limited, and the ultra-primo RT Sea-To-Sky.
The “Y” in the Spyder and Ryker names refers to the two-wheels-in-front, one-wheel-out-back configuration. Unlike trike conversions or sidecar rigs where a third wheel is grafted onto a two-wheeled motorcycle, Can-Am Spyders and Rykers were designed from the ground up as three-wheelers. With two wheels in front and three automotive-size contact patches, they are incredibly stable.
We’ve tested many Spyder and Ryker models, but our last test of a Spyder RT Limited was back in 2013. Upgrades to the platform over the years made us eager to reacquaint ourselves with Can-Am’s big tourer.
Ace In The Hole
Propelling the RT Limited down the road is a liquid-cooled, 1,330cc ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency) inline-Triple that’s made in Austria by BRP-owned Rotax. Its 120-degree crankshaft gives it perfect primary balance, and a gear-driven counterbalancer offsets the secondary and rocking-couple vibrations. Maintenance is minimized with self-adjusting valves and belt final drive. Claimed output is 115 hp at 7,250 rpm and 96 lb-ft at 5,000 rpm, modest figures for a machine said to weigh 1,021 lbs dry (the engine alone weighs 246 lbs).
Helmet: Arai Regent-X
Jacket: Dainese D-Air Smart Jacket LS
Gloves: Dainese M1G C2 Gloves
Pants: Rev’It Piston Jeans
Boots: Wolverine 1000 Mile
Given that its power-to-weight ratio is about half that of many motorcycles, one might think the Spyder’s acceleration would suffer accordingly. But you’d be wrong. With ample torque on tap throughout the rev range, the big RT blasts away from stops and launches out of corners, delivering smile-inducing exhilaration. Jackrabbit starts can even break the rear tire loose briefly before the traction control kicks in.
Using paddle shifters on the left switchgear, the 6-speed semi-automatic transmission delivers lightning-fast upshifts. When ridden hard, each shift delivers a visceral power surge that eggs riders on. You can manually paddle shift into lower gears, or the electronically controlled transmission will do it automatically as you slow down, and it shifts into neutral at a stop. The Spyder has an electrically actuated parking brake, and when it comes time to back out of a downhill parking space, the reverse mode is a huge benefit.
The Spyder uses a throttle-by-wire system that sometimes delivers delayed responses. Both the standard and Eco ride modes exhibited a noticeable hitch in initial throttle application, and irregular power pulses plague the fuel-efficient Eco mode at lower speeds. Those issues fall to the wayside once the Spyder gets rolling, and the big Triple remains ultra-smooth throughout the rest of the rev range.
Out on the open road, the RT Limited gallops along with ease. In 6th gear, the Spyder maintains 70 mph at 3,600 rpm, nowhere near its 8,100-rpm redline, and its relaxed engine speed keeps vibration and harshness to a minimum. A couple taps on the paddle shifter gets the engine closer to its torque peak to make a quick pass. Or you can set the cruise control, lean back, and enjoy the ride.
Stable Is As Stable Does
In addition to its Y-architecture, one of the Spyder’s early innovations was its Vehicle Stability System (VSS), which integrates ABS, EBD (electronic brake-force distribution), TCS (Traction Control System), and SCS (Stability Control System). As far back as the original 2007 Spyder, based on inputs from an array of steering, engine speed, wheel speed, and other sensors, VSS would reduce engine power or brake individual wheels to keep the vehicle under control. Those early models were also equipped with Can-Am’s Dynamic Powering Steering.
The Spyder’s electronic rider aids have evolved steadily over the last 15 years. The same basic systems described above are used on current models, but they are more advanced, so they respond more quickly and intervene more gradually. Also standard on the RT Limited is hill-hold control, which maintains brake pressure on inclines to make it easier to pull away from a stop.
Suspending the Spyder is a trio of Sachs shocks, with two non-adjustable Big-Bore shocks in front and a self-leveling air shock out back. Thanks to double A-arms with an anti-roll bar in front, each wheel moves independently and the vehicle stays planted over irregular pavement and off-camber turns. The shocks are calibrated to deliver a comfortable ride, and they soak up a lot of abuse without upsetting the chassis. With three separate wheel tracks, however, it can be a challenge to dodge big potholes or debris in the road.
The Spyder’s reverse-trike layout maximizes stability and traction, but the additional wheel also changes the steering dynamics. For riders accustomed to countersteering on two-wheeled motorcycles, there can be an adjustment period. For those with experience on ATVs or snowmobiles, the Spyder’s conventional steering will feel second-nature. To turn, you simply apply pressure to the outside handlebar. To hold a line, you need to maintain that pressure.
To help overcome the turning resistance of the Spyder’s two big contact patches in front, the Dynamic Power Steering system provides more assistance at low speeds and less assistance at high speeds. Still, because those dinner plate-sized front contact patches grab onto more pavement than the single, small contact patch on a motorcycle, Spyders can be sensitive to small inputs at speed. Early models often felt darty, a tendency that has been reduced but not fully eliminated on newer models. As riders rack up miles, they adapt and adjust their steering inputs accordingly.
When cornering at speed, leaning one’s body into the turn helps counteract centrifugal forces. It doesn’t make the Spyder turn quicker, but it helps the rider feel more planted and in control. Whereas early Spyders had both a brake lever on the handlebar and a brake pedal – using either applied brake pressure to all three wheels – newer models use only a brake pedal. For riders used to the finer motor control of their right hand for modulating brake pressure, using only a foot pedal can take some getting used to. With those three big contact patches and triple-disc brakes, the Spyder scrubs off speed quickly and stops on a dime.
Lap of Luxury
The RT Limited and the RT Sea-To-Sky, the latter featuring exclusive styling upgrades, are Can-Am’s top-of-the-line touring models. Standard equipment includes an electric windscreen, an integrated passenger backrest, heated grips, and heated pilot and passenger seats. The Spyder’s side panniers, top case, and front trunk offer a prodigious total of 47 gallons (177 liters) of storage for long-distance adventures.
Can-Am’s LinQ system allows the top case to be easily removed and reinstalled. The top case can also be swapped out with various LinQ accessories, such as a rear rack, a stand-alone passenger backrest, and bags of various sizes.
For those who want additional storage, the RT Limited has a towing capacity of 400 lbs. Can-Am’s accessory catalog includes trailer hitches and other towing accessories. Can-Am no longer offers its Freedom trailer, but the RT Limited is calibrated to work with earlier versions, and it is compatible with aftermarket trailers.
Both rider and passenger seats provide ample comfort and support for extended road trips, and they have separate heating controls. The broad seat pan paired with generous plush padding and a lumbar-supporting rear bolster promote comfort in the saddle and hold the rider in place during cornering. The handlebars sweep back to the rider for relaxed, easy steering, while the large rider footboards and adjustable passenger footboards allow both pilot and pillion to adjust their foot positions and stretch their legs.
The Spyder’s cozy confines encourage mile-munching journeys, but the infotainment system seems dated when compared to its contemporary counterparts. The 7.8-inch color LCD panel lacks the vibrance and visual detail of the TFT displays found on other luxury touring machines. It does provide a wealth of information, however, including a speedometer, a tachometer, a gear-position indicator, fuel level, ambient temperature, and other trip-related details.
Standard equipment on the RT Limited includes the BRP Audio Premium system with six speakers (four in front, two in back), a radio, and connectivity via USB and Bluetooth. The system can be controlled via buttons on the left switchgear, and the front storage compartment has a USB port for device connectivity and charging. The audio system envelopes the rider and passenger in sound, and volume automatically rises and falls in relation to the vehicle’s speed.
Additional connectivity is available by pairing a smartphone via the BRP Connect app, which allows riders to view texts and make/receive calls or listen to music using a Bluetooth headset. BRP Connect integrates other apps as well, such as REVER, Pandora, and AccuWeather, and they can be controlled through the Spyder’s switchgear.
Starting at $27,499, the Spyder RT Limited is price competitive against luxury touring motorcycles such as the Honda Gold Wing (starting at $28,500) and Harley-Davidson Road Glide Limited (starting at $28,729), but it’s significantly less expensive than Harley’s factory trike, the Tri-Glide Ultra (starting at $35,699). All offer generous rider and passenger accommodations, ample storage capacity, infotainment systems, and smooth, torque-rich engines.
From its Y-architecture and Vehicle Stability System to its “frunk” (front trunk), paddle-shifting semi-automatic transmission, and foot-pedal-only combined braking system, the Spyder is a unique powersports vehicle. Two-wheel riders may dismiss it because it doesn’t lean, but the Spyder offers an open-air riding experience for those who do not want to balance and manage a heavyweight touring motorcycle. The RT Limited offers a one-of-a-kind mix of comfort, stability, safety, and touring capability. Prepare to be impressed.
2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Base Price: $27,499
Warranty: 2 yrs., unltd. miles w/ roadside assistance
Type: Liquid-cooled, transverse in-line Triple, DOHC w/ 4 valves per cyl.
Bore x Stroke: 84.0 x 80.0mm
Compression Ratio: 12.2:1
Valve Insp. Interval: N/A (self-adjusting)
Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel injection w/ throttle-by-wire
Lubrication System: Dry sump, 5.0 qt. cap.
Transmission: 6-speed, semi-automatic w/ reverse
Final Drive: Belt
Frame: Surrounding Spar Technology steel center beam
Wheelbase: 67.5 in.
Seat Height: 29.7 in.
Suspension, Front: Double A-arm w/ anti-roll bar & dual shocks, no adj., 6.9 in. travel
Rear: Single shock w/ self-leveling air preload adj., 6.0 in. travel
Brakes, Front: Dual 270mm discs w/ 4-piston fixed calipers & ABS
Rear: Single 270mm disc w/ 1-piston floating caliper, integrated parking brake & ABS
Wheels, Front: Cast aluminum, 5.0 x 15 in.
Rear: Cast aluminum, 7.0 x 15 in.
Tires, Front: 165/55-R15
Dry Weight: 1,021 lbs
Load Capacity: 494 lbs
Horsepower: 115 hp @ 7,250 rpm (claimed)
Torque: 96 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm (claimed)
Fuel Capacity: 7 gals.
Fuel Consumption: 32 mpg
Estimated Range: 224 miles
Sure enjoyed reading all this, It sounds a lot better than my 2015 model with 25 miles per gallon, I am very dissatisfied with my CanAm..
You guys need to try the sporty version vs the large whale version. I suggest doing a review of the F3S model. Definitely more sporty.
Do any of the Can-Ams come with all hand controls. My feet do not work well and I cannot use a foot brake or shifter or anything like that.
I would recommend an aftermarket hand brake kit. Check out SlingMods for example. Shifting is done via paddle shifter (semi-automatic). No clutch and no foot shifter.
To my knowledge there is no all hand control option, but if you go to slingmods.com they have an addon hand brake kit. It’s a bit pricey, but if it is what you need then it will do the job. I believe the cost was 1600.00 for the kit.
I am on my 2nd Spyder. My 1st was a 2013 ST. I love it but I wanted more power so I bought a 2018 RT. I loved both of these bikes. I haul a pop-up trailer behind for camping. No complaints about anything on these bikes. You can buy “suitcase” type bags for both for the Frunks. It’s been a total pleasure to own each of them. Can I have it with you were doing when they designed these bikes.
As nice as these machines may be, they are not motorcycles. I find it strange that you compare them to a gold wing, which of course is. These three-wheels vehicles have gotten a lot of coverage in Rider over the last few years, while scooter have gotten very little—-and they are in fact motorcycles.
As a reader, almost from day one, I would like to see less coverage of three wheeled vehicles and more coverage of all types of two-wheedled vehicles (motorcycles) to include scooters.
What are your thoughts on the Tri-Glide and Goldwing trikes? Do you consider them motorcycles because of their layout or are they just 3 wheeled vehicles that shouldn’t be reviewed here?
I am not trying to be disrespectful but there are some people who have to give up riding or go to 3 wheels. I fall into that category because of a severe knee injury at work, so I appreciate them doing a review of the Can-Am.
Try one. If you don’t like reading about them. Don’t. Many others do. The government classifies them as motorcycles and they are. They’re just a different configuration. Being a 2 wheel guy for over 50 years crossing over to these was about a 5000 mile learning curve. Now I take 20 MPH curves at 55-60 just like before.
I agree… They are – by definition – tri-cycles. NOT motorcycles. As a long time (50+ years) rider of bikes, I do not care for the riding dynamics of reverse trikes. The leaning on a motorcycle is part of the fun! I actually owned one of these Spyders for about a week. I likened riding one to trying to muscle a huge ATV around the highway – I hated it. Don’t get me wrong, those former riders who can no longer hold up a bike might like these things – so long as they forget how to ride a regular motorcycle.
I own a Spyder , a Goldwing and a Buell Ulysses currently. Trust me you don’t have to “forget” how to ride a motorcycle…… You just have to not be closed minded . Theees no “muscling” a Spyder around , they will carve effortlessly. It does take a learning curve and some ability to not try and ride it like a bike however .
Think of them as a three wheel Go Kart with Motorcycle Controls. Then go have a blast on them
And I will buy a fully loaded 2023 Spyder RT Sea To Sky.
And I will buy a fully loaded 2023 Spyder RT Sea To Sky anyway because I would like more and more coverage of the Can-Am Spyder and less of the two wheelers.
State DMV’s and insurance company’s class these machines as motorcycles. Have to have a MC license or a 3 wheel endorsement on your DL to operate these vehicles legally on a public road.
I currently have a Spyder RT, My wife has a Ryker.
Be safe out there riding.
In South Carolina you do not have to have a MC license just a regular driver’s license to drive these!!! They classify them as a car!!!
I’m sure that there are a lot of organizations that will provide a definition of a motorcycle. However, NHTSA.gov has this definition: “Motorcycle is defined as a motor vehicle with motive power having a seat or saddle for the use of the rider and designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground.” The NHTSA sets vehicle and individual licensing procedures which is why a motorcycle license is required to operate a three-wheeled vehicle such as a Can Am Spyder.
A CanAm seemed compelling until I found out it takes 6 hours to change a user serviceable part like spark plugs. No can do.
6 hours? Yes if you have no idea what you are doing. A shop isn’t going to take that long. Most people don’t even do their own maintenance on their motorcycles. A spark plug change might be something an owner might do once on one of these. Pretty maintenance free.
My goldwing took a lot longer to change the airfilter than my wife’s spyder.
I had a chance to ride both the RT Limited and the F3 Limited with my wife and I much prefer the F3 Limited. It doesn’t feel as Darty and seems a lot sportier than the RT Limited. I was surprised that even my wife preferred the F3 Limited…I guess she could tell that I was more comfortable with the F3 Limited. If it takes 6 hours to change the spark plugs, I sure hope they don’t need to be changed very often! For the time being I will stay on two wheels, but I can definitely see a Can Am Spyder F3 in my future.
But for me, I prefer the Spyder RT Sea To Sky.
I’ve owned goldwing trikes an bikes most of my life but I’ll buy a sea to sky soon this seems to be as good as a few trike just not as big goldwing trikes are atleast 45,000 newyes they most likely last longer but Spyder looks Kool so it’s sea to sky 2022 soon parts come in
If you have a physical condition where you can’t ride 2 wheels. These are a good option. I met a rider many years ago who had no legs he was on a 3 wheel gold wing. These are not for me they are a snowmobile with wheels.
But I disagree, the spyder RT IS and always will be a motorcycle.
I’m on my 3rd Can Am RT and absolutely love it. Coming off my (heavy) 2 Wheel Goldwing and going to the Can Am has been alot more pleasurably. I can see more senery as I feel alot more in control and my wife loves it. She will not ride on a 2 wheeler anymore. I still ride a 2 wheeler on occasion but they are getting fewer and fewer.
Yeah, once we’re dialed in, two wheelers are off-roading, Can-Am for cruising.
My wife wasn’t comfortable on a 2 wheeler so we tried the Can Am RT. It’s a different riding experience, but I really enjoy the relaxed feel of no landings or take-offs. It’s nice to have my wife along on rides, we talk along the way, or listen to music or use the navigation system on my phone. My old knees really like the Spyder as well. I suspect I may be able to keep riding at least anther 5 or tens years because we have this bike.
Like some of the commenters I am on my 2nd RT-Limited as well. My latest is a 2018. I have put a few babbles on it, but the LaMonster sway bar was worth every cent. It is 1.5mm larger than OEM, but really makes a difference in the handling to both my wife and I. She has her endorsement and drives as well. I do wish BRP would upgrade the electronics a bit. This trike has been on the Tail of the Dragon, Needles, Iron Mountain, Spearfish Canyon, The Rattler, BRP and Cherohala Skyway. It has been a blast and looking for more challenges and miles!
Too bad that BRP Can-Am after sales service is non-existent. For every new vehicle or motorcycle I ever bought the manufacturer, at a minimum, sent me a welcome letter and some new owner info about the vehicle (warranty, break-in, etc.). From BRP…absolute silence, not a single thing. And their stealerships aren’t that much better. A copy of the invoice is about as much info as you get , and once the check clears their interest in you drops to zero.
The Spyder RT we bought is a great little machine but the company and their dealer network is absolutely sub-par in my opinion when it comes to customer service.
Don’t we read Blogs to learn what other peoples experiences are with a product? I am ready to purchase a Sea to Sky. Thanks to all who share. Shame on you whiners that have nothing better to do but BITCH.
JUST GOT MY 2022 SPYDER LIMITED TRADED 2013 ST LIMITED PLAN TOURING WITH MY NEW SPYDEE(HER NAME) CAN’T BEAT THIS MACHINE
Wouldn’t mind only one just kind of shocked at the price. My new pick up trucks cost me less than one of your three wheeled motorcycles.
You think these are over priced look at H D trikes
WHERE on the RT limited (2022), in the front storage compartment, is the usb port mentioned above?
In the glove box inside the windshield.
I can’t for the life of me understand why I keep reading rider magazine (joking of course) but it has cost me a ton of money over the years it seems like after reading the reviews I end up with something in my garage starting with my 1985 gold wing even went to a few “rider rallies” with Bo something as the quest speaker I still have my rider belt buckle from Cody wy but that said after about ten different bikes I ended up with two new RT Limited’s and absolutely love them they ride great and my old hips are as happy as I am not even of thinking of having to stop riding anymore
Thanks for reading, Greg! We’ll gladly accept blame for you buying a Honda Gold Wing and not one but two Can-Am Spyder RT Limiteds based on our reviews.
The Rider Rally M.C. in question was Beau Allen Pacheco, and we still have a few of those Rider brass belt buckles laying around.
Keep the rubber side down!
– Greg Drevenstedt, Editor-in-Chief
I’m looking to buy one. I live in Lagrange Illinois. Where is dealership close to me?
Picking up my first Spyder on Saturday (2022 Rt limited). Been on bikes my whole life and really looking forward to this new riding style.
I had to sell my 2003 Suzuki VL1500LC Intruder, as I developed a dropfoot and could no longer shift reliably. Now, three years later, I am looking at the Spyder RT Limited as a good alternative to get back in the wind again!