The Epitome Of Touring Comfort

Can-Am, under the Bombardier Recreational Products banner, carries its premium touring trike into the 2018 model year with the Spyder RT and RT Limited models. It drops the RT-S from last year’s lineup, so it’s all up to the remaining two to cover all the long-distance bases. From what I can see so far, it looks like ’mission accomplie’ for the Canadian manufacturer. A 115-horsepower Rotax mill pushes the vehicle with room for rider, passenger and 41 gallons of storage split fore and aft. Weather protection and comfort-related features abound, and it’s plain to see that Can-Am looks to take on the two-wheeled touring ’status quo’ with the RT range. Can BRP pull out a win against traditional rides with its unusual configuration and sport-trike stigma? So far, so good; so what do you say we take a look at these two unusual creations that are creating their own niche. Market? We don’t need no stinkin’ market, we’ll make our own damn market. Right guys?

Continue reading for my review of the Can-Am Spyder RT and RT Limited.

  • 2018 Can-Am Spyder RT
  • Year:
    2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-3
  • Displacement:
    1330 cc
  • Price:
    24099
  • Price:

Design

2018 Can-Am Spyder RT
- image 755887
Styling is a little chunky by most standards, but this isn't your standard dresser, now is it?

Can-Am really does its own thing here. Though Delta trikes are emerging as the favored three-wheel configuration, most of the other funny-backwards-trikes run with a narrower footprint and use some sort of parallelogram action that allows the craft to lean and carve the corners much like a two-wheeler. BRP doesn’t entertain such foolishness and instead sticks to a fixed front end with wide, automotive-style tires and a stable stance.

The roadster-style front wheels stick proud of the body with fenders that float independent of the rest of the painted parts, and like the Volkwagen Beetle, the Spyders carry a storage compartment up forward between the hoops. In fact, the entire front end is rather automobile-ish on the Limited with recessed light housings that extend well back away from the leading edge. Of course, that illusion is shattered as soon as the eye meets the upright section that boasts another pair of lights set in an almost motorcycle-style fairing that comes complete with a vented windshield to protect the rider’s trunk and head from wind and weather.

Inside the fairing a 7.8-inch wide LCD instrument display gives the pilot all the critical metrics, and can also tie into an app on your smartphone for even more functionality through the magic that is internet connectivity. You can also pipe your tunes through the six-speaker sound system that boasts enough power to be clearly heard over engine/wind/road noise. Personally, I like that feature because I don’t always listen to Metallica, but when I do so does everyone around me.

From the fuel tank back, this pair looks much like many of the two-wheeled full dressers on the market with a set of hard-side panniers and a top case, all of which is molded into the rest of the body with matching paint. Yeah, it’s a little chunky by most standards, but this isn’t your standard dresser, now is it?

Molded-in gang lights provide all the rearward illumination to include turn/tail/running/backup lights, and not only are they super-bright LEDs but the two clusters present more lighted area to rearward traffic than you will get from almost any two-wheeler. Visibility equals safety, and so this pair seems pretty safe as they roll off the floor, but I gotta say I think a third brake light high on the top case would be a good hit. Oh well, there’s always the aftermarket.

Chassis

2018 Can-Am Spyder RT
- image 755883
The Spyders corner like they are on rails. Don't believe it? Ask an owner and get back to me.

Can-Am’s Surrounding Spar Technology provides the foundation for this pair with double A-arms that articulates the front wheels and would be familiar to anyone accustomed to the automotive field. Since the front end is so un-motorcycle-like, it uses a set of Sachs Big-Bore shocks rather than forks. The front struts provide 6.9 inches of travel, but surprisingly offer nothing in the way of adjustments, not even on the Limited.

Out back, both rides enjoy an air-preload adjustment that delivers a luxe ride, and the Limited takes it a step further with push-button control over an automatic adjustment feature. A trio of 12-spoke, 15-inch rims mount the automotive style tires with a pair of 165/55 hoops up front and a 225/50 out back. These rubbers aren’t designed to lean like bike tires, so the contact patches are yuge (sic) by comparison, and the increase in contact-patch area brings with it a concurrent increase in traction and safety.

In case you were wondering, I can assure you that the Spyders corner like they are on rails. Don’t believe it? Ask an owner and get back to me. When it’s time to haul it down, the RTs rely upon the all-around, 270 mm discs with a pair of four-pot Brembo calipers up front and a uni-piston anchor out back. Pressure for the system comes from a single foot control and distribution is controlled electronically. ABS, SCS and Dynamic Power Steering features augment the rider’s skills and control for even more built-in safety. In case you haven’t noticed, BRP is dead serious about keeping its riders as safe as is practicable. Gotta’ appreciate that.

Front Suspension: Double A-arms with anti-roll bar
Front Shocks Type / Travel: SACHS Big-Bore shocks / 6.9 in. (174 mm)
Rear Suspension: Swing arm
Rear Shock Type / Travel: SACHS Shock with air preload adjustment / 6 in. (152 mm)
Electronic Brake distribution system: Foot-operated, hydraulic 3-wheel brake
Front Brakes: 270 mm discs with Brembo 4-piston fixed calipers
Rear Brake: 270 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with integrated parking brake
Parking Brake: Electrically actuated
Front Tires: MC165 / 55R15 55H
Rear Tire: MC225 / 50R15 76H
Aluminum Front Rims: 12-spoke, 15 x 5 in. (381 x 127 mm)
Aluminum Rear Rim: Deep black, 15 x 7 in. (381 mm x 178 mm)

Drivetrain

2018 Can-Am Spyder RT
- image 755865
It has enough 'oomph' to get the job done, but considering the curb weight plus rider, it is pushing quite a bit of mass.

Can-Am powers its Spyders with a Rotax 1330 ACE triple. If you’re familiar with personal watercraft and aircraft at all, you’ll recognize this engine, in name at least. For the uninitiated, let me just say that junk engines don’t last long in those fields, and the Rotax has been around for quite a while; something in the order of a half-century or so. Let that sink in.

The liquid-cooled plant runs with RbW throttle control, TC and cruise control. Electronic fuel injection feeds the beast, and it cranks out 96 pound-feet of torque at 5,000 rpm backed up by 115 ponies at 7,250. Before you get too impressed by those power figures, I would like to point out that the dry weight clocks in at 1,012 pounds. By the time you add fluids, rider, passenger and cargo you will definitely be pushing three-quarters of a ton. Add a trailer and cargo and you might break the 2,000-pound mark. Don’t get me wrong, it’s got enough oomph to get the job done, but it isn’t quite as powerful as you might imagine on paper.

The RT comes with a choice between a semi-automatic and manual gearbox, but the Limited offers only the semi-automatic transmixxer.

Engine: Rotax® 1330 ACE™ in-line 3 cylinders, liquid-cooled with electronic fuel injection and electronic throttle control
Bore & Stroke: 3.31 x 3.14 in. (84 x 80 mm)
Power: 115 hp (85.8 kW) @ 7,250 rpm
Torque: 96 lb-ft. (130.1 Nm) @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission options:
RT: 6-speed manual with reverse (SM6), 6-speed semi-automatic with reverse (SE6)
RT Limited: 6-speed semi-automatic with reverse (SE6)

Pricing

2018 Can-Am Spyder RT
- image 755869
MSRP on the RT sees a boost from last year, but the Limited's price is slashed almost $2k.

You can score yourself an ’18 Spyder RT for a base MSRP of $24,099 in Pearl White. The RT Limited rolls for $29,299 MSRP in four color choices; each color comes in chrome or a dark trim package. As for the colors, maybe as a Harley fan I expect more from the paint department, I don’t know, but you can pencil me in as not impressed with Can-Am’s palette. I mean, at least they aren’t cartoonish like some manufacturers, but by far the coolest looking Spyders I’ve seen have been ones with custom paint jobs. Just sayin’, guys...

Model: RT RT Limited
Warranty: 2-year BRP Limited Warranty with 2-year roadside assistance (optional BRP’S B.E.S.T. extended service term available from 12 to 36 months. 2-year BRP Limited Warranty with 2-year roadside assistance (optional BRP’S B.E.S.T. extended service term available from 12 to 36 months.
Trims and Parts: Carbon black Available in Chrome or Dark options
Colors: Pearl White Pearl White, Champagne Metallic, Oxford Blue Metallic, Asphalt Grey Metallic
Price: $24,099 $29,299

Competitors

2019 Yamaha Niken
- image 741658
2017 - 2018 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra
- image 761916
There's a reason trikes were so niche for so long before the Delta trikes showed up on the scene.

For my competitor, I started out by eyeballing the Yamaha Niken, but no matter how you slice it, it winds up looking as chalk to cheese against the Spyders. Safer to call the Niken a Delta Sport-trike than any kind of touring machine.

Next up, I took a gander at the Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra. It’s got the pedigree and looks with gobs of tour-ability, and while the machine (and $34.5K pricetag) may work for the same sort of buyer who would consider an RT Limited, the old-school trike setup is inherently unstable in the corners. There’s a reason trikes were so niche for so long before the Delta trikes showed up on the scene, after all.

Next I’d like to point out that you can get a kit to convert your bagger/dresser into a Delta trike, and these actually allow the bike to lean so you get the best of both worlds. You get safety and stability without sacrificing that sensation of flying you get from a two-wheeler in the corners. The bad news is that it’s a kit, it’s not OEM, and you are placing an inordinate amount of trust in an aftermarket entity at great expense. Last I checked they were around $10,000 each, and most would be hesitant to add that to a machine that’s already set them back $25,000 or more. At the end of the day, the Spyder is still in a class all its own.

He Said

“While I’m not the least bit interested in owning one, I must admit to a certain admiration for Can-Am. They’ve managed to create a genre that is nearly unique (so far), and visually, the only thing it compares to is the Polaris Slingshot that is even less motorcycle like with its side-by-side seating and freakin’ steering wheel. The RTs are definitely tour-tastic in their designs and capabilities, and I expect acceptance (and sales) to increase as more folks get used to the idea of riding one of those funny-backwards trikes.”

She Said

My wife and fellow motorcycle writer, Allyn Hinton, says, “Your center of gravity is very different riding one of these. There is some lean involved on turns, but not like you would on two wheels. At first, it can be terrifying to ride, but once you get used to it, the ride is easy and comfortable. For touring, it’s awesome. Balance is never an issue no matter how slow you need to go. It’ll tow up to 400 pounds, so plenty of storage, plenty of passenger comforts; it’s just a nice touring machine.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine: Rotax® 1330 ACE™ in-line 3 cylinders, liquid-cooled with electronic fuel injection and electronic throttle control
Bore & Stroke: 3.31 x 3.14 in. (84 x 80 mm)
Power: 115 hp (85.8 kW) @ 7,250 rpm
Torque: 96 lb-ft. (130.1 Nm) @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission options:
RT: 6-speed manual with reverse (SM6), 6-speed semi-automatic with reverse (SE6)
RT Limited: 6-speed semi-automatic with reverse (SE6)
Chassis:
Front Suspension: Double A-arms with anti-roll bar
Front Shocks Type / Travel: SACHS Big-Bore shocks / 6.9 in. (174 mm)
Rear Suspension: Swing arm
Rear Shock Type / Travel: SACHS Shock with air preload adjustment / 6 in. (152 mm)
Electronic Brake distribution system: Foot-operated, hydraulic 3-wheel brake
Front Brakes: 270 mm discs with Brembo 4-piston fixed calipers
Rear Brake: 270 mm disc, 1-piston floating caliper with integrated parking brake
Parking Brake: Electrically actuated
Front Tires: MC165 / 55R15 55H
Rear Tire: MC225 / 50R15 76H
Aluminum Front Rims: 12-spoke, 15 x 5 in. (381 x 127 mm)
Aluminum Rear Rim: Deep black, 15 x 7 in. (381 mm x 178 mm)
Features:
Instrumentation: Large panoramic 7.8 in. wide LCD color display with BRP Connect: allowing the integration of vehicle-optimized smartphone apps such as media, navigation and many others controlled through the handlebars. Gauge functions include: speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip & hour meters, fuel consumption avg, gear position, ECO mode smart assist, temperature, engine lights, electronic fuel gauge, clock, and more.
Running Lights: 2 halogen headlamps (55-W)
Windshield: Touring - Electric adjustment 
Wind Deflectors: Standard
Cruise Control: Electronic
Seat: Ultra comfortable with lumbar support and passenger backrest
Rider Heated Grips: Standard
Audio System: BRP Audio Premium 6-speaker sound system with AM/FM, USB, Bluetooth and 1/8" (3.5mm) audio inputs
Power Outlet: Dual USB Plug
Towing Capacity: 400 lb (182 kg)
Safety & Security:
SCS: Stability Control System
TCS: Traction Control System
ABS: Anti-lock Braking System
DPS™: Dynamic Power Steering
Anti-Theft System: Digitally Encoded Security System (D.E.S.S. ™ )
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: 105 x 61.9 x 59.4 in. (2,667 x 1,572 x 1,510 mm)
Wheelbase: 67.5 in. (1,714 mm)
Seat Height: 30.4 in. (772 mm)
Ground Clearance: 4.5 in. (115 mm)
Dry Weight: 1,012 lb (459 kg)
Storage Capacity: 41 gal (155 L)
Maximum Vehicle Load: 494 lb (224 kg)
Fuel Capacity: 6.9 gal (26 L)
Reserve: 1 gal (3.8 L) approx.
Fuel type: Premium unleaded
Details:
Warranty: 2-year BRP Limited Warranty with 2-year roadside assistance (optional BRP’S B.E.S.T. extended service term available from 12 to 36 months.
Trims and Parts:
RT: Carbon black
RT Limited: Available in Chrome or Dark options
Color Options:
RT: Pearl White
RT Limited: Pearl White, Champagne Metallic, Oxford Blue Metallic, Asphalt Grey Metallic
Price:
RT: $24,099
RT Limited: $29,299

References

Yamaha Niken

2019 Yamaha Niken
- image 741640

See our look at the Yamaha Niken.

Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra

2015 - 2016 Harley-Davidson Tri Glide Ultra High Resolution Exterior
- image 619472

See our review of the Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: can-am.brp.com, harley-davidson.com, yamaha-motor.com

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