Wednesday, September 17, 2014

2013 Can-Am Spyder RS-S Review


 This summer I purchased a Can-Am RS-S 2013 model for a rather happy discount.  The newer 2014 model has 3 cylinders and a bit more horsepower (15 more) and an extra gear.  Mine only is a V-Twin with 100 horsepower and 80 pounds of torque.  I got mine at quite a discount.  Normally, $21000 I got last year's never-ridden leftover for $16300 with dealer-installed fog-lights (a must-buy).  Weight is 790 pounds wet.

  Can-Am is a company with old roots from the 1970's.  Several off-road dirt-bikes were made by the Canadian brand in 1973, owned by the parent-company, Bombardier Racing Products or, uncomfortably, BRP, though not as bad as the Tea Party Organization who call themselves Tea-Baggers.  Sigh.  I prefer calling out the name in-whole, as "bombardier" sounds way more cool.  In the mid-1980's, the company sort of died-off a bit, then focused on ATVs, snowmobiles, and jet-skis (known as Ski-Doo) which you've probably heard of at some time or another, not to be confused with the star-riddled film of 1968 with almost all the Batman villains in it)...

  The Can-Am Spyder is a 3-wheeler, with 2 wheels in the front, oddly placed, and quite unlike Honda Goldwings and Harley "Trikes" which are quite dangerous.  The Can-Am Spyder is much more sure-footed so to speak, but it is quite "goofy" as the above trailer shows.  It's ... weird.. but cool.

Trikes like this have been banned in most states and are quite unsafe as they tip-over.

  It comes in several flavors, the base-model, simply put the "RS" has zero features and requires you to shift like a motorcycle with a clutch and left-foot shifter.  The other 7 models (soon to be 8) do not, and use paddle-shifting.  To accelerate, simply twist the right-hand throttle.  To shift UP to the next gear, like most ATVs these days, there's a button on your left thumb.  To shift DOWN, well, you don't have to.  That's the beauty of it.  Doesn't stall-out.  It self-shifts down for you when necessary.  They call it SEMI-AUTOMATIC shifting.  To brake, there's a right foot brake pedal, like an ATV.

Another 2013 RS-S.  Note all models have a "frunk" which is a trunk in the front and is rather spacious.

  Models include the RS and RS-S (for "Sport") (the one I got) which are more sporty.

  Then there's the ST, ST-S, and ST-S Limited for a more sport-touring with a few extra included goodies and a larger windshield and heated grips and an integrated FM radio.  The Limited has different colored gel seats and all extras are standard.
ST-S model with optional rear luggage.  Notice the larger windscreen and overall size.

  Finally, there's the RT and RT-S (the one my wife got) which has a very plush back seat (though they all have rather nice back seats) and a 4-speaker radio setup, heated seat and grips and highway foot-boards for some good, long-touring action and is quite cozy and smooth.  We integrated an FM transmitter to her iPhone to listen to Navigation and XM-Radio and iTunes while cruising.  There's also an RT-S Limited but the difference between that one and the RT-S was just a color choice for the seat at a $6000 increase premium.  $36000 is a bit to pay for one of these.  All have the SAME engine.  We got hers for $23000 as it was last year's model.  RT's weigh about 1300 pounds.

RT-S Limited with colored leather seats.
RT-S model, best suited for 2-up riding and long touring.  Not that much larger than the RS, actually.
Rear-view of an RT model.  Note the added trunk.

  The RS-S stock needs a larger windshield.  I purchased the wider "Badger Shield" as an aftermarket add-on with a flip-up extra-height screen option, and the seat I switched-out for the ST-S Limited gel seat which is super cozy.  There's a "Comfort Seat" you can buy through Can-Am as well but I found it to be too "bouncy".  After those two changes, the "trike" is perfect by my reckoning comfort-wise.

  Getting used to shifting takes about 15 seconds.  You don't have to worry about downshifting, but you can with the pull of a trigger near the upshift button if you want to.  I found the Can-Am RS-S prefers to shift on its own in good measure, so after a few months, I just let it do its thing.

Semi-automatic + button shifts up.  Downshift is done for you automatically.  NOTE, all models have REVERSE!!!
  Motorcycle owners will stress over the ride.  The trike "wanders" like a jet-ski.  It sounds like a jet-ski.  It's a 998cc V-Twin jet-ski with wheels.  The rear wheel is where the power delivers and it's non-maintenance belt-driven.  It's important to check the tire pressure every month as it's a bit picky on that.  You have to match it up pretty well.  It prefers 15 PSI in the front tires (rather low) and 30 in the rear if I'm not mistaken.  1 or 2 PSI change and the "wandering" tends to get worrisome, though like a SkiDoo jet-ski, the wandering should not be fought, just politely accepted, like riding a horse, there's some "slop" to it. 

RS-S with optional tail-luggage.  Lots of options on the Can-Am website.

  The trike will go 115mph pretty readily, perhaps more but I didn't push it.  I suspect it'd top-out around 130mph which is satisfactory for most folks if you tuck-down behind the screen a bit (you'd want to anyway).  It gets rather good gas mileage at about 38mpg, give-or-take.  Some days you might get in the low 40's if you're frugal doing highway miles at 70mph or under.

  The wandering of the front wheels is definitely not as crisp as a motorcycle's knife-edge handling.  Turns are weird as well.  There's no "counter-steer" like a motorcycle, simply turn the steering yoke in the direction you want to go and, well, there you "go".  Easy enough.  You should probably lean-in to the turn like on a very fast ATV so you don't feel the vertigo of being thrown off.  ATV-riders will love this feel.  Motorcyclists will cringe, and it takes some "unlearning" to get the feel of that turn-and-go concept with high-siding g-forces creating a panic-situation for sport-bikers.

Passenger is snuggly fit in the back seat.  No fear there of falling off!

  The trike has a beautiful TIFF LED computer screen nestled in-between the speedo and tach, displaying (oddly) digitally the speed and tach readings again, along with a gas gauge and temperature both of the engine and outside, a clock (nice) and an odometer.

  Ride quality is smooth and wandering to which you have to relax your shoulders to accept a little goofy slop-action like the front skis of a snowmobile hitting bumps and moguls at various times.  While riding a sport-bike, you might hear Kenny Loggin's Highway to the Dangerzone.

..but while riding a Can-Am Spyder, you hear a circus Calliope.

So much for "cool".  It definitely comes-off as "Canadian" goofy.  Despite this, other people watching you don't know how goofy the ride really is, and it looks cool anyway, and there's a nice power "pull" that is about as fast as my Grand Sport Corvette, so there's that.  0-60 is about 4 seconds.

Marketing is impressive, including Danica Patrick (who's amazingly lovely btw).  They recently made a deal with anyone living in Los Angeles, California that if they're famous and wanted an escape-ride, Danica would come "rescue" you from the paparazzi. 

Over the last several months, I tried to "push" the trike to its limits.  There's a TON of rather unwanted safety features that cannot be turned off, such as stability control, anti-roll control, anti-lock brakes, and traction-control.  If you're just retarded, the trike will correct for all of your mistakes.  I was able to get the butt-end to whip-out a few feet just once on some sand on purpose, goosing it, but it righted itself comfortably right away after that, unthreateningly.  Wind protection and rain protection is quite good.

  If you've never ridden a motorcycle, this one's a breeze and quite intuitive and annoyingly "safe" and comfortable.  It prefers to handle corners more like a Buick than a "General Lee" Hemicuda in comfortable stride and handles best as a fun, outdoor low-rider than a frantic track-beast.  I tried to force it to be like my Honda CBR600RR/A sport-bike and it just doesn't want to be that.  It's Canadian with all it's Please and Thank-you's all at once all polite and friendly, with just a hint of aggression in the throttle as if to say, "Yes, I'm a polite neighbor, but don't mess with me, okay?  Sorry!"  Well played, Can-Am.. well played.

Buy one and save on gas, and get some street-cred.


1 comment:

  1. spokane computer repair At Premier Virus Removal we fix and repair all your computer issues. Spokane valley computer repair services. Our team can also computer repair computer Spokane valley.