Can-Am Spyder Goes the Touring Route

The motorcycle world may have rolled its collective eyes when the Can-Am Spyder debuted two years ago, but the oddball Canadian three-wheeler makes a strong case for itself with new touring-oriented spin-offs. Three new models feature front wheels positioned farther apart, a reinforced chassis, and a 998cc liquid-cooled V-twin engine tuned for greater low-end pull. 155 liters of storage—more than a Honda Gold Wing—is found with two hard saddlebags and a top case, while ultimate volumetric capacity is available with a dedicated trailer, offering more total storage space than a Jeep Compass.

But the real proof’s in the saddle, and the fully loaded Spyder RT-S we tested on rural back roads in Quebec offered a mixed bag of riding dynamics. On the positive, the trike’s plush ride, iPod-ready four-speaker audio system, and electric windscreen offered smooth straight-line sailing. But when the roads twisted, our loaded-up RT-S got flummoxed. Steering feel was numb when this 929-pound (dry) rig was thrown into corners, though stability control added a reassuring safety net. Certainly not for everyone—especially sport-oriented canyon carvers—the Spyder RT-S ekes out a niche for itself, in a certain inimitably individualist way. The Spyder starts at $20,999. (www.spyder.brp.com)

Photo by Jim Fets
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