WITH the latest three wheeled thingy from Can-Am in the Spyder range released, it was with thanks to BRP and their Sydney dealer Western Motorcycles that I found myself on a shiny black semi-automatic touring machine to put through its paces.
Having built more than 100,000 Can-Am Spyders since it was introduced in 2008, BRP’s unique three-wheelers have clearly been a hit. Can-Am's Spyder offerings now include the sporty RS, sport-touring ST, touring RT and cruiser F3 model families. The F3-T was my test machine.
Watching a video of the last Ulysses AGM grand parade, I was pleasantly surprised to see many of our members with their partners participating on their Spyder RT touring models. As we" grow old disgracefully" perhaps it's a sign of the times that three wheels are better than two for those of us who cannot ride motorcycles anymore, a good reason for my review.
It's not a car, it's not a bike, it's not a trike and it's not an off road machine, the Spyder roadster is a different type of road vehicle to any other. Personally I am an owner of the RS sports 2008 model and it is a joy to ride on both short & long roads. Something old, something new, I was interested to review, revise and rev up these new models which have completely changed, for the better.
We all know that the latest vehicles of all kinds are much safer than those gone by, which can only be a good thing when we go on long touring trips or weekend rides with our partners. For the F3-T the Vehicle Stability System (VSS) consists of an Antilock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS) and Stability Control System (SCS), which all help you control the direction of the vehicle and reduce the risk of tipping or rolling the machine.
On the multi-functional gauge cluster we have digital displays with messages from the on board computer (the Nanny), the usual fuel info, clock, temperature, analogue and digital speedo, cruise control and best of all, the music. Yes music from the inbuilt four speaker sound system with FM radio, alternatively in the glove box are USB and input jack cables for your own sound systems/phone so you and yours can enjoy your favourites. Cruise Control is also fitted so you can ....just cruise.
At the heart is a three cylinder 1330cc fuel injected Rotax engine with ACE (Advanced Combustion Efficiency), the in-line triple making a claimed 115 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque.
It produces whisper quiet acceleration, with a pleasant slight burble backfire when reducing speed/ downshifting gears, the 27 litre fuel tank should offer decent range.
All about the comfort
Soft and welcoming to sit in (yes sit in, not on), with a low bum back rest for rider and a softy seat for the passenger. Adjustable handle bars and rider foot peg positions make it right for the short and the tall. Passenger accommodations are plush and comfy, and the Spyders have sensors under their pillion seats that tell the VSS a passenger is aboard so it can adjust accordingly.
On the road
My first take off impressions were very smooth, slick and quick. With no hand brake lever and no clutch lever my hands were free to attack the buttons on the left hand cluster (Roadster Electronic Command Centre) and pick the music of choice, whilst still riding safe to the conditions around me.
Off we go to see the Australian Postie Bike GP through the streets of Cessnock, NSW. I travel via Putty Road and then will return on the motorways for a pleasant run home. Topped up the fuel tank and the early Sunday morning traffic was a breeze. Through townships, rural areas and windy mountains I get the hang of this machine, particularly the semi-auto flick switch to change gears up into overdrive touring sixth. Downshifts are available but the F3T can do it automatically when you brake. An easy to use transmission which is smoother than my first grandsons bum.
Road handling was like a F1 racing car or a go kart, sticking to the tar like glue and the few times I personally was in sports mode those safety Vehicle Stability Systems did help out. That feet-forward posture also gives an F3 "pilot" more leverage in corners, since your legs can effectively compensate for lateral G-forces and you gain some leverage for steering.
I’m off again to continue riding and reviewing this Can-Am F3-T. With editorial time constraints this report is - To Be Continued.
Paul Cheetham #46164