Motorcycle USA traveled to National Harbor for BRP’s annual dealers meeting and the unveiling of the 2013 Can-Am Spyder Roadster models. It was a sunny day in the Capitol as we rolled out of Gaylord National Resort on the 2013 Spyder ST Limited, an all-new sport-touring model.
The Limited is the top-of-the-line ST package, a combination of hard lockable saddlebags and a five-way adjustable windscreen. Its ergos are more relaxed compared to the RS, a must for long rides, achieved by moving the footboards out five inches, bringing the handlebars back four inches and raising them up another 3.3. We enjoy rider perks like the AM/FM audio system and Garmin Zumo 660 GPS while touring the Virginian countryside. Heated hand grips sweeten the package, but aren’t needed this sunny day.
Over lunch we talk with Daniel Duceppe, Product Development director for Can-Am Roadsters about the updated chassis of the 2013 Spyders. The stiffer chassis was achieved by increasing rigidity around the front suspension’s mounting points and revising the front-end geometry. Duceppe said the suspension calibration front and rear has more vertical body movement instead of pitching over bumps, so it’s much more controllable. It also has a revised swingarm pivot to give more rigidity to the rear suspension. Bigger front wheels combined with low-profile tires with a new tread design add to the Spyder’s chassis overhaul.
This being said, it was time for the real-world test. Sitting down in the saddle, we’re digging the relaxed ergos, more room to stretch the legs and the bars are easy to reach. It’s a smooth shifter and the Spyder’s semi-automatic tranny is quite an accomplishment. You paddle up without having to squeeze a clutch and it engages quickly and quietly. It automatically shifts down for you but you can paddle down if you want to, but there’s almost no engine braking so we generally let the transmission do its job.
The suspension is noticeably better. There’s little to no roll in turns and it didn’t track with the same floaty sensation at freeway speed we experienced last year. It turns quickly and hugs the road like it’s on a rail and doesn’t sway much. Give credit to its Vehicle Stability System.
The Spyder RS is quick. Power delivery is smooth and linear for the most part, but there was a spike in 3rd and 4th gears around 7500 rpm. The powerband begins around 5500 rpm and only climbs from there, the 998cc Rotax V-Twin more than capable of providing grin-inducing acceleration. Its new electronic throttle control is spot-on and the throttle is responsive to rider input.
The 2013 Spyders receive new, bigger Brembo discs and larger calipers on the front. The brake pedal engages the system on all three tires and it doesn’t take much pressure to get them to engage. At the pedal exhibits strong, even power without an aggressive initial bite.
We tip our hat to Can-Am for this year’s Spyder. It rides smoother and is easier to handle thanks to the changes made to its chassis, suspension, and wheels. The power is there, and its lines are sharp and clean. Consider your job well done.