2012 Can-Am Spyder RS/RT First Look

July 11, 2011
Bryan Harley
Bryan Harley
Cruiser Editor |Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Our resident road warrior has earned his stripes covering the rally circuit, from riding the Black Hills of Sturgis to cruising Main Street in Daytona Beach. Whether it's chopped, bobbed, or bored, metric to 'Merican, he rides 'em all.

Can-Am shook up the motorcycling world when the company traditionally known for its off-road offerings and snowmobiles entered the on-road realm with its three-wheeled contraption called the Spyder. With its two-front, single rear wheel combination, aggressive styling and a focus on performance, many didn’t know whether to dismiss the
This isnt your grandpas trike! The Can-Am Spyder is a sophisticated machine designed to give a sporting ride.
A Vehicle Stability System, unique Y-architecture, and a powerful Rotax V-Twin team up to provide a sporting ride in the form of the 2012 Can-Am Spyder RS-S. New for the RS-S this year are pre-load adjustable Fox Racing Shox that are 33% lighter than before.
The Spyder RS-S has pre-load adjustable Fox Racing Shox on its front end that are 33  lighter than before.

oddity as a passing fascination or embrace it as a viable mode of transportation. Four years and several thousand units sold later, Can-Am’s venture continues to thrive and gain popularity.

For 2012, two major versions are offered, the Can-Am Spyder RS and the 2012 Can-Am Spyder RT Roadsters. The 2012 RS is tailored more for the solo rider and comes with a slightly more aggressive riding position and different bodywork while the RT is designed for full-on two-up touring. The 2012 Can-Am Spyder RT starts as a basic package but comes in three other guises as well, the Spyder RT Audio & Convenience, Spyder RT-S, and Spyder RT Limited. Add-ons run the gamut from an improved sound system with iPod compatability, AM / FM and (optional) satellite radio, handlebar-mounted push-button controls, adjustable rear air suspension, GPS navigation, LED lighting, and exclusive colors.
The Can-Am Spyder RS roadsters feature innovative Y-architecture highlighted by a double A-arm design for the two front wheels and a swingarm with a mono shock on the rear. The Spyder RS is also equipped with a Bosch-developed Vehicle Stability System (VSS). It has several technologies it gleaned from the automotive world such as anti-lock brakes and traction and stability control systems.
The new lineup continues to be powered by a Rotax 998cc V-Twin engine mated to one of two available five-speed transmissions. Can-Am offers both an optional electronic five-speed (plus reverse) SE5 transmission which is controlled by a paddle on the left hand (thumb and forefinger) and requires no clutch work or the standard SM5 (manual) five-speed transmission which also includes reverse gear.

2012 Can-Am Spyder RS Roadster
The 2012 RS Roadster is a sporting version of the Can-Am Spyder tailored more for solo riders. All RS Roadsters come with the 998cc Rotax V-Twin and the SM5 manual five-speed transmission standard. It is offered in one new color this year, Steel Black Metallic, and has a new multi-function, amber LCD display said to improve the gauges clarity at night.

Introducing the 2012 Can-Am Spyder RS.
The 2012 Can-Am Spyder RS Roadster is tailored more for solo riders. The RS-S version includes dual-spoke front wheels, a contrast-stitched seat, carbon-black aluminum parts, a painted front spoiler and A-arm covers all topped off with exclusive graphics.  
The 2012 Can-Am Spyder RS-S gets new Fox Racing Shox suspension on its front end to go along with its new Neutron Green Metallic colorway.

The 2012 Can-Am Spyder RS-S model features a front end updated with a pre-load adjustable Fox Racing Shox suspension claimed to improve compression and rebound. The gas-charged units are 33% lighter per shock and have carbon-black colored springs. It also comes in two new colorways: Neutron Green Metallic/Satin Black and Can-Am Red/Satin Black.

The Spyder RS-S has dual-spoke front wheels, a contrast-stitched seat, carbon-black aluminum parts, a painted front spoiler and A-arm covers, and exclusive graphics.

2012 Can-Am Spyder RT
The RT version of the Spyder is designed with full-on, two-up touring in mind. Introduced in 2010, the Spyder RT features Dynamic Power Steering (DPS), cruise control, 41 gallons (155 L) of onboard storage, passenger-themed ergonomics, an adjustable electric windshield, wind deflectors, heated grips, and an ultra-comfy saddle with integrated lumbar supports.

The RT continues to source a 998cc Rotax V-Twin tuned for touring. The electronically-fed mill puts out a claimed 80 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm to handle the added weight of full saddlebags, a passenger and a pull-behind trailer. The RT-622 trailer is an available option which adds a claimed 164 gallons (622 liters) of storage. Electronic fuel injection, a 5-speed gearbox and manual clutch (SM5) come standard on the Spyder RT Roadster.

With upgrades to its suspension, ventilation and ergonomics last year, the package didn’t need much improvement in 2012. The amber Dot-matrix display, one of the new features for all models, aims to improve read-out clarity during night rides. The base model RT is only offered with the 5-speed manual (SM5) transmission with reverse and comes in one color – Pure Magnesium Metallic. Beyond that, changes to the full 2012 RT lineup include fresh color schemes, new chrome accents, an upgraded seat and the higher visibility amber Dot-matrix display.

2012 Can-Am Spyder RT Audio & Convenience
True to its name, the 2012 Can-Am Spyder RT Audio & Convenience includes a fully integrated AM/FM audio system with handlebar controls and other touring conveniences. It’s new audio system is highlighted by an iPod plug-in and automatic speed-compensating volume. It also has secondary gauges for fuel and engine temps. On the convenience side, features like heated passenger handgrips, a push-button cargo release and a plush seat are added to the base RT. The Audio & Convenience version is available with the optional semi-automatic transmission. Its new colorway is called Quantum Blue Metallic and it likewise gets the amber Dot-matrix display.

2012 Can-Am Spyder RT-S
Changes to the 2012 Spyder RT-S Roadster Dark are  nominal but include a new paint job, a new Dark Mist Gray for the six-spoke front wheels and the addition of the amber Dot-Matrix display.

The 2012 Spyder RT Limited is Can-Ams fully dressed tourer that comes with an optional RT-622 trailer which adds a claimed 164 gallons of storage.
The 2012 Spyder RT Limited is Can-Am’s fully dressed tourer that comes with an optional RT-622 trailer which adds a claimed 164 gallons of storage. This year it comes in a great-looking Lava Bronze Metallic paint scheme.
The 2012 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited has a great new Lava Bronze Metallic paint scheme and a tan embroidered seat.

Features that distinguish it from the Spyder Audio & Convenience include electronically adjustable rear air-control suspension with auto leveling, two additional rear speakers with independent passenger controls, special edition chrome trim, fog lamps, LED running lights, a front cargo light and a front liner. It is available with either the SM5 5-speed manual transmission with reverse or the SE5 5-speed electronic semi-automatic tranny.

Besides the new Quantum Blue Metallic color scheme, the RT-S is available in Viper Red and Pure Magnesium Metallic as well.

2012 Spyder RT Limited
The 2012 Spyder RT Limited is the full-blown touring version of Can-Am’s unique three-wheeld motorcycle. It has been upgraded with a handlebar-mounted Garmin Zumo 660 color touchscreen GPS, two exclusive covers, four semi-rigid travel bags, a travel cover, chrome accents and an embroidered seat. The 2012 Spyder RT Limited also gets a host of new chrome accents on the mirrors, heat shield and exhaust tip to go along with new aluminum six-spoke chrome front wheels. Like the other Spyders, it has the new amber-colored multi-function Dot-matrix display and a new Lava Bronze Metallic color scheme to match its embroidered tan seat.
Here’s a look at standard features of the 2012 Can-Am Spyder Roadsters courtesy of parent company BRP:

Stability Control System
This system relates the Can-Am Roadster’s intended direction, using inputs for handlebar and throttle positioning and the vehicle’s actual direction and then acts seamlessly and immediately to correct the situation. If they are not the same, the system reduces engine rpm and/or individually slows (actively brakes) the wheels to correct the course.

Anti-Lock Braking System
ABS not only helps to maintain the vehicle’s maneuverability during aggressive braking situations, but it also gives the Can-Am Roadster a shorter stopping distance than most automobiles. The system uses integrated wheel sensors to determine if a wheel is at risk of locking under braking. To keep maneuverability optimal, the system seamlessly and rapidly engages and disengages (or pulses) the brake to allow the driver to steer in the intended direction.

Traction Control System
If the rear wheel loses traction, the TCS will sense it and instantaneously reduces engine rpm until sufficient grip returns.

Electric start, the key to the Spyder RT touring roadster experience; a gratifyingly comfortable experience. Reliable, push-button starting ensures a quick getaway.

Electric Adjustable Windshield
The windshield on the Spyder RT Roadsters easily adjusts in height with the press of a button.

Ultra Comfort Touring Saddle
Ergonomically designed, the first-class seat includes a passenger backrest and driver lumbar support.
Multi-function gauge displayThe new amber-colored multi-function Dot-matrix display offers improved clarity for night riding. It also includes a digital speedometer, tachometer, odometer, trip and hour meters, gear position, temperature, engine lights, electronic fuel gauge and clock.

Onboard Storage
When riding long distances, it’s reassuring to know the Spyder RT Roadster has 41 gallons (155 L) of storage standard. Storage areas include a lockable front trunk, lockable glove box and both side and rear compartments.

D.E.S.S. Security System
BRP engineers added an extra level of security with the proven Digital Encoded Security System. This system requires the properly coded electronic key in order to operate the Roadster.

Passenger Comfort Items
Passenger-controlled heated handgrips offer two intensity levels and add an extra level of comfort in cooler temperatures. Integrated armrests and manually adjustable floorboards provide a more comfortable perch for the rear rider.

Cruise Control
Electronic cruise control adds another layer of luxury and makes longer rides more comfortable for the driver.

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