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2013 Can-Am Spyder ST Roadster First Ride

Thursday, September 27, 2012
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2013 Can-Am Spyder Roadsters First Ride Video
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We sample the 2013 range of Can-Am Spyder Roadsters, including its new 2013 Spyder ST Limited, the sport-touring model featuring an updated chassis and suspension to go along with its 998cc Rotax V-Twin. Come along for the ride in our 2013 Can-Am Spyder Roadsters First Ride Video.
“I really feel we are building an industry which will become bigger and bigger and bigger,” said BRP CEO Jose Boisjoli while addressing journalists gathered for the press launch of the 2013 Can-Am Spyder.

Boisjoli’s statement is supported by the release of a new model this year, a sport-touring version called the 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST. The new addition expands the Spyder range to three base models with “R” and “Limited” variations of those base models offered as well, demonstrating the importance of the Spyder to Can-Am’s road vehicle aspirations, the unique three-wheeled Roadster hitting the scene in 2008. And after seeing over 30% growth in sales in its first four years in existence, there is no resting on laurels in this industry, a factor which helped drive changes to the chassis and suspension on this year’s Spyder as the vehicle continues to evolve.

Motorcycle USA traveled to National Harbor last weekend for the annual dealers meeting of Can-Am’s parent company, BRP, where the unveiling of the 2013 Can-Am Spyder Roadster models took place. On a sunny day in the Capitol, we rolled out of Gaylord National Resort on the 2013 Spyder ST Limited, the Limited being 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
The changes to the chassis and suspension of the 2013 Spyder Roadsters means much less wrestling with the bars and more spirited riding.
The changes to the chassis and suspension of the 2013 Spyder Roadsters means much less wrestling with the bars and more spirited riding.
The 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST-S looks clean in its Circuit Yellow Metallic colorway.
The Circuit Yellow Metallic colorway on the 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST-S really brings out its lines.
Thanks to opening up the leg room  bringing the bars back and raising them up  ergos on the 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST are very comfortable.
Thanks to opening up the leg room, bringing the bars back and raising them up, ergos on the 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST are very comfortable.
back four inches and raising them up another 3.3. We thumb through the “Mode” controls on the the AM/FM audio system and pump up the jams while touring the Maryland countryside, a standard feature on the 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST and all of the RT models. Can-Am has made the package even more attractive by adding heated hand grips and a Garmin Zumo 660 GPS.

Sitting down in the saddle for the first time, we’re digging the upright seating position with just a hint of forward lean. The Spyder ST definitely has more room to stretch the legs and the bars are easy to reach. The starting procedure is a bit tedious. First, turn on the key. Then wait while the bike runs through its systems check. Then press the mode button to acknowledge you’ve looked at the safety card, which nobody does. Finally riders can disengage the brake, turn it on, click into gear and throttle to go.

Before we discuss our riding impressions of the 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST Limited, it’s important to note the most notable change to the Spyders this year.

“We’ve tried to improve the dynamic behavior closer to a BRP product, closer to what’s our DNA, what you’ll observe on a snowmobile or feel on an ATV,” said Daniel Duceppe, Product Development Director for Can-Am Roadsters.

We discussed the changes to the chassis on the 2013 Spyders with Duceppe and learned the chassis was stiffened by increasing rigidity around the front suspension’s mounting points which reduced the load on suspension components. Can-Am also revised the front-end geometry, the “anti-dive” geometry aiming to keep the vehicle from plunging as much during braking. 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. They’ve also gone an inch bigger on the front wheels, the new 15-inch wheels shod in Kenda Radial low-profile 165/55 tires with a new tread design. The front fenders on the Spyder ST hug the fender closer and feature a new aerodynamic design with LED lighting incorporated into it.

All these changes sound good in theory, but how would they perform in the real-world?

It only takes a few gears to realize that the 2013 Spyder ST is a smooth shifter. It comes in two variations, the SE5 a five-speed semi-automatic transmission while the sportier RS-S comes with the traditional SM5 manual transmission. The Spyder’s semi-automatic tranny outfitted on the Spyder ST Limited we’re riding is quite an accomplishment. You paddle up without having to squeeze a clutch and it engages quickly and quietly. It automatically shifts down when engine rpm reaches 2500 but you can paddle down if you want to. Seeing how there’s almost no engine braking, we generally let the transmission do its job. It’s a very slick gearbox, the only noticeable engagement coming when the vehicle is shifted into reverse.
The 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST took center stage at the recent Can-Am dealers meeting.We play follow the leader on 2013 Can-Am Spyder Roadsters as we roll through beautiful Maryland countryside.The A-arm and anti-roll bar  teamed with Can-Ams VSS  keep the vehicle planted to the road under almost all conditions.
(L) The 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST took center stage at the recent Can-Am dealers meeting. (M) We play follow the leader on 2013 Can-Am Spyder Roadsters as we roll through beautiful Maryland countryside. (R) The A-arm and anti-roll bar, teamed with Can-Am's VSS, keep the vehicle planted to the road under almost all conditions.

An open stretch of road allows us to bang through some gears and sample the ST’s acceleration. The Spyder is quick, no surprise there since its DNA comes from the 60-degree V-Twin powerplant off the Rotax-equipped Aprilia RSV Mille. Power numbers support the statement with a claimed 80 lb-ft of torque coming on @5000 rpm while its peak 100 hp doesn’t come on until its upper midrange at 7500 rpm. The Spyders have new electronic throttle control this year that keeps the big 57mm throttle body busy opening and closing with the twisting throttle. Power delivery is smooth and linear for the most part, but there was a power spike in third and fourth gears around 7500 rpm when max horsepower kicked in. According to Can-Am reps along for the ride, the powerband doesn’t even begin until around 5500 rpm and 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 responded crisply whether we were on the gas or cruising through parking lots.

The last time we rode the Can-Am Spyder it felt like the wheels were affected by every little imperfection in the road, transferring a level of uneasiness to the rider at the grips. Thanks to its revised suspension and chassis, the 2013
Can-Ams 2013 Spyder RS-S benefits the most from the platforms 998cc Rotax V-Twin.
We also got a chance to twist the throttle on the more sport-oriented 2013 Can-Am Spyder RS-S. Does it look like we're having fun?
Spyder ST doesn’t do that now. It is equipped with “Dynamic Power Steering,” the electronically controlled system providing steering assist based on factors like speed, steering angle and acceleration. It turns quickly and hugs the road like it’s on a track and doesn’t sway much. The suspension is firmer, 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. Riders no longer have to wrestle as much with the bars in tight, curvy stuff and overall the ride quality shows a marked improvement over last year.

Give credit to its Vehicle Stability System (VSS) as it provides a much more controlled feeling than before. Can-Am’s VSS combines traction and stability controls in addition to an updated Bosch ABS. The VSS looks at where the handlebar should be in relation to the vehicles intended direction of travel and compares it against throttle positioning. If everything’s not matching up, the system will automatically reduce engine rpm and slow the wheels incrementally. We tried to get the rear to break loose, but the VSS wouldn’t allow it. We could do a brake stand, revving up the engine and dumping the clutch to get it to bark a little coming off the line, but this barely made the rear end wiggle. If by chance the rear wheel does lose traction, the Traction Control System kicks in, reducing engine rpm almost immediately. This works perfectly to prevent ham-fisted new riders from wadding up their $20K-plus ride, especially since Can-Am claims up to 27% of Roadster buyers are what they refer to as “non-nons,” riders who have never owned a motorcycle in the past.

For 2013, Spyders receive new, 20mm-larger discs all the way around while the front is teamed with 0.25mm-larger Brembo calipers. The brake pedal engages the system on all three tires and is very responsive, requiring little pressure to engage. At the pedal it exhibits strong, even power without an aggressive initial bite. The ABS isn’t intrusive and only engaged with a hearty stomp on the pedal. Speaking of the right-side brake pedal, it is tucked in tight to the bodywork and at times we had to consciously make an effort to make sure it was flush underfoot.

Built upon Can-Am’s proprietary Y-architecture, two-front wheels and a single rear wheel mounted in a swingarm, the Spyder ST Limited is a sophisticated machine combining a double-A arm design on the front with an anti-roll bar to keep the wheels firmly planted on the pavement. Its Surrounding Spar Technology frame has been updated, decreasing both weight and the number of parts used in its construction in an attempt to increase durability. Its Vehicle Stability System is busy reading wheel spin, throttle and handlebar position, rpm, and vehicle speed and is making split-second decisions based on that data. It’s doing this all while making the rider feel comfortable and in control.
 
The revised Spyder achieves this while looking good doing it. The bodywork has sharp, distinctive lines with strategically placed air scoops helping keep the engine cool. Its twin front tires and stretched out rear tire look like they could have been designed by Transformer director Michael Bay, especially in the new Circuit Yellow Metallic colorway. Its cockpit is clean and functional, an analog speedo and tach in plain view in its location below the windscreen. The multi-function LCD display can be toggled through a few different screens, the first one reading out vitals like a gear indicator, fuel indicator, and oil temp in addition to useful info like outside temperature and a clock. Other screens include options like trip meters and infotainment readouts. 

The beauty of the Can-Am Spyder is it can be ridden hard or at a leisurely Sunday ride through the countryside pace.
The beauty of the Can-Am Spyder is it can be ridden hard or at a leisurely "Sunday ride through the countryside" pace.
To meet sport-touring standards, Can-Am bumped up the storage space on the ST Limited to a claimed 112 liters total. Twist the key counter-clockwise when the motorcycle is turned off and it pops the lid on its 12-gallon lockable front storage compartment. The 2013 ST Limited is also equipped with hard, removable color-matched saddlebags said to add 68 liters of space to hold touring necessities.  

Prices of the 2013 Can-Am Spyder varies depending on model, transmission and accessories. The base model with a manual transmission will run you $18,899 and jumps to $20,399 for the SE5 semi-automatic transmission and caps out with the Limited with its $24,599 MSRP. Sticker prices include a Digital Encoded Security System whereby the electronic key is coded, is recognized by the Spyder it belongs to and the machine won’t start without it.

The new Spyder rides smoother and is easier to handle thanks to the changes made to its chassis, suspension, and wheels. It’s got plenty of readily accessible power and a sporty exterior to match. The 2013 Spyder ST fills the void between its full-boat luxury touring RT model and the sportier RS. After spending an afternoon in its saddle riding around our nation’s capital, we tip our hat to Can-Am for a job well done.
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Comments
GeorgiaRider   August 30, 2013 02:57 AM
For howy and or dumbomsa How do you tighten the front shocks to stop the wiggling above 60 mph. I love the bike but it is not stable above 60 .
curious   July 3, 2013 08:54 AM
I like the looks and they look like a lot of fun to drive. But, I just can't get past the fuel mileage. Help me understand something, the Can-Am is 1/3 the weight of my car with 1/2 the engine displacement, 1/3 the torque and has 100hp...how is it that it only can average somewhere in the 30 mpg range? My car averages 35 mpg combined city/hwy and well over 40 mpg in pure hwy driving, at 70 mph! The lighter, smaller Can-Am should easily do much better than any heavier car so why dosen't it? If they'd make these things that could get 60-100 mpg, they wouldn't be able to keep up with demand.... They're already as expenive as a car so how about a real incentive like better fuel economy? Put a compact diesel engine in one of these with superior torque and 100+ mpg for a 400-500 mile range and there's something to really desire. You'd only have to stop when YOU needed to stop. Until they make one that can manage at least 60+ mpg though, I'll keep wanting and waiting.
howy   March 6, 2013 04:24 PM
for dumbomsa tighten them shocks as firm as they will go . when we got our i was going to take it back till i adjusted the shocks i could not stand to go over 60 .have been over 100 now no problem
dumbomsa   February 27, 2013 09:35 AM
Just bought a new 2013 Can am Spyder RT-S SE5 and it is super "wiggly" at speeds above 50mph. Dealer said this is caused by rider error. What a bunch of bull. Been riding for 50 years and I sure don't "wiggle" the handlebars back and forth, causing the Spyder to "wander from side to side. Unless someone has a method to correct this problem, I'll soon be going back to a goldwing trike. I will try different psi. Also read where many have adjusted the shocks a bit firmer. Has anyone had any luck doing these?
vagosan   February 18, 2013 04:14 PM
My wife and I both have a blast on our Spyders (actually, we are down to one at the moment anxiously awaiting our ST to come in .. . . we sold our RT this fall with over 37,000 miles on it, great bike!)We decided to buy another RS sport version but then the ST sport/touring model came out. We live in a Mecca of twisty/turney roads and mountains,and these machines are like driving a Ferrari while sitting on the roof.The fun factor is awesome. The saftey factor is way up there, and if there is sand or water on the road, especially in a turn, no big issue. Unlike a motorcycle, you have to hold on and drive it (like riding a cutting horse). I have been riding since 1966, so it took me longer to get used to the body roll that these machines have than it did my wife who hadn't ridden a bike since her dirt biking days in the 80's. Gas mileage? Average is about 30mph. If you check out bike tests, most performance machines don't average any better. We average about 15,000 miles out of a rear tire and about 20,000 on the fronts. While these machines are not light, the Rotax 998 moves these puppys right along. Even our touring Spyder was quite capable of blowing away the average Harley. . . . but there are not that many straight roads around here . . . and that is where the fun happens! AND, at the end of the day, your body doesn't ache from being bent over your handlebars while sitting on a seat that makes a 10 speed bicycle seat look comfortable. When we bought the first Spyder, we ended up selling my Honda 750/Bingham side car rig and my VL 1500 Suzuki (with almost 80,000 miles on it) just because the Spyder was more fun to ride and we were able to ride well into the wet season due to the traction controll and ABS and added weather protection. There are times I miss two wheels, but not while I'm riding the Spyder.
Joesobo   November 27, 2012 06:39 AM
I find it interesting the people that knock the Spyder RT. First of all the bike if for those of us with knee or leg problems that can no longer ride a 2 wheeler. Secondly how do you expect it to get 50 MPG when it is that big. Also no consideration for the fact that it is the most electronically advanced safety motor cycle ever built. I have ridden Harley Davidson for more than 40 years. I have owned 8 motorcycles. Bought 5 of them brand new. I don't want to quit riding yet and the trike is the answer for me. I rented the Harley trike and it has no suspension to speak of. No power assisted steering and not a fraction of the safety that the Can Am offers. Give us old timers a break and let us ride again. Thanks for letting me blow off steam. Ride on!
Poncho167   October 2, 2012 04:41 PM
These things are neat but not for me. They create a storage problem if you need to park in a garage. They are also pretty slow because of the weight and the mileage is very disappointing from what I have read hovering around 30 mpg average or less depending on riding style.
bikerrandy   September 30, 2012 06:33 PM
OK, now tell us you didn't show any concern on where the wide front wheels were on the lane. And that you didn't have an issue of the heaviness feeling the front end sends to you. Lastly, tell us what MPG you got.
jprice   September 29, 2012 07:26 PM
snowmobile with wheels