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Spyder spins a web of comfort

The last time I sampled a Can-Am three-wheeled Spyder, it was aboard the sport orientated twin-cylinder RS-S. I’ll admit, it gave me as much of a thrill as a lot of two-wheeled machines.

BRP’s Can-Am Spyder RT-S is at the exact opposite end of the scale. Its main purpose is touring, and while it doesn’t possess the same kick-in-the-arse low-rev punch as the RS-S, it excels in just about every other area. The RT-S is powered by BRP’s all-new 1330cc Rotax ACE, Triple T, triple-cylinder engine. It’s the same unit fitted to the all-new F3 model due for local release in 2015.

Despite having to push more than half a ton of saddled-up weight around, the 86kW (115hp) of power and 130Nm of torque is more than up to the task. The aerodynamic shape of the touring bodywork and large screen allow the RT-S to effortlessly cut through the air and I constantly found myself substantially over the speed limit. Shifting your body weight has next to no effect on the handling: cornering is achieved by steering input alone. Another strange feeling is absence of a brake or clutch lever.

Maybe not a motorcycle, but just as much fun

The RT is fitted with a semi-automatic six-speed gearbox (with reverse), which will look after downshifts if you’re feeling lazy. The ABS equipped Brembo brakes are all linked to a single foot brake, and with three large contact patches, minimal suspension dive and almost next to no chance of tipping over, the braking ability of the three-wheeler is ridiculously good – even in the wet. The trick electronics package combines ABS, traction control, and stability control to keep everything pointing in the right direction. If you do somehow manage to slide the rear, the system gently reduces drive to the rear wheel until control is regained.

The 155 litres of storage space located in the nose, panniers and a topbox – which doubles as a passenger back-rest with side supports and stereo speakers – puts some small cars to shame. Cruise control, heated grips, electronically adjustable rear air suspension, optional rider backrest and the ability to squeeze more than 400km from the 26-litre fuel tank makes the RT a brilliant long-range tourer. It just wouldn’t stop enticing me into a long-haul road trip the whole time I had it. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but don’t pass judgement until you have taken the time to take one for a spin.

This article appears in AMCN Quickspin Vol64 No12. You can buy digital editions at our Itunes store.