New Trike Review: Can-Am Spyder RT Limited

Open air luxury touring for riders who enjoy three wheels

By Tricia Szulewski, Editor, Photos by Mary O'Hare and Tricia Szulewski

Easy Rider

Toss your stuff in, gear up, jump on, hit start, and go! To put it simply, taking the Can-Am Spyder RT Limited out for a ride is just so easy. I’d ridden one of the very first Can-Am models BRP (Bombardier Recreational Products) released way back in 2007 and remember how much fun it was. Considering how popular the Can-Am is with women riders and how the company’s Women’s Mentorship Program has taken off, (WRN) wanted to get a fresh look with a long-term test ride.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Riding this Can-Am Spyder RT Limited for a couple months putting thousands of miles on it, it’s easy to understand why so many women (and men) enjoy their three-wheelers. They offer the same open-air fun experience as motorcycles, only it’s easier to just “jump on and go.”

Since Brittany Morrow did an amazing job reviewing the company’s starter Ryker model for WRN, I chose the luxury touring RT Limited version to review. This three-wheeler has loads of storage, huge floorboards, cruise control, a booming sound system, full-featured display with Bluetooth app integration, large electronically adjustable windshield, heated grips, a big comfy heated seat, and more. And like all Can-Am models, there’s no lifting it off a sidestand, no clutch to squeeze, and the braking system links all three brakes together in a single foot pedal. This is the Honda Gold Wing of the Can-Am — it’s built for long distance comfort, and is perfect for everyday rides as well.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Can-Ams don’t discriminate against shorter-statured riders, making it another ride of choice for many women. Rider and passenger can just climb aboard without fear of tipping over or having to muscle a heavy bike off a sidestand.

Similar Yet Different

Accessibility for people who have physical challenges that prevent them from riding a motorcycle is certainly a benefit of a machine like this. But many Can-Am owners never even considered riding a motorcycle. They were drawn to experience the thrill of speed and open air the same way motorcyclists are. Only the desire to shift, lean, and coordinate hand and foot controls isn’t there for them.

Learning to ride a Can-Am is pretty simple due to its basic controls and semi-automatic transmission. The RT Limited’s inline Rotax 1330cc engine offers smooth power delivery with enough power to even tow a trailer. You use a throttle, just like on a motorcycle. But shifting through its six gears is simple; you use the paddleshifter with your left thumb and forefinger to shift up and down.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited left grip
The semi-automatic transmission doesn’t use a clutch lever. Just press the paddleshifter (with the “+”) with your left thumb to upshift. When it’s time to downshift, tap it with your forefinger. There’s also a reverse gear which works well to back the 1,021-pound machine up. A parking brake is enabled with the push of a button, too.

If you forget to shift down as you are coming to your stop, no worries. The machine will do it for you. So there’s really no way to stall the Can-Am. You’ll always start from first gear. Now, you can make sloppy shifts, and believe me, I did. I had a few “brain farts” and mistakenly used my finger instead of my thumb and upshifted when I meant to downshift, and vice versa. But it’s easy to correct quickly, although the RT doesn’t let you shift more than one gear at a time.

Tons of Traction and Control

I find the Can-Am’s two-wheels-in-front and one-out-back design much more fun, stable, and confidence-inspiring than any traditional trike I’ve ridden. Steering into corners, the two front car-sized tires are planted on the ground in front of you. Yes, you have to steer this non-leaning machine to make it turn instead of countersteering, like we do on motorcycles. It does require some effort though, especially at higher speeds, similar to steering an ATV.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The Can-Am’s front Kenda 165/55R-15 front tires and rear 225/50R-15 tire offer a much bigger footprint than a traditional motorcycle tire, which translates into a lot more traction and stability. Tire pressure is displayed on the dash panel, so no need to get “down and dirty” to check air pressure.

One of the most common questions I get about the Can-Am is, “Do the front wheels lean?” The front suspension is made up of double A-arms with an anti-roll bar and SACHS Big Bore shocks. With the handlebar turned it may appear as if the front wheels might lean out, but they don’t.

The Can-Am RT Limited is equipped with a Stability Control System (SCS), Traction Control System (TCS), ABS, and Hill Hold Control. All these features are designed to keep the tires on the ground and the rider stable and in control, which works phenomenally.

Purposefully running over bumps and potholes with one or both tires, I saw how the shocks absorb the impact, keeping the flat part of the tires on the ground. The wheels act independently and you stay securely on your path, almost never losing traction.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited front wheel
The Can-Am RT Limited’s ABS braking system is fully linked. The two front brakes have 270mm discs with 4-piston calipers and the rear brake has a single piston caliper on the 270mm disc. The electronic parking brake locks the rear.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
All the braking is done with the foot brake. You can see clearly here how much tire (traction) stays on the ground even in a full lock turn.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Having no front brake lever took a little getting used to. The RT Limited’s cruise control is on the right side with a sliding switch that’s simple to use.

Tons of Storage

Using the Can-Am RT Limited for a number of trips, I quickly appreciated the 177 liters (47 gallons) of locking storage capacity. I was easily able to pack not only extra riding gear, clothes, toiletries, and other supplies, but also a small cooler with food and a Can-Am cover.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The RT Limited includes four locking waterproof compartments: tour trunk, two saddlebags, and a huge front storage area. Each compartment requires using a lever or button to open them and a key to lock them. A true lux experience would use a key fob to lock and unlock them.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
When the storage compartments are open a big message is displayed on the LCD color display.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The RT Limited’s trunk comes with a 12v charging port and a floor mat. You can see how deep this compartment is. I was even able to keep a small cooler in here.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited trunk tour case
The trunk will accommodate two full sized helmets and then some. There’s also a little light that I didn’t notice at first, but is very helpful at night.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited cargo
The front storage compartment opens by turning the ignition key a certain way and is deep enough to place a full grocery bag and still have room. It also has a light and is lined and has separate pockets for paperwork and a bungeed dongle for an insurance card and registration. You can really fit a lot of stuff in here!
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited saddlebag
With all the rest of the storage options, I found myself using the saddlebags the least. They aren’t big enough for a full faced helmet but worked well for an extra jacket.

Display, Comfort, and Convenience Features

The Can-Am Spyder RT Limited features a full color panoramic 7.8 inch wide LCD display. The readout is always easy to see and shows the speed, RPM, fuel level, engine temperature, and more based on your preference. Toggling through settings is done with the controller on the left handgrip which is easy to use. With so many features there was definitely a learning curve to take full advantage of the system.

For example, in order to use navigation on the RT, users need to first download and run the BRP Connect App on a smartphone and have it paired with the Can-Am via Bluetooth or USB. (There’s a compartment in the dash with the plug where you can keep the phone.) You then choose a compatible app, such as REVER, Genius Maps, or Sygic GPS Navigation and run that.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited dash
I didn’t use navigation much with the RT because I found the integration with other apps cumbersome, but when I got it working, the display was large and colorful.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited display
What I did use and appreciate a lot was the Can-Am RT Limited’s sound system. Connecting my iPhone, I could run the audio from my phone or just use the onboard radio.

The Can-Am RT Limited comes with the BRP Audio Premium 6-speaker sound system. There are four speakers on the front fairing and two by the passenger backrest. The sound is full and clear even at highway speeds.

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Riders can adjust audio settings with the controller on the left grip or on this tank panel. The heated seat, heated grips, and windshield are controlled here only.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited seat
The extra-large saddle is super comfortable for extended rides and includes two heat levels.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Passengers have their own control over their heated seat and also have heated handgrips!
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The electronically adjustable windshield has a memory feature. When you power the Can-Am off it goes fully down but will return to the position it was set at when you power it back up.

Tourer or Commuter?

Normally, I wouldn’t think about a big luxury vehicle as being a good commuter bike. But just one time getting stuck in a horrible traffic jam, I quickly learned why the Can-Am makes the perfect commuter vehicle. First of all, there’s no balancing, so you can literally just sit there with your feet up. In addition, there’s no clutch work, so again, you sit there until it’s time to move. Then you just twist the throttle to crawl forward. Finally, the sound system keeps you bouncing in your seat even when you’re not rolling.

Filling Up and Efficiency

The Can-Am RT Limited specs read that it has a 7 gallon fuel tank, which is larger than most touring motorcycles. However, when the fuel warning light came on, I was only able to add 5.2 gallons. That would mean that the reserve tank is almost 2 gallons but I never tested this by running completely out of fuel.

The RT requires premium gas and you access the filler by popping the seat up on a hinge. I averaged 29.26 mpg during my 1,500-mile test period. The Limited has two ride modes—the standard and an Economy mode. I didn’t experience much difference in fuel economy but takeoffs in ECO mode were pretty tame, so I only used it when the pavement was wet.

Visibility and Attention

There’s no question about it—the Can-Am RT Limited is big and demands attention. All kinds of people, women, men, young, old, motorcyclists, and nonriders are drawn to this machine that looks like nothing else out there on the road today. I got lots of “thumbs ups” on the road and tons of inquisitive onlookers everywhere I rode the RT. Even my MSF students who were learning to ride two wheeled motorcycles wanted to know all about it. Some even told me that’s what they were planning to get. (I then let them know about Can-Am’s three-wheeled training classes available.)

Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
The distinctive shape of the front LED lighting is unlike any other vehicle out there. And they light up the way well making it easy to see at night.
Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
I already miss the Can-Am RT Limited I reviewed in the Hyper Silver trim. Why did I give those keys back?

The 2022 Can-Am RT Limited starts at $27,499. The base model RT starts at $23,899 and is similar to the Limited, but doesn’t have the rear cargo case and lacks a few other premium features. For the top of the line, the RT Sea-to-Sky version offers premium trim and starts at $29,999.

Specs at a Glance: 2022 Can-Am Spyder RT Limited
Engine Size: 1330cc
Seat Height: 29.7 inches
Fuel Capacity: 7 gallons
Dry Weight: 1,021 pounds
Colors:  Hyper Silver, Carbon Black, Petrol Metallic, Deep Marsala
MSRP: $27,499

WRN Recommendation

Anyone considering trying out three wheels should test a Can-Am. While it does take some upper arm strength to push through turns, it is surprisingly simple to control. The semi-automatic transmission makes it accessible to almost anyone without sacrificing all the fun of shifting. For premium comfort features that allow you to cruise with luggage for long journeys, the Can-Am RT Limited is the ride to try. Women who are not interested in working a clutch or who want to take a passenger along but don’t feel comfortable doing so on two wheels will also love the Can-Am RT.

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