Though it’s not accurate to say the 2013 Can-AM Spyder ST is a crowdsource design, the input of owners has been influential as BRP now challenges in the hot sport-touring segment.
The Missing Link
By Bertrand Gahel
Die-hard motorcyclists may never tire of proclaiming, “The Can-Am Spyder is not a motorcycle,” but ties between BRP’s three-wheel creation and the motorcycle world are numerous. For 2013, those ties are strengthened with the introduction of the new Spyder ST. This sport-touring version is now the third incarnation of the Spyder (so named by the Valcourt, Québec manufacturer for its “Y” architecture).
A motorcycle capable of offering both the excitement of a sportbike and the comfort and practicality of a touring model certainly is not a new idea. The new ST is directly inspired by that hybrid concept, as its mission is to bridge the natures of the touring RT and the sporty RS Spyders.
Block your view of the ST’s lower front end and you could swear you’re looking at a legitimate competitor in the current sport-touring segment.
Indeed, witness this component inventory: large double front lights; manually adjustable windscreen accompanied by deflectors; big rearview mirrors with integrated turn signals located right in front of the handgrips; touring seat; detachable lateral hard luggage (that unfortunately won’t hold a full-face helmet, though the huge front compartment does); on-board computer; and dedicated audio system. These are all elements that come directly from the two-wheel sport-touring formula and are now found on the Spyder ST.
Three versions are available: the base ST ($20,899), ST-S ($22,199) and the top of the line and most equipped ST Limited ($27,099). While the Limited model with its audio system, higher level of finish, heated-handgrips and standard semi-auto, five-speed tranny, (amongst other upgrades) is the most appealing, it is also the most expensive by a good margin. All the added equipment boosts MSRP by over $6,000 compared to the base ST.
Now observe the Can-Am Spyder ST in its entirety and it again becomes clear that this is no motorcycle. Even if we’ve now had the time to get used to BRP’s three-wheel architecture, it continues to intrigue and amaze. Five years after its unveiling, it remains unique.
Sitting on the ST and observing all the various commands, you realize the latest Spyder is actually quite a logical and interesting spin on BRP’s concept. While styling is only slightly less sporty than the RS, the ST offers a clearly superior level of comfort thanks to a riding position that leaves the back almost straight and bends the rider’s legs less, on top of offering a very good level of wind protection thanks to a larger frontal area.
Actually, because of its added comfort and practicality, the ST is probably the Spyder many RS owners have wished for. It would come as no surprise if many upgrade, especially those who aren’t interested in the RT’s “older” image.
In terms of performance and handling, the ST is, again, much closer to the sporty RS than the big RT. The power steering doesn’t seem to be calibrated quite the same way as it is a bit less firm than the RS, but it never feels over-assisted as it sometimes does on the RT. As the other Spyders tend to be, the ST is also quite reactive to both the quality and the shape of the pavement, meaning it’s necessary to make minor but regular trajectory corrections in a straight line.
All 2013 Spyders, including the ST, benefit from a chassis with increased rigidity and 15-inch wheels (up from 14) with lower profile tires. These upgrades translate into more planted machines that remain flatter in turns and give the impression of offering a more constant contact between pavement and tire.
New Brembos noticeably improve braking while numerous electronic aids like ABS, traction control and stability control keep the experience as safe and accessible as possible for the masses.
The new Can-Am Spyder ST is by no means a revolution of BRP’s three-wheel “motorcycle” concept, but rather a refinement of the idea. In a way, Spyder owners themselves designed it by wishing for something more practical and comfortable than a RS but less massive and Buick-like than the RT. And that is exactly what the ST delivers.
by Bertrand Gahel, Oct/Nov 2012