Can-Am Spyder RT turns triple

New Rotax 1330cc engine for touring three-wheeler

THE CAN-AM Spyder has always been something of an oddball – a three wheeler that sits somewhere in the hinterland far left field of either conventional bikes or cars.

Originally, it’s bike-style riding position and Aprilia RSV Mille-style 998cc V-twin Rotax engine meant it was closer to being a motorcycle than anything else, but for 2014 the range-topping RT version has lost that twin in favour of a new 1330cc Rotax-made triple.

So, while just a few years ago the only route to three cylinders was to buy a Triumph or take a plug lead off a Japanese four, now Yamaha, MV Agusta and Can-Am have all jumped on the bandwagon.

Surprisingly, the switch from V-twin to inline triple hasn’t led to an all-out redesign of the Spyder – which still looks similar to last year’s model, with just a tweaked nose to feed more air to two massive radiators.

The performance boost isn’t as big as a 1/3rd increase in capacity might lead you to expect, either – with peak power jumping from 100bhp to 115bhp. It’s all about torque, though, with the new motor making a peak of 96lbft, and the curves showing that a huge lump of it is available at very low revs.

The new engine is accompanied by a new gearbox. It’s now a six-speed, with both manual and semi-auto options. All in, the new engine and transmission adds some 27kg to the bike’s not-inconsiderable weight. It now smashes the scales at about 460kg, even after it’s been drained of fluids.

The Spyder ST and RS models continue with the old V-twin engine, at least for the moment.