When I caught wind of some yet-to-be-released changes to the Can-Am Spyder Roadster, I thought I might learn more about the accessory saddlebags I’d seen on display at the east coast’s premiere touring event, Americade. Uniquely sculpted and mated to the Spyder with color–matching paint and high carrying capacity, those were just the tip of the iceberg. I wasn’t expecting to find an entirely new model in the press kit I received just last week.
Further defining Can-Am’s dedication to being the most stable, most comfortable and possibly the biggest tourer on the market today, parent company BRP will deliver the Can-Am Spyder RT (Touring Roadster) this fall. Similar to the Spyder RS (Roadster Sport) I'd ridden for Motorcycle.com last fall, the new RT is also available with a choice of transmission setups: manual or semi-automatic. Toss in an onboard stereo system, cruise control, heated rider and passenger grips, electrically adjustable windshield and more than 40 U.S. gallons of storage capacity (155 liters). With so many accoutrements and enough space for clothing, the kitchen sink and maybe even a toaster oven, the Spyder RT is ready for any road trip.
A liquid-cooled Rotax V-Twin similar to the one you’ll find in the RS model powers the new RT. The Rotax 991 is a fuel-injected 998cc engine capable of 100 hp and 80 ft-lbs of torque. The sportier RS delivers with a Rotax 990 claiming 106 hp and 77ft-lbs or torque. We’ll have to check into the differences and get back to you.
If you thought the Spyder was ugly before, you won’t be disappointed with the new RT’s bodywork and larger-than-life presence. The Spyder is an acquired taste; many wouldn’t even call the Spyder a motorcycle, but only you can decide that one. Necessity is often the mother of invention, and the Can-Am press materials hit the nail on the head with, “You’ll never again sneak out of town unnoticed.”
But if making a scene is part of your personal charm, or you need to pick up your mother-in-law at the airport, you can hook up the matching trailer. Can-Am offers an industry-first, optional RT622 trailer package, providing an additional 22 cu. Ft (622 liters) of storage, designed specifically for the Spyder RT roadster and compatible with the vehicle’s stability system. Imagine all the tailgating possibilities now! Full-size BBQ grills to pocketbikes and pit crews, I imagine.
Selling now in over 50 countries, you could potentially ride the Spyder on any continent, and through possibly any season thanks to the RT’s Touring package which includes a higher windscreen than the RS’s comparable bikini-like screen, the Spyder’s inherently stable Y-architecture (can’t tip over in the ice!), the whole bowl of engineering acronyms found on the RS (TCM, VSS, SM5, SE5, ABS, TCS, and 5 ECUs and heated hand grips. The new RT is designed to keep you in the wind and comfortable for many miles to come. Maybe I’ll ride one to the North Pole to find out; I need to complete my continental North American tour anyway.
“The introduction of the Can-Am Spyder RT now provides options for sport and touring enthusiasts alike,” said Chris Dawson, vice-president and general manager, International division. “BRP’s superior design and innovation continues to deliver paradigm-shifting vehicles that push the envelope, and the RT model is no exception. The new platform goes well with what touring riders demand and there is no doubt in my mind the Can-Am Spyder RT is going to forever change the touring motorcycle category.”
The new-for-late-2009 Spyder RT will come in a choice of three model-dependent colors (Full Moon Silver, Orbital Blue and Timeless Black), in either manual transmission (SM5) or semi-automatic (SE5) and three model distinctions -- RT, RT Audio & Convenience, and RT-S -- for baseline pricing to feature-rich luxury. No pricing has been announced at this time.
With MSRPs heading towards 18 grand for the original RS model, I’d guess that the RT will list for more than $20,000, but we’ll have more information on the price, as well as any new BRP engineering, when we get a ride on the new RT later this month. Stay tuned for more info.