2015 Can-Am Spyder F3

Editor Score: 87.0%
Engine 18.0/20
Suspension/Handling 12.5/15
Transmission/Clutch 8.0/10
Brakes 9.5/10
Instruments/Controls5.0/5
Ergonomics/Comfort 9.5/10
Appearance/Quality 9.0/10
Desirability 7.5/10
Value 8.0/10
Overall Score87/100

My first drag down the airport runway aboard Can-Am’s new 2015 Spyder F3 was accompanied by the unmistakable sound of tire squeal and the smell of torched rubber. This was not, however, the result of dumping the clutch at high RPMs on the base model’s six-speed manual transmission. This was the up-spec F3-S with the SE6 semi-automatic transmission. Nothing but horsepower, baby! Intrigued?

The new F3 is motivated by the same 1330cc Rotax Triple introduced on the Spyder RT last year. But where the RT maintains algorithms that maximize the invasiveness of the vehicle’s Stability Control System (SCS) and Traction Control System (TCS), the F3’s electronics aren’t as burdened, allowing for a more playful Spyder. Don’t begin entertaining ideas about entering the F3 in a drift contest. The new algorithms provide for ample straight-line wheelspin, but once you introduce lateral cornering forces into the equation, SCS and TCS kick into action before antics get out of hand. Smartly, though, where other Spyder models shut down the fun with more immediacy than cops at a high school kegger, the F3’s algorithms interject in a more linear fashion, allowing for an elevated level of mid-corner fun.

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For now, these new algorithms are specific to the F3 and are the main reason why the F3 is easily my favorite Spyder. But there’s more significance to the new model Spyder. A lot more.

Look close and you’ll see air between the road and the inside wheel. At this point SCS quickly interjects, bringing the F3 back down to earth. But it’s a step in the right direction as the F3 tolerates more aggressive riding than its Spyder stablemates. The feet-forward riding position allows an F3 rider to use his legs for providing leverage against cornering and braking G forces.

Look close and you’ll see air between the road and the inside wheel. At this point SCS quickly interjects, bringing the F3 back down to earth. But it’s a step in the right direction as the F3 tolerates more aggressive riding than its Spyder stablemates. The feet-forward riding position allows an F3 rider to use his legs for providing leverage against cornering and braking G forces.

Redesigned bodywork lessens the Spyder’s snowmobile-with-wheels connotation by exposing a portion of the Rotax Triple, while the new tubular steel frame and swingarm act as stylized industrial art. Not only do these changes up the F3’s visual appeal, but also help endear the F3 to the cruiser crowd Can-Am is courting.

Yep, I said cruiser crowd. The F3 is meant to fill a void in the Spyder line-up, appealing to cruiser riders by way of its relaxed, feet-forward seating position. This should be exciting to many prospective Spyder owners, but it gets better. The new seating position is customizable to body size and personal preference. The F3’s “UFit” system allows for five-way adjustable footpegs and a variety of handlebars with varying degrees of length and rise.

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I rode with the footpegs in positions four and five and there was a noticeable difference in just this one increment of adjustment. Each Spyder was equipped with the handlebar seen in the B setting, which seemed too tall for my tastes. I would have preferred the lower, more forward bars of the C & D settings.

When a person enters a Spyder dealership, they will be able to sit on an F3 Spyder and experience the different ergonomics prior to purchasing. According to Can-Am, the procedure to swap the handlebar and adjust the footpegs is a 10-minute process. The positioning can be altered at a future point by buying a different handlebar and/or the appropriate length linkage for the brake pedal (the five predetermined footpeg positions are accompanied by corresponding brake linkage lengths, $29.99 each).

Ironically, the relaxed, feet-forward seating position, while comfortable, also helps when pushing the F3 through corners. Unlike the other Spyders, where the standard footpeg positioning requires more upper body strength to manipulate the Spyder through a series of corners, the leverage provided by the feet forward positioning allows an F3 rider to brace himself against cornering G forces with leg muscles. Using one’s legs, an F3 rider can maintain a lighter grip on the handlebar during both cornering as well as braking. This allows for better handlebar input and vehicle control.

Front end overhang was reduced and the twin radiators rotated 90 degrees, allowing the width between front wheels to decrease by three inches. The storage compartment shrunk by 5.5 gallons to 6.5 gallons on the F3 vs 12 gallons on the RS.

Front end overhang was reduced and the twin radiators rotated 90 degrees, allowing the width between front wheels to decrease by three inches. The storage compartment shrunk by 5.5 gallons to 6.5 gallons on the F3 vs 12 gallons on the RS.

Like other Spyder models in the Can-Am lineup, the F3 comes in two versions; a standard model for $19,499 and an F3-S model for $20,999. What the $1500 upgrade to the S model gets you is cruise control, machined front wheels, a suede seat with red stitching, stylized front fenders with integrated LED lighting, and special accents and badging. Both trim levels are available with manual or SE6 semi-automatic transmissions.

Clutch pull on the standard transmission is significantly stiff. I preferred the SE6 semi-automatic transmission which only requires pushing a button with your left thumb to upshift. You can manipulate downshifts manually, but the SE6 will automatically downshift if you don’t. The SE6 is a $1500 option, but it’s well worth the price.

Passenger seat accommodations are roomy and feature large, rubberized grab handles. Passenger footpegs, however, have no stops and when in the up position contact the side panels, scoring the plastic. The small backrest shown here is one of many available F3 accessories, as is the chrome akrapovic muffler.

Passenger seat accommodations are roomy and feature large, rubberized grab handles. Passenger footpegs, however, have no stops and when in the up position contact the side panels, scoring the plastic. The small backrest shown here is one of many available F3 accessories, as is the chrome akrapovic muffler.

The Rotax Triple pounds out heaps of mid-range torque and rapidly spins up until gently bouncing off the rev limiter. The ACE engine emits a wonderful intake growl and three-cylinder exhaust wail, prompting its rider to twist the throttle at every opportunity. There is a slight hesitation between cracking the ride-by-wire throttle and receiving engine response. Not horrible, but noticeable. The cruise control can be set randomly or in more precisely selectable two-MPH increments.

Mash on the right foot pedal and the F3’s ABS brakes slow the 850-pound (claimed dry weight) Spyder F3-S with authority. To provide lighter steering, weight was shifted rearward, lightening the load on the front two wheels. At 7.1 gallons, the F3 has more fuel capacity than either the ST (6.6 gal.) or the RT (6.9 gal.).

Can-Am claims the new F3 frame is 30% stiffer and offers better torsional rigidity than the RT’s single backbone frame. With less bodywork comes exposure to more engine heat, but during our cool, Canadian-weather ride, it’s hard to say if its excessive or mild.

Can-Am claims the new F3 frame is 30% stiffer and offers better torsional rigidity than the RT’s single backbone frame. With less bodywork comes exposure to more engine heat, but during our cool, Canadian-weather ride, it’s hard to say if its excessive or mild.

As much of an improvement as the new F3-S is over previous Spyders, I’d like to see Can-Am provide selectable Rider Modes, giving the operator a choice of how much electronic oversight he wants from his Spyder. The F3’s new algorithms are an improvement, but the Spyder still resides in a nanny state of conservative anti-hooliganism.

Colors for the standard F3 are Steel Black Metallic and Pearl White, while the F3-S is available in Steel Black Metallic, Pearl White/Steel Black Metallic, Pure Magnesium Metallic/Steel Black Metallic, Can-Am Red Solid Gloss/Steel Black Metallic.

The White and the Magnesium F3-S models really pop with frames and swingarms painted Can-Am Red Solid Gloss.

The White and the Magnesium F3-S models really pop with frames and swingarms painted Can-Am Red Solid Gloss.

Spyder F3-S Specifications
MSRP $20,999 (as tested: $22,499)
Engine Type 1330cc liquid-cooled Rotax ACE Triple
Bore and Stroke 84.0 x 80.0 mm
Fuel System EFI
Ignition Digital
Horsepower 115 hp @ 7250 rpm (claimed)
Torque 96 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm (claimed)
Transmission 6-speed manual, or semi-automatic
Final Drive Belt
Front Suspension Double A-arm, Fox shocks with 58.07 inches of travel
Rear Suspension Sachs monoshock with 5.20 inches of travel
Front Brake 2 x 270 mm discs with radially mounted Brembo monobloc calipers
Rear Brake 270 mm disc with radially mounted Brembo caliper
Front Tire 165/55-15
Rear Tire 225/50-15
Wheelbase 67.3 inches
Seat Height 26.6 inches
Claimed Dry Weight 850 lb.
Fuel Capacity 7.1 gal.
Available Colors F3: Steel Black Metallic and Pearl White.
F3-S: Steel Black Metallic, Pure Magnesium Metallic/Steel Black Metallic,
Pearl White/Steel Black Metallic, Can-Am Red Solid Gloss/Steel Black Metallic.
Warranty Two year limited including roadside assistance

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  • BTRDAYZ

    Front reminds me of a riding lawn-mower.

    • DickRuble

      The whole thing is closer to a lawn mower than to a motorcycle.

      • Jason

        I think of the Spyder as a snowmobile with wheels.

        • Marc_B

          I ride a 2010 RT, and your analogy is 100% spot on. It’s a blast!

      • Marc_B

        Now we know why you were named as such! The Spyder is a blast to own and to ride. Get over yourself.

    • MDSledHead

      Hey… that’s my mower (exactly)!

      • BTRDAYZ

        Hahaha! No insult intended towards your mower, MDSledHead!

    • Joe

      Inspired! I can just see somebody getting a green/yellow custom paint job for the F3. Have to be careful with the JD branding, tho. It would look sweeeeeet.

    • http://www.facebook.com/richardjoash Richard Joash Tan

      AND YOU ARE A BULLSHIT!!!!!!!

      • BTRDAYZ

        Richard, was that really necessary?

      • Daniel Schenker

        I didn’t know the Tourette’s Guy rode a Can Am Spyder!

  • Kevin Polito

    I can see the attraction for someone unable or no longer able to ride a motorcycle. But that caveat aside, three wheels eliminates the the most wonderful aspect of riding a motorcycle: banking through corners, like a bird.

    • Tanshanomi

      As a 34-year rider and the current owner of both motorcycles and a Can-Am Spyder, I would have to agree. But the experience of cornering on a Spyder is still a fun, unique and rewarding thing even without leaning, just as cars and go-karts are. Probably not quite *AS* fun as the right motorcycle, but no worse than the wrong motorcycle. Overall the trade-off in safety and comfort is worth it to me, especially living on the prairie where a lot of my time is spent riding flat, straight (and often rutted, broken) rural roads. I doubt I would set off on a multi-day trip on two-wheels anymore. With all the variables a trip like that can present, I would rather have the extra cushion at the edge of the envelope a Spyder affords. Weather changes, unexpected hazards and bad pavement will keep me from enjoying that really deep dive through a turn, regardless of how many wheels I have under me.

      • Marc_B

        Spot on. I agree 100%

  • allworld

    Sort of has the Aston Martin thing going on.

  • QuestionMark

    INTERESTING vehicle but it is not a motorcycle….

    • Marc_B

      It doesn’t need to be. It’s really more of a road snowmobile, with plenty of fun and comfort.

    • Rider for 25yrz

      Its AMAZING how a person can ride a Crappy Harley Davidson Trike and you never here anyone say it isn’t a motorcycle. !st off the registry states any vehicle with 3 or 2 wheels is a motorcycle. My insurance on my spider is Motorcycle insurance. And I had been riding NINJAS for 20 yrs before switching to RSS Spyder- and now have a F3S on order. I did test drive it and it is amazing- 0-60 in 4.5 sec and extremely comfortable. So those that speak without facts- keep running your misinformed mouths.

      • QuestionMark

        FYI, a trike isn’t a motorcycle either. I think it is a misnomer to describe anything with more than 2 wheels as a “motorcycle”. That BRP got your DMV to call it a motorcycle for title purposes does not really make it a motorcycle. I also think that these 3-wheel cheater vehicles are going to generate some regulatory wraith eventually and I don’t think it is going to be good for real motorcycles.

        • 48GOAT

          What exactly is a ‘trike’ with a motor?

    • Nate Smith

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorcycle

      and I quote! “The first commercial design for a self-propelled bicycle was a three-wheel design called the Butler Petrol Cycle, conceived of Edward Butler in England in 1884.[5]”

      • QuestionMark

        And that is relevant to what, and why? Calling a tricycle a bicycle doesn’t make it so and calling a motor-powered backwards tricycle a motorcycle does not make that true either.

        I really am growing more and more disgusted with the bastardization of motorcycles by various manufacturers in pursuitoif a shrinking market. The OEMs ignored the need to grow the utility of motorcycles in the decade from 1995 to 2006. They made uber fast sportbikes, chrome land-yachts and cartoon-like choppers but ignored the beginner and commuter and they are now paying the price as the Gen X’ers never became riders and so they are out of the motorcycle consumer pipeline. That group born between 1965 and 1980 should be our replacement consumers but they are not. Everyone scrambles for the Millennial as my generation, the Boomers, die off or age out of riding. They skip the logical base they know they lost the chance to own Gen x 20 years ago.

  • NAVORD

    What, did they give you a ride in the corporate jet in exchange for a good review? I guess I am sad that this site is called motorcycle.com and I have to see this thing on the front page. My geezer buddy has a new one with the 1330 engine in it and it keeps leaking oil all over his garage. Been to the dealer three times to have it fixed. I told him if he didn’t want to look like an idiot, but still have oil leaking in his driveway, he could buy a 1978 Shovelhead! At least that way he would still have some respect in the riding group. Do they force you to cover this crap or something?

    If I wanted to spend 30K and have bad gas mileage I’d by a convertible. At least that way I can take some stuff along.

    • Marc_B

      Don’t tell me, let me guess…. Apehangers, gray beard and a 1980’s vest that smells like stale beer. You should ride a Spyder before you spout…

  • PJ Karavlan

    well to all the what I call “I own a motorcycle t-shirt and have a bike parked in my garage riders” what part of its NOT a motorcycle can’t you guys comprehend? Please try and keep up but life has a variety of experiences and yes maybe some aren’t for you but maybe try expand either your horizons or activate the part of your brains that moves you out of your tunnel vision – wind is wind – get over yourselves

    • Marc_B

      Well said! The Spyder is a fun toy to own. I wish I would have bought one sooner!

  • Commenter_X

    Looks awesome but cutting the storage in half seems like a mistake, I could have used it for touring with the big compartment of the previous model but not the new ones. That’s a big reduction in functionality for a questionable gain in styling IMHO.

  • Vrooom

    How fast do these things chew through gas? Those are huge tanks, should be some serious range unless they return 30 mpg or lower. For those who aren’t happy seeing these on MO, they are fun to ride, and surprisingly fast. True they don’t lean, but neither do bikes with sidecars, excepting right hand turns.

  • Save water drink beer

    It’s not a motorcycle nor does brp claim it to be, it’s a roadster !! I wish the 2 wheel tards would stop whining about that, as seen below.

  • gjw1992

    I assume the hp of the Rotax could be upped. And that it could fit into a modest sized bike frame. If so, I’d have thought it might find a wider market than three wheelers or even snow mobiles by putting it into, say, a tourer that might be sportier than say the Triumph Trophy.

  • MDSledHead

    I think it’s a really new vehicle… they are going to attract some new people that were previously “turned off” by the riding position.
    But I disagree with your title… I think this model is MORE like snowmobile than any other spyder models – yes, that’s right. It’s still not as fast as high-end sleds, but it looks like the “lake racers” of years past. In fact the “ACE” acronym was taken from their Ski-Doo line and the quick-adjustable bars/footrest from another manufacturer.

  • Scott

    We bought a 2014 SPYDER RT and we love it. I wish people that write these articles would post 0-60 and 1/4 mile times. I am curious to see how fast the F3 would perform. The rs I have seen drag racing were running low to high 13’s. I am glad the F3 removed some of the traction control, even Spyder owners like to have some fun too.