2013 Can-Am Spyder ST-S Roadster Review - Motorcycle.com
A strange thing occurred while riding the new 2013 Can-Am Spyder ST-S around our nation’s capitol this week. With no provocation on my behalf, motorcyclists of the two-wheel persuasion waved as I rode past. I don’t recall receiving waves when last testing a Spyder on California roads.
What I do remember from previous model year Spyders is a technologically advanced vehicle with two front wheels that tended to wander at freeway speeds and lurch into corners when ridden aggressively. Riding the new ST in its various trim levels indicates Can-Am has addressed these issues by way of chassis and suspension changes applied throughout the model lineup.
The new ST bridges the gap between the sporty RS and touring RT models by creating a middle ground “Sport-Touring” Roadster with more relaxed ergonomics and better wind protection than the RS, but without the integrated rear luggage and bells and whistles of the RT. Compared to the RS, the ST’s handlebars are 4.0 inches closer to the rider and 3.3 inches higher while the footpegs are moved forward 5.0 inches, reducing knee bend 15˚, from 93˚ on the RS to 78˚ on the ST.
Whereas the RT has an electronically adjustable windscreen the ST’s windscreen is manually adjustable with 4.0 inches of movement. The ST Limited comes equipped with many of the same technologies of the RT model but, whereas the RT incorporates luxurious passenger accommodations and integrated luggage into its design, the ST Limited keeps passenger seating simple but does include removable, lockable, color-matched, 34-liter hard bags that will swallow a full-face helmet.
The new Spyder ST comes in three trim levels: ST, ST-S and ST Limited, increasing the Can-Am’s 2013 Roadster lineup to 18. The standard ST is powered by a 998 Rotax V-Twin engine with Ride-by-Wire control, Vehicle Stability Control, ABS, Traction Control, reverse and features a multifunction color display, adjustable passenger floorboards, a Digitally Encoded Security System (D.E.S.S.) and 44 liters of storage in the front storage compartment.
The S trim level adds Carbon Black six twin-blade-spoke front wheels with low-profile tires, redesigned front fenders with integrated LED lights, rider floorboards (models with optional SE5 semi-automatic transmission only), cruise control, painted upper A-arms and front spoiler covers, and a carbon black treatment to the handlebar, footrests, rear sprocket, exhaust and springs.
The Limited trim level adds an AM/FM audio system with iPod integration cable, weather band and optional satellite radio, a Garmin Zumo 660, removable rigid saddlebags, heated grips, embroidered seat, front cargo liner and a 12V power outlet. The Limited model also features 12-spoke chrome front wheels and chrome accents on the exhaust tip and heat shield.
All 2013 model Spyders utilize a new chassis with increased rigidity, revised suspension, new Brembo brake calipers, and upgrades to the ABS system as well as the engine management system. The result is a much-improved Spyder that maintains its composure at higher speeds and when navigating turns.
During our tour of the area surrounding D.C. it was apparent the changes Can-Am made to its Spyder Roadsters have eliminated the front-end’s wandering nature while increasing its cornering precision. According to Can-Am, changes to its front-end geometry have increased tire-to-ground contact, while the increased rigidity of the chassis around the suspension mounting points reduces the load on suspension components and minimizes body roll when cornering. Revised front and rear suspension tuning and front anti-dive geometry provide improved stability.
The 998cc Rotax engine powering all Spyder models provides docile, user-friendly power below 5,500 rpm, but when spinning faster than that, the former Aprilia RSV Mille engine thrusts the approximately 900-pound (wet) three-wheeler forward with entertaining thrust. For longer-distance comfort, Can-Am has reduced throttle resistance in the R-b-W system. Can-Am also made engine tuning the same throughout the model lineup compared to previous years when engine tuning was tweaked to provide certain characteristics between the different models.
All 2013 Spyders roll on larger front wheels, from 14 inches to 15 inches, wrapped in 165/55 low-profile tires. Stopping power is provided by 4-piston Brembo calipers up front and a single-piston caliper in the rear, while disc size was increased from 250mm to 270mm. Working in conjunction with a new Bosch ABS system, Can-Am claims stopping distance from 60 mph has improved by 10%. While we can’t confirm that claim, we can say that when stomping on the single foot pedal that controls both front and rear brakes, the ST hunkered down without excessive nose dive and shaved off speed with authority.
The 2013 Spyders feature new front fenders with external mounts, reducing space between fender and tire, as well as LED lighting. Base model Spyders (RS, ST and RT) maintain last year’s fender design. In addition to aforementioned changes and updates, the RS and RS-S also receive new handlebars that are 1-inch closer to the rider. RT models come equipped with a new heat-shield design in the engine compartment to reduce heat transmitted to the rider.
To support its sport-touring intentions, Can-Am offers a variety of optional components for increasing the comfort of the ST, as well as its other models, including different windscreens, a passenger backrest, heated grips, an Akrapovic exhaust, fog lights, etc.
|2013 Can-Am Spyder Lineup|
|RS||Pure Magnesium Metallic||$16,699 (SM5 manual transmission), $18,199 (SE5 semi-automatic transmission)|
|RS-S||Pure Magnesium Metallic/Steel Black Metallic, Alloy Orange Metallic/Satin Black, and Neutron Green Metallic/Satin Black||$18,499 (SM5), $19,999 (SE5)|
|ST||Pure Magnesium Metallic||$18,899 (SM5), $20,399 (SE5)|
|ST-S||Circuit Yellow Metallic and Pure Magnesium Metallic||$20,099 (SM5), $21,799 (SE5)|
|ST Limited||Pearl White and Blackcurrant||$24,599 (SE5 only)|
|RT||Pure Magnesium Metallic and Quantum Blue Metallic||$22,499 (SM5), $23,999 (SE5)|
|RT-S||Pure Magnesium Metallic, Circuit Yellow Metallic, Quantum Blue Metallic and Viper Red||$25,899 (SM5), $27,499 (SE5)|
|RT Limited||Pearl White w/Dark Chocolate seat, Blackcurrant w/Black seat, Lava Bronze Metallic w/Antler Brown or Black seat||$29,899 (SE5 only)|
More by Tom Roderick