To F3 or not to F3: Can-Am Spyder F3
Whether it’s that new place to eat opening up down the street, or deciding to blow your savings on a trip to Thailand; trying new things is an important part of life. Expanding our horizons opens up all kinds of possibilities and can take us in exciting directions we never previously envisioned. Such is the case with Can-Am’s F3 Spyder.
Before we go any further let’s get something out of the way. A motorcycle has two wheels- always has, always will. At the risk of never getting another test model, and despite what Government regulations say; the Spyder is NOT a motorcycle, it’s a trike. Sure you can call it’s a reverse trike if you want, but you don’t need a motorcycle license to drive it, and you steer it, you don’t lean it. Not a motorcycle, we clear? Good, moving on.
If you happen to be an avid motorcyclist the F3 won’t bestow new cool points upon you. Nor will it garner approving nods from other two-wheeled aficionados. Most likely you’ll be met with eye-rolling and good-natured ribbing as to what you’re doing with one in the first place. The running joke for Can-Ams is that they’re for girls, elderly riders, or folks who are scared to ride on two wheels. But keep calm and hold your head high, don’t let the naysayers deter your new experience before it’s even begun.
See the problem with motorsports culture, in general, is that, just like your grandpa, we’re heavily resistant to change. So while technology continues to move forward giving us new advancements in safety, speed, and accountability, there’s an underlying feeling that we are losing something pure and tangible that we’ll never get back. And in many ways we’re right. For example, a 2016 Honda Accord is an amazingly advanced reliable piece of machinery, but park it next to a classic Jaguar E Type, and it’s obvious which one will still have people talking in 30 years.
So here’s the good news, none of those sentimental feelings can be attached to this model because the Spyder series hasn’t even been around that long. So if the last model you tested was from their RS line (as is our case), or you’ve never found yourself behind those upright handlebars, get ready for a surprise. Believe it or not, this 3-wheeled contraption is actually kind of perfect for what it is. That being a ridiculous amount of moto fun.
From various angles, the F3 looks like what a team of Audi and Dodge engineers might dream up if they had tons of free time on their hands. The styling is modernly sculpted with various angles yet it still retains a big beefy feel. It’s young, urban, and practically screams modern cool. But aesthetics and performance are two separate things. The Spyder certainly looks like it might pop up in the next Blade Runner movie, but most consumers will want to take that readily available test drive before plunking down $20K. So after a few weeks turning the wheels on this new machine, we offer our thoughts.
Concerning ease of use and rideability the F3 gets top marks. With the flick of a thumb, this belt-driven 1330 inline 3-cylinder engine offers up 115HP with 96 Ft/lbs of torque.
There’s also automatic downshifts, which you might think would be uncivilized, but that’s not the case. An eco-mode that comes standard, gave us consistent 38 MPG and the fuel injection is smooth on every upshift. Can-Am has also purposely built in a variety of safety and comfort features so you don’t harm yourself if you tend to be hooligan minded. Traction, cruise, and stability control all help with a reliable EBDS braking system with stock Brembos. Yet, if the need arises, and you absolutely must lay a small rubber patch away from a stoplight, the F3 won’t disappoint.
The biggest advantage of this sporty cruiser is the adjustable ergonomics. Moving the handlebars and footpegs to specifically fit the rider’s size is something that the motorcycle market is just really starting to explore, and it’s the one place where Can-Am is truly ahead of the curve. Just imagine how many more people would be riding bikes if they had more adjustable seats and levers options.
As opposed to the Can-Am RT or RS models, on this machine you are sitting further back and lower. This changes the center of gravity and allows you to sit more in the machine than on it. While you’re still steering the F3 rather than leaning it, the seating position gives your legs a bit more wiggle room, which in our opinion is a great thing.
Because it’s not technically a motorcycle, our complaints on the F3 have to be limited. So here are just two we just can’t shake. First, the leather seats are ridiculously hot on warm days; a fitted canvas or textile mesh would be a much better option for future designs. Next, the storage space on other Can-Am models allows you to jam-pack a lot of stuff into the trunk, whereas the F3’s space barely fits a full-sized helmet. So good luck with your jacket and gloves, or a bottle of water you might want to stow away. One of the main reasons enthusiasts might consider buying one of these is so they wouldn’t have to mount a tank bag onto their motorcycle and take it everywhere they go. Major points lost there.
Despite these shortcomings, overall the F3 is an absolute thrill to ride. Once you’ve found its cornering limits and how far you can push it without the traction control and automatic brakes kicking in, this machine is a blast. However, even if you aren’t a thrill seeker, its user-friendliness and added safety features are enough to make even the shyest motorist take a chance aboard.
Cam-Am is hoping that their Spyder series will open up new doors for motorsport enthusiasts, and we agree it’s a good step in the right direction for freewheeling fun. While it might never be able to truly compete in the form of purist riding, that’s ok, you can’t please everyone. During our time with it, this modern moto cruiser proved to be an extremely enjoyable machine, and we’re sure it will only get better with more tech and trial. Not bad Cam-Am, can’t wait to see what you come up with next.
Fun for everyone from novice to advanced motorist
Less storage than other Can Am Models
Might just save you from buying a Gold Wing or Electra Glide
- Matt Hansen, Director/Producer