Home » This Is Canada’s Greatest Contribution To Modern Motorcycles And It’s Super Weird

This Is Canada’s Greatest Contribution To Modern Motorcycles And It’s Super Weird

Can Am Ryker Ts2
ADVERTISEMENT

Canada has given the world such great inventions as the snowmobile, the paint roller, and the Wonderbra. Yet, its contributions to the world of modern motorcycling have been frankly odd. BRP’s Can-Am produces three-wheel vehicles that look and drive like they’re summer snowmobiles, but they’re so much more than that. The Can-Am Ryker is perhaps Canada’s greatest addition to today’s motorcycling and it’s frankly zany, but it’s also just really weird.

Last year, I got to test the Can-Am Spyder F3-T. A lot of people don’t seem to understand why trikes like these exist, but I spent three weeks with that Spyder and learned that they have so much awesome going for them. I rode that Spyder to Detroit and back to Chicago and it felt like a Cadillac without a roof. It was so smooth, so comfortable, and made riding hundreds of miles in one sitting so effortless. I’ve driven luxury cars that felt worse than the Can-Am Spyder. I could have sat on that saddle for days on end and the stereo made the trike into a rolling boombox. It even had enough onboard storage for a weekend away from home!

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I loved nearly everything about that three-wheeler except for its price. If you want to buy a Can-Am Spyder F3, it’ll set you back at least $22,099. That’s a lot of dough for a toy and I found no shortage of people who were shocked by the price. Lots of people loved the Spyder but few of them liked the price. Admittedly, I am one of those people. If you gave me that kind of cash, I wouldn’t be taking it to my local Can-Am dealer.

All Of The Fun, Half The Money

20240506 105051

That’s where the Spyder’s younger, far more rowdy sibling comes in. The Ryker starts at $9,599, or $11,299 minimum for one with the best engine available. The folks of BRP have loaned me the top-of-the-line 2024 Ryker Rally, which starts at $14,599 and is designed around playing in the dirt. I have it for the next few weeks and will be telling you all about it.

ADVERTISEMENT

Screenshot 2024 05 08 At 2.40.20 pm

For half the price of a Spyder, you aren’t getting half the bike. The Spyder’s Rotax 1330cc ACE inline-triple engine is making 115 HP and 96 lb-ft of torque and moves a 948-pound mass of bike. Yet, the Ryker’s better engine, a Rotax 900cc ACE inline-triple engine, is making 82 HP and 58.3 lb-ft of torque but moves just 616 pounds. In addition to this, Can-Am has tuned the Ryker to be an absolute hooligan. The machine not just allows, but practically taunts you with its ability to drift and lay down epic burnouts. If the Spyder is a middle-aged adult with an office job, the Ryker is a college student throwing a rager this weekend.

20240506 104432

People love these things, too. I live near both Chicago and Milwaukee and you’ll find biker clubs dedicated just to the riders of Rykers and Spyders. You’ll find them dripping with custom paint, big wheels, and even bigger sound systems. Their riders? Young people, including lots of women and people from various minority demographics. Can-Am has captured something special there.

Thus, Canada’s greatest contribution to motorcycling is a three-wheeler that drifts, jumps, and converts its rear tire into smoke. It’s a machine for generating more smiles in a mile than many cars are capable of doing. The Ryker likes getting on two wheels, doing donuts in the dirt, and just giving a big middle finger to sensibility. Sadly, it’s not perfect, as I wish Can-Am paired the engine to anything but a CVT. It’s also pretty thirsty, and could be more comfortable, but all of that will be stories for my review.

ADVERTISEMENT

20240506 104101

That review will come in time, but for now, I just want to highlight the weirdness of this thing. Canada could have just given us a wacky trike, but it went above and beyond to do what other motorcycle manufacturers don’t do.

The Can-Am Ryker Rally is the Ryker, but dolled up in off-road gear. It sports a brush guard up front, structural bark busters, an aluminum skid plate, turbine-style wheels, and all-terrain tires. The suspension is upgraded with KYB HPG shocks with remote reservoirs, adjustable damping, and longer travel than the Ryker’s other suspension options. Onboard, you’ll find a Rally mode which turns traction control mostly off, enabling wicked burnouts and drifts both on pavement and in the dirt. Weirdly, this is one of those times I’m okay with traction control merely being muted because it does come in just in time to save you from doing something really stupid. I’ll save my ride notes for the full review.

A Transformer

20240508 135122

20240508 135149

ADVERTISEMENT

One of the greatest parts about all versions of the Ryker is apparent the moment you swing a leg over the seat. See the handlebars? It sits on a track. Flip the middle tab up to move the bars on the fly. You can adjust your riding position from upright like a standard bike to leaned over like a sportbike in literally seconds.

Typical motorcycles do offer a range of adjustment, but they usually require a tool to permit handlebar adjustment. This is a little change, but it’s so fun. Being able to change the bar position on the fly has allowed me to change how I ride the Ryker while waiting for a red light to turn green.

20240506 104613

The footpegs are like this, too. The pegs ride on their own track and you can adjust them by flipping the pegs up and moving them forward or back. Once again, you can achieve a foot-forward position for a comfortable highway ride or bring them back for a more sporty ride. If you want things to be super goofy, you could have both the bars and the pegs forward and ride the thing like you’re in a sci-fi movie.

There’s another benefit. If you’re someone who has a leg that’s much shorter than the other leg, you can adjust the pegs individually to fit your legs perfectly. Once again, traditional motorcycles offer customization for the pegs, too, but Canada takes it just one step further. You can adjust the bars and pegs of a Can-Am Ryker in seconds and without any tools on you. I know motorcyclists already do carry tools on them, but this is easier.

ADVERTISEMENT

20240508 135540

I would say that I wish regular two-wheel motorcycle brands did this, but I could see an argument for why they do not. If you take a look at Can-Am’s track system, it is a bulky piece that sticks out. That’s going to look pretty unsightly on your typical motorcycle. I’m also not entirely sure how you’d implement it on a setup that uses clip-on bars.

The track works on the Can-Am because this is already a bulky, weird machine. The handlebar track is probably the last thing you’ll notice.

20240508 135244

It’s a similar story with the pegs. I could see this implemented on a regular two-wheel motorcycle, but I’m not sure it’ll look good. Again, Can-Am gets away with it because the Ryker is just flat-out weird to start. Perhaps all of this isn’t even that necessary because while traditional bikes usually require tools for adjustments, it still takes only seconds of time.

ADVERTISEMENT

Sock It To Me

20240508 135445

The weirdness doesn’t end there. Technically, it starts before you even start up the Ryker. A lot of motorcycles use physical keys or fobs. BRP products are all alternative. You get a plastic socket for a key. BRP calls this the D.E.S.S key, and says it’s a vibration-resistant, dealer-programmable alternative to a metal key. That socket slips onto a ball on the side of the machine. That tells the Ryker that it’s okay to start up and run.

20240508 135559

Other oddities come from the lighting. All of the lights on the Ryker are LED, including the taillights and an off-road-style light bar. The exception to this is the headlights, which are basic halogen bulbs.

Then there are the off-road bits. One of the problems with the original Ryker that I tested in 2021 was the fact that it was super easy to rip the trike’s face off. I’m sad to say that things are only sort of better. BRP has added a thick-ish aluminum skid plate to the underbody of the Ryker.

ADVERTISEMENT

20240508 135637

The company also added a brush guard. However, things get disappointing when you look closer. The face of the Ryker is still plastic, and that includes most of the brush guard. The front fascia skid plate is plastic and only a portion of the brush guard has metal.

20240508 140016

20240508 135944

20240508 140025

ADVERTISEMENT

The rest is plastic that will not stand up to any real abuse. So, the Ryker can go off-road, but don’t get heavy with it. At the very least, bottoming it out won’t be an immediate disaster

Likewise, the bark busters are pretty useless. I’m sure they would protect your hands fine, but there’s a lot of three-wheeler underneath them. If you manage to get these to touch some brush I’m afraid your day is already going very badly.

20240508 135853

The brakes are also noteworthy. The Ryker stops only with the foot-actuated pedal under your right foot. When you punch the brakes hard, the pads and rotors on all three wheels get into a big fight over which can stop the fastest, which results in you getting pulled to a stop in three directions at once. The brakes work really well, so it’s not dangerous, but it’s a fun experience. It feeds well into the Ryker’s character of being more than a bit daft.

To date, the Can-Am Ryker remains one of the weirdest new vehicles I’ve ever gotten to play with. Riding one is entirely unlike riding a motorcycle, but also entirely unlike commanding a car. Rykers sit in their own little world where mischief rules and fun is the only thing that matters. I’m going to get into this in the future, but for now, this is the perfect example of what the Canadians are doing for modern motorcycling. Sure, Can-Am has electric motorcycles in development, but the wacky trikes still stand out in the crowded world of summertime fun rides.

ADVERTISEMENT

Popular Stories

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
43 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Marc Johnston
Marc Johnston
11 days ago

I’ve owned two Spyders in the past, and RS, and a RTS, as well as other “normal” motorcycles. One of the nice things about them is you can ride them pretty much year round. Here in WV, a lot of salt/cinder is used on the roads during winter, so being able to ride without worrying so much about road conditions is nice. Potholes do suck, however.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
12 days ago

Can-Am doesn’t make their own engines? WTF?

Gabriel Jones
Gabriel Jones
10 days ago
Reply to  BigThingsComin

Can-Am is owned by Bombardier Recreational Products. BRP also owns Rotax.

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
10 days ago
Reply to  Gabriel Jones

Ah! Thanks.

Hatebobbarker
Hatebobbarker
12 days ago

I’ve never seen someone driving these that looked like anything resembling “young.” I think they should come with a ponytail that snaps to the back of your helmet and a copy of Bon Jovi’s greatest hits.

Mike Dt
Mike Dt
12 days ago

I was at AMA Vintage Days when they were just releasing these things on the market. We took them out for a test ride and the only one in our group that enjoyed it had spent a lot of time on snowmobiles and ATVs. The bike-only guys hated them.

My biggest gripes were how you had to fight from getting tossed off the thing in turns and how hard it was to avoid potholes and other obstacles on the road. With 3 tracks of the road being used up, avoiding the hazard proved difficult.

But the real kicker was the survey they had us take when we got back. Lots of questions with most of them touching on the area of “do you like to be the center of attention?” So they clearly thought that was their target market.

Last edited 12 days ago by Mike Dt
WR250R
WR250R
12 days ago

Canada has given the world such great inventions as the snowmobile, the paint roller, and the Wonderbra.
Love all your writings Mercedes but I’ll say this until I’m blue in the face. The snowmobile was invented in Wisconsin by Carl Eliason

Highland Green Miata
Highland Green Miata
12 days ago
Reply to  WR250R

As a part time resident of Eliason’s hometown of Sayner, I agree. What we identify as a snowmobile today is a direct descendent of the Eliason Motor Toboggan (track drive, sled bottom, handlebars, tandem seating). One of the earliest examples is on display on Main Street in Sayner at the hardware store.

Last edited 12 days ago by Highland Green Miata
WR250R
WR250R
12 days ago

Absolutely. Calling a bombardier snow coach a snowmobile is about the same as calling an automobile a motorcycle. And I’ve been through Sayner many times, what a beautiful area! Have not walked into the hardware store yet but I really should

Highland Green Miata
Highland Green Miata
12 days ago
Reply to  WR250R

You don’t even need to walk in. They’re all right in the front window. https://www.amazon.com/photos/shared/h8kY6A5TSeS3R_dSvPEj2w.0KuWGKov-cVXxJFkcMP5qM

Jim Stock
Jim Stock
12 days ago

These are very popular around me and when I ask it seems the answer is always being afraid to balance on an actual motorcycle as the reason they went 3 wheeler.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
12 days ago

My sister has the lesser-engined version. It won’t keep up with interstate traffic, and she’s a fairly tiny person. Also, my brother and I don’t wave at her since it is not a motorcycle. A big thumbs down from her older brothers seems more appropriate anyway.

No Kids, Just Bikes
No Kids, Just Bikes
12 days ago

is a three-wheeler that…jumps

Uhhhh, maybe on the most carefully crafted-for-PR course. I can’t imagine very many situations in which getting all three wheels in the air would be any fun.

Duane Cannon
Duane Cannon
12 days ago

Does blasting Highway To Hell through the rolling boombox save lives like loud pipes? Maybe try helmet speakers.

Kieselguhr Kid
Kieselguhr Kid
12 days ago

Anyone familiar with snowmobiles will see where the DNA of this thing comes from.
This type of CVT isn’t bad actually, at least on a snowmobile they can make a relatively small engine pull reasonably well at low-medium speeds.

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
12 days ago

As a certified syrup chugging Canadian, I can confirm that people absolutely love these things. They’re everywhere around Canada’s capital city.

I’d love to pick up one of these cheap down the road and try to make a Morgan 3-wheeler kit car; since I can neither afford, nor legally import, a legit one from the states.

Davey
Davey
12 days ago

As another timbit eatin’ hoser, I also see these all around Ottawa, gotta maximize our 3 months of decent weather

TheDrunkenWrench
TheDrunkenWrench
12 days ago
Reply to  Davey

Well hello, neighbour! If you ever spot an old silver w126 Mercedes slammed on deep dishes putting around town, that’s me.

Davey
Davey
12 days ago

I’ll be on the lookout!

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
12 days ago

$14k for that is insane. Sweet trike but not worth that for a novelty.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
13 days ago

Those wheels are great. They’d look perfect on many 80s hot hatches.

UnseenCat
UnseenCat
12 days ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Except for the more dished center on the Ryker wheels to accommodate the offset, they’re basically the same pattern as the alloy wheels Chevy used on the LTZ and Z52 Corsica, and possibly some Beretta variants. It’s a nice chunky technical sort of look.

MrLM002
MrLM002
13 days ago

A 3 wheeler that takes up as much space as a car, doesn’t lean, costs a boatload, and hardly hauls anything.

I’d rather have a Honda Gyro Canopy e

Cerberus
Cerberus
13 days ago

That’s interesting about the brakes. When I was designing my first 3-wheeler, I figured I would probably need to implement 3-channel ABS as the needs for the brake proportioning would be so variable due to the lightweight, changing weight distribution depending on cargo/passengers, and single rear tire that it would be difficult to set up and still fall out of range under some circumstances. I figured ABS would be an effective cheat. Sounds like I wasn’t far off (that said, my design was much larger, especially in wheelbase and was more of a car than a motorcycle).

Racecar_Steve
Racecar_Steve
13 days ago

On a motorcycle, you “push” the handlebar on the side that leans into a turn to countersteer and initiate the lean while at speed. After riding for years, I am curious how quickly you get used to doing the opposite and “pulling” the handlebar toward you on the side of the direction of the turn. I feel like while coming up to a corner at speed, my instinct would be to push that side of the handlebar only to have a nasty surprise when it darts in the opposite direction into oncoming traffic (especially in the “leaned over like a sport bike” handlebar position you mentioned).

Obviously, I imagine you get used to it and it’s likely a non factor, but I am genuinely curious to try it out.

A M
A M
12 days ago
Reply to  Racecar_Steve

In my experience (motorcycle to ATV) you get used to it pretty quickly. Your brain, inner ear, etc receive inertial feedback and so, in much the same way as we learned to ride bikes without knowing about countersteering, you piece it together pretty quickly. It’s weird the first time you switch to the new thing, then weird again the first time you switch back, and then the switching is easy.

It was a different story with a ride-on jet ski racing game. It was one where you steered with the handlebar and leaned the jet ski mockup (rather than having the software lean the jet ski for you or something like that). I couldn’t get through the first corner. Finally realized I was leant all the way to the left with the steering cranked hard right. It only offered visual feedback, and that wasn’t enough for my brain.

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
13 days ago

If they offered this one with the semi-automatic transmission of the bigger models I would be so tempted…

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
13 days ago

You’ll probably get into this in a future review, but I’m curious if this can tow a small trailer and if there are any made to attach to these.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
13 days ago

I suspect the reason for the CVT is carry-over from snowmobiles (which have been CVT since forever), and to attract riders who would otherwise feel intimidated to learn to drive a manual transmission. Similar as the foot pedal brake.

They know their target market isn’t motorcyclists, but car drivers who see this as an easier way to get into “motorcycles”.

I think, however, Campagna’s T-Rex is the superior looking Canadian 3-wheeler (is it still alive)

Óscar Morales Vivó
Óscar Morales Vivó
13 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

The more expensive models run a semi-automatic so it’s not like riders who don’t want to clutch can’t enjoy them.

But those are more costly than a CVT, I imagine it’s a budgetary concern mostly.

Patrick
Patrick
13 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

I still see a few T-Rexes every summer, but I know Campagna was in financial difficulty a few years ago, so it’s hard to say how new they are. Back in the day they used Kawasaki and Harley engines for two completely different experiences.

That said, growing up 20min away from BRP’s HQ, I’ll nonetheless agree with your premise of greatest contribution. A T-Rex gets an automatic thumbs up when crossed on the road, while the tons of Spyders… are mostly bought by retired folks (which is ok, and I’m rooting for BRP, but not quite as exciting as a bad ass T-Rex)

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
13 days ago
Reply to  Patrick

I feel like Campagna was always on the verge of bankruptcy any time I looked them up. A shame because a T-rex looks like it’d be both a brilliant cruiser and track-day fun

Forbestheweirdo
Forbestheweirdo
12 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

A T-rex seems to have popped up in my neighborhood, I have seen it three times now and I desperately want to chase him down and chat but haven’t had the time. As for the CVT, I would guess it’s cost too. Why develop a manual for it when they already have trans that fits and people are not demanding it.

Mechanical Pig
Mechanical Pig
12 days ago
Reply to  Spikedlemon

The 600/900 ACE engines are also available in several Ski-Doo snowmobiles, and the Sea-Doo Spark pwc. The CVT is largely as the engine was never designed to have any sort of internal, motorcycle style transmission, to try and keep it as beginner-friendly as possible, and surely as BRP has piles of CVT’s in the parts bin to keep the cost down.

Diana Slyter
Diana Slyter
13 days ago

I need something that steers easier than my Super Tenere+sidecar and cruise control. Looked into CanAm last year and you had to buy a $22K model to get cruise control. Now they’re offering cruise control, hard bags, etc. a la carte so you can farkle the cheapest Ryker to fit your needs, I’m gonna take another look at them!

Fix It Again Tony
Fix It Again Tony
13 days ago

What is the benefits of that key besides the dealer being able to charge you $500 for a spare?

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
13 days ago

I think road going seadoo is a good description of what this was like to drive for me. I could definitely see a tether going to the key useful on this in some circumstances. It just pleads with you to keep trying stupider and stupider stuff much like a seadoo does, just the landings hurt a bit more.

Ryan L
Ryan L
13 days ago

Gotta figure out a way to capitalize on that snowmobile tech with global warming making dependable winters a thing of the past in large swaths of their market.

Carrercrytharis
Carrercrytharis
13 days ago

Do you have to sit on it like this? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lVIGhYMwRgs

(I guess you kind of have to, since it’s a motorbike…)

RataTejas
RataTejas
13 days ago

Is the wheelbase as short as it looks? If so, hooligan time. I remember the first time I rode a Speed Triple. That bike willed you to do bad bad things 100% of the time.

Abdominal Snoman
Abdominal Snoman
13 days ago

A friend let me ride his once, and it is unbelievably fun. It subconciously demands reckless behavior. Definitely doesn’t suit me living in one of the densest parts of Chicago, but if I lived 50 miles away like my friend does in Huntly I could totally see myself having one of these and would probably use it 80% of the time for short local trips.

43
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x