2015 BRP Can-Am Spyder F3 Review

The Three-Wheeler, Evolved

2015 BRP Can-Am Spyder F3
The 2015 BRP Can-Am Spyder F3 wears a new, low-profile silhouette. Photo © Basem Wasef

How do you re-write a paradigm you already shifted just a few years ago? If you're BRP-- the company that launched a disruptive two-wheels-up-front three-wheeler* just prior to the global recession-- you watch that product struggle due to diminished spending on stuff people want but don't need, you stay the course, and you eventually pump money into variants like a touring model and watch that genre-busting trike earn a surprise cult following.

 

(* If you want to piss off Spyder people, call it a "backwards trike"-- BRP hates that term.)

What's New?

The last Spyder I tested was the ST-S, a model that looked arguably cooler than any Spyder before it and took a slightly different ergonomic approach. This time around, I swung a leg over the F3, which has the curious distinction of looking more futuristic yet taking on a feet-forward, cruiser-style approach with a far greater amount of customizable ergonomics. BRP says that by moving the saddle 5.5 inches rearward and 3.5 inches down while the footpeg position stretches 12 inches forward, a lower center of gravity reduces the perception of body roll while the forward body position enables the upper legs to compensate lateral g-forces.The result is a body posture that make it easier to leverage the Spyder's riding dynamics. Complementing the revised body positioning is a re-programmed stability control system that replaces the abrupt torque-cutting tendency with a more progressive approach, while gently adding front brake pressure to help regain control of the vehicle.

The 1,330cc inline 3-cylinder engine produces 115 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque, a 15 hp and 16 lb-ft increase over the ST-S. Coupled with a shorter final drive ratio, the F3 can sprint from 0 to 60 mph in 4.8 seconds, and draw 252 miles from its 7.1 gallon fuel tank. The F3 starts at $19,499 with a 6-speed manual gearbox or $20,999 with a 6-speed semi-automatic.

The F3-S adds machined, black-outlined six-spoke front wheels, blacked out parts, LED running lights, a black suede seat with red stitching and cruise control for $21,999 with the manual, or $23,499 with the semi-automatic.

The Ride

Though I'll admit to having a fairly strong bias against three-wheelers due to their bulky footprints, inability to split lanes, and less-than-precise handling, I had an unexpectedly enjoyable experience aboard my semi-automatic equipped F3. First off, the riding posture worked as it was supposed to; being lower to the ground translated to a better, more connected feeling with the vehicle. There's still a bit of wrestling necessary when arcing through corners at high rates of speed, but the F3 managed to convey more confidence-inspiring characteristics than any Spyder before.

Similarly, I found the engine, shifting, and exhaust notes to be marked improvements over prior Spyders. With crisper acceleration, rapid shifts, and a sharper bark, the drivetrain's sportiness made the F3 a more appealing three-wheeler to ride aggressively. With a stunning dry weight of 850 pounds, the F3 will never be confused with a sport bike (in fact, it just might have more in common with a small car than you might think), but if you're comparing this three-wheeler to a sporty motorcycle, you just might be missing the point.

Consider the Spyder F3 as an alternative to conventional motorcycling, an outlier that adds an element of stability to those disinterested in riding a two-wheeler, or re-entry riders seeking a more stable, reassuring steed.

Though it's (still) not every motorcyclist's cup of tea, the BRP Can-Am Spyder F3 represents an impressive evolution of the genre that packages easy ergonomics with greater performance. Whether or not three-wheelers are your thing, you've got to respect a company that has stayed the course and continually evolved their product-- on those merits alone, the F3 should draw even more riders to consider joining the three-wheeled ranks.  

 

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