Can Am Ryker

Lower-cost Version of the Elegant Spyder


With the Spyder, Can-Am presented the helmet and handlebar crowd perhaps the most luxurious ground-based vehicle without a steering wheel. With two wheels in front and one in the rear, the Spyder has provided a comfortable three-wheeled touring option for those who, for whatever reason, may have no interest in two-wheeled travel.

Now, the Canadian company is reaching out to new riders, young riders, female riders as well as male riders, with a new three-wheeler, the Ryker, which is easy to ride and easy to purchase, thanks to a much lower price point than its premium-priced Spyders. The Ryker—a name chosen for its edgy sound and its Spyder-like ‘y’—was designed and developed over four years to appeal to a wider audience, whose members may have never ridden any kind of open platform vehicle.

With the option of a friendly two-cylinder 600cc Rotax engine, inviting to the novice, or a powerful three-cylinder 900cc that will satisfy adrenaline junkies, the Ryker hits the market with a base price of $8,499 for the 600. The 900 starts at $9,999. To accomplish this, the company’s engineering department streamlined design, using hard plastic extensively for things like a sliding panel to cover the fuel port, articulating arms that serve as passenger footpegs and spring-loaded “glove box” storage.

The flip-up passenger seat is fully camouflaged as a rear body piece. Then, instead of building different sized models, the engineers simply designed a mount to allow handlebars to slide forward or backward to suit the rider. It’s called the UFit System and it requires no tools to make adjustments. A plastic lever unlocks and locks the bars in place. The footpegs fold upward, releasing them to slide along a track allowing them to be positioned far forward, chopper style, or pulled back to a position almost directly in line with the rider’s spine. The stationary memory-foam seat is low enough for most anyone over 5 feet tall to swing a leg over, and the sliding bars and pegs assure a perfect ergonomic fit.

The look is decidedly Spartan, compared with the fit and finish of the Spyder, but again, by design. Starting with a very utilitarian framework, it is possible, Can-Am boasts, to produce more than 75,000 styling variations through available accessories, including myriad color wheel accents and panels that ‘snap’ on, plus such things as spoilers, top cases, saddlebags, sport grips, tank bags—all available online or with the Ryker smartphone application.

The Ryker is shaft-driven, so there is no chain to adjust, no belt to replace. It has a reverse gear, making it fairly easy to maneuver in tight spaces. Steering is a little different, at speed, than on a motorcycle. While leaning into a corner helps, aggressive turning is accomplished by pushing hard on the “outside” handlebar grip, the one opposite the direction of the turn. Another feature likely to be very appealing to newer riders is the Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT), which means no clutch, no shifting, nothing to do but twist the throttle and go. There’s also no front brake lever; only a single, easy-to-reach brake pedal, braking all three wheels, and located right where it normally is on a motorcycle. In addition, every Ryker is equipped with Can-Am’s Vehicle Stability System, which kicks in and automatically cuts power slightly and slows wheelspin when things are just about to get out of hand.

It would be difficult to roll a Ryker because of its extremely low center of gravity, but pushed hard on extreme turns, it will break traction. The Ryker is easy to operate, easy to ride, and friendly to brand-new riders. But it’s also got something for experienced riders who want to go fast, as our group of motojournalists found out recently. The group was introduced to the Ryker, all of them 900s, in a parking lot next to the Pacific Ocean, near the Santa Monica Pier in Southern California. From there, it was a romp up Pacific Coast Highway before turning inland and engaging in a spirited chase through Malibu Canyon, down Mulholland Drive, up and over Las Flores Canyon Road and back down to the ocean—some of the steepest and tightest twisties anywhere. The Ryker had plenty of punch out of the corners, good braking and excellent tracking through the turns with its low and wide stance.

There’s even a Ryker Rally Edition, which comes with an upgraded KYB suspension package (Sachs on non-Rally), plus adds Rally driving mode with full wheelspin, plus Rally tires, reinforced rims, front grille protector, skid plate, hand guards, rear carrying structure and Rally (passenger) seat. Of course, even the Rally Edition is not intended to be ridden on anything more extreme than a dirt or gravel road, but like quad owners discovered long ago, such a vehicle is a lot of fun to drift around a dry lakebed or other flat piece of earth.

But the significance of such a vehicle appears to be that it is simple and fun to ride, without being cost-prohibitive. The push is as sensible as it is obvious: Simple, easy and inexpensive. Thus, a two-wheel enthusiast whose significant other might not go near a motorcycle, might well gravitate to the Ryker. Can-Am has launched its own rider education program that, for a fee, provides Can-Am vehicles and instructors. Can-Am is also introducing a lease program, which is likely to make its new product even more attractive. MCN