My perspective for this article comes from almost 100,000 Spyder miles, currently 60,000 miles on a 2016 Can-Am Spyder F3L.
A special thank you goes to Central Florida Powersports and Jason Ennis for
allowing me an extended test ride on the Can-Am Ryker 900. I was able to log
more than 660 miles over 7 days.
Appearance - The Ryker is a unique ride all its own. So what makes it unique? Most obvious is appearance. It draws curious attention from even non-riders. The front skewed A-frame pushes the front wheels forward of the nose. The shaft drive versus a chain or belt drive allows for a lower seat position and a lower center of gravity. The shaft drive also exposes the rear wheel giving the Ryker a low-slung, aggressive appearance. The many color panel options available allows the Ryker to be personalized. Just the appearance makes the Ryker look like a “Ride Like No Other”. The fun factor is built right into the appearance.
Performance - The power and drive train combination alone make the Ryker unique. The performance of the 3-cylinder 900 cc Rotax ACE engine on the model tested backed up the aggressive appearance. There is a great similarity in sound to a Sea-Doo at start up; a quiet but throaty tone. The fully automatic Continuous Variable Transmission (CVT) and the direct shaft drive work together to give instant torque to the rear wheel. The power to weight ratio of the 77 horsepower, 616 pound 900 Ryker is .125. A Spyder F3s has a ratio of .128. My experience gives the Ryker a slight advantage in quick acceleration over the F3. With the CVT and shaft drive there is no shift lag or belt flexing. Twist the responsive throttle and you go! Hang on. The Ryker will try to ride out from under you. Engine performance and the drive train makes the Ryker a “Ride Like No Other” and just plain fun to ride.
Handling - Steering on the Ryker is direct, there is no power assist. In my opinion, this gives a better feel and connection to the road. The lower stance of the Ryker also contributes to this feeling. Normal riding is easy, requiring no extra exertion. There is no slop from the handlebars to the wheels. Twitch the handlebars and the response is laser-quick. Riding aggressively in turns and corners requires a little more upper body strength, but the direction is true. With the standard shocks and sway bar on the model tested, there was some front-end roll on hard corners. The low center of gravity helps lessen the roll but it’s still there. Aggressive riders may want to consider a beefier sway bar and/or upgraded shocks. I still found it exhilarating with the standard equipment. Contrary to my initial concern. deceleration is quick. The weight mechanism in conjunction with the CVT and compression braking unwinds the 900 Rotax in good fashion so less braking is required to slow down. The brake affects all three wheels, same as the Spyder, and are good, but they don’t have the grip of a Spyder due to much smaller rotors and pads.
More of the fun factor. Decelerate to go into a corner at the right speed and approach, throttle up in the curve, then gun it coming out of the apex and you feel like you are shot out of a cannon. Here’s a quote from Hal BikerDoc after a ride we did over some of the curviest roads we could find in Lake County Florida:
“I rode my F3 and Dave Van Verth followed me for 90 miles on the Ryker. I hit every curve at double the posted speed and every start up from 0 to 60 or 80+ as fast as the F3 would go. Congrats to Dave and the Ryker. They stayed right on my tail for every mile in spite of my test to shake them. I no longer harbor the illusion that the F3 can run away from the Ryker. It appears to be quite a machine for the money.”
VSS and Modes - The Ryker is equipped the Vehicle Stability System (VSS) like the Spyder. The VSS consists of the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake Distribution (EBD), Traction Control System (TCS) and the Stability Control System (SCS). The Ryker 900 has the ability to select from three different riding modes; Standard, Eco and Sport. In Standard Mode, the VSS systems operate as set up from the factory giving a good balance between ride performance, stability and economy. The Eco Mode reduces fuel consumption by limiting throttle response and maximum throttle opening making for a smoother cruising speed. The rear wheel will spin quite easily in either the Eco or Standard on a quick throttle as long as you go straight. Turn the handlebars and the Traction Control System kicks in to reduce the rear wheel spin. Sport Mode allows for significantly more rear wheel spin and a higher handlebar turning angle giving a drifting-like experience. The road type and surface condition determine the amount of drifting that can happen. Of course, consider where you may be using the Sport Mode and the surrounding conditions. I did most of my test riding in the standard mode and found it more than adequate for my style of riding. Note: The Ryker 600 does not have a Sport Mode and the Rally Edition has an additional Rally Mode for use on loose gravel or unpaved roads. These handling and mode options make the Ryker a “Ride Like No Other” and even more fun to ride.
Display - The 4.5-inch display on the Ryker has good visibility both in daylight and at night. It is straight forward to operate using just two buttons on the left side of the display. Fuel and temperature gauges are on the left and right side of the display respectively. On the right side, next to the temperature gauge are the mode selection, the transmission setting (P – Park, F - Forward or R – Reverse), the VSS icon and a passenger icon if riding with two up. The clock, Trip A, Trip B and Total Miles are displayed at the top left. Pressing the top left button will cycle through these functions. Pressing and holding will reset the Trip miles. Miles per hour are displayed in the middle. Pressing the bottom left button will change the display in the bottom center. Each press will cycle through RPM, Fuel Statistics, Autonomy (mph or km) and Settings. When Settings appears, press and hold to enter into the available setting menu. Press and hold the bottom left button at any time to select driving modes. Note that the Sport Mode will automatically turn off when the Ryker is shut down.
Features - The tool-free U-Fit system lets you adjust the driver foot pegs, brake pedal and handlebars to accommodate just about any rider.
A manual parking brake is on the left side. When turned down, the brake is disengaged. Flip it up to set the Parking Brake. Give the Ryker a little rock and you will hear the brake engage.
Reverse is also a manual operation. The shift lever is on the left side just below the service cover and is used to change from Forward or Reverse. You can reach the lever with your left hand, or with a little practice you should be able to use your left foot. The lever moves back to engage reverse. Push to the front for Forward. Flashing turn signals and audible beeps indicate that reverse is engaged along with the R on the display. If you turn the Ryker off while in reverse, you will hear the beeps on the next start up to alert you that reverse is still engaged.
Self-canceling turn signals
Recommended fuel is regular unleaded gasoline
Fuel mileage – ranged between 27.5 and 32 during the test
There are no 4-way flashers (only when reverse is engaged)
Stock seat is comfortable for the first 75 miles on a trip. Then it’s not
Recommend the adjustable sport windshield option for highway riding
Glove box is just that. Not enough room for rain gear
Two USB outlets in the glove box
Summary - Did I say I had fun on the Ryker? The Ryker is unique, FUN, and definitely a “Ride Like No Other”. Can-Am and BRP have created an affordable vehicle for the young and young at heart consumer. The Ryker 600 starts at $8499, the 900 at $9999 ($10,549 as tested) and the Rally Edition at $10,999. A leasing agreement is also offered for additional financing flexibility. The Ryker is a lot of bike for the money. It’s a great, fun machine to rip around on roads or take on weekend adventures.