2023 Can-Am Spyder F3-S – Three-Wheeled Fun


Touring on three wheels is a unique experience that combines the driving dynamics of an automobile or an ATV, and the similar controls, feeling & fun aspects of a motorcycle. There is a big group of enthusiasts who love having everything on one platform, and that’s the main reason why the Spyder F3-S is very popular in North America.

There is no one type of three-wheel experience as we have different entries with totally different layouts. Last year, we had a chance to review the Polaris Slingshot and it offers more of a “car-like” experience, even though it has the same number of wheels. The Can-Am Spyder F3-S offers motorcycle ergonomics with an actual handlebar, footpegs and seat layout. In fact, the riding position feels very similar to a traditional cruiser layout, which means it is exceptionally comfortable for longer trips.

The Looks & Details

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, there is only one fact that the Spyder is definitely a head-turner. The amount of attention a rider gets when they are on a Spyder is much higher than any other traditional motorcycle, or an automotive. Having two wheels in the front gives the Spyder a more aggressive look and better road presence. It is also interesting from the rider’s perspective to see how suspension components work as they are visible from all angles.

From the side profile and rear end, it looks more like a motorcycle, and that’s where it really differentiates itself from a traditional ATV layout and looks. The engine is located behind the front wheels and under the gas tank, we have a traditional swingarm that holds the rear wheel in place. The Spyder sits very low to the ground, which makes it easier to swing a leg over and sit on it for both the rider and the passenger.

The Spyder has been on the market for a while with minimal changes, and one of the most noticeable changes is the 2-piece cluster that is located right in front of the handlebar. The digital screens are easy to read and easy to control via physical buttons located on the left side of the handlebar. They show a lot of information and you can choose different screen layouts on the fly.

The physical buttons are solid and they don’t feel cheap, but it looks confusing at first glance, you really need to spend a few minutes to understand how it works. The only gripe that I had was being forced to click the “Mode” button every time you start up the Spyder to accept the disclaimer, it is a notable annoyance that can be fixed easily with a software update. It also has modern features like a Bluetooth connection, smartphone integration with a dedicated BRP app, audio inputs and cruise control which are great assets for longer trips.

Speaking of longer trips, one of the biggest selling points of the Can-Am Spyder is the 2-up riding comfort. Unlike a motorcycle, you can comfortably have a passenger and don’t have to worry about low-speed balance, as it can stay up by itself. The F3-S does not have any side panniers or a top case, but it comes with a front trunk which offers a little over 24 litres of storage space.

The Spyder’s riding ergonomics can also be tailored based on the rider’s height, the handlebar and footpegs can be adjusted in five different positions. The Spyder is also exceptionally comfortable with a huge seat for the rider and the passenger. The seat height is very low at 26.6 inches, making it very accessible for shorter riders. Our tester also comes with back support for the passenger, which makes it an even more comfortable experience for everyone.

The Specs & Experience

The Spyder F3-S comes with a liquid-cooled 3-cylinder 1330cc Rotax engine that generates around 115 horsepower and 96 lb-ft of torque. The triple engine is also used in other Can-Am models, as it is a proven platform with its reliability and longer service intervals. The engine is very smooth, it has its unique sound and has tons of torque in the midrange. In normal ride mode, it offers extremely smooth throttle mapping, which makes it easier to ride every day, but when you switch to “Sport” mode, it tightens up the powertrain and disables all riding aids for maximum fun.

The Rotax engine is matched with a 6-speed semi-automatic transmission with reverse function. You have to use the paddle shifters located on the left side of the handlebar at all times, I wish there was a way to switch to fully automatic mode for lazy riders. Usually, semi-automatics are not known to be a good fit for performance-oriented applications which we experienced in a Polaris Slingshot, but it is not the case here with the Spyder F3-S. The upshifts and downshifts get faster the more you push, but unlike most semi-automatics, it is also not clunky when you ride it in a slower fashion.

The Spyder F3-S comes with top-notch 4-piston Brembo calipers in the front matched with 270mm drilled discs. It has tons of braking power that can easily overpower the available traction and enable the ABS if you are not careful enough, and that’s where it brings us to the only complaint about the driving dynamics – the tires. It is a unique tire layout, so there aren’t many choices, but the standard tires have a very hard compound and take forever to heat up. It is not the ideal compound for colder climates.

On the positive side, if you like having fun, the chassis and the suspension give you a lot of feedback when the Spyder F3-S is at the limit. As you only have one wheel in the back, breaking the traction is relatively easy, and it oversteers in a very gradual and controllable fashion. As we have a lot of rubber and width in the front, you get endless front-end traction, so that’s the main reason why front KYB shocks are tuned firmer than the KYB shock in the rear, which allows the rear end to be more comfortable and predictable at the limit.

The Can-Am Spyder F3-S drives or rides like nothing else, not even comparable to most 3-wheel entries. Even though riding the F3-S on a straight line feels similar to a cruiser motorcycle, it becomes a different animal when you take it to the twisties. As the F3-S does not lean, you don’t have to lean with it, offering a more comfortable ride in general. That also means you have to deal with more G-forces to keep yourself on the Spyder if you are riding in a spirited fashion.

The Verdict

After riding the Spyder F3-S, I found out why Can-Am has a cult-like following, but I also realized it is not a motorcycle replacement as it brings different features to the table. It is not for the masses, but it is unique in its own way. In most provinces, you will need to have a 3-wheel motorcycle license to operate, but a 2-wheel license also allows you to ride any Can-Am On-Road model.

It is not easy to choose the right Spyder, as there are lots of different trims and customizable options. No matter which trim you choose, riding the Spyder F3-S would be an eye-opening experience for most people. It offers unique looks with cruiser-like ride comfort, ease of use, car-like driving dynamics, open-air feeling like any motorcycle, 2-up riding comfort with great practicality, tons of customizable options and the fun factor that feels like nothing else.

Engine1330cc, liquid-cooled, inline 3-cylinder, ROTAX
Max Power115 hp @ 7250 rpm
Max Torque96 lb-ft @ 5,000 rpm
Front BrakesDual four-piston Brembo calipers with 270mm discs
Rear BrakesSingle piston caliper with 270mm disc
Weight899 lbs – 408 kg
Fuel Capacity7.1 gallons – 27 L
Seat Height26.6 in – 675 mm
Base Price (2023)$22,099 (CAD)

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