2019 Can-Am Ryker Review: Rotax 900 Ace Powered Test
Can-Am has set its sights on bringing new riders into the three-wheel vehicle fold with the stripped down, affordable, automatic transmission equipped trike to complement its budding lineup.
When presented with this unusual machine, we saddled up a 2019 Can-Am Ryker and went riding through the hills of Malibu and down the back alleys of Venice to see what this innovative three-wheeler can do.
1. With pricing starting at $8499 for the 600-powered version, the 2019 Can-Am Ryker is substantially cheaper than anything currently offered in the Can-Am on-road stable. If you want to get going on a Can-Am Spyder, the least expensive entry model is the $15,999 Spyder F3—almost twice as much as the base-model Ryker.
2. Your choice of Rotax 600 Ace or 900 Ace engines to power the Can-Am Ryker. When selecting your Ryker at the dealer, you’ll have two options—a 600cc parallel twin that produces a claimed 47 horsepower at 7300 rpm and 35 ft/lbs of torque at 6200 rpm, or an 899cc triple boasting 77 horsepower at 7100 rpm and 56 ft/lbs of torque at 6300 rpm. Notably, the cylinders on both motors have the same bore and stroke—74 x 69.7mm. We tested the version with the Rotax 900 Ace engine, which starts at $9999 MSRP.
3. Unlike its amenity-laden and touring-minded cousins, the Ryker is barebones—in a good way. The Ryker aims to please as a short to medium range, urban and canyons strafing machine, with some snarling panache to spice it all up. Twisting the grip of the Ryker will give you a shot of torque that’s manageable to deal with at any speed, with tractable power delivery being at the forefront of the riding experience. In the canyons, the 900cc triple has plenty of grunt to hurl the roughly 650-pound Ryker into corners, and slide the rear wheel on the exit—when in the appropriate riding mode, of course.
4. To make the 2019 Can-Am Ryker more appealing to non-motorcyclists, it gets a fully automatic transmission. The fully automatic continuously variable transmission (CVT) helps level the learning curve for new riders. Simply roll on the throttle, and the CVT sorts it all out for you based on load and throttle position. It allows riders to focus on their journey, as they won’t need to be banging through the gearbox or operating a clutch, whether they are running at a spirited pace, or when suffering the drudgery of traffic.
5. Riding the Ryker is unique, and that’s a bit of an understatement. The trike chassis with two front wheels gives an enormous amount of feedback to the rider, letting you know exactly when you have grip and when you don’t. Whether you’re spinning the rear up during an exit or getting a bit too squirrely in a corner, chassis feedback is clear as day. As you begin pushing the envelope and braking hard into the turns, the handling becomes highly sensitive to input because you’re transferring most of the machine’s weight to the front wheels.
6. Distributing your weight through the footpegs will help you push and pull the bars. This gets the Ryker turned and holding a line mid-corner, which becomes a necessity at higher speeds. Unlike the more expensive Spyder models, the Ryker doesn’t have power steering, so if you want to ride fast, you’ll have to use some muscle. The automotive-style Kenda tires provide plenty of grip.
7. The suspension is a mix of automobile and motorcycle types. Up front, there is are dual A-arm with Sachs twin-tube shocks. There are 5.4 inches of travel to do the difficult jobs of keeping the steering rubber on the road and energy away from the rider. In the rear, a single multi-link Sachs twin-tube single shock is assisted by linkage, and has nearly six inches of travel. The only suspension adjustment is the rear shock’s spring preload.
8. Overall, the suspension does a good job of keeping things in shape. Rough asphalt or negative camber turns can overload the outside wheel and cause you to push—it is a reminder to trail brake and load the front end. In the rear, isolated hits to the rear wheel can be felt by the rider.
9. Two selectable power modes are available on the 2019 Can-Am Ryker. Once in the saddle of the Ryker, you will find two selectable power modes—Sport and Eco. Eco is self-explanatory, while Sport will kick up the fun quotient. However, the Ryker defaults to the Standard riding mode every time you start the bike.
10. Can-Am’s Vehicle Stability System (VSS) links ABS, traction control, and stability control. The Ryker’s safety package keeps a fairly laissez-faire attitude when it comes to intrusion, in most cases. What experienced riders will have to gain a grasp of is the Stability Control system, which aims to prevent you from flipping this three-wheeled-beasty. When you hamfist the controls or enter corners with generally rough tarmac, the outside wheel can lose grip, causing understeer and sliding. Situations such as those will trigger the VSS—cutting power and applying the brakes.
11. If you want to keep a spirited pace, all you need to do is make sure you always load the front tires by trail braking. Do that and you’ll be able to give motorcyclists a run for their money in the corners.
12. When in Sport mode, the rear traction control is deactivated. This allows you to light up the rear to your heart’s content, without VSS stepping in and putting a damper on things. With its reduced intrusion, VSS allows for a good amount of sliding around the tarmac before it invites itself to cut power or pump the brakes.
13. Three wheels and three discs get the Ryker get to a stop in a hurry. In the front, two 270mm rotors with Nissin two-piston calipers keep you out of the ditch. In the rear, a single 220mm rotor and single-piston caliper takes up the braking duties. Brake feel is good and can be modulated well from the single brake pedal as the brakes are linked.
14. Unlike other Can-Am models, the Ryker uses a shaft final drive. In the motorcycle world, shaft-drive is often associated with premium, though typically sedate, products.
15. Can-Am opted for a shaft drive on the 2019 Can-Am Ryker for two reasons. First, a shaft has reduced maintenance and improved longevity compared to a belt or chain drive. Second, the low-slung seating position conflicted with the belt drive found on the Spyder variants, so the Ryker’s shaft drive simultaneously serves as form and function. It’s a good solution for those who aren’t mechanically inclined.
16. A downside to the shaft drive is that there is some driveline-lash when cracking the throttle open from idle. A congenial hand can quell that, but it will still crop up now and again.
17. The basic LCD dash has a no-frills approach. It delivers all the information you might want—fuel, speed, temperature, and the standard accouterments.
18. Can-Am’s U-Fit gives you all the ergonomic adjustments you’ll need. Few motorcycles feature handlebar and foot control adjustment, but that can be done in seconds on the Ryker without tools. If you would like to extend the reach of the footpegs, all you need to do is flip them up, move them to a different position, lock them back in place, and adjust the brake pedal angle. The handlebars are also on a sliding rail, allowing you to get your preferred reach. The seat height is at a low 23.5 inches and the saddle uses memory foam, which is comfy enough.
19. Modular customization is the key. When the 2019 Can-Am Rykers hit the dealer, they’ll be shipped without body paneling; owners will be able to pick their preferred color accent. On top of that, there is a cornucopia of accessory items to make your bike perfect for you. It’s a way of trimming the fat and lowering the total cost of the unit, leaving the rest up to the owner. If you want a Plain Jane Ryker, you can have that. If you want to carry a passenger and jazz it up with countless other additions, Can-Am has you covered.
20. Let’s cut to the chase—the 2019 Can-Am Ryker is fun, and downright easy to ride. I’m a motorcyclist first, and the 2019 Can-Am Ryker doesn’t claim to be a motorcycle. It offers up a completely different experience and requires a different riding approach. The commonalities are there—we are exposed to the elements, inches off the tarmac, steering with a handlebar, and it gives a visceral feel akin to a bike. The only thing missing is leaning. Regardless, Can-Am has removed many of the barriers to a non-automotive vehicle and is offering something that is as approachable and simple to use as a scooter.
- Helmet: Shoei Neotec II
- Jacket: Alpinestars T-Jaws v2 Air
- Gloves: Racer Soul
- Jeans: Saint Unbreakable
- Footwear: Alpinestars Rayburn
2019 Can-Am Ryker w/ Rotax 900 Ace Specs
- Type: Rotax 900 Ace inline-3
- Displacement: 899cc
- Bore x stroke: 74 x 69.7mm
- Maximum power: 77 horsepower @ 7100 rpm
- Maximum torque: 56 ft/lbs @ 6300 rpm
- Transmission: Fully automatic CVT
- Final drive: Shaft
- Front suspension; travel: Dual A-arms w/ Sachs twin-tube shocks/5.4 inches
- Rear suspension; travel: Linkage-assisted Sachs twin-tube shock/5.9 inches
- Wheels: Five-spoke aluminum
- Front wheel: 16 x 4.5”
- Rear wheel: 16 x 6.5”
- Tires: Kenda
- Front tire: 145/60 x 16
- Rear tire: 205/45 x 16
- Front brakes: 270mm discs w/ twin-piston floating Nissan calipers
- Rear brake: 220mm w/ single-piston floating caliper
DIMENSIONS and CAPACITIES
- Length: 92.6 inches
- Width: 59.4 inches
- Wheelbase: 67.3 inches
- Seat height: 23.5 inches
- Ground clearance: 4.0 inches
- Fuel capacity: 5.3 gallons
- Dry weight: 616 pounds
2019 Can-Am Colors:
- Intense Black
- Adrenaline Red
- Yellow Shock
- Immortal White
- Carbon Black
- Liquid Steel
2019 Can-Am Ryker Prices:
- With Rotax 600 Ace engine: From $8499 MSRP
- With Rotax 900 Ace engine: From $9999 MSRP