In just over a week, actually 1 week and 2 days we have managed to put on 2,200 miles on our new RT-S. So after riding some 175,000 miles on 2 wheels, what is this 3 legged beast all about, other than have a spare tire built in.
Forget everything you have learned about riding on 2 wheels. It just doesn't apply. No countersteering, it is replaced with steering. Yes there is leaning but it is in the opposite direction as the force of a turn pushes your body outward from the turn. On the FJR I am a front brake person, the RT-S has the brake on the side, no hand brake. No shifter on the left, it is a paddle on the left grip. Oh I got the electronic clutch version and I can honestly say good riddance to the clutch handle. About the only thing that transfers from the FJR to the RT-S is the throttle works the same on both.
The most important thing to remember is adapting to the ride, not trying to get the ride to adapt to you. With this in mind things will be good.
After pulling out of the parking lot at iMotorsports we were heading to Lyons, IL for our first National Park stamp to start our fourth IBA National Park Tour. The GPS routed right down to some highway, of course there was a traffic jam. Why would Chicago be any different than Boston. Normally this would be an ugh, but with the electronic clutch one begins to grin, No more feeling that long pull on the clutch in traffic. Simple push the paddle to second, then third, step on the brakes and the bike finds first all by itself. Yes you can downshift, but why bother when in traffic, let the bike do what it was built to do. Oh you don't have to keep pulling your feet up to the pegs as you get going, They can stay firmly planted on the spacious floorboards. Pulling in the clutch and letting it go does not make one a rider.
For my style of riding, which is treasure hunt grand tour driven, the Spyder is perfect. I no longer have to worry about the transition from tar to the berm of the road. Let it be loose gravel onto wet grass, the Spyder handles the transition with ease and safely. No longer have to worry about the pitch of the road and whether the bike on a kick stand will have enough lean so that is will not fall over. Gravel no problem, however one needs to remember you don't want gravel kicking up into the belt driven rear drive. Those long winding roads that all of a sudden turn to dirt, no problem. I feel the release and opportunities to go where I have shied from in the past. Mind you BRP says this is not for off roading, which I understand, but the occasion traversing of that rough road at a slower pace is OK.
The RT-S is definitely not a FJR when it comes to speed, but it is no slouch either. Highway speeds you will find yourself creeping to 80's and hardly think you are moving. Back roads the RT-S handles those tar snakes, little cracks in the road, frost heaves, and the occasional small pot hole with a simple glide right over them. It does have a tendency to want to drift to the side of the road, but that is easily managed with a slight push or pull to the handle bars.
All in all after 2,200 miles, the RT-S is a KEEPER for me and a nice compliment to my FJR. The only thing I wish the RT-S had was a hand brake and its ability to brush speed off into the corners. My foot is just not as adept and subtle as my hand.
It is going to be tough to decide which one to take out for a solo ride. However, the RT-s has enabled MeAsWe (my SO, aka Crystal) to once again come along for the chase someplace in this big sandbox we call the USA.
First four stops with the RT-S. First one for a National Park Stamp, 2nd for food, 3rd for a Pirate Town, and lastly a Whispering Giant