2019 Can-Am Ryker: All-new Chassis, Engines, Entry Level Pricing

Text: Ken Freund • Photography: Kevin Wing

Can-Am has taken aim at a previously untapped market with the introduction of its all-new 2019 Ryker. Designed as a lower-priced model for local and day-trip use, it is intended to attract new and more youthful buyers to the brand, which until now has been popular primarily among an older generation of consumers. Who will buy them is yet to be determined, but a drastically more economical model should do well considering how many Spyders have been sold to date. I test rode one in the coastal Malibu area of Southern California, whose serpentine roads through the Santa Monica mountains provided a perfect playground for the press introduction.

Powertrain & Performance

The 2019 Ryker comes in two engine choices. The base model offers a 600cc parallel twin that’s rated 47 horsepower at 7,300 rpm and 35 lb-ft of torque at 6,200 rpm. The top model harnesses a more powerful 899cc inline triple, rated 77 horsepower at 7,100 rpm and 56 lb-ft of torque at 6,300 rpm. Both engines are built by Rotax and feature the same basic architecture, as well as the same bore and stroke dimensions. I tested the higher-powered version with the Rotax 900 Ace engine.

A fully automatic, continuously variable transmission (CVT) eliminates the need for both a clutch and foot-shift pedal, allowing you to simply twist the throttle and go, as the CVT seamlessly matches speed, load and throttle settings. A hand-operated lever mounted on the left lets the operator select either forward or reverse when stopped. There’s no neutral position; the engine will idle in either forward or reverse.

The CVT utilizes a special drive-belt which is considered a wear item and must be replaced periodically. A monitoring system in the onboard computer keeps track of how the machine is driven, and will turn on a dash indicator when belt replacement is due. Can-Am states that this is typically every 12,000 miles or so, and estimates parts and labor costs of around $ 400.

The Ryker’s lowered seat height doesn’t allow room for the belt drive found on Can-Am’s Spyder models. As a result, the new models feature a shaft drive which not only reduces maintenance, but also typically lasts longer than a chain or belt drive. There are two power modes: Sport and Eco. Eco helps save fuel and is better in slippery conditions, while Sport makes the engine more responsive and fun. The 900cc version I rode has lots of power to sprint through the canyons and uphill twisties. A quick crank to full throttle in Sport mode will spin the rear tire and launch the Ryker with a strong rush of acceleration.

Chassis & Handling

A welded tubular steel frame cradles the engine, with a long rear swingarm providing added overall stability. In front, dual A-arms with Sachs twin-tube shocks provide 5.4 inches of travel. In back, a single multi-link Sachs twin-tube shock delivers almost six inches of travel. The only adjustment available is the rear shock spring preload.

The chassis provides a well-controlled ride and excellent rider feedback, letting you know how much grip you have at each corner. Unlike Spyder models, the Ryker forgoes power steering in order to reduce cost, but in doing so it demands more effort from the rider. Can-Am’s well-sorted Vehicle Stability System (VSS) combines ABS, traction, and stability controls. If you get a little too rambunctious, the VSS will reduce power and apply brakes as needed to save your bacon. Ryker’s VSS allows a considerable amount of spirited riding, while still keeping you safe. 

Two 270mm front rotors with Nissin twin-piston calipers, plus a single 220mm rear rotor and one-pot caliper, provide strong braking when needed. Foot-pedal feel is good and it allows accurate modulation.

Ergonomics & Features

Seating is comfortable, with a low saddle height of only 23.5 inches. Can-Am’s U-Fit adjustable foot-pegs and handlebars allow repositioning without the need for tools. Foot pegs slide fore and aft (just flip them up to move them), and the handlebars also slide to adjust. The wide range of travel should accommodate most riders.

A basic LCD instrument cluster provides speed, fuel level, and engine temperature, plus the usual odometer functions. A small cargo compartment is included in the front fairing, and a dual USB port allows you to charge your electronic goodies while on the go. 

Luggage is available through dealers along with a slew of accessories such as windscreens and backrests designed to customize and personalize the Ryker to a rider’s individual needs. For those who want to take a passenger along, you’ll need the optional MAX mount on the rear to support a pillion (or tail trunk). A LinQ Top Case and single SHAD hard saddlebag with special mount are available. Rykers are shipped sans body panels, so owners can choose from a broad selection of hues for their preferred color scheme.

Final Thoughts

With its continuously variable transmission (CVT) and linked front and rear brakes connected to one foot pedal, the sporty and relatively lightweight Ryker couldn’t be much simpler to operate. This simplicity should allow a wider swath of potential owners to learn how to ride the trike more easily and quickly. Some states also don’t require motorcycle endorsements for three-wheelers, which further reduces the barriers to ownership.

The 2019 Ryker is a fun, easy-to-ride machine at an affordable price. It seems well-designed and constructed with quality parts, and excellent fit and finish. I was impressed with how peppy and spirited the 900 version is, and how hard you can fling it into a corner. The optional Rally version also includes special tires, KYB suspension, structural enhancements, handguards, and an additional Rally driving mode.

With pricing starting at $ 8,499 for the 600-powered version, the 2019 Can-Am Ryker is well below the previous offerings in the Can-Am trike lineup. A Ryker 900 starts at $ 9,999, the Rally version is $ 10,999. For comparison, the lowest-priced Can-Am Spyder F3 is $ 15,999 (USA MSRP), nearly double the cost of a 600cc Ryker. 

The lowered cost is reason enough to expect strong sales for the Ryker in 2019, regardless of who ends up buying it. Whether or not it appeals to the Millennial generation it is targeted toward, the entry-level model is a quality option for any rider intimidated by traditional motorcycles, manual shifts, and concerns about tipping over. It could be a machine that brings new buyers into the motorcycling realm.