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  1. #1
    Member w6ada's Avatar
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    Default Was a Spyder a Mistake?

    I have been a Spyder owner for about two months. I bought a 2014 Spyder RT with less than 3,000 miles. I loved it!. I have been riding two wheels for about 50 years starting with a Honda 305 to many other Honda's, lots of Goldwings and toured my entire adult life. Got into Harleys at "middle age" and had a bunch. I had a number of Harley's over the years and left two wheels (except for a Vespa, so much fun) for about ten years. Now, why am I telling you all this? Well, I guess to say I am not new to motorcycling, but I may have made a mistake paying well into five figures for a Can Am Spyder.

    Within 300 miles of purchase, I began having the "DESS Key Error" Then I learn this is frequent for 2014 to 2016 Spyder RT's and it really wasn't until 2017 or 2018 did BRP correct this problem. So,right now, the Frunk is off and I am awaiting a DESS module and hope this resolves this issue. Never mind that my wife of 40 plus years now views the Spyder as "unreliable", and for those of you married a long time know the life span on that is, well, a long time.

    But, more importantly, some extensive reading around this and another CAN-AM Spyder forums find some frequent threads regarding some significant and serious reliability issues. Looking further shows what seems to be an inordinate feeling the majority of Can-AM dealers are sub par, uncaring, and some even lie to customers. This cannot be true for no manufacturer could remain in business with such a reputation. Yet, the thread seems to be true.

    I live in California and I have three Can-Am dealer/ service centers within 150 miles. None closer. The first is where the Spyder was sold new in 2014. I called them to see what service my Spyder had and when. After about ten days and six messages, no one from the dealer ever even called me back. Hmmmm... my first experience with a Can-Am dealer not good. The other two dealers had a waiting list of three to five weeks just for an (3,000 miles service) oil change. I could go on. I am doing the DESS module change myself mostly because now I don't really trust the dealers. But as alarming as this is was the Spyder owners making statements that "It isn't like a Goldwing" (ie reliability), or "I don't ever take it more than 75 miles from home". And many others I have read, irrespective of the irony of a Touring Bike not being reliable enough to travel more than 75 miles from a trailer to take it home!.

    Anyway, I guess I am looking for the real owners picture of the Can-Am Spyder, specifically from 2014 on. I know people who find their product great don't often write in forums (or at least I hope this theory is true), but please tell me if your experience with a Spyder (or and a dealer) was positive, and most importantly, are they really a "Touring" motorcycle, or are they just too unreliable to trust them on a trip.

  2. #2
    Very Active Member trikermutha's Avatar
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    I have a 2014 30K miles and the only issue was the DESS module. I replaced it and no more issues.

    Now some have disabled there's

    My battery is 5 years old my Harley would only last 2 years.

    For me the Spyder has been a Cadillac for me and reliable.

    Only 3K miles you have plenty more to go.

    I went to South Dakota ran it for 11 hours straight with a passenger and a trailer in tow.. The Spyder is a mule.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by w6ada View Post
    I have been a Spyder owner for about two months. I bought a 2014 Spyder RT with less than 3,000 miles. I loved it!. I am not new to motorcycling, but I may have made a mistake paying well into five figures for a Can Am Spyder...some extensive reading around this and another CAN-AM Spyder forums find some frequent threads regarding some significant and serious reliability issues. Looking further shows what seems to be an inordinate feeling the majority of Can-AM dealers are sub par, uncaring, and some even lie to customers. This cannot be true for no manufacturer could remain in business with such a reputation. Yet, the thread seems to be true.

    I live in California and I have three Can-Am dealer/ service centers within 150 miles. None closer. The first is where the Spyder was sold new in 2014. I called them to see what service my Spyder had and when. After about ten days and six messages, no one from the dealer ever even called me back. Hmmmm... my first experience with a Can-Am dealer not good. The other two dealers had a waiting list of three to five weeks just for an (3,000 miles service) oil change. I could go on. I am doing the DESS module change myself mostly because now I don't really trust the dealers.

    Anyway, I guess I am looking for the real owners picture of the Can-Am Spyder, specifically from 2014 on. I know people who find their product great don't often write in forums (or at least I hope this theory is true), but please tell me if your experience with a Spyder (or and a dealer) was positive, and most importantly, are they really a "Touring" motorcycle, or are they just too unreliable to trust them on a trip.
    I can't tell you whether you made a mistake paying as much as you did, since you didn't say what that was. But, it doesn't matter because that's done.

    The SpyderRT is a 'real' touring motorcycle. That's why we bought two for touring the states in our old age. Reliability is statistically NOT an issue with these machines, but you would think so reading some of these alarmist posts on the forum.

    You found out the hard way it seems that BRP's achilles heel is their sparse and spotty dealer service network. The good news is that if you are patient and persistent, you can troubleshoot and fix MOST of the issues that will inevitably arise. I've never had a DESS issue, but I've had a VSS and limp home mode on both our bikes, both of which turned out to be nothing more alarming than a sticky brake switch (easily remedied).

    If you are the kind of person who needs a lot of hand-holding from the dealer, though, it could be a frustrating and expensive experience with routine maintenance and repairs. If so, I strongly recommend that you get involved with the Spyder club in your area. Between the helpful folks in the club and the helpful folks here, your potential for frustration will be greatly diminished I think.

    How close are you to the Sacramento group? https://www.facebook.com/groups/162255490493110/

    2014 RTL Platinum & 2014 RTL Cognac
    Northern Utah in summer; Yuma, AZ in winter.

  4. #4
    Very Active Member JKMSPYDER's Avatar
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    I have owned two Spyders, the latest being a 2015 F3S which I bought new. It now has over 39,000 miles on it and I have never been stranded. I have ridden all over the US and even to Canada and have never worried about a breakdown. In September I will be riding to California for a Spyder rally and then to the Pacific northwest. I have had a few issues that were taken care of under warranty, but nothing major. I would ride my Spyder anywhere with confidence.
    2015 F3-S Can-Am Red, SE6

    Spyderpops Bumpskid
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    2013 ST-S retired 1/9/16 at 25,061 miles

  5. #5
    Very Active Member CopperSpyder's Avatar
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    https://www.spyderlovers.com/forums/...quering-Serbia martin has good videos talk about long trip and reliability see martin on his f3 with two RTs following. always fun to watch martin. Once you get your Spyder squared away you'll love it and I don't think you will have any issues with it.

  6. #6
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    Like you I have been at this for over 50 years. Owned them all and rode them all over this great country. I actually have a very good dealership that has been selling Spyders since the very beginning. They have always answered any questions I have had and seem to be knowledgeable about what they sell. They are a multi brand dealer, but their Spyder customers do not get treated as second class citizens. They have two good techs, but I do my own work because I enjoy it and I am a mechanical kind of guy. I bought a 2015 base model RT in January of 2017. It was brand new and sitting back in the corner all by itself. It was black and as the base model probably not very appealing to most shoppers. I got a great deal on it. At this time it has 25,000 miles on it including a 5000 mile trip to Nova Scotia and the New England states. I installed car tires and Baja Rons shock adjusters and other than a few farkles that is it. Bike is stock, gets oil, filters, and other maintenance at the suggested mileage. I am on the original battery and the RT has been trouble free and reliable. I have experienced the dreaded DESS error twice and both times were after washing the bike and hosing it off leaving a small puddle around the ignition switch. Never other than that. When I can find someone near Ohio with the program to disable the DESS mine will be disabled post haste. Rt is a complicated piece of machinery, but not nearly as complicated as the 2017 Tacoma in the driveway. I would think nothing of jumping on the RT and heading for your place in northern California. Count me as a satisfied customer. Oh yeah, talk about living on the edge. I didn't purchase the extended warranty.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member samewok's Avatar
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    I have a 2015 with 28000 miles the only thing i had is i warped the rotors.
    4" Stubby antenna,Rivco Flag Holder,Third brake light & Run brake and turn,mirror blinkers, cup holder, BRP 25 inch vented windshield ,Spyderpops Bumpskid with inlaid led, w/remote,Spyclops light,Eagle etching on windshield w/light,ground effects,trunk light,volt,meter&dual usb,Ultma seat w/gas door,sway bar&links,1330&Spyder decals,JT dash mount.
    Led head and fog lights

  8. #8
    Very Active Member Lew L's Avatar
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    Hello w6,

    I have a 2014 RT s also. It has never left me stranded. We have driven it on 3 trips of over 2,000 ( and many others of shorter distances )with out a second thought about reliability.

    On forums like this the owners with problems come for help------ The thousands of us who have had little or no trouble don't brag about it much. Hopefully you can get the DESS problem solved as just about all others have. You can even have it disabled. As other have mentioned here and on other threads------ a solid dealer is a great find.
    Kaos----- Gone but not forgotten.

    2014 RTS in circuit yellow, farkeling addiction down to once every few months.ECU FLASH IS GREAT.

  9. #9
    Very Active Member Freddy's Avatar
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    Spyder buyers are a captive market for BRP. As you've read w6ada, a disproportionate number of owners tolerate the reliability issues you read of and have now begun to experience for yourself. I hope you experience no more. As stated, you can have the DESS disabled but a dealer will not do it, or so I've read. One or two regulars on here can do it for you for a fee I believe. For what it was worth, a survey a year or two back rated Spyders at number 10 for reliability. All the defenders protested, but when you're sitting on the side of the road calling for help, stuck in limp mode, waiting weeks for parts and repairs or even diagnosis, that's when the reliability spyder's bite has bit you on the butt. I own a 10yo Spyder and would not trade or swap it for a newer one. Folks like us buy em coz just about no other machine will scratch the itch. Lotsa folks keep coming back for more.
    That's my 2 cents worth.
    The best substitute for brains & knowledge is....................silence.

  10. #10
    Customer Support LeftCoast's Avatar
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    Have you joined this group yet?

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/SRABayArea/
    2015 Pearl White RTL
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  11. #11
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    7 Spyders and no break downs at all. Would ride anywhere without fear,


  12. #12
    Very Active Member Freddy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by honda View Post
    7 Spyders and no break downs at all. Would ride anywhere without fear,


    That must be a record. BRP loves you
    The best substitute for brains & knowledge is....................silence.

  13. #13
    Very Active Member robhowen's Avatar
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    I'm so sorry for your issues and for your wife's feeling of unreliability. If I'm scared of a vehicle it soon goes away.

    In my case my '15 RTL has been rock solid and I go everywhere. I have 30K trouble free miles and a wonderful dealer. We also have a '15 F3S with the same trouble free experience. I can only wish the same for you.

    The best,
    Rob

    Rob


    Quote Originally Posted by w6ada View Post
    Anyway, I guess I am looking for the real owners picture of the Can-Am Spyder
    2015 RT-Ltd SE6 and F3S SE6, both with a number of commercial add-ons plus my own tweaks.

  14. #14
    Very Active Member JayBros's Avatar
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    I have 54,527 on mine; parking brake motor replaced under warranty at 9K miles. No other problems.
    Artillery lends dignity to what would
    otherwise be a vulgar brawl.
    ******************************
    Cognac 2014 RT-S

  15. #15
    Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Peter Aawen's Avatar
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    There are many of us here like Freddy - we've got one of these extrordinary machines, we enjoy ryding them, and generally, they've been thoroughly enjoyable & largely reliable rides for us over many thousands of miles! Many of us tour &/or travel long distances on them; even tho here in Aust, that's often on roads where a breakdown that sees you unable to proceed can become a life-threatening incident pdq! Notwithstanding, we simply make whatever appropriate preparations and take the precautions we believe are necessary and we ryde! For most of us, we do that on our Spyders just like we would on any other machine.... it's not a majorly different thing just because it's a Spyder?! Sure, there have been some significant standout issues where BRP entirely fumbled the ball with their handling & response, but show me a manufacturer that's never had anything like that happen?!

    So the DESS has become a problem for you & many others, but there IS a known range of tested & proven options you can choose from in order to resolve it. Some Ryders won't do anything more than take whatever BRP & their dealer doles out, even if it means the issue might arise again; while others seek a more permanent solution & work out how to get that done, then simply do the necessary so that they never hafta worry about that particular issue any more/ever again! Your ryde, your choice.... But a Spyder is a machine like all others in some ways, but unlike any other in how many miles of smiles most of us get to enjoy on ours! They are made to ryde, so we do - whenever & wherever the moment takes us!

    Who was it who first said - Ryde More, Worry Less!
    2013 RT Ltd

  16. #16
    Very Active Member DGoebel's Avatar
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    For all those concerned about reliability, I'd suggest reading the 100+ posts in the thread titled "Coast-to-Coast trip" at
    https://www.spyderlovers.com/forums/...-to-Coast-trip
    What a wonderful read. Two Spyder's taking route 20 from the west coast to the east coast
    Safe Rides,
    David and Sharon Goebel
    Both Retired USAF Veterans
    2013 RT Limited, Pearl White
    Farkles too numerous to list
    See my Spyder Garage
    IBA 70020

  17. #17
    Very Active Member 4 MARIE's Avatar
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    I started my Spyder experience with a 2014 RTS after many years and miles on 2 wheels, much like you. My 2014 finally got the DESS bug, a few thousand miles into it's journey. Really, that was the ONLY issue I had with it. Except a very slow boot up to be allowed to start it. Which nobody wanted to talk about on this forum or anywhere else. It drove me nuts !
    Otherwise, it was great. The mileage isn't good, what performance machine is? Comfort was high. It was quiet, powerful, even hauling my large body around.
    It was truly a different riding experience, and I toured it. I went to New Mexico, Texas, Pennsylvania, and many closer destinations too. It was still fairly novel and it got plenty of attention.
    I knew there was a risk associated with a 1st year model, the 1330. Just like any first year machine. I traded for another RTS, a 2017, and so far it has addressed all the shortcomings the 2014 had. It really is just brilliant. The 14 was too, just to a lesser degree. It promises to be as reliable as the first one.
    I checked the oil so many times, and for nothing, that I finally quit.
    Tell the lady of the house to relax and enjoy the Ryde. It is at least as reliable as any other motorcycle. It wasn't that long ago if you saw ANY bike broken down on the side of the road, you knew almost without looking that is was a H-D.
    Flatlander, Navy Veteran, Widower
    Loved my 2014 RTS SE6 Pearl white
    but have a new love now,
    my 2017 RTS SE6 Champagne metallic (Champ)

  18. #18
    Active Member Airborne's Avatar
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    Glad i read all this myself w6ada, have been wondering the same myself but understand and agree a lot of people write about the bad experiences.

    Thing is i have a 18 F3 LTD with 2500 km on it now, it squeaks up front, ANYONE KNOW WHY?, the motor rattles and areas, plastics etc, are somewhat cheap BUT i love it, dont think i would go back to two wheels now.

    I think that most problems were in the earlier models and the basics at least are sound now, as Peter says, ride it and don't worry!

  19. #19
    Very Active Member al0vely's Avatar
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    I am curious if the OP came to this forum before the purchase - this would have been a good place to start before owning one. I personally lurked around this site for a few months before I purchased my 2016 F3L and 2 years later purchased the 2014 RTS.

    It sounds like touring with your Spyder is out of the question since your wife deems it unreliable - I would get rid of it since you have an unhappy wife and continue with the Vespa as a local solo fun machine.
    Love my Spyders
    2016 F3L SE6 delivered 7/16/2016
    Lamonster - third peg, key cover; BRP - driver and passenger backrest, half cover, vibration damper; Wolo Bad Boy horn; Wrap My Spyder decals; SpyderPops - foam grips, BRT lights, mirror turn signal lights, bump skid; PB1 - F3 Performance Foot Pegs, MBL innovations luggage rack, Autoinbox top case, Show Chrome windshield

    2014 RTS SE6 - Circuit Yellow purch 3/2/2018
    No more 2 wheels

  20. #20
    Very Active Member Chupaca's Avatar
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    Default Mistake....

    No mistake....
    Gene and Ilana De Laney
    Mt. Helix, California

    ​2012 RS sm5

  21. #21
    Active Member Pat Clark's Avatar
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    This is my second Spyder. The first was a used 13RTL. Had one issue with the reverse switch (fixed under warranty) Made the mistake of test riding a 16 F3T. Traded the RTL with 45,000 miles on it. The 16 F3T (one of the last SEM's) is now just shy of 30k. The only thing that's been done to it is oil changes and rear tires (just on my second) My biggest issue is my girlfriend falling asleep and banging the back of my helmet when she slumps forward Maybe I've been lucky or maybe it's just a good machine. What you read most on forums and product reviews are people with complaints or problems. Probably most of which are justified but to me it seems that folks with no or few issues with products don't post, they just keep on truckin'. Hope your issues get resolved. Ride safe, life is short.

    Pat
    SIGPIC]2

    2016 F3T Lamonster RIP boards, fog lights, Longhorn mirror lights, power plate. SpyderPops skid plate. Painted the silver air intake and grill.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Navydad View Post
    Like you I have been at this for over 50 years. Owned them all and rode them all over this great country. I actually have a very good dealership that has been selling Spyders since the very beginning. They have always answered any questions I have had and seem to be knowledgeable about what they sell. They are a multi brand dealer, but their Spyder customers do not get treated as second class citizens. They have two good techs, but I do my own work because I enjoy it and I am a mechanical kind of guy. I bought a 2015 base model RT in January of 2017. It was brand new and sitting back in the corner all by itself. It was black and as the base model probably not very appealing to most shoppers. I got a great deal on it. At this time it has 25,000 miles on it including a 5000 mile trip to Nova Scotia and the New England states. I installed car tires and Baja Rons shock adjusters and other than a few farkles that is it. Bike is stock, gets oil, filters, and other maintenance at the suggested mileage. I am on the original battery and the RT has been trouble free and reliable. I have experienced the dreaded DESS error twice and both times were after washing the bike and hosing it off leaving a small puddle around the ignition switch. Never other than that. When I can find someone near Ohio with the program to disable the DESS mine will be disabled post haste. Rt is a complicated piece of machinery, but not nearly as complicated as the 2017 Tacoma in the driveway. I would think nothing of jumping on the RT and heading for your place in northern California. Count me as a satisfied customer. Oh yeah, talk about living on the edge. I didn't purchase the extended warranty.
    I am also in Ohio.. Whois your Dealer ?

  23. #23
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    In the past few years, I have owned 3 Harley Tri Glide Ultras and one 2015 F3S. I bought my F3S with 6k miles from a dealer and only rode it about 4k miles in 1.5 years. However, I did not experience any malfunctions that would have left me stranded. My only knock on BRP products is that there are too few dealers and many of the dealers have only 1 technician that can work on the product which makes wait times extraordinarily long.

    With the relatively low volume of sales that BRP has in the USA, there are also many reported issues with parts availability of even pretty common parts. For some of those reasons and the fact that I didn't ryde my Spyder as often as I thought I would, I sold it this past year. There were some things I liked better on the Spyder than the Harley like the comfort of the ryde, but in the end, I chose a noisy, rougher riding piece of American iron that I can at least find a ton of techs for if needed and lots of parts availability.

  24. #24
    Very Active Member PMK's Avatar
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    2014 RTS in this house. We bought it in January of 2014, back when this forum had most of the group profoundly saying never buy a first model year, let them get it sorted out and so much more. Ironically, many of those naysayers did buy the first model year a few months later, and fully enjoyed it.

    The Spyder is a machine, as we both realize, it can have mechanical issues, just like any car or other motorcycle.

    The 2014 RT series is actually not a bad machine at all. The two known concerns for the machine are the DESS and the front tires.

    The true downside with any Spyder is that the dealership structure is weak or non existent in most areas, and the techs often are not very good. Add to that the BRP corporate method of dealing with Spyders, and poor dealership structure makes things difficult also.

    Fortunately, the DESS has been sorted out. Ideally that new module will resolve your issues. If not replace the DESS antenna if possible and not the entire ignition switch.

    As for those tires, after you resolve the DESS concern, swap away the oem Kendas for some automotive tires. Then enjoy many miles with that Spyder.

    You might also consider lowering the drive belt tension to 140 pounds with the wheel off the ground. This will reduce vibration from the belt.

    As for the dealers and BRP corporate, sadly, no changing that. Find a reputable quality dealer, even if it requires some distance to get there, and use them. For comparison, I ride 2 1/2 hours, 155 miles one way to our dealer of choice when needed. To do this, i pass by our local dealer 10 miles from home, and pass by several other Spyder dealers also.

    All the best with it.

  25. #25
    Very Active Member bodymanpainter's Avatar
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    My wife and I bought a 2014 RTS new in Feb. 2014 and took it on many long trips pulling a trailer and two up with
    no problems at all and 34000 miles later she sold it because she didn't want to ride anymore.
    So I can say that ours was a great and dependable bike, I also have a 2016 F3T with over 38000 trouble free miles
    and would not hesitate to go cross country on it now. So my experience with the Spyders has been very good, be
    patient and give it some time and you will more than likely come to love the bike and all that it has to offer.
    Any way good luck to you and hope it all works out well.
    Toby

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