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  1. #1
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    Default 2021 (early) RT base 1st ride evaluation

    I traded my 2018 RTL 2 weeks ago for a new 2021 (early) RT base model. I took my 1st real ride today and wanted to evaluate the bike and compare it to the 2018. Bear in mind I only got off the '18 2 weeks ago so that experience is still fresh in my mind.

    200 miles today and a mixture of just about all riding. Stop-n-go traffic (thank you I77 construction...will you EVER be done?), winding skinny roads with gentle curves, superslab and some wonderfully curvy 2 lanes (parts of which probably rival the Dragons). Cool today, started out in the upper 40s and ended up about 60. Sunny with little breeze.

    Handling-Both bikes were on the stock Kendas and no aftermarket sway bar. The 2018 wasn't bad. I could zip around corners (once I got used to 3 wheels). On the 2021, I feel like I'm on rails. The 2021 is worlds above the 2018. I can't imagine what it will be like with car tires (or maybe even a Baja Ron upgrade). Curves where I would feel the need to lean deeply into on the 2018, I ride through (at the same speed) without much lean from me. I understand the sway bars are supposed to be the same and the suspension was supposed to have been tweaked. I guess so cuz it works. The only "issue" I have is that the 2021 feels quite a bit more "twitchy" than the 2018. (I think that means it needs to be aligned but I can't remember.) WINNER: 2021

    Comfort-I'd say the seat is better on the 2018. I got a little bit of NNS (Numb Nuts Syndrome) after about an hour and a half. My "sits" bones were talking but not screaming after the same time. I think I could get an extra 45 minutes out of the 2018 over the 2021. I was going to put my Buttbuddy seat cushion on the 2021 but there doesn't seem to be any place to hook it to the seat. Not sure what I'll do about this. Maybe I'll look into the Comfort seat. Not sure there's much aftermarket yet. RDL seats are the cat's a** but I'm NOT spending $1500 on a seat. Seth Laam is about 1/2 that but I'll get a 2" raise. Doesn't seem like that would work since I like the slightly lower seating position on the 2021. WINNER: 2018

    Floorboards-Holy Christmas! These new floorboards are in-freaking-credible! They're what BuRP should have had in 2010. They're wider and longer than the "originals". I can finally stretch out my legs. Four more inches and I could get my legs completely straight. Just the right angle on the front of them. SO MUCH easier to get to the brake pedal. Just shy of perfection. The 2018 'boards were narrow, short and inadequate. WINNER: 2021 (by a mile)

    Power-Either the '21 has more power than the '18 (which I doubt) or BuRP has changed the throttle response. For example, I passed a truck on a 2 lane and was 1/2 way around it before I realized there were 2 cars in front of it. In for a penny, in for a pound. I mashed the gas and BAM! I got around the vehicles and looked down at the speedo. 97mph and that number came up FAST. (I was on a closed course owned privately and the "vehicles" I mentioned were cardboard cutouts.) The '18 never accelerated like that. (I bought it new and put just under 4k miles on it.) WINNER: 2021

    Fuel Economy-I ride.......aggressively, to put it mildly. The faster I can take a curve and the faster I can accelerate, the happier I am. Point being, I don't really care much for fuel economy. All that being said, the '18 probably got better fuel mileage but the '21 only has 300 miles on her now so my fuel mileage will go up. WINNER: 2018 (probably)

    Looks-This is subjective, I know. Some like the GSs, some like the looks of the Rykers, some like....well, you get it. I like the look of the 2019 and prior RT but I think the 2020+ looks better. I think it looks more modern and a bit more aggressive. I think the 2021 looks sportier, too. I like the 2021 wheels better, too. Again, this is all subjective. WINNER: 2021 (but not by a lot)

    Dash/console-The 2018 has the same screen as my 2021 however, the design of the cover was a bit funky on the '18. At the bottom of the screen, the cover came in to a couple points. I don't think that looked good and it was almost impossible to clean w/o using a toothpick. The new dash doesn't have that "treatment" which is a good thing. I also think the general shape of the dash looks better. WINNER: 2021

    Mirrors-Easy to see on the 2018. Could have been a little bigger. The mirrors looks are much improved on the 2021. They look more modern and have a larger piece of glass. Unfortunately, that's where the improvements end. Most of them shake. Both Lamonster and Squared Away have fixes for them but those shouldn't be needed. Then we come to the placement. Total failure. With the stock bars, I have to lean out to see anything and most of what I see are the grips. I'm getting F3 bars installed next weekend. I'm guessing that will only make things worse. Lamonster sells both mirrors and top caps to mount them. $250 to fix what shouldn't have been an issue in the 1st place. WINNER: 2018

    Side bags-The 2018 side bags opened easier and the latches were much easier to get to. I don't care for the latches and the fact that there's no central locking like on the 2018. It's my understanding that the bag interiors are identical so there aren't any extra points either way on that. WINNER: 2018

    Brakes-The 2021 says "Brembo" on the brake calipers. No idea if the 2018 had Brembo brakes. The owners manual said no hard braking for the 1st 200 miles. Something about a coating on the new brakes? I dunno but I tried to make sure I was easy on them. The last 100 miles, well, I used them as needed. Fast to a corner, hard on the brakes, hard out of the corner. I don't see any issues with the new brakes but I didn't see any issues with the old brakes, either. WINNER: 2021 (only because the calipers say BREMBO!)

    Other notes: I can hear the 45mph pulley whine on the 2021. Never heard it on the 2018. The 2021 frunk opens easier. The 2021 windscreen doesn't wiggle as much as the 2018.

  2. #2
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    Very nice report thank you. New member waiting on my new 2021.by the way were the cardboard cutout vehicles due to covid19

  3. #3
    Very Active Member JayBros's Avatar
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    Your '18 had Brembos.
    Artillery lends dignity to what would
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    Cognac 2014 RT-S

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by MONK View Post
    The only "issue" I have is that the 2021 feels quite a bit more "twitchy" than the 2018. (I think that means it needs to be aligned but I can't remember.)
    If you are referring to the feeling that it constantly wants to go left and right, that may be resolved with a BajaRon swaybar. It made a significant difference on mine.

  5. #5
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    Appreciate the review -
    2020 RT Ride Frequent Stay Safe
    Aftermarket Aux Light, GPS mounting/wiring, Lamonster Garage Mirror Lock, Lamonster Garage Belt Tensioner
    Backrest Home Brew Mod

    2008 RS from 2008 through 4/2015, 2015 F3-S from 4/2015 through 9/2020

  6. #6
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    Dang good review, so I'm back with ya Monk, when I saw the 2021 headline, I had to read it. Seems not much change from the 2020, the handle bar riser adjustment, great move by BRP, the hard bag openers, an improvement on the 21, the left latch on my 20 is way too stiff, all those minor things can be fixed on the 20, and I'm very impressed with my first Spyder.

  7. #7
    Very Active Member ThreeWheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MONK View Post
    The only "issue" I have is that the 2021 feels quite a bit more "twitchy" than the 2018. (I think that means it needs to be aligned but I can't remember.) WINNER: 2021
    Quote Originally Posted by WilcoJunoHotel View Post
    If you are referring to the feeling that it constantly wants to go left and right, that may be resolved with a BajaRon swaybar. It made a significant difference on mine.
    Alignment and sway bar are potential reasons. Don't forget the easiest, please check the air pressure on the front tires. It should be around 18 PSI and equal in both tires. If the tire pressure is too high, the bike sits up "on the balls of it's feet" and feels twitchy. This is particularly sensitive with the Kenda OEM tires.

    Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeWheels View Post
    Alignment and sway bar are potential reasons. Don't forget the easiest, please check the air pressure on the front tires. It should be around 18 PSI and equal in both tires. If the tire pressure is too high, the bike sits up "on the balls of it's feet" and feels twitchy. This is particularly sensitive with the Kenda OEM tires.

    Just my opinion, I could be wrong.
    Owners manual said 20# which is what I've got it at but I'll air them down to 18# and see if that matters. New shoes are in the near future, I'm sure. I don't know when/if I'll get a Baja Ron sway bar. It's really good with the stock one. I'd almost feel like I needed to ride someone elses 2020+ RT with a Baja Ron bar before I dropped $500.

  9. #9
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    I run the stock tire air pressure on mine and dropping it down didn't help; However, the test ride that I had on the same base '20 model at a different dealer almost had me NOT buying a Spyder. Not sure if the bike had a problem or if they had tire pressures way off but I was ready to get off of it after about 2 miles. It felt unsafe the way it was moving around. I had attributed this to the noted "takes 1000 miles of riding to get used to it" feel of the Spyder but that bike was so bad I couldn't believe anyone would put up with it so I went to another dealer and rode another one and although it still had the wiggle, it was not near as bad. Reading the posts here led me to the conclusion to invest in a sway bar and I am now 100% happy with the way it rides and handles. Now, on the interstate at 80+ it tracks extremely well. Different tires may be in my future too but I am going to ride the stock tires for a while before doing that.

  10. #10
    aka: akspyderman ARtraveler's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review.

    Currently Owned: 2019 F3 Limited, 2014 RTS-SE6 (yellow), 2015 Vulcan 900 LTD

    Previously : 2008 GS-SM5 (silver), 2009 RS-SE5 (red), 2010 RT-S Premier Editon #474 (black) 2011 RT A&C SE5 (magnesium). 6 Spyders, 11 years, 167,000 miles


  11. #11
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    Put the F3T bars on my 20 RT and rear vision is much better! Hands are up out of the mirror.You will be glad you did it!

  12. #12
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    Now, I'm in a pickle. I installed Attitude bars this morning and the grip angle is worlds better. Not perfect for me but definitely much better than the stock bars. I assume (which I hate to do) the F3 bars have the same grip angle as the stock RT bars. I'd keep the Attitude bars but I really need something a couple inches higher. I don't suppose BuRP makes a taller Attitude bar, do they? I'm not a big fan of risers although Lamonts riser looks as nice as any riser could be. I'll still have the shop install the F3 bars next weekend but if the grip angle is uncomfortable, I'm thinking my only 2 options would be Lamonts riser with the Attitude bars or Helibars. I just don't know that I can justify $600 for the Helibars. (They're also not very good looking although I understand if you want the multiple adjustments, you have to sacrifice the looks somewhat.)

    Anyone have any suggestions other than my own conclusions?

    HAGO!

  13. #13
    Very Active Member blacklightning's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review. You seem to be point on with what my buddies have been telling me when comparing their 2014 & 2015 RT to their 2020 Limited. All except for the power thing. They both say that their older models had more power, and the gas milage was much better on the older one. I am still riding my 2016 F3T and finding it hard to give up the power difference for a 2020+. With the larger pulley, there is a significant difference in power between the F3T and the newer RT. But I do like the looks of the new RT better than any spyder so far. Also, be careful to dry any shiny parts when they get wet (handle bar bolts, etc.). I read a post by Lamont about the rusting of some of those pieces and even the exhaust (cat). I didn't say anything until about 2 weeks ago I went in and test rode a 2020 RT. It had less than 300 miles and was about 2 months old. There was already rust around the handle bar mounting bolts. When looking at them closer, you can tell that they are a cheaper material than what is on the earlier models. Hope to see you and get to ride next weekend.

  14. #14
    Very Active Member ThreeWheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MONK View Post
    Now, I'm in a pickle. I installed Attitude bars this morning and the grip angle is worlds better. Not perfect for me but definitely much better than the stock bars. I assume (which I hate to do) the F3 bars have the same grip angle as the stock RT bars. I'd keep the Attitude bars but I really need something a couple inches higher. I don't suppose BuRP makes a taller Attitude bar, do they? I'm not a big fan of risers although Lamonts riser looks as nice as any riser could be. I'll still have the shop install the F3 bars next weekend but if the grip angle is uncomfortable, I'm thinking my only 2 options would be Lamonts riser with the Attitude bars or Helibars. I just don't know that I can justify $600 for the Helibars. (They're also not very good looking although I understand if you want the multiple adjustments, you have to sacrifice the looks somewhat.)

    Anyone have any suggestions other than my own conclusions?

    HAGO!
    I love the HeliBars. Infinitely adjustable for comfort.
    I don't think they're particularly unattractive, although I've darkened the bright bolts to make them less apparent.
    It only hurts once, and I've ridden for as much as 9 hours with them.

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    Very Active Member DGoebel's Avatar
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    Thanks for the review and comparison. That really helps to have some concise comparisons.
    Safe Rides,
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    Monk, I went for the the 'short reach' bars, I'm a short 5'7", 29" inseam, a bit close but can be adjusted by removing the stop pin an rotating the bars. they seem to work pretty well. Stebeck has a post on this and some pics.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeWheels View Post
    I love the HeliBars. Infinitely adjustable for comfort.
    I don't think they're particularly unattractive, although I've darkened the bright bolts to make them less apparent.
    It only hurts once, and I've ridden for as much as 9 hours with them.

    Snapshot - 4.jpg
    Thanks. $600 worth of hurt is a lot, bro. I'll see how the F3 bars feel. I'm guessing (and it's only a guess at this point) the height will be fine but the grip angle will leave something to be desired. Time will tell if the grip angle will be an issue or not. Too bad Lamont doesn't sell his Billy Club bars any more. From the few vids I've seen, it looks like the grip angle is better than stock and of course they're higher.

    As far as the looks, I only think they're a bit unattractive due to the "busyness" of them. I like a more simple look. If I ended up getting a set of Helibars, how did you darken the bolts? I've used black fingernail polish before on previous bikes. Hard as a rock and a little bit of shine as opposed to a black marker.

    HAGO!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bikerbillone View Post
    Monk, I went for the the 'short reach' bars, I'm a short 5'7", 29" inseam, a bit close but can be adjusted by removing the stop pin an rotating the bars. they seem to work pretty well. Stebeck has a post on this and some pics.
    I'm a bit taller and I think the short reach bars would be too close. I'm hoping the standard F3 bars will work but we'll see on Saturday. I read Stebecks thread. I'm not comfortable removing that pin. In my mechanically challenged world, I'd jack it up.

    HAGO!

  19. #19
    Very Active Member ThreeWheels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MONK View Post
    Thanks. $600 worth of hurt is a lot, bro. I'll see how the F3 bars feel. I'm guessing (and it's only a guess at this point) the height will be fine but the grip angle will leave something to be desired. Time will tell if the grip angle will be an issue or not. Too bad Lamont doesn't sell his Billy Club bars any more. From the few vids I've seen, it looks like the grip angle is better than stock and of course they're higher.

    As far as the looks, I only think they're a bit unattractive due to the "busyness" of them. I like a more simple look. If I ended up getting a set of Helibars, how did you darken the bolts? I've used black fingernail polish before on previous bikes. Hard as a rock and a little bit of shine as opposed to a black marker.

    HAGO!
    You're right, $600 is a lot of money, but I justified it by thinking of how many times will you spend $150 each trying individual bars until you got one that fits ?
    If you find the bars that fit, more power to you.
    As to darkening the bolts, I used a combination of gun-bluing solution and black plastic caps. Seems to hold up pretty well.

    Keep us posted so we know how you make out.
    Best of luck to you.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ThreeWheels View Post
    You're right, $600 is a lot of money, but I justified it by thinking of how many times will you spend $150 each trying individual bars until you got one that fits ?
    If you find the bars that fit, more power to you.
    As to darkening the bolts, I used a combination of gun-bluing solution and black plastic caps. Seems to hold up pretty well.

    Keep us posted so we know how you make out.
    Best of luck to you.
    I've already got (3) different bars (stock RT bars, Attitude bars and stock F3 bars) so there's $450 so far (not that I've spent that much on them...the F3 bars were $100 as part of a deal on my new bike and I got a good deal on the Attitude bars). The most I'd spend going forward would be an additional $120 for Lamonts risers if I kept the Attitude bars but I get where you're coming from.

    I hadn't thought about blueing solution. Good idea. If I go the Helibar route, I'll have to contact you to get exact sizes and sourcing info on the caps.

    Thanks!

    HAGO!

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