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Old 07-21-2013, 07:07 PM   #1
Chisenhallw OP
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Negative Can-Am review

I'm just going to do two things right off the bat.

1. Spoiler alert, I didn't like the Can-Am and in fact quite hated it. I promise I'm not trolling - if you want one, I wish you the best of luck and the best of riding experiences. I didn't like it for a variety of objective & subjective reasons, which I will graphically detail below. Which leads me to...

2. Apologize to every Can-Am rider out there because I am about to tear this thing a new one.

The worst thing I have ever ridden was a Hyosung. Never, ever buy a Hyosung. If you do, I won't apologize at all, I will just point and laugh at you. There's a guy somewhere in Baltimore who owns one, and I am absolutely certain all his friends think he is dumber than a bag of hammers.

The second worst thing I have ever ridden is a Can-Am ST. Let me begin at the beginning.

I went to the Carlisle Bike Fest this weekend, ostensibly for the sole purpose of test-riding everything they would let me out the gate with. There were a number of demo trucks there, so there was a good likelihood that I would have a pleasing morning on however many wheels I had time for. I had a fine old time at the Kawi truck testing the 300 and the new Concours. Having a few spare minutes and being absolutely ignorant of the product, I wandered over to the Can-Am truck.

I have no desire for one. I don't know anything about them. I was an absolute blank slate. I generally am, mentally.

At the Kawasaki demo, they check your license & your gear, you attend a 5 minute safety briefing ("Please keep both wheels on the ground") and then you take off with your group. When I got to the Can-Am truck, first they check your license. Then you fill out a 5 x 7 sheet of paper which will be your rider evaluation. Then you fill out a questionnaire on an ipad and submit it. Good so far.

Now you watch a five minute safety video. Sure, ok.

Then you attend the safety meeting. We're 15 minutes into this, and I've heard the same information three times (DON'T COUNTERSTEER, I GET IT). I'm getting a little but I still kind of understand. These are not like anything I've ever ridden. The instructor goes through the starting process for the vehicle, which goes something like this;

Put your foot on the brake. Turn the key to 'on'. Wait for the computer to boot up. When it boots up, it instructs you to read a safety card (so the Can-Am wants you to read the safety card every. Time. You. Climb. Aboard.). Once you have (not) read the permanently-attached safety card which slides out from a cover over the instrumentation, you press the 'mode' button. Then you press the start button. I"m not kidding. This is just to fire the engine. And you've only pressed about half the buttons on the thing.

Now, I think, the vehicle is actually running.

In order to move the vehicle forward, you push the parking brake button. No, your foot has to be on the brake. So you mash on the brake then you press the button again. Then you depress the thumb shifter to 1st. Then you let off the brake, give it throttle, and bob's your uncle.

It's all fly-by-wire, and the most ludicrous starting process I've ever seen. All the vehicle's systems are like this. They are all fussy, and touchy, and must be performed with exhausting precision every time. My ex-wife wasn't this fussy, and she had OCD/CDO, and ended up in a methadone clinic to boot.* Whoever designed this must have been the evil redheaded six-fingered child of a lawyer and an engineer, and I think both of them were drunk. And stupid. And maybe chinese.

Not that there's anything wrong with being chinese.

So these two lists of steps have to be explained to every single person on this group ride. We all have questions, because none of us can believe this is the actual process to get the vehicle moving.

Ok, so all 8 of the riders now intellectually understand the process of getting the vehicle moving, and now we all have to take driving tests. Every single one of us has to navigate a cone course on the machine. Some of us have to do it twice cause someone bumped a cone (not me).

We're an hour into the test process.

"Hey, how long is the group demo ride?"
"Fifteen minutes."
"So we're forty-five minutes into a safety meeting for a fifteen minute ride."
"That's a load of crap."

So after the questionnaire, the ipad thingie, the gear check, the license check, the video, the safety meeting, and the qualification rides, WE'RE FINALLY READY TO RIDE. We amble over & pick out our vehicles. I end up with a big yellow ST. I feel like I am on Big Bird's back. And we finally get out into traffic.

Riding it is like....well, here's what you do. Go over to your fat mother-in-law's house. If you don't have a fat mother-in-law find one. It's better if she is unpredictable and doesn't speak english very well. This incomprehensibility mirrors the 'logic' behind the Can-Am's systems. Now that you have acquired a fat, ESL, crazy mother-in-law, get her blind drunk on rotgut whiskey. When she is at her drunkest comes the critical moment.

Kick her in the vulva, HARD, and then jump on her back. Grab her ponytails and give a hard yank. You're ready to ride.

The vehicle feels, at any moment, like it will careen into a ditch on the side of the road. The handling is extremely twitchy, and despite my steady nerve and calm demeanor, that fat drunk mother-in-law was ready to shuck me off her back at any moment. I rode her in panic and fear, clinging on solely with mercy and prayer.

Shifting is merely a suggested activity - the thumb-paddle shifter is programmed in such a way that you must upshift, but you don't have to downshift if you don't want to. So if you are throttling down, the engine may unexpectedly make a loud KACHUNK sound (because the gearbox sounds like your mother-in-law's artificial knee just threw its hydraulics) and kick back over to the high-whine of the next lowest gear. What gear am I in! Who cares! It doesn't matter! WTF! OMG! Oh, and it's all clutchless. Oh, and oh, in the safety meeting they told us not to upshift until you got to 5k rpm, and 8k rpm was better, because at low RPM the clutch plates would slam together too hard. Please, wind out the engine until it throws a rod and you.

We ride, careen, in an unsteady line for 15 minutes, turn around in a parking lot and go back. We never got out of 3rd gear. I get why we're only out for 15 minutes.

Plus, there's all the hostile stares from other bikers. Squids, dorks, and pirates all look at us like we are riding a conga line of fat drunk mother-in-laws on PA Hwy 22. They are unified in their horror and dismay, because riding a conga line of fat drunk mother-in-laws on PA Hwy 22 is exactly what we are doing.

We roll back to the demo truck and I just dismount and walk away. I'd almost rather have ridden a Hyosung.


Again, I apologize to any and all Can-Am riders out there. I hope you have safe and enjoyable riding experiences.

* - She's also naked on the internet. PM me and I'll link you the pictures. For as much as I paid for them I'll show them to ANYBODY. Sorry, I double-checked after I posted this thread and she's taken them down. Rehab must've wised her up.
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Chisenhallw screwed with this post 07-21-2013 at 07:13 PM
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:16 PM   #2
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You should write sales brochures
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:50 PM   #3
Chisenhallw OP
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Originally Posted by Dynamick View Post
You should write sales brochures
You own a small business don't you? I already have a slogan. "We've upped our quality; now up yours!"
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:46 PM   #4
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You know you can start it without reading the safety card, right?

A positive attitude may not solve all your problems, but it will annoy enough people to make it worth the effort.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:49 PM   #5
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in 07 i signed up for a test ride at 0930 at daytona bike week. had to blow into a tube to check blood alcohol had it easy.
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:58 PM   #6
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I test drove a friend's and enjoyed it immensely, a very very high tech riding experience - not my thing, however. I guess Can-Am should read your post and change their test ride procedures a bit. I would have been annoyed with a 45 min intro/safety session as well. Kawasaki's test rides are always easy and great!
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Old 07-21-2013, 08:58 PM   #7
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Are you going with a yellow one then, or ?

-“Ah, you're wasting you're time. They can't track us over rocks.
Tell them that.......... --Who are those guys?”

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Old 07-21-2013, 09:00 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by rxcoop View Post
in 07 i signed up for a test ride at 0930 at daytona bike week. had to blow into a tube to check blood alcohol had it easy.

So how drunk did you have to be before you thought it was a good idea to ride one ?
I'm diagonally parked in a parallel universe.
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Old 07-22-2013, 12:10 AM   #9
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I want one. But first I need one with a blown motor so I can yank all the nanny state electronics and drop a Busa motor in it. Light em up and slide em around.
Topes never seem to make me go any faster.
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Old 07-22-2013, 01:33 AM   #10
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No offence but you come over as a complete idiot in that "review".

So if you were providing 100,000s of $ of vehicles at a show, that were completely different to ride than almost any other vehicle made, you'd just let any random Joe turn up and take one out without a second thought would you? Do you have any idea of how much damage gets caused on road tests?
Have you considered what their insurance bill is like to even get these vehicles available for someone like you who has no intention whatsoever of buying one? No.

Secondly, you can't ride one. It's no biggie. You're probably good at knitting, or something a bit more indoor related. ;) Can Ams are enormous fun to ride, fast, pin point handling, just excellent in every way.

I suggest that you either have an alternate agenda, or you are an idiot.

I've been wrong before though. :)
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:46 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Unstable Rider View Post
Are you going with a yellow one then, or ?

Yellow with the touring top case...
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Old 07-22-2013, 03:56 AM   #12
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Been there and done that!

They must a bit more relaxed about things here in Aus. I had the 'usual' safety briefing, but it lasted 5 minutes and only covered the useful stuff like stopping and cornering.

I will say that I loved your wit and sense of humour though. It fits the scene nicely, and I must admit that I was ready to walk away from the Spyder RS-S I tested. I would have been happy to leave it in the rest-stop and hitch a ride home it was that 'different' (read 'terrible'). Or so I thought.

The sales guy said I would hate it. He was right. He said that when I got 50 or 60 kilometres from the shop, I should stop, park the machine and take a breather. God I needed that breather! He said I should take a while to just relax and walk around the machine. So I did. He said take at least 10 minutes before getting back on. I took 12. Or maybe 20. I didn't want to get back on.

The ride home was totally different. The thing worked better than I expected and I suddenly realized I was zipping along at an inappropriate speed on a twisty back-road and feeling pretty good about the 'fun-machine'. It takes a while to 'learn' how it works and to 'unlearn' a lifetime of motorcycle skills. It's no motorcycle, but it has a place. Just not at my place at the moment.

I worry about the degree and complexity of the electronics after the warranty period expires. I don't worry about what other 'bikers' might think about me riding one, one day. I think you need to give it a chance. I think you chose the wrong environment to try one. But I still love the description of the experience. That's classic!
And so ends my 'Adventure' era (SOLD)
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:13 AM   #13
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It is easy for anyone (me) to be flip but MIXR may have hit the nail right on the head with the added level of "work" verses "play" at that type of show. I wasn't there. Chisenhallw did Can Am educate everyone in your ride group at once or was it a packed class with part going out at a time. 45 minutes of lecture for a 15 minute ride up one road turn around and back down the same road, I'd not like it either. Even if the BRP badge on the front was a glory hole cover.
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Old 07-22-2013, 04:35 AM   #14
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They had us in batches of 8-10; everybody did the entire 45 minute safety class at once, took the driving test one at a time, and then went out on the group ride. My experience might've been different if they'd have had more staff for the driving test, enabling more than one person at a time to take the test. And if they'd let us out on the vehicles for more than 15 minutes. Perhaps I might've become accustomed to the riding style and not felt like I was about to fly off the bloody thing.

I'm not here with an agenda; I am, however, a complete grade-a double-plus moran. I told the truth about my experience. I had a great time with Kawi, and they let me out on a vehicle that cost at least as much as a Can-Am.

If you own one, and you like it, awesome! Post up about it! I applaud you, and I'm not going to trash talk your ride. They're just not for me. They're too complex, too touchy, too overbuilt for my taste. I'm an idiot. I like simple.
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Old 07-22-2013, 07:24 AM   #15
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Guess you said it better than anyone: they are not for you! A couple of things I do not get: you go to a motorcycle shows to test every bikes? Does not matter what is there on offer as long as it is free?? Obviously you are not in the market for anything: it just cheaper than a day at the amusement park!
Having what I call my "touring appliance" (RTs) for over 2 years I can understand your challenges with the starting method and/or the riding, sure you do not operate any modern phone/computer/oven/cable TV or car? They are all following the same, geek, logic!
Finding a Can Am unstable is due to the "death grip": a newby mistake of hanging to the handlebars and over reacting...
I only hope you will now test drive a Ural sidecar (yes I have one too...) and amuse us with your findings!
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