The Can-Am Ryker is the stripped-down version of the Spyder, a three-wheeled open-air vehicle often compared to a motorcycle but functionally more like a cross between a scooter and a trike.
The Ryker equips a liquid-cooled twin-engine, available in 600 or 900 ccs with 50 and 82 HP, respectively.
With its automatic transmission, reverse gear, and ample storage and passenger capacity, the Ryker makes for a great open-air touring experience, but what are the common problems with the Can-Am Ryker?
Here’s a comprehensive list of the most commonly reported issues with the Can-Am Ryker!
Table of Contents
1. Can-Am Ryker Clunking Noise
The Can-Am Ryker makes intrusive metallic clunking noises, especially while the rider is accelerating.
Ryker riders note that the clunking sound is particularly noticeable during the break-in period but that the sound never goes away.
Here’s a testimony from a Ryker owners that describe the clunking noise in question:
“My 2020 Ryker only makes the standard clunk when first taking off and engaging. It doesn’t make any noise when letting off the throttle or slowing down.”
So why do Can-Am Rykers make clunking sounds while accelerating, and is it normal?
Yes, the clunking noise you hear while accelerating from a stop on your Can-Am Ryker is expected due to the slack in the drive train. The Ryker’s unique transmission system is slacked without tension until it reaches 1800 RPMs, this is where the slack engages the drive train – making the clunk sound.
Experienced Ryker riders report that with practice, they develop a feel for feathering their throttle in a way that reduces the slack enough to stop the clunking noise from occurring.
According to the dealerships, these riders consulted, the clunking noise isn’t causing any damage.
If you do hear a suspicious noise, you may be misled into thinking it’s just the regular clunk sound when in reality there is an actual problem – more on that in the next section.
2. Can-Am Ryker Pulley Spring Problems
Another clunk problem with the Ryker is due to problems with the pulley spring – to be clear, this noise is different from the clunk mentioned in the previous section.
While some claim the sound was caused by shoddy springs, others say it was due to poor dealership assembly.
Regardless, it’s an issue that got missed by many people who were told a clunk sound was typical, so they didn’t contact their dealerships.
As it turns out, their pully springs were out of adjustment, so they worked against each other. In some cases, the springs were damaged, but it was hard to know if they were faulty to begin with, causing the bad adjustment or if the poor adjustment was the cause of the damaged spring.
The result is the sheaves on the larger drive pulley open up, causing a delay in the drive belt.
Here’s an example:
“Going down a fairly steep downhill today with the throttle closed fully, kept doing what I would call an inexperienced driver changing down gears, a jolt, and a clonking noise. Annoying as it continued till we came to the bottom of the hill. It seems that happens when you have a situation where the engine should be braking the bike downhill. New 2020 Ryker Rally”
To some, this sounds oddly similar to the symptoms of the noise outlined in the above sections.
For the clunk noise mentioned in section one, Ryker owners report that the technicians told them the clunk sound was normal, while these circumstances resulted in repairs.
Here’s an excerpt from a real-life Ryker owner that explains a bit more:
“I am not extremely familiar with the CVT. But there are several moving parts, of course. I’d say the centrifugal weights that control pulley diameter are hanging up. It seems to happen near the same RPM all the time. Instead of a smooth transition, as designed, the pulley hangs up until a lower RPM is reached, where the springs overcome the friction point. This is when you get a sudden change in pulley diameter, giving you the ‘Clunk,’ which is not how the CVT is supposed to work. With only one pulley changing size, the belt gets loose (as in a neutral configuration) until the other pulley suddenly makes the proper adjustment.”
3. Can-Am Ryker Won’t Start
This might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised how many Ryker owners complain about how hard it is to start their Ryker before they figure out a few of the tricks we’ll explain below.
First, let’s take a look at what we mean when we describe a Can-Am Ryker not starting:
“So, I’m in Forward gear with the handbrake on and the RF key attached. I press the starter to wake up the bike, flick the red engine Run switch ON, and hear what I presume is the fuel pump priming. I twist the throttle gently and back again and can hear a further whine. My engine light is illuminated orange in outline during this time. I have a full tank of fuel. I’ve tried varying lengths of time pressing the starter button down. Any ideas as to what I’m doing wrong?”
A Can-Am Ryker won’t start unless you roll the throttle forward, the opposite direction you move the throttle to accelerate while riding. This confuses new Ryker riders into thinking something is seriously wrong with the bike.
Note: Also, be sure your foot is on the brake pedal, or your Can-Am Ryker won’t’ fire up.
4. Can-Am Ryker Headlights Not Working
The halogen headlights that come on a Can-Am Ryker aren’t bright enough for some riders’ taste, who opt for upgrading them to LED lights the first chance they get.
While many of the LED bulbs on the market these days are interchangeable with the halogen bulbs that come stuck on the three-wheelers, riders often install them only to find that they don’t illuminate.
The issue is that these LED replacement bulbs have multiple plug-ins with different polarities.
If the LED bulbs on your Can-Am Ryker aren’t working, it’s likely installed backward. Inspec the bulb for a second plug and plug one instead to get them back in working order.
5. Can-Am Ryker ABS Gets Hot
The Can-Am Ryker uses an intricate system of electronics, which integrates some of the most critical systems, including your ignition fuel injection, air intake, transmission, and even elements of your braking.
These systems are all governed by an Electronic Computer Unit, or ECU.
The ECU communicates with sensors that report the status of the integrated electronics, alerting the ECU if there’s a problem that risks collision or damage.
If your Anti Lock Brakes are worked hard enough, the ABS will heat up enough to trigger the ABS or Traction Control sensors to signal the ECU that there’s potential brake failure.
The ECU then puts the Ryker in limp mode until the code is cleared.
The downside is that the code needs to be overridden by a dealership technician unless the vehicle has time to sit and cool down, which can take hours.
Note: This should only affect Ryker riders who ride/brake aggressively, as your ABS won’t get hot enough to trigger unless your brakes are pushed to the point of hearting up.
That said, hot brakes aren’t the only thing that can shut your Can-AM Ryker down…
6. Can-Am Ryker ECU Enters Limp Mode For No Reason
Sometimes a Can-Am Ryker’s ECU will trigger the deactivating Limp Mode above because it detects a problem when there isn’t one.
One of the most commonly reported frustrations among Ryker forums is when a rider is out for a ride and everything is working fine when all of a sudden the vehicle enters limp mode and powers down for no reason.
The most common reason a Can-Am Ryker enters limp mode when nothing’s wrong is because of a faulty sensor or a loose sensor wire. If this is the case, you need to replace the failed sensor and have a technician reset your ECU.
Other potential culprits are Vaccum air leaks, low fluid levels, engine knocks and misfires.
If the ECU is simply confused, you can flash or reset your Ryker in the field and exit the limp mode by unhooking your battery and hooking it back in.
If it doesn’t reset, or if the code throws again, it’s indicative of a problem, if nowhere else, with one of your system sensors.
7. Can-Am Ryker Dealerships Can Be Inconsistent
Another common problem Ryker Owners encounter is the inconsistency from dealership to dealership.
While online consumer reports indicate dealerships’ knowledge and track records are improving, the effect this can have on used Rykers is worth mentioning.
- Rykers are more complex than motorcycles, meaning specialized knowledge, tools, and techniques are required for assembly, service maintenance, repairs, and installations.
- According to real-life Ryker riders, dealership knowledge, experience, and integrity vary from region to region, leading some experienced Can-Am owners to advise thorough research when choosing where to purchase your Ryker.
- Because Rykers arrive at the dealerships in parts to be assembled by the dealership technicians, the reliability of your local dealership is an important consideration when deciding on buying a Ryker.
8. Can-Am Ryker Electrical Wiring Problems
While this is technically an extension of the section above, the Rykers electrics has its common issues.
More than a few Ryker riders have reported that the dealership technicians incorrectly wired up their Rykers at setup.
One of the most common problems is grounding; in some cases, there’s no ground continuity between the battery and the falling electrical accessories.
If you suspect your Ryker was wired poorly during its assembly, we suggest you take it in to be inspected and repaired via warranty.
We would also suggest taking it to a more reliable dealership, if possible.
9. Can-Am Ryker Maintenance is Expensive
Can-Ams are often listed as one of the most expensive “motorcycles” to maintain on the market.
This is partially due to the cost of replacing the three-wheeler’s extra tire, brake pads and shock repairs.
But it is also because the transmission services must be done with specialist tools, using techniques particular to the Can-Am Rykers.
This means that not just anyone can do it.
Special training and special tools mean a higher cost of labor.
The high maintenance cost can lead to unreliable used Rykers, particularly if the previous owner avoided the costly service fees by skipping routine maintenance altogether.
- Well lit for increased visibility a night
- Unique style
- Ample storage capacity
- Optional Passenger Seat
- Customizable via OEM Accessories
- Fun To Ride
- Automatic Transmission
- Reverse Gear
- Small Turning Radius
- Low to the Ground (Suspension Upgrades Available through OEM and Aftermarket Sources)
- Poor Fuel Efficiency
- Expensive Maintenance
- Inconsistent Dealership Support
- ABS Overheats
- ECU Might Enters Limp Mode without Good Reason
“I rode the Ryker often and kept expecting the novelty to wear off, but it never did. Perhaps I’d have been less keen if the weather had been cold and wet, but I’d be less keen to ride a bike then too. I think that if I had the money and the garage space, I’d have the Ryker as my third machine, with a couple of different motorcycles as my primary rides. However, I’d probably ride the Ryker more than they combined. It’s just so much fun.”
“Would I buy one? Sure I would! I wouldn’t sell my bike for one because I still like to learn and enjoy the feeling of two wheels and touring for longer distances. Still, if I couldn’t ride a motorcycle for whatever reason, I’d love the ability to let it all hang out in the wind, and get some two-wheeled performance, too.
“For 2022, the Ryker lineup is expanding to include an updated Rally model, with off-road tires, adjustable suspension with longer travel, a bunch of additional features, and a Rally drive mode that will allow even more sliding on loose surfaces. It will list for $16,999 and only be equipped with the larger engine. I like the sound of that.”
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