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Hiya!

I just wanted to let some folks know that if you have steering issues, it could be as simple as bad shocks and bad springs in the front of the trike.

The following can occur with bad shocks and bad springs in the front of the trike:

1. weaving or darting
2. diving on braking or at the bottom of hills
3. tracking or stability while braking
4. excessive tilting on turns
5. tilting forward at an angle on high speed turns
6. instability in strong headwinds
7. excessive odd engine running behavior even when the engine is warm during slow speed turns
8. poor tracking on uneven roads even when then tire air pressure is perfect.

I know this because I bought a used trike, at about 8,000 miles. Sadly, I found out later that this trike was used heavily for touring and towing. Any tow vehicle is subject to problems with front and rear shocks. But, when stopping, the front shocks take a beating. Wow, what a dummy I was. There was the tow harness, right there on the swingarm.

I won't say what dealer in Richardson, Texas sold me the trike, but I will say... oh yeah. I just did. Never mind.


Anyway here goes my knowledge sharing. I hope the readers get what I am saying here.

Your front shocks can lose all compression dampening while the rebound is OK. Going down happens too fast. Coming back up.... happens very slowly. This is hard to tell while the shocks are assembled and on the trike.

This gives the illusion that the shocks are OK because the trike passes the bounce test. The trike however, might be very loose when doing the seated or standing tilt test. This will be very evident as a problem when you ride with a passenger. The trike becomes radically unstable, even dangerous. The nose of the trike dips easily.

On the upside, what I did learn is that some aftermarket shocks are wonderful things. WIth a good set of shocks, this trike drives like it is on rails. Even the Corvette ZR-1 drivers are envious and smiling watching me dive in and out of traffic like a drunken bumble bee.

The trike is best setup with a stiffer front end and some sag in the rear. Let the rear-end bounce a little. This keeps the trike level on braking. This also keeps the castor angle towards the rear. What this means is, even the slightest tilt forwards can cause your trike to wobble or become wiggly.

Ok, this is not all bad. If you are heavier like me, just setup your trike to be stiffer. Do not just trust the sales guy that all is well. I was almost seriously injured thinking that way. That concrete barrier on HWY 635 had my name on it.

Ride carefully, and test stability on hard braking. If your bars wander and wiggle, you either need more tire pressure, a higher spring setting, or new shocks or less beer.

If your trike begins to tilt a lot on turns and high-speed sweeping offramps, go on a diet, or stiffen the springs. When I almost lost control on a curving highway bridge at 65 mph, I knew it was time for a change. I had to stabilize the trike.

I like pizza. Diet was not an option, so I bought new shocks.

Then I booted (covered) the shocks so they will last a long, long time. Yes, it works. I have a dirt bike with a 10 year-old shock on it with a moose shock boot wrapped around it. Now my trike has shock boots too.

http://www.progressivesuspension.com

Ride on, my friends!
 

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Thank you for taking the time To share. Hope all is well now, and you are making miles. I too have set up my shocks a little stiffer as I am big, and often have my wife as a passenger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Yes, Sir!

It is truly "Hi Ho Silver!" from traffic light to traffic light. I am impressed with the trike now.
 

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Great article.

I would add:

Just add a stiffer roll bar/sway bar up front. That makes cornering so much more secure, with much less body roll. It also seems to make straight line stability a little better also.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Funny you should mention that. When I went online to check up on this post, I immediately saw the ARCO sway bar ad at the top of the page. Gosh darnit, I am thinking of getting a better sway bar.

One thing to remember is that sway bars tie the wheels together. So, with anything else, there is such a thing as the wrong application, wrong stiffness, etc. The upside is that sway bars are not all that terribly expensive and quite reversible if you pick the wrong one.

I am going to bet that my sway bar suffers from all the problems of too much weight and abuse from towing. So, Tevor, G, I think you are spot-on.

I am sure I am going to add this to the long list of things my dealer told me was just fine.

If I am going to boost my resistance on my shocks to fix a tilting problem, I should also boost the resistance on the sway bar. This will make the entire trike move with the one-sided bumps and dips in the road, but certainly I will go more straight or move through long highway turns smoothly. This is a huge steering plus!

Ride on, my friends. Slide a few turns along the way!

Ruckusguy
 

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One thing to remember is that sway bars tie the wheels together. So, with anything else, there is such a thing as the wrong application, wrong stiffness, etc. The upside is that sway bars are not all that terribly expensive and quite reversible if you pick the wrong one.
And quite cheap, too.

They are the first suspension mod anyone should try to improve cornering.

The trick with a stiffer sway bar is that you probably won't need stiffer front springs. Because the sway bar ties the 2 front wheels together more, that means that when you lean, instead of just having the spring resistance of the shock on the side you are leaning, you have additional spring resistance, via the sway bar, from the other side as well. It is literally transferred over.

When I was examining our new (to us) Spyder on the dealer's floor I could compare it with a stock Spyder right beside it. Standing on the footrest to get on board was the real eye-opener - our Spyder with the heavier sway bar only went down half as far as the stocker did when I stood on one side.

Before you say - It probably had stiffer springs! - I don't think it did. When I pushed down evenly both bikes moved about the same. This still allows a plush ride straight ahead, but does make the front end stiffer through corners, and thus stops the excessive body roll.

If I am going to boost my resistance on my shocks to fix a tilting problem, I should also boost the resistance on the sway bar.
If I were you I would just do the sway bar first - you will see a big change.
 

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I agree, a better sway bar is the way to. You get better cornering without having to stiffen up the front shock which causes a harder ride. I would suggest you try the anti-sway bar from BajRon. Ron has bars for the RS and RT. His bars do not move the mounting holes, they are much thicker/stiffer and make a world of difference. I just added on to my RT and WOW this thing is great! I had rode with my front springs set to the top notch and was able to lower them down two notches which made a major improvement to the ride quality. The corner handling is flat and stable. And at 1/3rd the cost of shocks a great value.

http://www.spyderlov...ers-amp-Helmets

A bad front shock is scary! Its like riding a bull trying to throw you off by turning while lifting his rear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Hey,

You guys are really awsome. I think I would read this post even if I did not start it.

So, just to keep things alive, here is where I am at now.

I have compared enough trikes to be quite certain that ALL the shocks were bad on the compression side- front and rear when I bought the trike in Richardson, Texas. So far, all the other Can Am dealers in the Dallas/Ft Worth area have been very good in providing support, parts, advice, and service - except for the one which sold me the trike. Shame on the Richardson Can Am dealer.

I have purchased new *used* 3-spoke rims. Will mount up the Firestones soon. We will see how that goes.

Purchased a small statue of St. Christopher, and also hula gurl for the dashboard for either side of the speedo display. I could not, however, hang 5 steel ball bearings from the top of the wind screen and make them click left-and-right just right.

I have bought the RT, yes, RT sway bar and hardware. Will let you know how that goes since I have an RS and Can Am Ok'd the fit. Wow, am I nuts or what?

I will surely be buying a "Progressive Suspension" rear shock. I liked the fronts so much, I am going to match up the rear.

I will be swapping the Kendas and Firestones back and forth at-will and see what I get. Remember, I weigh about 220lbs. This matters. Could be good, could be bad. Dunno.

So, soon I will have confirmation that the rear shock valves and sway bar were also toast when I bought the trike.

I will make all these changes one at a time. I will let you know just what these changes all do - even if it totally goes wrong. So far, this seems to lead into why the engine was quitting randomly weekly, if not daily when I first bought the trike. I have not had enough time to be 100% sure of this, but I am pretty darn certain the dead suspension was causing the motor to stall entirely in traffic- usually right after a bump in the road or sudden braking. No codes thrown. How about that one, eh?

Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
 

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I have bought the RT, yes, RT sway bar and hardware. Will let you know how that goes since I have an RS and Can Am Ok'd the fit. Wow, am I nuts or what?



Are you sure the RT will fit? They make bars for each model for a reason. I do know one RS owner that bought a RS one for his RT and it did not fit.
 

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HI again! I just wanted to clarify a few facts.

1. I am sure that the last two posts are correct under some circumstances, however, the RT factory larger swaybar does fit the older RS model in 2009. I know, because I have the thicker swaybar installed, and the old one on my workbench. So, check with BRP, and you will find that the 2009 is not the only model year where this is true. This is of course, not ALWAYS true, but it worked for me. Oh, yes, and a minor handling improvement also, but worth it. The shop had to call that one in and be 100% sure before they started. The result is awesome when you go fast.

2. Yes, you can run a combination of Firestones in the front, and Kenda rear or Kumho ecsta rear. Either works pretty good. The Firestone potenza in the correct size was perfect for my 2009. I bought another set of rims and swapped them three times on and off with the Kendas. My Kenda's had washy sidewalls from the towing stuff that the last owner did, so putting on the potenza RE92 was a huge change.

3. Blend the following changes: Potenza RE92 front, Kumho ecsta rear, RT swaybar, Progressive Suspension front and rear shocks, and new handgrips.

4. Stay away from the old black six-spoke clear-coated studded rim. The rim studs prevent most tire machines from working on dismount. You can get the tires on, but not off. If you find someone brave enough to do it, prepare to pay one way or another. If you have these rims, swap them with the original base-trim rims.

After miles of towing, the rear Kenda tire was very sponge-ie and the sidewalls tended to wash the trike around on the highway. It was impossible to stay perfectly straight. The Kumho running at 32 PSI corrected that issue immediately. The Kenda rear, even when new, seems to have quite a bit of sideways bounce when cornering. The Kumho grips firmly and solid with almost no lateral bounce on any corner. Go Kumho!
 

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Dude, how can a worn out suspension cause your engine to stall? That doesn't even make sense. You have other problems. Get it hooked up to buds and find out. Better than finding out the hard way. Rs, rt anti sway bars do not interchange. Do you even have a spyder?
 

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That one seems to be quite easy as it turns out. Weak front tire sidewalls and soft springs combined seem to be all you need to shut the motor down mid-throttle. Turns out, I had both. So, I had the whole trike suspension and tires re-worked piece by piece. The problem was almost 100% front suspension and tires. Most experts tell you it is the DPS sensors, or those things on the front suspension that detect evil behavior.

So far, no DPS problems at all. In fact, the new setup corners totally flat. So, if your older trike is just quitting out on curves or sudden drops in the road, potholes, or fast stops, the best thing to do is look at how soft your setup is, and how old your tires are. Also check your tire pressure. All these had an impact on the overall stability of the trike and how often it failed.

So, now that I have swapped out more parts than I can count, the stability system is quite happy and the motor magically fixed itself.

Warning signs of a bad setup are usually overuse of the traction control. If the stability indicator lights up a lot, this could be a weak suspension or a very heavy rider. My old shocks were maxxed out and still bouncing all over the place. Sudden stops bottomed the trike- and stalled it.

A steep angle on the trike body on turns is also a warning sign. My trike stays perfectly vertical all the time with the new shocks. Many older 2009s tip wildly on any turn. The old Kenda rear tire was running on its edges on the turns constantly with the old front shocks, which caused the trike rear tire to light up real easy - melting off the tire as I straightened up. I did not even apply power- and the trike slipped and slid around.

So, bad suspension and heavy weight = engine shutdowns and melted rear tires. The trike on the old shocks was one giant burnout waiting to happen. Very unsafe. Very twitchy, and very impractical. Who wants to melt the tire off in a wet supermarket parking lot full of people?

Safety first.

And... it never threw a code... ever.

With the new parts, I found that I can still cause the traction control to kick in, but I have to turn the bars a lot. Otherwise, it is grip, grip, grip.

Mostly, when the bars are straight with a lot of throttle, I get a little tire slide, followed by a rapid grip on the tire - a sudden hefty jolt, and I am rapidly passing that guy in the new VW Jetta who is now looking at me like that level of performance and outrageous style means he's got to get himself one of those.

It sure is loads of fun when your tires and shocks aren't sending you sailing into the George H.W. Memorial Turnpike Bushes leaving half the tread behind smoldering on the road. (a little Texas humor there). Yes, steering was really really bad for a while. Nobody wants to crash.

Yes, the Kendas melt just a little too fast for my liking. In the rain, they are just annoying. Good shocks or bad, Kenda rears grip, melt, grip, melt, catch fire, and slip and slide all over. The fronts, well, eh, not so good on the older models. Check out the new 2012s. BRP new something was off.

So, after a few hundred miles, things work really great in the "stuck to the road" department. I still have to fix a few electrical things like the fuel meter, and the temp readout that were also on my "There is nothing wrong with your trike" list of shot or broken stuff from the point of sale. I am waiting for the repair bill to hit $3000.

I'll keep you posted. There is an end to all the fixes, but I have to first work them into submission. I am almost there.
 

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I recently purchased a 2011 RS with around 12,600 miles on it. This is my first CanAm and noticed it takes a little bit to get use to the way it handles. I've rode it a few hundred miles now and I think it still has really sensitive steering. If you barely move the handlebars, it feels "darty." I'm concerned to get on an interstate and try to maintain 70 mph when it feels like this. I'm about 175 pounds and my shocks are set at medium. My wife is going to ride with me at some point in time. Can anybody give me any advise on what I need to try to make the steering not so sensitive or darty? Thanks for any help.
 

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I recently purchased a 2011 RS with around 12,600 miles on it. This is my first CanAm and noticed it takes a little bit to get use to the way it handles. I've rode it a few hundred miles now and I think it still has really sensitive steering. If you barely move the handlebars, it feels "darty." I'm concerned to get on an interstate and try to maintain 70 mph when it feels like this. I'm about 175 pounds and my shocks are set at medium. My wife is going to ride with me at some point in time. Can anybody give me any advise on what I need to try to make the steering not so sensitive or darty? Thanks for any help.
There are a number of things to consider.

1) Relax your arms. Too much tension or pressure on the bars will make it "darty".

My first demo ride on an RS felt the same. The 2 RTs we rented at different times felt better, but our heavily modded RSS is the best of all, perhaps because I can ride it totally relaxed.

2) Fit after-market handlebar risers so that you are not leaning over the front end so much.

3) Inflate tyres to about 4psi higher (cold) than the "normal" maximum.

I always do this for any 2, 3 or 4 wheeled vehicle. and get very even tyre wear in response. Manufacturers' settings seem to be to promote comfort rather than performance (and tyre longevity).

4) Fit a heavier duty sway bar to promote "flatter" cornering.

You can keep the same springs on the front but just lean into corners less. While I couldn't try before and after because that is how our Spyder came, it certainly does ride better than any of the others we rode, including on straight highway surfaces.

Have fun.
 
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