There is always a lot of discussion on the Forums and in the Can-am shops and community about setting the correct tire pressure for your Spyder. Tire pressure can affect steering, braking and all aspects of handling, along with ride comfort and safety. It can also affect steering control and lateral movement. Too little pressure and the handling gets soft and mushy, especially in the front. Too much pressure and the ride starts to get a little more harsh and traction may start to suffer.
Proper air pressure in a tire helps to distribute the weight of the Spyder evenly across the tire’s tread pattern, so the tire (and the Spyder) is at its most stable. On a Spyder, like an automobile, under-inflated tires tend to show wear on the outside edges of the tread, while over-inflated tires show wear down the middle of the tread.
After discussing this with several Spyder owners and mechanics, there appear to be diverse opinions for both safety and comfort reasons. The owner’s manuals recommend the following:
(The above charts are from the latest manuals on the BRP website. To check your exact model, look up the Owner’s manual here: http://www.operatorsguides.brp.com/Index.aspx?lang=E&s1=90bcb163-f3d5-47ef-8f30-ddd683d992b5)
As the manual states, it is important to check the pressure cold, as temperature has a big effect on tire pressure, particularly when the tires are filled with air as most of ours are. One of the stated benefits of using Nitrogen to fill tires is that it is supposed to be more stable with temperature fluctuations.
The manual recommendations appear to be a good starting point, but everyone you talk to has a different “sweet spot” for their bike, load, accessories, or whatever.
For example, my mechanic states “20lb in the front, 28lb in the back”, and that’s all you need to know.
George from Boerne, TX makes a good case for experimenting a bit until you find your preferred pressure:
“For handling and a smooth ride, your tire pressure is very important. I have owned two Spyders the last six years and find my tire pressure is important. I know what the owner’s manual says for your machine, but that is a starting point. How do you find your “sweet spot”? Put 32 in the rear and 24 in front. Ride a few miles, let out two pounds in all three and ride a few more miles. Ride enough to get heat in your tires. I suggest not going below 28 in the rear but the front can go down to what your manual says. On my RT-L, my “spot” is 30 rear and 20 front. Your pressure will depend on your personal likes, two up, your weight, etc.”
So, as George recommends, start with the BRP recommended pressures, and adjust to taste. It’s worth it to improve your Spyder experience just that much more!