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Dunno if any of you saw my post in the Engines section, but I've been having severe problems with my Spyder and with getting it fixed. Problems bad enough that in 11 months I've gotten 3, maybe 3.5 months of use out of it.

Back in January I got a bit of a surprise. I was just pulling into the alley behind my block when one of the neighbours called to me. (My car window was open; that's why I heard him.)

He was wondering where my trike was.

Now note, this is a guy from half-way down the alley from my home and across the way. It shows 2 things. First, in the past 10 years I've ridden enough in the winter for him to know that it's normal for me to do so and abnormal for me not to do so. Second, that someone who I doubt I've spoken with even 3 times in the past 10 years noticed that I'm not on my trike.



As of last week, I decided to take matters into my own hands, more or less. Via snail mail, I sent the following to 10 people listed in BRP's Annual Report:

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I am sending this letter to comment on the quality and reliability of your Can-Am Spyders.

I've been riding motorcycles for over 35 years now. Since 2000, I was riding a triked Honda Gold Wing, summer and winter. As my trike was feeling it's age (it was a modified 1983 GL1100), as of January 2011 I started looking for a new trike.

My father saw advertisements for your Spyders and pointed me in that direction. As a former aircraft inspector for Transport Canada, he's had a certain amount of experience with your products and was suitably impressed.

After looking around, I decided to buy one. I purchased mine second-hand from a seller here in Calgary (she was upgrading from the RS that I was buying to an RT). I picked it up May 16 2011 from Bow Cycle South. It had about 6,900 KM on it. I subsequently used it daily to travel to and from work. The only problem I had was that on my first distance run to Banff, it dropped into Limp-Home mode and I had to take it into the shop. Apparently there was a software update that needed to be applied.

After spending a lot of time getting used to it (much more responsive handling for example), I took it on a trip down to Las Vegas. It performed well and it was an enjoyable ride. I had it serviced both immediately before and after the trip, to ensure that it was in perfect condition. Overall, I found it to be a good machine.

Then came September.

On the way home from work, merging from Anderson to Deerfoot North, it suddenly dropped into Limp-Home mode. Very annoying, going from 120 KPH to a max of 80 on a major highway. I pulled off immediately and headed to Bow Cycle where they cleared the error and replaced the sensors. Seems that there was a notice on the sensors.

A couple of weeks later, it did the exact same thing at the same point in the road. Again, off to Bow Cycle to get the error cleared.

And again. Same spot. This time, it went into the shop so they could track down the error. The trike spent over a month in the shop, then I got a call that it was fixed. Came out, picked it up, headed home. On the way home I was going through a section of Deerfoot and thinking to myself “this is the same sequence of moves as Anderson to Deerfoot” when it suddenly dropped back into Limp-Home mode. Note, this was coming home from a month in the shop and them saying it was fixed.

For the next 3 months (Nov/Dec/Jan) it sat at home waiting for Bow Cycle to say “bring it in”. Finally it went back into the shop and stayed there for the month. This time, I was told that the warranty had expired on the day I last got it out, so I was going to have to pay 3 of the 7 hours labour. But, it was fixed.

I took it home, no problem. Took it to work a few days later, ran errands on the way home, no problem. Took it to work a second time, took it home... and it dropped into Limp-Home mode at the same spot again. I took it straight into the shop where the tech pulled all the info, cleared the error, and sent me on my way.

It dropped into Limp-Home mode on the way home. It dropped so... enthusiastically that the engine dropped to 0 RPM while I was doing about 110 KPH. Good thing that at the first jerk from the engine shutting down, I pulled in the clutch. I got off the road, got the engine restarted while still rolling, and headed home.

The trike's sitting at home now, effectively unrideable except for trundling off to the grocery store and back. It won't go 5 KM without the Limp-Home mode reactivating. For the past two months the weather's been good enough that even the Harleys have been out and about. Three weeks ago I even saw an ape-hanger running around town. And my Spyder's sitting in the garage.

Somewhere in the above sequence I spoke with your 800-number customer service reps. That was... enlightening. First, they flatly will not admit that BRP makes the Spyder. They will only refer to the Spyder's maker as “the manufacturer”. Never, ever will they admit that BRP is “the manufacturer”. Second, they told me, almost literally, that if “the manufacturer” decides that the trike is not to be repaired then that is the Word Of God; the decision is final, it will not be repaired. Note that the phrase “Word Of God” was explicitly used by the CSR. Must be nice to have such a religious conviction about one's work.

According to Bow Cycle, since the warranty ran out they've had a lot of trouble finding anyone at BRP to even talk to about my trike, let alone provide a solution. They have, however, been informed multiple times that as my warranty's run out, it's my problem and my cost, not BRP's. That sort of makes me wonder. On the last day of the warranty (although I didn't know that it was so), I was told “The trike's fixed, take it home.”. It had the error reoccur on the way home. The interesting effect of that was that the trike was therefore not in the shop (and not being worked on) when the warranty expired. Rather convenient for BRP, yes? It's a sad thing when your firm's actions (or inactions) lead to conspiracy theories, isn't it?

What sort of warranty policy is it that goes “Sure, you've had a problem for 2 months and no, we haven't fixed it, but hey, guess what? Warranty's just expired; it's your problem now.”. A warranty that dies the instant the date passes, even though a problem's known to exist and is still outstanding, well, it may be legal, but is it right?

You can just imagine how embarrassed my father is for having suggested buying a Spyder. You can also guess what his new opinion is regarding the quality of your firm's work.

I guess the only thing left is to ask you, what should I do with a dead Spyder? Any ideas?


I look forward to hearing from you on how this might be resolved.

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Dunno what the results will be, but I'm hoping they'll be... interesting.
 
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