2013 Spyder ST Belt Guard

The owners of the Spyder ST (2013, and newer) should be aware of the possibility that the Belt Guard on the left side (just to the rear and above the passenger foot rest) may come loose, and even totally separate from its bolted on position on the frame of the ST. This happened to me while on a two-day ride to the West of my home in Colorado Springs just a few days ago.

I had packed my tow-behind trailer with the necessities for a two-day ride of some 900 miles to the West, then North and then East, returning to my home after touring the Western area of my home state, Colorado. I had checked the air in the tires of the ST and the trailer tires the evening before my departure but did not notice anything unusual, or different around the left side of the rear wheel.

The bolts (two) securing the belt guard were probably in place at that moment, or at least one was still holding the belt guard in place else I would likely have noticed it. The belt guard had certainly not fallen down into the belt drive sprocket area of the ST because it would not have survived the eighty mile ride before I discovered something was amiss!

Everything seemed normal as I began my ride through / over the front range mountains just to the West of Colorado Springs. I was heading to Hartsel, the first way-point dialed into my GPS. I didn’t actually need the GPS for this leg of my tour but out of habit I always establish a number of way-points (favorites on the TomTom GPS) for all of my trips, especially noting those way-points where I need to fill the small tank of the ST. As I gained altitude the temperature reminded me that I should have worn the heavier jacket that was now inside the tow-behind. I would wait until I arrived at Hartsel before stopping to don than heavier jacket for the trip into the second range of mountains just to the West of Hartsel.

Hartsel is a small community just to the West of the valley between the two ranges of mountains just to the West of Colorado Springs. A gas station, a small cafe and a novelties / souvenir store front sit in a group at the intersection of highways 24 and 9, that happen to be at the geographical center of the state. I slowed down to pull off the highway into the gravel and dirt of the shoulder of the road just beyond the gas station. As I did I heard an awful noise coming from underneath the bike, possibly to the rear. It was loud, and likely signaled some really bad mechanical failure. I was not a comfortable rider in that instant.

As I slowed to a complete stop and turned off the engine the noise stopped, a good sign that the engine was not involved in whatever malfunction had occurred. I did a walk-around of the bike and tow-behind trailer, not seeing anything hanging down that might be the source of the noise. I got back on the bike, and as I moved forward the growling, unmistakable noise began again. It had to be something around the rear wheel, belt or braking systems to only be causing that noise when the ST was moving!
I did a U-Turn onto the highway to get back into the pull-off area at the gas station. As I did I noticed four Harley (Hog) riders pulling off the highway in front of the restaurant. Knowing that these guys probably knew more about motorcycle mechanicals than I ever would (even though a Spyder is NOT a motorcycle!) I decided to ask for help.

They were thankfully more than willing to help and quickly determined that there was a belt guard that had come loose and was stuck in the area of the drive sprocket, in an almost unreachable area under the center of the ST. Two of the guys lay down on either side of the ST in the dirt of the shoulder of the road, and after several minutes of struggling they were able to remove a belt guard from where it had lodged itself near the drive sprocket of the bike. A quick roll test confirmed that the noise was gone! Was I ever relieved!!! But, those same Harley guys strongly suggested that I cancel my ride and take the bike to the nearest Can Am dealership to have the drive belt checked… they all agreed that it was too tight and might fail if I continued on my trip. I should add that I offered to buy their breakfast for their help but they graciously refused my offer, simply saying that it was no big deal!!!

I programmed Florence into my GPS and headed for that city where the closest Cam Am dealership is located. While I was a bit nervous with that ‘too tight’ drive belt I made the seventy mile trip to Florence, and the dealership, without incident. After a wait of about an hour a Can Am ‘Tech’ was able to check the belt, determining that it was within specification. I learned that the Spyder ST belt is much tighter than other bikes because of the length of the belt. With a fully functional ST I then headed home in the excessive heat of the eastern plain along highway 115 headed North from Florence to Colorado Springs. My trip was over, I had a damaged belt guard in the tow-behind trailer, and I was heading home in the heat of a normal summer day!

The belt guard had superficial damage from its adventure with the belt and drive sprocket of the ST but the damage was not severe enough to prevent its functionality on the ST. A few days after I returned home I made short trip to the hardware store to obtain two bolts, washers and self-locking nuts to hold the belt guard in place on the frame of the ST. The belt guard bolted to the frame just above the passenger foot rest on the left side of the ST.

A picture of the replaced, damaged belt guard is shown below. Note the damage to the guard caused during the misadventure of a few days ago. I’m still confused about how the bolts / nuts originally used to hold it in place came loose, and fell off the ST. In addition to the self-locking nuts I also used the red Loctite on the threads of the bolts for some added protection against their ever coming loose in the future!

IMG_2127

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About justanoldguy

Retired Computer Programmer. Born and Raised in Missouri. Graduated from Missouri School of Mines in 1964. Retired in 2003. Moved to Colorado in 2010. Enjoying good health and 'front range'. Touring frequently on Can-Am Spyder motorcycle. Skiing during the Winter months at Monarch Mountain Ski Area (for free!).
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