Last Updated: 7/31/07
A local dealer was giving test rides on the new Can Am Spyder trike the other day, so I took the opportunity to check it out. It's a nice looking machine, with an aggressive look, low to the ground and wide up front. I would characterize the riding position as sport-touring, a lot like my FJ1200, but again, a lot lower to the ground. The engine is fitted with fuel injection and started right up and revved cleanly from the get-go. Instruments include an analog tach and speedo, along with a digital display for ambient temperature, coolant temperature, speed, gear position, reverse gear indicator, and a few other normal idiot light functions. It has a reverse gear that you engage by pulling in the clutch with your left hand, then you reach across the bars with your right hand and pull back a lever, then press the shifter down with your left foot, past first and down into reverse. At that point you can let go of the lever and put your right hand back on the bars and engage the clutch like you normally would, except you go backwards, at a pretty good clip if you give it enough gas. Out on the road I'd have to say my first impression was, 'how can this thing be street legal'. The fun factor is definitely way up there. It accelerates briskly from a stop with a slick shifting five-speed gearbox. Steering is precise and positive, maybe a little on the sensitive side even. I feels as though you could get in trouble easily with too much steering input at speed. But the thing corners like it's on rails. Of course it takes a little getting used to if your used to a motorcycle. Obviously, you don't counter-steer, you push on the outside bar end to initiate a turn. And the thing wants to lean the other way, so you fight that by leaning aggressively towards the inside of the corner. It has an onboard computer that senses lean angle, wheel speed, etc. and supposedly will use this information to keep you from lifting the inside wheel, or sliding the back out, but from my experience there's plenty of latitude in the programming to allow for the requisite shenanigans, and certainly enough to let you get in trouble. On our 15 mile test ride I got it up to about 85 mph and the ride was stable and exhilarating, although it could be considered a little twitchy as mentioned above, although the more I rode it the better it felt. The brakes will haul it down respectfully with no tendency to nose dive like a bike. And I have to say again, it is an absolute hoot to ride. It just feels like your getting away with something that should have you arrested on public streets. I'm not sure how it will do with the $15k price tag, I know I won't be in line when they come out for sale in September, but I expect a following will emerge. With a fairly sizeable little trunk up front and decent wind protection it could be considered by some to be more practical than a bike, and with Gold Wing trikes starting at $30k and up, it could become an attractive alternative for some riders. If you get a chance to ride one, I'd highly recommend it.
My nephew Chris.
You could ride any color you wanted, as long as it was yellow or silver.
A big reason why they corner so well, meaty rubber and track-inspired double a-frame suspension with coil-overs.
A lot of rubber out back, but I was able to break it loose fairly easily by dumping the clutch with a handful of throttle.
I'm not real crazy about the can, overly large for my tastes, but I'm sure the aftermarket will have a cure for that.
Nice clean instrument arrangement.
Another thing to get used to, no front brake lever. All the braking is done with the right foot through an integrated system.
There's plenty of room for a passenger. And you can even see out of the mirrors.
If I was looking for a trike, this would be it, but for now I'll stick with two wheels.