Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) defines the new vehicle as a roadster. The new Spyder is more economical than a car, with 35 miles per gallon and a fast acceleration – 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.5 seconds. Unlike most three-wheeled vehicles, the wheels on the Spyder are set two in the front and one in back. Although this description gives the impression of an odd-looking unit, the Spyder is actually quite stylish, and yet it offers decent storage space located under the front hood; there is just enough space for a laptop, suit jacket or any other work necessities.
The Spyder uses a traditional motorcycle-style gearshift, down by the driver’s left foot, and a clutch lever over the left hand grip. Similarly, the throttle is on the right hand grip. The benefit of this configuration is that new drivers’ learning curves are shorter. However, unlike motorcycles, a pedal at the driver’s right foot activates all three brakes; moreover, the Spyder has a reverse gear.
The fact that it has three wheels makes the Spyder more maneuverable than a car but less agile than a motorbike. Parking is made particularly easy since there is no kickstand to worry about, but it cannot split lanes like a motorcycle. The steering dynamics are also more car-like, since the driver needs to turn the handlebars instead of leaning. For the beginner driver, steering might feel a bit awkward since the driver has to stretch his arms far out for tight turns.
The Spyder’s resemblance to a car continues when it comes to safety. It uses an anti-lock braking system along with traction and stability control. Sensors detect when either the rear drive wheel is slipping or when one of the front wheels leave the ground. In the former case, the Spyder decelerates the engine spark, slowing down the big belt that transmits power to the rear wheel, thus slowing the vehicle down.
With a 990cc Rotax V-twin engine the Spyder is legal on all roads, and in a number of states including California, the driver wouldn’t even need a motorcycle license to drive it. The Can-Am Spyder is available through outlets selling recreational vehicles, and its base price is $15,500.
TFOT has also covered other three-wheeled vehicles, such as the PIAGGIO MP3 Three Wheeler, which requires far less braking distance than any commercial scooter, and the T-Rex, a side-by-side 2-seater, 3-wheeled, open-air vehicle that uses a car’s steering wheel. Other related TFOT stories include the Bombardier EMBRIO, a concept one-wheeled, hydrogen fuel cell-powered, gyroscopically balanced recreational and commuting vehicle for one or more passengers, and the Yamaha Tesseract Quad-Bike, a hybrid quad-bike with a powerful V-twin engine and an electric motor.
For more information about BRP’s Can-Am Spyder, see the Spyder’s website.