A Rider's Journal
photo of a 2008 Can-Am Spyder

I would label the Can-Am Spyder as the first motorcycle I rode that I actually disliked, but I'm not sure it's fair to call it a motorcycle.

I did a 20-mile test ride (freeway, highway and street) at the 2008 International Cycle Show in Phoenix AZ on October 27, 2007. I found the bike to be bulky and it handled nothing like a motorcycle...there is no lean on turns and curves.

On the other hand, the three-wheel Spyder (which is not exactly a trike, with two wheels up front rather than in the rear) was very stable. I never felt like a wheel was going to come off the ground and the Can-Am reps stressed the stability engineering that makes the Spyder corner and steer with a sureness.

The Spyder is manufactured by the Canadian company Bombardier, inventors of the personal snowmobile, the Ski-Doo. I've been told the Spyder handles much like a snowmobile but I've not been on one so I am unable to compare the two vehicles.

Prior to the test ride, I had to demonstrate my riding skills on a short course. I failed the first go-round by coming only to a rolling stop at a stop signpost. On the second go-round, I came to a full stop and put my foot down, after which the Can-Am rep gave me a hard time for putting my foot down (which wasn't necessary).

And that's was my main problem with this machine: it's not a motorcycle. If you're expecting a motorcycle's handling, it will disappoint. It's also not an off-road ATV. But it does have more motion in turns and curves than a typical trike (based on what I've been told about trikes). It also gets a lot of attention on the street. So if you're looking for a sportier alternative to a trike, this could be the vehicle for you.