- Model: 2008 Can-Am Spyder Roadster SE5
- Color: Millenium Yellow
- Miles ridden: Test Ride ≅ 20 miles
- Location: Cycle World International Motorcycle Show, Phoenix AZ.
I’m tempted to label the Can-Am Spyder as the first motorcycle I’ve ridden 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 on October 27, 2007. I found the three-wheel machine to be too bulky, with handling that was too much like a carnival ride and little like a motorcycle.
Arguably, it comes closer to the feel of a two-wheel motorcycle than a trike, due to the suspension that allows the Spyder’s body to lean and rock in curves and turns. The automobile-style tires ride on the flat tread, not on the sies like rounded motorcycle tires.
The Spyder is manufactured by the Canadian company Bombardier, inventors of the modern personal snowmobile, the Ski-Doo. I’ve been told the Spyder handles much like a snowmobile (the machine has suspension which allows the main unit to rock while the tracks maintain steady contact with the ground). I’ve never ridden a snowmobile, so I can’t compare the two vehicles.
The Spyder was indeed very stable. I never felt like a wheel was going to come off the ground send the the whole thing tipping over. The Can-Am reps stressed the stability engineering that makes the Spyder corner and steer with a sureness and encouraged riders to test it for ourselves.
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, out of ingrained habit, put my foot down. The Can-Am rep gave me a hard time for that because, of course, the three-wheels machine is not a two-wheel motorcycle and is not going to fall over.
And that underscores what I did not like about this machine: it’s simply not a motorcycle. If you’re expecting a motorcycle’s handling, it will disappoint. It’s also not an off-road four-wheeled ATV. It’s not even a convertible.
But it does have more motion in turns and curves than a typical trike. It also gets a lot of attention on the street. So if you’re looking for something to ride around town that combined bits of all these, this could be the vehicle for you.