Three Wheels On My Wagon
I love cars. I love bikes. But to be honest, something I’d never tried was trikes, so I couldn’t say no to the chance of getting to try out the Can-Am Spyder RT – at least, I think its a trike. Truth is, I’m not quite sure what to call this thing. It looks really like nothing else on the road. Its 1.6 metre wide track gives it almost car width presence on the road, while its tidy single wheel rear end is really no wider than a big touring bike like a Goldwing or BMW’s new 1600 GT. Its creators BRP (Bombardier Recreation Products) call it a roadster, although officially it is described as a three-wheeled motorcycle.
The first thing you notice when you sit onto the RT is how well protected you are from the elements on this. All of the air is channelled around you thanks to the nice bodywork design, while up front is a fully adjustable electric screen. The wider than normal bars house a mass of controls, including full stereo controls (which includes iPod connectivity). Amongst the other neat features available include adjustable suspension settings, heated handlebar grips and an electronic handbrake! Aside from the toys, all of the driving controls are as per a motorcycle, bar the lack of a front brake lever. Instead, you simply have a foot brake on the right hand side, which controls the combined braking system.
Pulling away on the Spyder, the first thing I notice is that even with its OE exhaust, there’s quite a fruity sound from it as it accelerates away at a pace I wasn’t expecting. The 998 Rotax designed v-twin engine is very torquey and doesn’t lack any power if you decide to give it the beans. Keeping everything under control though, its a wide selection of software related three letter acronyms including VSS, SCS, TCS, ABS and DPS. Or to you and I – Vehicle Stability Control, Stability Control System, Traction Control System, Anti-Lock Braking System and Dynamic Power Steering. Phew. The real fun is when you start to put the Spyder through a series of corners. Firstly, it doesn’t (really) lean; a small bit of lean is engineered into it, but nothing like what one would experience on a motorcycle. You tend to lean slightly into the bend, as you would when riding a quad, and once you master this technique, you will find yourself pushing this machine faster and faster into bends.
Cruising on the motorway, the Can-Am feels planted, not car planted mind, but enough to make it feel solid. And this is when I truly began to appreciate just how darn comfortable this thing is! The elements are kept at bay, while the seat is nice and plush, it also gives a nice bit of lower back support. Suddenly I’m realising that I could easily drive cross country on this without a second thought. Except I can envisage a few petrol stops if I keep pushing hard on it. Cruising at close to three figure speeds, you can almost watch the fuel gauge go down on it! The lack of a sixth gear is really the only downside to longer trips aboard the Spyder.
While this remains an exclusive toy for a small few, I can see it winning over lots of prospective buyers. With it, you get a fair percentage of what motorcycling experience is like, while getting the psychological safety and piece of mind of always staying upright and being able to travel in comfort. And one other thing is guaranteed with this is receiving lots of attention!