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Can-Am Spyder Ride Review

Ok, I have to admit I’m a sucker for all things new. More times than not my wife wallet often dictates what I can and cannot get. Yet the Spyder intrigued me. Partly because it was so unique and partly because it just looked like it didm't belong together. It’s the same feeling I get when I see Centaur’s…you know the mythical creatures that are half man half horse.

It just doesn’t look right. All the pictures I had previously seen of the Spyder reminded me of a sport bike that crashed into a snowmobile. So when the opportunity came about to test drive the new Can-Am Spyder, I jumped at it. I wanted to see what it was like to ride a Centaur.

I didn’t know what to expect come the day of my test drive. I showed up to Higgins Powersports in Barre like the directions said, only to find out there were no Spyders around. A quick talk with a salesman and he pointed me in the right direction to the local American Legion where the ride was being held.

As I pulled up, it was easy to know I was in the right place. There was a large Can-Am 18 wheeler that told me I was in the right place.

I was impressed with the setup they put together. Under a tent was a sign in booth, if you were pre-registered the process went much faster. Once the sign in was complete, it was off to tent #2 which had an informational video for us to watch regarding the Spyder.

It was at this point that I learned about some of the bikes features such as ABS and traction control. As the video completed we had to use a breathalyzer to make sure some of us had started the weekend early. From there we grabbed a helmet and went over the road cone test. This was a pre-ride required by Can-Am so they could make sure we wouldn’t kill ourselves on the road. We had to do 2 laps that consisted of a series of stops. My ride had a wonderful squeak. According the Can-Am rep these machines are all test mules and the ones used on the road course were some of the earliest preproduction models. My group all passed the road cone test and we were ready to ride.

This is the part I was looking forward too. The machine is incredibly easy start. Turn the key hit the button right? Wrong. There’s a safety warning that flashes on the dashboard. You have to press a special button time you start the bike to shut it off. I’m assuming the aftermarket will put an end to this quickly. As we started to pull forward towards the road, I noticed how touchy the brakes are. I also noticed there was no front brake. All you have is a foot pedal that controls all 3 wheels when braking. It took a stop or two to get used to the brake pedal modulation but it took the whole ride to keep reminding myself to not grab for a brake lever with my right hand.

This bike is quiet. I really enjoyed the low noise level. You could hear the engine just fine but it wasn’t obnoxious like a couple of the Harley Davidson’s that showed up for the test ride. Most of our ride hovered around 50mph, but a couple of times I was able to let the guy get of ahead of me so I could get on it some. Unfortunately I was only able to get to 70mph before running out of room. This motor was smooth and had plenty of get up and go. To be honest it made me want to drive a Can-Am Outlander 800 in the woods!

Unfortunately this bike wasn’t as comfortable as it looked. Something will have to be done for taller riders over 6 feet. I’m 6’2” and my knees began to ache after a mile of driving. I would have preferred either a taller seat or lower peg height. The riding position is fine, just a little cramped.

The steering was a bit heavier than I expected. Granted I’m spoiled with power steering on my Grizzly but sweeping turns on the back roads of Barre, Massachusetts, needed more effort than I expected. The bars wanted to fight you throughout the corner. There was also a lot more vibration through the bikes front cowl/windshield while riding. I’m guessing that will be corrected come production time.

After a 15 mile ride, I was left wanting more ride time. It was a fun bike to ride. Much more relaxed than a normal motorcycle and a lot more different. About the only similarity is the wind in your face. After the ride I got a chance to take a closer look. Up front revealed a cavernous trunk that can easily hold two helmets and rain gear. Better yet it looked like it could hold two thirty packs and some ice.

The Spyder also began to grow on me and didn’t look as odd as I first thought... but it was still weird. It’s still the Centaur of the motorcycle world. I have to give Can-Am credit for such an innovative product. I think it will sell well especially to those who want to do weekend trips or cross country treks. It won’t get the Harley or Goldwing guys off of their trikes. It’s too “sporty” of a riding position for them. That being said…I can’t wait for a chance to ride one again.

Unique, smooth engine, high fun to drive aspect

Seat and peg height for taller riders, one lever braking, it’s unique

They do look odd coming down the road.

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