Motorcycle Reviews

2008 Can-Am Spyder

Written by  October 31, 2008

When I was approached by Steve Okenfuss of Reno's Yamaha in Kansas City, Missouri to come and see the 2008 Can-Am Spyder, I jumped at the chance. For those of you who are not familiar with the Spyder, it is a 3-wheeled roadster made by Bombardier Recreational Products that offers the performance of a traditional motorcycle with “much of the peace-of-mind of a convertible sports car.” It is powered by a Rotax) 990 V-Twin engine that produces 106 hp. The Spyder uses an ATV-like chassis with a single rear drive wheel, and two wheels in front for steering (similar in layout to a snowmobile.) In most US states (Washington, Delaware and California are exceptions) the Spyder is licensed as a motorcycle, though some reviewers have stated it is much easier to achieve proficiency and confidence with the Spyder than with a motorcycle.
Steve and I met at one of the local Kansas City lakes to bang this 106 horsepower beast through the corners. (Steve rode; I took pictures.) The Spyder maxes out around 130 mph. The main feature is a stability system or VSS that monitors the vehicle at all times and intervenes in case one of the front wheels lifts off the ground (it cuts the engine and applies the brake on the outer wheel). The Spyder also comes with additional convenience features such as simplified braking (front and rear brakes are both actuated by the same foot pedal), a true reverse gear, power steering and an optional electric shift transmission. It has a 6.6 gallon gas tank gets up to 30-35 miles to the gallon. The Spyder is not only fun, it’s functional. Even the cargo compartment under the “hood” at the front of the vehicle is roomy enough for a 12 pack and at least 1 extra helmet. To help prevent theft, there is the DESS (Digitally Encoded Security System). The vehicle will not start without the correctly coded key.
Billed as a vehicle that offers the performance of a traditional motorcycle with much of the peace-of-mind of a convertible sports car, there is nothing like it on the road. It is in a vehicle category all its own. Marketing efforts are geared toward baby boomers who are seeking the thrill of the ride but with clutchless shifting technology and added safety features.
Though it provides an entirely different sensation than a motorcycle or trike, the Can-Am Spyder is a new alternative for those looking to add a new dimension to their riding experience.

By Dave Miller