A Three-Wheeled Beast

By Gary Cole

With the open-air freedom of a motorcycle, the three-wheeled Can-Am touring trikes offer a comfortable riding experience.

If riding on four wheels is getting boring but going to just two seems a bit daunting, the new Can-Am Spyder RT may offer the perfect compromise. While the Spyder, sometimes affectionately referred to as a trike, offers the open-air freedom of a motorcycle, it is definitely a different animal. Don’t expect to lean into corners and flirt with a wheely on takeoff. Do expect a comfortable wind-in-your-face experience and lots of curious street stares as you negotiate city streets or the interstate.

There are three versions of Can-Am’s touring trike: the basic Spyder RT, the mid-level Spyder RT-S or the total bells and whistles Spyder RT Limited. The RT base model comes with a 5-speed manual transmission plus reverse, an absolute necessity for maneuvering the Spyder ($23,399 base price) into tight spots. The RT-S offers the option of a semi-automatic transmission plus an AM-FM audio system with iPod capability, heated passenger handgrips and more. The Limited piles even more extras including a built-in GPS.

All Spyder’s are powered by a 998cc V-twin engine which pushes the 929 pounds of machinery down the road with little effort. There’s also power steering and ABS brakes on all three wheels. There is no separate handbrake and no need to put your feet on the pavement when stopped. The passenger seat is nearly as comfortable as a lounge chair and there’s tons of storage—in the front hatch and the side and back storage boxes.

Be prepared for assorted sneers from some of the more die-hard motorcyclists. However, the Spyder is a fun and easy ride that promises to introduce the open road to a whole new audience.


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