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Thread: Can Am Spyder ! Is it ok for beginner?

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  1. #1

    Can Am Spyder ! Is it ok for beginner?

    Hello all, I've been married for 22 years, and my wife has never had an incline to learn riding motorcycles. Although recently, she's now enjoyed watching videos I've taken on long trips to Canada and out west and now wants part of it. She is not the type to ride in the back, she says she wants control,.. whatever that means.
    Over a year ago we looked into getting her started and she got her motorcycle permit. She has not gotten her endorsement yet, but we keep on practicing. We debated at length what she should start riding with, but she was adamant about "No clutch" and No shifter. So, we purchased a Suzuki Burgman 400. She did well for a while in parking lot, school yard and such but she feels really unsettled on the roads. She's now dropped it 3 times and is afraid of climbing on it again. The Burgman 400 is a respectable 474 lbs bike and not to be taken lightly, I managed 92 mph on it.
    Talking to friends and coworkers, she now decided she wants a Can Am Spyder. I never ridden a Spyder, but a 1000cc sport beast,.. I’m not sold on that idea. I've read many blogs that says that it is the most popular choice for women ridding for the first time, so it has to speak volume.

    Any on here with first hand driving experience on a Can Am Spyder and willing to provide insight on whether it's appropriate for a first time rider?

    Thanks
    Stephane
    2004 R1100S Boxercup (Mamolla)
    2008 K1200GT
    2017 R1200RS

  2. #2
    Registered User
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    No first hand experience other than a short parking lot ride, but my sister started riding in her 50's and loves hers. She rides every chance she gets.

  3. #3
    Not as extreme as a sidecar rig, but it has a strange riding dynamic that, to me, makes it difficult to manage evasive action in an emergency situation. They require different skills than a 2-wheeler, but in no way would I say they require less skills - probably more when the poop hits the propeller. The width of it makes it more difficult to put it where a motorcycle can go in an emergency. It seems to combine the worst attributes of a car with the worst attributes of a motorcycle. I'd pass on it and find a nice Mazda Miata.

    But then, some beginners buy full size Harleys and head off down the road duck-walking them until they reach rotation speed.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  4. #4
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    There is what I consider an amazing amount out stabilizing technology in a Spyder. I was behind a rider that was surprised by a tight corner resulting in a wheel lift a while back. The result of the wheel lift was the machine “settling” the machine right back down.
    My opinion- the Spyder is a great option for someone that wants to enjoy riding but doesn’t like the inherent stability issues that are common with a motorcycle.
    Good luck on your decision.
    OM
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  5. #5
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by beemerphile View Post
    it has a strange riding dynamic that, to me, makes it difficult to manage evasive action in an emergency situation. They require different skills than a 2-wheeler, but in no way would I say they require less skills - probably more when the poop hits the propeller. The width of it makes it more difficult to put it where a motorcycle can go in an emergency. It seems to combine the worst attributes of a car with the worst attributes of a motorcycle. I'd pass on it and find a nice Mazda Miata.

    But then, some beginners buy full size Harleys and head off down the road duck-walking them until they reach rotation speed.
    Who am I to comment after not riding for 33 years and going out and buying a K100RT; a top heavy machine. However since then I have put over 160,000 miles on my two bikes.

    Last spring, I visited a friend who I had asked to take me for a ride on the back of her brand new Spyder. That didn't quite happen as she made me drive/ride it (with her on the back), for approximately 40 minutes in the city and out in the countryside. I have to agree with beemerphile above that it was initially a "strange riding dynamic", that did make it difficult to handle. I certainly did not feel confident during that 40 minute ride, although my friend told me that my first try was more successful than her's. (And she has a lot more motorcycle miles under her belt than I do, and after a month of ownership, was still learning to master it.)

    Another woman I know who owns one says if you have extensive experience with snowmobiles, riding/driving a Spyder is much more intuitive.

    In your situation, I would be tempted to find one to rent for a weekend to allow your wife to make an informed decision. I would also suggest starting out in parking lots and quiet suburban streets (like when I take my granddaughter for driving lessons) before actually hitting busy streets or the open roads. I sincerely hope that your wife's experience and skill set is more successful than my only experience on one.

    When I tire of riding motorbikes, (translation; too old/feeble to ride) I have already decided that picking up a small Mazda will my next ride.

    Let us know what finally happens regarding the Spyder.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Niagara Riders & Knights of the Roundel #333

  6. #6
    Registered User dieselyoda's Avatar
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    Well Paul_F, I know that the centre of Canada is actually not as close to you as folks in the Golden Triangle believe, however, any Canadian, except for those in BC, learned how to skate at 5 years old, hang on to Dad's sled holding a rope and riding wooden sled will appreciate your equating a Can Am, made by our government bail out of Bombardier to a ski-doo.

    Big difference, in my mind that is usually looking for the next, best beer stop that have cute redheads that could fall in love with me, you ride a ski-doo with your weight transfer and the throttle and when all hell breaks loose, the snow is pretty forgiving. Moose and Elk not so much.

    I don't think a Can Am comes close to a motorcycle and if balance and a clutch are challenges, maybe riding is best left as bucket list wish.

    I kinda got a bit of history with this as my girlfriend wanted to ride with me but when factored into the challenges of traffic/mechanics/insurance costs and just not her thing, that part of our relationship changed into fair weather trips and parking her bike.

    Oh my, I don't need any more cute redheads in my life, I already have enough!
    1997 R1100RT, 1981 KZ 440 LTD, R80RT, R90/6 sidecar, K1100RS,1983 K100RS (Cafe now)

    “The major civilizing force in the world is not religion, it is sex.”

  7. #7
    Registered User jandhumphreyme's Avatar
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    I've ridden a short jaunt on one, and it was a different experience, not bad, just different. A couple we are acquainted with have toured the country on them and absolutely love them, for one of them physically it was the only alternative. They appear to me to be well crafted and very well engineered machines. They are not a motorcycle. They don't need to be compared to a motorcycle. They are not to be ridden like a motorcycle. I like the analogy above they ride like a snowmobile which is somewhat true. With training and practice your wife may find it a fantastic alternative. I know that I will when I can no longer hold up a motorcycle.

    You have probably already checked out some other internet forums specifically for the Spyder, if not, google some up and join, find out what those folks have to say.

    Not to be preachy, as you know being a motorcyclist, practice time is in large parking lot to gain experience and confidence will pay large dividends in the end.

    Good luck, hope you guys jump in and post some photo's of her new ride, better yet bring her to the Rally in June.
    So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains
    And we never even know we have the key

  8. #8
    Maybe consider a Piaggio MP3? More stability than a two wheeler without trading off for an entirely different riding dynamic. Also not as wide as the other 3-wheel options.
    Lee A. Dickinson - Danielsville, GA USA
    Airheads #3480 | Iron Butt Assn. #8914
    1992 R100RS - 1993 K1100RS - 2013 R1200GS

  9. #9
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jandhumphreyme View Post
    I've ridden a short jaunt on one, and it was a different experience, not bad, just different. A couple we are acquainted with have toured the country on them and absolutely love them, for one of them physically it was the only alternative. They appear to me to be well crafted and very well engineered machines. They are not a motorcycle. They don't need to be compared to a motorcycle. They are not to be ridden like a motorcycle. I like the analogy above they ride like a snowmobile which is somewhat true. With training and practice your wife may find it a fantastic alternative. I know that I will when I can no longer hold up a motorcycle.

    You have probably already checked out some other internet forums specifically for the Spyder, if not, google some up and join, find out what those folks have to say.

    Not to be preachy, as you know being a motorcyclist, practice time is in large parking lot to gain experience and confidence will pay large dividends in the end.

    Good luck, hope you guys jump in and post some photo's of her new ride, better yet bring her to the Rally in June.
    Well said, the most lucid response in the thread! Research from sources familiar with the item in question is the best place to start, and training is critical to understanding and mastering the dynamics of any new mode of transportation.

    Best,
    DG
    DGerber
    1983 R80ST — 1984 R80 G/S-PD — 2004 K1200GT w/Hannigan S/C — 2010 K1300GT — 2018 R1200GS
    BMWMOA#52184, AMA#271542, IBA#138

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul_F View Post
    Who am I to comment after not riding for 33 years and going out and buying a K100RT; a top heavy machine. However since then I have put over 160,000 miles on my two bikes.

    Last spring, I visited a friend who I had asked to take me for a ride on the back of her brand new Spyder. That didn't quite happen as she made me drive/ride it (with her on the back), for approximately 40 minutes in the city and out in the countryside. I have to agree with beemerphile above that it was initially a "strange riding dynamic", that did make it difficult to handle. I certainly did not feel confident during that 40 minute ride, although my friend told me that my first try was more successful than her's. (And she has a lot more motorcycle miles under her belt than I do, and after a month of ownership, was still learning to master it.)

    Another woman I know who owns one says if you have extensive experience with snowmobiles, riding/driving a Spyder is much more intuitive.

    In your situation, I would be tempted to find one to rent for a weekend to allow your wife to make an informed decision. I would also suggest starting out in parking lots and quiet suburban streets (like when I take my granddaughter for driving lessons) before actually hitting busy streets or the open roads. I sincerely hope that your wife's experience and skill set is more successful than my only experience on one.

    When I tire of riding motorbikes, (translation; too old/feeble to ride) I have already decided that picking up a small Mazda will my next ride.

    Let us know what finally happens regarding the Spyder.

    Paul F, good suggestion we'll see if we can rent one for a week or a month, maybe.

    BTW, my wife is from Londo, she grew up near Calrk Rd and Trafalgar. She's a graduate of Western.

    Small world.
    2004 R1100S Boxercup (Mamolla)
    2008 K1200GT
    2017 R1200RS

  11. #11
    Registered User
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    I have ridden several Spyder models, some for quite extended test rides. BLUF: I loved them all and will likely ride one when I no longer feel safe on two wheels.

    As others have said, they are NOT motorcycles and should not be criticized for not being one. I did find them, however, to be far safer than any sidecar rig and any typical tricycle (one-up, two-back) vehicle I have ridden. I actively tried, after I was comfortable on the machine, to upset the thing in hard corners, emergency evasive moves, and under panic stop situations. Was never able to cause the slightest upset. The "granny system" really helps you not do anything stupid. So much so that I thought the thing was a little boring to ride. I have ridden both manual shift and auto-shift models, and they each worked well; I won't hesitate to buy either one if/when the time comes for me.

    My only discomfort came when stopping, I could not get used to NOT putting a foot down. Made me feel a little clutzy.

    Good luck.
    Royce
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  12. #12
    I believe you are on the right path when considering these handle bor like a 4 wheeler than a motorcycle. Most Bikers have developed a certain muscle memory and reaction pattern which is not compatible with the dynamics of the Can Am. Having said that, it can be learned and these things are fun and quite comfortable in their own way.

    I have over 45 years on two wheels and just added a Can Am to the stable. After only a couple of hundred miles I became very comfortable and confident on it. Those first few miles however, I was all over the road.

    I believe a novice or someone who has never ridden a motorcycle before will have less trouble becoming acclimated.

    By the way, you have to really lean into the turns to keep from feeling like you will be thrown off so keep in mind that these things need some body english.

  13. #13
    RK Ryder
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    Quote Originally Posted by boxerrider View Post
    Paul F, good suggestion we'll see if we can rent one for a week or a month, maybe.

    BTW, my wife is from Londo, she grew up near Calrk Rd and Trafalgar. She's a graduate of Western.

    Small world.
    Turns out that your wife and I have two things in common; London and being Western Alumni. She grew near where one of our sons now lives.

    I hope that she masters getting onto the open road with the wind in her face.
    Paul F. Ruffell
    Retired and riding my RTs, the '87 K100 & the '98 R1100 !
    Niagara Riders & Knights of the Roundel #333

  14. #14
    Jack
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    Experienced Can Am rider

    Throwing in my 5 cents.
    I retired in 2017 and wanted to get back into riding. Still had my '86 K100 RT, but I was having balance issues. A friend had recently purchased a Spyder RT Limited and he & his wife just loved it. Long story short, he bought a newer Spyder and we ended up with his old one. Upon retirement we did a trip to Newfoundland to visit an old friend. Had a trailer for the whole trip. Yes, you don't ride it like a a motorcycle. Yes, I was a little nervous at first around corners, etc. BUT, after a few rides I was happily riding at speed. My Spyder is a semiautomatic; you shift up (no clutch), it shifts down (or you can manually). When you come to a stop, the bike will be in 1st. My wife and I both love the Spyder. It is VERY SAFE; has all the "nannies" so you don't tip the bike. One pedal to control the brakes. Cruise control, power steering, lots of storage space, very good protection, etc. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially ladies. Just don't expect to ride it like a motorcycle! If you've driven an ATV, that's what it rides like.

  15. #15
    Sounds extremely BORING to me .
    Gail Thorne
    2017 F700GS

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