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

  1. #16
    Registered User GTRider's Avatar
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    Apr 2006
    Nibley, UT USA
    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.

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

  2. #17
    I'm not sure about the Spyder but I've seen in person (at the Montreal Bike Show) that the Ryker has easily adjustable ergonomics (reach to the handlebar and footpegs). Might be a good thing since your wife is only 5ft3.

  3. #18
    Registered User
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    Sep 2012
    Lansing, Kansas
    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.
    On the coast of Kansas
    2012 F800ST

  4. #19
    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.

  5. #20
    Fortis Fortuna Adiuvat Omega Man's Avatar
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    Jan 2010
    Quote Originally Posted by greenwald View Post
    I enjoy the opportunity to ride all Spyder models, and the extreme stability up front during high-speed turns actually works against the rider's safety. Easy to be thrown off.

    Not for a beginner - I personally would not own one.
    I think I still want a Porsche Targa.
    Extreme stability and if I get thrown off......,
    "You can do good or you can do well. Sooner or later they make you choose." MI5
    Mod Squad
    2009 F800GS 1994 TW200

  6. #21
    My wife is only 5'3" so it is hard to find a bike or even a scooter that will allow her to be flat foote


    I am 5'00" with a 27" inseam. I have NEVER been able to flat foot a motorcycle. I come closer on my factory lowered F700GS than anything I've owned. If being able to flat foot a motorcycle is a deal breaker for her, I think there might be other issues such as confidence. You only can get that by experience. Sometimes it is just a matter of how badly you want to ride, therefore you take the time to get the proper training, then put those things you learn into practice regularly. It is no business of mine, but I just do not get a good feeling about her riding at this point. Kindest regards....Gail
    Gail Thorne
    2017 F700GS

  7. #22
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    You might want to check with your state Motorcycle Safety Training program. I teach at three different sites in the Mid Hudson Valley of New York that offer specific training and drivers license endorsement for three wheel rigs. The courses are conducted on Spyders, though you are welcome to bring your own registered, inspected and insured three wheeler, except a sidecar rig, if you wish. It is a one day program conducted on a local MSF range. Not sure what the cost will be this season, but last season the price was very reasonable due to partial sponsorship from Can Am.

    They do take some upper body strength to operate in evasive maneuvers or slow speed tight turns. The units we use are automatic transmission equipped. Hardest thing for me to get used to was no need to squeeze the clutch when shifting or stopping.

    MSF 27713
    Ride fast safely

  8. #23
    RK Ryder
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    London, Ontario
    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 !
    Knights of the Roundel #333

  9. #24
    Registered User okiegman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Eufaula, Oklahoma
    Quote Originally Posted by boxerrider View Post
    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,.. Im 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?

    Your story sounds almost identical to my wife, Paula, and my story. She had ridden on the back of my bike for years, couldn't get comfortable on the back of my '05 GS so I thought "I can fix this" and bought a 2014 GTL-E. That helped but after a year or so she realized her "discomfort" was because she wanted to be in control. She took and passed the BRC, we practiced in the pasture but she just never felt comfortable on the road. About that time we met a very nice lady at the MOA Rally who was riding a Spyder. She and my wife vanished for several hours as she took my wife for a ride and went through everything about the Spyder.

    After returning home, we found a great deal on a lightly used 2015 Spyder RT Limited and she hasn't looked back. For a "motorcyclist" the sensation of riding a Spyder is very different. When you enter a corner it does provide the sensation that it will "throw" you off the bike. I think this is purely a sensation and doubt you could create enough centrifugal force to actually throw you off the bike. If you simply move your butt to the inside of the corner the sensation goes away. Like your wife, mine didn't want to deal with a clutch so she got the semi-automatic and she loves it. You only have to up-shift, the bike will down-shift for you (or you can do it manually by pushing the other side of the paddle). She no longer rides with me and I've gone back to a GSA. She follows me when we ride together and it brings a smile to my face to look in my rear-view mirror and see my bride following along. We have and use helmet comms and I often hear "weeeeee" as she exits a corner.

    I'm going to turn the keyboard over to Paula and let her give you her thoughts (she's a member but it's easier to let her go from here):
    I love my Spyder! I definitely recommend your wife get one. It took me awhile to get comfortable to ride long distances. For me to gain confidence we rode short distances with Wes as a passenger guiding me over the comms. Then I graduated to short rides with me following him. Now I am comfortable on long rides and curvy roads. Before venturing out on long rides together I would recommend you ride the Spyder yourself on a few curvy roads. It is a different ride than a motorcycle. Wes could never understand why I was so tired after long curvy rides until he rode the Spyder by himself on a few curvy roads. I have enough confidence now that I ride my ride and I let him ride his. I'm okay with him going a little faster on the curves and leaving me a bit behind. He has a good ride and so do I. I always make sure I know the next step in our trip in case he gets too far ahead of me. It was definitely a great purchase and gave me the freedom I wanted.

    As far as what to purchase- you want to buy the bigger engine. With the Spyder you need to pay close attention to the gas stops. We usually stop between every 100 and 150 miles for fuel depending on the speeds we are riding. When I ride consistently at 70 mph or above my gas mileage drops quite a bit. The 2015 has a little bit of an airflow issue for the rider. It has poor airflow around the gas tank area (about where your thighs are on the bike). Riding in Arizona and Utah with temps well over 100 degrees I had to ride basically sitting on a ziplock bag of ice and that was with my cooling vest on. To help with the heat I ride with the windshield as low as it goes for the most part. I recently looked at a 2019 Spyder RT limited. When I talked to the salesperson about the issue he said Spyder has fixed this issue with the newer Spyders. I did not test ride it to see if it has been fixed. A plus is the Spyder's storage capacity- it is fantastic. I highly recommend the back rest. I love the Spyder and would recommend to anyone. - Paula

    I will add we also love it when we get to our destination and are going to ride to the grocery store, dinner, etc. It's so easy for both of us to jump on, ride in traffic and park.

    Wes - with the current available options on the market, when I'm no longer comfortable riding on 2 wheels the Spyder will be my first choice.

    One of the things we learned in a cross-country trip along 2-lane roads. Paula was complaining of the Spyder pulling to the right, my initial thought was it was due to the crown in the road. I had checked the pressure in her tires before leaving and all were within a few pounds of each other. At a gas stop in NM I had an ah-ha moment. When we left the right tire was about 3 pounds less than left. I switched that and put about 3-4 pounds more in the right tire than the left and, voila, bike rode straight as an arrow.

    I hope this helps
    Wes & Paula Fitzer
    Wes Fitzer-MOA BoD - President
    BMWMOA 170126
    NE Oklahoma BMW Club; BMW Riders of Oklahoma
    2016 R1200GSA

  10. #25
    A few years ago Fred Rau dropped by the house riding a Spyder. I took it for a ride for a few miles. I concluded it didn't handle like a motorcycle at all. To me it handled like a 4 wheel ATV. There were also some similarities to the handling of a snowmobile but mostly like an ATV.

    I am of the opinion that transitioning from a two wheeler to a Spyder may well be more difficult than simply learning to ride the three wheeler from scratch because the handling is so different. I also suspect that up to a point the more two wheel experience a person has the more difficult the transition is to three wheels because of muscle memory and trained habitual reactions.
    Paul Glaves - "Big Bend", Texas U.S.A
    "The greatest challenge to any thinker is stating the problem in a way that will allow a solution." - Bertrand Russell

  11. #26
    Registered User lkchris's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Albuquerque, NM
    Sorry, have to ... when you're driving a three-wheeler like this and there's a pothole in your lane, you will hit it.

    But really, isn't it an accurate analogy to compare graduating from a tricycle to a bicycle? Is this necessary for adults?

    For scaring yourself as an adult, try riding a skinny-tired, suspensionless, nearly brakeless racing bicycle following lots of years motorcycling. I have a bicycling friend who claims to have passed Harleys coming down our mountain here--not for me!
    Kent Christensen
    '12 R1200RT, '02 R1100S

  12. #27
    Registered User crna59's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Issaquah, WA
    I do have a Spyder RT-S and also teach the S/TEP 3-wheel course here in WA state. As above, most have given you great advice.
    The Spyder F-3 and also the Ryker both have adjustable foot pegs. Very easy to move. We've had 4'10" females in the class that did fine.
    The Ryker does have a CVT, so no shifting, though putting it in reverse is a PITA sometimes. The Ryker is low enough that it almost feels like you're sitting on the ground. The Ryker can be outfitted with a windshield, top case (or passenger seat) and 1 side bag.
    It's weird getting off my BMW and jumping on the Spyder because of the different riding dynamic. Have to tell myself to relax.......
    Bruce A. Brown #212072
    MSF 2-wheel Instructor
    H-D Riding Academy Instructor
    S/TEP 3-wheel Instructor

  13. #28
    Wes and Paula, thanks for providing your experience; this was very helpful and eaxactly the sort of feedback we were looking for. My wife also read your write up and feel more comfortable now, knowing that even though the Spyder is a more massive machine, it can be still manageable.
    We were planing on going to our local dealer this weekend to take a look, but the weather in the northeast didnt quite cooperate. It's supposed to be nicer this coming weekend and will make the trip to Harrisburg, and look at a few units they have on their showroom floor.

    Thank again for taking the time to respond.
    2004 R1100S Boxercup (Mamolla)
    2008 K1200GT
    2017 R1200RS

  14. #29
    Quote Originally Posted by crna59 View Post
    I do have a Spyder RT-S and also teach the S/TEP 3-wheel course here in WA state. As above, most have given you great advice.
    The Spyder F-3 and also the Ryker both have adjustable foot pegs. Very easy to move. We've had 4'10" females in the class that did fine.
    The Ryker does have a CVT, so no shifting, though putting it in reverse is a PITA sometimes. The Ryker is low enough that it almost feels like you're sitting on the ground. The Ryker can be outfitted with a windshield, top case (or passenger seat) and 1 side bag.
    It's weird getting off my BMW and jumping on the Spyder because of the different riding dynamic. Have to tell myself to relax.......
    Bruce do you know if the S/TEP 3 wheel program is given in other region/area?
    We are in Southeast PA.
    2004 R1100S Boxercup (Mamolla)
    2008 K1200GT
    2017 R1200RS

  15. #30
    '99 '03 '06 National Co-Rally Chair Friedle's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Poughkeepsie, NY
    Quote Originally Posted by boxerrider View Post
    Bruce do you know if the S/TEP 3 wheel program is given in other region/area?
    We are in Southeast PA.
    Course is offered in Newburgh, NY (off Rt 84 near the Hudson River) through Motorcycle Training solutions. Not that far from Harrisburg and very reasonable course cost with small class size Lots of lodging in the area. 845-784-4911 for schedule information or to register. Tell them I sent you.

    MSF 27713
    Ride fast safely

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