They say: Riding evolved.
We say: From the upright toward the clamshell.
Here’s the deal: Trikes are just different. And a high-performance, two-wheels-in-front version has its own deal with . When you punch the right grip, it doesn’t heel over to the right and go that way. No, sir. The front wheels point left and, after a brief interval of nothing at all happening, the Kumhos do their little molecular dance with the pavement and yank the front of the trike to port. You, sitting well above the roll center—and even further above the plane that anchors lateral acceleration—realize that it’s almost too late to get to the inside of the trike to keep the inboard wheel on the ground.
Better than road kill, which is a key ingredient in the reason Spyders exist at all. They are, according to Can-Am’s designers and management, a way to get the best sensations of motorcycling without fear of dropping the vehicle. Safety and confidence are always at the top of the list. From the calibration of the Rotax’s ride-by-wire throttle system to the standard ABS’s ability to modulate each front wheel independently to control braking yaw, just about every piece of the Spyder has been scrutinized to keep it from acting like the three-wheel ATC that ran you over when you were a kid. (We were all convinced these fixed-axle three-wheelers were sadistic based on the way they’d pitch you off the high side then out and run you over just for the sheer randy hell of it.)
But it can be. Spyder has introduced something called UFit, a clever way to describe adjustable ergonomics. Five footpeg locations everyone from 5-foot-1 to 6-foot-plus, adjustable with hand tools in just a few minutes. Also, there are four bars available. (One bar is standard; changing is an extra-cost option at the dealer.) No adjustments for the seat, but at 26.6 inches it’s pretty low. And that’s just for comfort of mounting. No reason to put your feet down once underway. (Although I did try to extend the nonexistent kickstand once.)
The F3 feels in many ways motorcycle familiar. There’s a twist throttle, a gutteral growl from the triple, and a foot brake. Because the brakes are linked and electronically proportioned, there’s no hand lever. When you’re on the F3 with the six-speed semi-auto transmission, that’s not a problem, since there’s no clutch lever, either. Roll open the throttle, the Spyder moves away gracefully, then you can punch up the next gear with your left thumb. Should you forget to downshift for the next stop sign, the system will do it for you, blipping the throttle for each downshift. (I also rode the full-manual version, whose gears feel as big as a truck’s and not a lot more agile. Because I was hand clutching, I also kept reaching for a hand brake. Besides, the semi-auto better fits the F3’s personality.)
Spyder’s latest takes reverse-trike tech a big step forward. Hard-core motorcyclists will still wrinkle their noses.
|PRICE||$22,499 (as tested)|
|ENGINE TYPE||1,330cc, liquid-cooled inline-triple|
|TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE||6-speed semi-automatic with reverse/belt|
|CLAIMED HORSEPOWER||115.0 hp @ 7250 rpm|
|CLAIMED TORQUE||96.0 lb.-ft. @ 5000 rpm|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||Fox shocks adjustable for spring preload; 5.1-in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||Sachs shock; 5.2-in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKE||Dual Brembo four-piston calipers, 270mm discs with ABS|
|REAR BRAKE||One-piston caliper, 270mm disc with ABS|
|SEAT HEIGHT||32.0-33.0 in|
|FUEL CAPACITY||7.1 gal|
|CLAIMED WEIGHT||850 lb (dry)|