Trike Question

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can-amEric: I read your motorcycle overview. Can you comment on the Can Am Spyder trike? My husband is interested for weekend riding, errands. Very little experience riding, starting classes. Age 50, big (6’2″ 230 lbs.). I’ve seen some good used deals lately, and wanted your pros and cons.
Sara in Texas

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  13 comments for “Trike Question

  1. September 23, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Hi Sarah,

    I haven’t ridden one of these things myself, but I can tell you they differ from conventional “trikes” – that is, motorcycles converted to be three wheelers – in a very important way: They are designed to lean like a bike in a curve. A major safety issue with most trikes is they have a solid axle rear that cannot lean in a curve. As the rider enters a corner, he tries to lean the bike, but the back end fights – and may “jack up,” leading to severe instability and a possible loss of control. No such issues with the Can Am – and I’ve heard/read nothing but good things about their handling.

    That said, if your husband has never ridden before, I’d strongly encourage him to begin by taking the Motorcycle Safety Foundation’s new rider course (see here: ) Jumping onto a powerful machine like the Can Am as a “first bike” is not something I’d recommend, even if it’s not technically a motorcycle and so things like balancing are less an issue.

    Bikes – trikes and Can Ams included – are not cars and require a different (and higher) skill set to operate safely/competently.

    Keep us posted – and hope this helped!

    • DownshiftFast5to1
      September 23, 2013 at 9:34 pm

      eric wrote, “Jumping onto a powerful machine like the Can Am as a “first bike” is not something I’d recommend,”

      How-about-that. I had just the opposite thoughts when I first saw one, I thought it was like having training wheels and would be a piece of cake to ride. I imagine a Lot of other people have the same thoughts/initial reaction.

      First impressions are funny that way, I guess? Wrong wayyy too many times, eh?

      It looks like wiping out on one would be rough. ‘Er, rougher than a regular bike. [That's just my old and unused for a long time dirt bike perspective.]

      • September 24, 2013 at 7:45 am

        I think that Cam Am is perhaps particularly dangerous for exactly that reason.

        A bike – a single track vehicle – requires at least some skill to operate successfully. One must be able to balance, for instance. To keep the bike upright at lights and while negotiating low-speed turns. Experienced riders don’t give this a thought because it’s become automatic – muscle memory. But if you’ve never ridden… .

        Then there’s the Can Am. Just sit on it and twist the throttle. Probably almost anyone could operate one. Yet, you’re still dealing with vehicle that has peculiar (relative to a car) handling dynamics, such as steering by leaning as well as by turning. And that is a skill (and muscle memory) that is essential to safe operation.

        The consequences of having an “oops!” on any type of bike or trike are, in addition, exponentially more serious. In a car, you’re surrounded by structural/reinforced steel. On a bike/trike, your body will have to absorb most of the impact in a crash.

        Therefore, taking every step to avoid crashing is the way to go.

  2. Tor Minotaur
    September 23, 2013 at 3:38 pm

    Motorcycle Safety Videos

    How to Ride a Motorcycle and Survive – 2013

    Street Smarts – 1990s

    Invisible Circle – Honda – 1960s

    • Tor Minotaur
      September 23, 2013 at 3:53 pm

      Good Motorcycle Cornering Tips

      Can Am Spyder Safety Video

      Can Am Spyder RT-S SE5 – Last Ride of 2012

  3. Garysco
    September 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    As a long time rider I will say you can’t get too much training. Last year I attended an 8 hour class/ practical “intermediate” training from full time time instructors at a police agency. Their instructors took my “I know how to ride” ego away, then gave it back. Worth every penny.

    • September 23, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Roger that, Gary.

      A day spent at the track – with an instructor – is also worth it, for the same reasons.

      I’ve learned a lot from some ex-pro and semi-pro racers.

  4. Garysco
    September 23, 2013 at 4:10 pm

    @guest – I assume your husband has sat on the Can-Am. I looked at the models on the showroom floor and, aside from not wanting one, I found the riding position on one model not all that comfortable for me, especially for any distance. Every one is different though.

  5. Boothe
    September 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm

    I still maintain that the Can Am Spyder is a snowmobile modified for asphalt. Go to Bombardier’s website ( and compare the Ski-Doo to the Spyder. I’ll grant you that the Spyder is designed to lean in corners versus the Ski-Doo’s runners (or skis if you prefer), but it’s the same concept. I suppose if you have torn rotator cuffs or some other disability that prevents you from holding up a conventional motorcycle when you stop it might be a good compromise. For me, I’ll stick with a standard motorcycle and when I’m too old or too feeble to hold it up, I’ll just quit riding altogether. But YMMV.

    • dom
      September 29, 2013 at 7:13 pm

      My buddy purchased a Victory Cross Country a year or so ago. We all rode out to the stealership to put in some special order items for his unit. While there I sat on on a Can Am Spyder. It felt exactly like sitting on a jet ski.

      • eric
        September 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

        Speaking of bike stuff:

        So, today I got my ’83 Silverwing’s forks put back together – fired up the compressor, to get some air (the forks are air-assisted) and the mahfuggin’ bix-noodin’ compressor crapped out on me. One of the T fittings just broke clean off. leaving the broken off “ring” fused to the threads inside a cast iron pipe. And I can’t find my easy out set.


        • dom
          September 29, 2013 at 8:05 pm

          I have brand new easy outs! This bix nood has the ability to see the future. And he sees many busted nuts, I mean bolts/studs. Dood, I sprayed six gallons of paint today in like an hour! The machine and I were one. Changed the earl on the 4Runner and then loaded all my shit back into the new shed. I also did a crap load of caulking and spray foam insulation. I then setup a new lantern too. What kind of compressor do you have? Remember the bolt that shot off my pressure washer? I still haven’t fixed that.
          Japanese Toro Lantern

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