Women in particular seem to be drawn to the Spyder as indicated by Can-Am’s marketing research. I spoke with Linda Hepburn of Apex Cycle Education which offers a three-wheeled license waiver course in Virginia.
“Students that sign up for our trike/sidecar classes often show up riding a Spyder,” Hepburn told me. “Men and women usually fit one of the following groups: older, or returning riders that don’t want to ride a motorcycle anymore, new riders that never want to own a motorcycle, and riders that took a basic motorcycle course, but could not pass the riding skills test.”
Training for the Spyder includes basic operation as well as cornering (body position), steering and braking techniques specifically tailored for the Can-Am Roadster. Hepburn is a Spyder RT owner herself and made the transition from motorcycles to the Spyder a few years ago because she felt more secure riding it than a motorcycle.
I also spoke with Genevieve Schmitt, editor of Women Riders Now. “The Spyder tracks fine both in a straight line and cornering,” Schmitt said. “It feels like a solid four-wheel ATV and offers a sportcar-like ride.
“The learning curve for the Can-Am Roadster is considerably less steep than that for a motorcycle,” Schmitt added. “A bike requires that four skills be learned simultaneously: manual shifting, throttle control, balance and counter steering, or leaning; the Spyder only requires throttle control, assuming that one is riding the semi-automatic model. For a beginner, the Spyder is far less intimidating to ride than a motorcycle.”
Both Hepburn and Schmitt felt that while anyone could learn how to control a Spyder in a large parking lot with minimal instruction, additional training was needed for learning street survival skills before negotiating highway traffic.
BUILDING YOUR BUSINESS. If you are considering expanding your product line to include Can-Am Roadsters, here are some things to consider.
- Foremost the Spyder is not a motorcycle—not even a three-wheeled motorcycle. It’s somewhere between a sportscar and a bike.
- Even a customer with no powersports riding experience can adequately control the Spyder after 15 minutes in a large parking lot, so you may want to consider offering test rides (because unlike a motorcycle, they can’t drop it).
- Basic control is one thing, but riding on the street with traffic is another. Customers without motorcycle riding experience will still need street survival training before hitting the highway.
- Showroom space needs to be considered; all three models of Roadsters will take up considerably more floor space than three motorcycles.
Finally, if you do decide to offer the Spyder, remember that you are not just adding another powersports vehicle — you’re attracting both existing customers, who already ride, and non-riding, new customers. Park any one of the Can-Am Roadsters out in front of your store and you would be surprised who stops by to find out more about the cool looking “motorcycle” with three wheels.
Press images courtesy BRP/Can-Am