[dropcap]S[/dropcap]treet-going snowmobile? Road-bound PWC? It is not a motorcycle and it is not a car, but to more than 100,000 owners, the Can-Am Spyder is a blast. With that many units sold at the retail level, combined with the fact that parent company BRP has just confirmed its attendance at the AIMExpo in Orlando in October, there is definitely a message here for the dealers. We decided to sake a spin on the new Spyder F3 to see if we got caught in its web.
Interestingly, the machine is classified as a cruiser internally, and targeted at motorcycle customers. “It has been a great ride with the Can-Am Spyder since we first unveiled it in 2007, to today, delivering the 100,000th unit,” says José Boisjoli, BRP’s president/CEO at the Spyderfest owners convention in May of this year. “The Spyder F3 model marks our entry in the cruiser segment, which represents about two-thirds of the North American motorcycle industry. Consumer response to this new model leads us to believe that we can expect more milestones in the near future.”
“The Spyder F3 represents a significant growth opportunity for our Spyder line-up,” adds François Tremblay, Can-Am Spyder’s global marketing director. “We have extended our line-up to attract different categories of consumers. However, after 8 years in that market, we also know what people who have yet to buy a Spyder are looking for. We believe the Spyder F3 will appeal to these consumers.”
According to BRP, the new Can-Am Spyder F3 is for those who are looking for a lower riding position and a lower center of gravity, combined with a muscular design usually found in the cruiser segment. While we can confirm the “lower” riding position, the first time in the saddle is not your typical motorcycle experience. In fact, throw out many of your preconceived notions of motorcycling, starting with the controls.
This is a different animal than any bike in the MPN stable. No clutch and no brake lever on the handlebars, no shift lever near your left toe, either. Instead there is a single linked brake for the right foot, a thumb operated shifter on the left side of the bars and a twist throttle on the right. Sounds more like a PWC with a twist throttle or a “twist ‘n go” scooter than a muscle cruiser set-up… and then there is that reverse gear!
Old habits die hard (at least for our resident crash test dummy). Accelerating up through the gears is seamless and even with traction control, there is still the satisfying chirp of catching second… however there was a “moment” of reaching for the clutch and the brake as the stop light rapidly approached. Nor is it your old ATC… cocking your butt on the seat and stabbing where the thumb throttle used to be only makes you look silly as you hit the starter button and the rear stays firmly planted rather than gracefully accelerating into a full lock powerslide! Embarrassing to say the least when you attempt this stunt in front of your co-workers.
Taking the intended purpose into mind and replacing the resident village idiot in the saddle, reveals that the Spyder does things remarkably well… albeit a bit differently. Power delivery is torquey and smooth, but it will legitimately accelerate up to 100+ mph (confirmed by a thoughtful highway patrolman’s radar) and the sensation of speed that close to the ground is akin to a full-blown shifter kart! The stability and stopping power of the ABS linked brakes are on par with most two-wheeled cruisers (and superior to many trikes on the market)… and it has the added convenience of the aforementioned reverse gear and automatically backshifting into first gear at every stop if you want.
No question that the re-entry rider or long-time snowmobile rider will readily adapt to the controls… especially when you factor in Can-Am’s unique “UFit” system. This industry first offers an innovative way to adjust the riding position to fit the profile, size and preferences of individual riders. With more than 1,200 Can-Am Spyder enthusiasts showing up at Spyderfest 2015 in Springfield, Missouri, there is no denying the fact that there is a growing community of Spyder owners spanning the globe.
Combine that impetus with a focus on the Spyder specifically for AIMExpo (see sidebar below) and the next 100,000 units should sell through even quicker! Rather than trying to pigeonhole it as a 3-wheeled scooter, or a PWC with wheels, bring an open mind and demo the Spyder for yourself this October
CAN 100,000 PEOPLE BE WRONG?
Sportier Spyder Highlights BRP Dealer Campaign At AIMExpo
BRP is definitely serious about expanding the market for its version of a muscle cruiser. Even though 100,000 units have already been sold, the company realizes there is a largely untapped market for its three-wheeler. Starting with the
Can-Am Spyder demo tour that hits consumers in 150+ cities across North America this summer, BRP has confirmed the Spyder will be a focal point for the AIMExpo in Orlando in an effort to get dealers to experience the unique machine for themselves.
“We believe AIMExpo is the ideal event to showcase BRP’s product portfolio,” says Delton Bohlman, BRP’s director of dealer network management. “In fact, AIMExpo will be one of the first North American public showings for some of our model year 2016 lineups. Dealers will also be
able to get a glimpse of BRP’s new
“BRP’s product lineup is not only one of the largest in all of the powersports marketplace, but is also one of the most creative,” Delton adds. “Innovation sits at the heart of everything BRP produces and one of the company’s truest representations of that is its one-of-a-kind Can-Am Spyder, which will be a focal point at AIMExpo. The first true on-road vehicle produced by BRP, the three-wheeled Can-Am Spyder sits in a class of its own with state-of-the-art technology and a ride experience unlike anything else offered in the industry.”
The Can-Am Spyder line-up now includes four models to meet the desired riding experience of multiple types of riders. In addition to the Can-Am Spyder F3, the Spyder RT touring line delivers the ultimate in touring performance and comfort. The Spyder RS sport line represents the machine for the rider who has a passion for a vehicle with a sportbike riding posture. The Spyder ST sport-touring line represents the optimum combination of comfort and sportiness.
Most of the Can-Am Spyder models and other off-road vehicles will be available for demo rides at AIMExpo Outdoors!, the show’s outdoor experiential space.