If you mated a Lotus Elise with a Sea-Doo, their lovechild might resemble the BRP Can-Am Spyder.
The Spyder takes the crotch rocket paradigm and adds a second front wheel, making it a sort of reversed trike, with striking bodywork and enough technological wizardry to ensure safety for the masses.
Car-like engineering includes double A-arm front suspension components, a single brake pedal that distributes stopping power to all wheels via four-piston front and single-piston rear discs, and more than 11 gallons of storage in a nose compartment. Dry weight is 699 pounds—comparable to the average big-bore Harley cruiser, an impressive number considering this three-wheeler’s large footprint.
The Spyder’s heart is a Rotax 998cc V-twin powerplant, modified from its original Aprilia Mille application and tuned for greater low-end torque (77 lb.-ft. at 6,250 rpm), and more modest horsepower (108 horsepower at 8,500 rpm). Coupled with a five-speed manual that shifts like a motorcycle, the Spyder hits 60 mph in an impressive 4.5 seconds, an acceleration figure on par with entry-level supercars. Top end is limited to a Hyundai-like 110 mph…not that you would want to tempt fate on this baby, anyway.
Vehicle dynamics are also capped, thanks to stability management, traction control and rollover mitigation. In fact, we were initially concerned that the electronic big brother was going to spoil our fun, but real world riding proved otherwise. In a closed course we put our hoon caps on (just underneath our helmets) and challenged the adhesion limits of the Spyder. With just the right combination of steering angle and throttle, we managed to lift the inside front wheel about a foot off the ground before roll-over control kicked in, which retards engine ignition and sometimes applies ABS to the outside wheel. We also managed to pop the clutch and smoke the rear tires (contrary to the claims of one BRP official, who swore it couldn’t be done), adding bonus points by appealing to our inner hooligan.