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2008 Can-Am Spyder Review (video)


by Pascal Bastien ,

Is it a motorcycle, an ATV or a snowmobile on wheels? Never before has a new vehicle aroused so much curiosity since its debut. The Spyder is first and foremost a unique approach to mobility. From the front, you could swear it has eyes, a nose and a mouth. From the side, it is all elegance and style. Whether you love it or hate it, you have to admit that the designers did their work very well: this machine turns heads like no other.

The Spyder sits on three wheels, two directional ones in front and one standard wheel in back.

This singular vehicle is designed around the famous SST chassis derived from the brand's Outlander ATVs. This type of revolutionary frame is extremely rigid yet simple. The Spyder sits on three wheels, two directional ones in front and one standard wheel in back. According to BRP, the Spyder falls somewhere between a motorcycle and a convertible sports car thanks to its Y-shaped frame.

At first sight, it looks like a snowmobile that has traded its skis and track in for some wheels. Legally, the Can-Am Spyder is homologated as a three-wheeled motorcycle. Rumours are currently going around that a study is being conducted on the possibility of allowing motorists with a standard driver's licence in Canada and some European countries to drive this vehicle. But for the time being, only those holding a class 6a licence get to drive this seemingly alien motorcycle.

Power to spare
The Can-Am Spyder is powered by a 998-cc, 4-cycle V-Twin engine designed by Rotax. This engine is derived from the one behind Aprilia's RSV 1000 and has traded 37 hp for improved torque at low and medium rpm. The dual-camshaft engine boasts a leading-edge electronic fuel injection system. Its impressive acceleration surprised more than a few of us during our road test against three of the most fearsome sedans launched this year, the Lexus IS-F, the BMW M3 and the Mercedes C63 AMG. The Spyder held its own, beating all three cars in 0-100 km/h acceleration. And during the quarter-mile tests, only the Mercedes C63 AMG managed to cross the finish line ahead of it, but only by a nose. So despite its considerable 697 pounds of bulk, the Spyder offers lots of power and acceleration.

On the highway, the faster you go, the more stable it seems, making it oh-so-easy to speed!
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