So have you all seen these zippin around your town??? They're starting to get more and more popular here in Florida. I've seen them quite a bit recently.. on the road, poker runs and at the area Bike Nights and I have to be honest... I was curious. My riding buddies and I mostly just shake our heads when we see them because we're just not sure what to think.
So Saturday over in Tampa they had a big promo event where you could go and test ride one for about 40 minutes. So I grabbed my son Christian (who goes with me everwhere when I'm on the motorcycle) and we headed over to check 'em out.
So... a brief recap... The event was very well put together. I was definitely impressed by how efficient and friendly the staff was. First we had to do a brief registration process then watch a short video about the Spyder and some of it's safety equipment. I don't remember all the neat little acronyms for the safety features but there were quite a few. They have ABS and some sort of traction control. They also have a sensor to keep you from flipping the thing over when you go around turns.
After the video we had to do a quick breathalyzer (sp???) test which I thought was cool (never did one before) and then the first dissapointment.. they made me wear a helmet. I wasn't too thrilled about that at all. I rarely ever wear a helmet on my bike. If Jen and I go out together we both wear one or if the temp gets below 40F I'll put one on other then that I hate 'em.
So after getting my loaner helmet we headed to a little test track in the parking lot where we got a short explantaion of all the controls and then took them out for a few laps in the parking lot. We had the choice between an electric automatic transmission or a manual. Nobody wanted the auto
After that it was time to mount up and hit the road. First impressions.... weird!!! I'm so used to a bike that actually turning a handlebar to move seemed really foreign. I've never drove a snowmobile but I was told they are very similar. Not putting your feet down when your stopped, no front break handle etc just made the whole thing seem very odd.
Remember the safety features we talked about a minute ago?? I made it my personal mission to test every one of them and I did!!! The first one to get tested was the ABS. It did great. I did however scare the sh1t out of the guy in front of me but oh well... I'll never see him again anyway. They took us on a pretty good road with lots of corners and I tried my best to get that thing on 2 wheels but I never did. I know I was close a few times but it just wouldn't do it. I also tried to catch a little air going over some speed humps but no luck there either.
After the ride we came back, I turned in my helmet and grabbed some of the free burgers
The Pros: It was extremely smooth. The shifting, stopping & acceleration were great. I thought it had good power and solid acceleration for a 900cc engine. All of the safety features/sensors worked great.
The Cons: felt very unstable but to be fair I imagine after some time on it that would get better. My calves were on flipping fire! My legs got very hot riding it which was uncomfortable. But my biggest problem... BOREDOM! Anybody who rides can tell you there is nothing quite like banking into a nice curve.. on this thing... Yawn! I couldn't stand it. For me it was a definite NO. If I were physically unable to ride on 2 wheels then I would consider this before a trike but that's about it. They might be fun for a few hours on a Saturday but as a primary "bike".... forget it.
I think it will be a long time before these get much respect in the bike community. I'm surprised the 1% guys don't beat people up just for riding them!
This is what they look like if you've never seen one.