rose had to drop her bike off today to get new tires, and a 40k service. the woman has had her bike only 3 years; she rides a LOT. i hopped in the truck wearing cut-offs and flip-flops, loaded up my dogs and followed her to the dealership... where they were having a "test-drive the spyder" event for anyone in closed-toed shoes and long pants. *le sigh* rose immediately signed up, of course. i hemmed and hawed and stalled and held her helmet while she filled out paperwork and watched the familiarization video, but i realized that i'd spend the rest of the year kicking myself if i passed up the opportunity try one of the little beasts. i blazed home and got geared up to ride and guiltily tossed my dogs a couple of kongs stuffed with milkbones to keep them entertained.
the video was full of french canadians with very sexy accents talking about how much fun it was to design and build a 3-wheeled sport vehicle that was not quite a motorcycle, not quite an ATV, and not anything like a car. they kept talking about the "paradigm shift" involved and how the whole time they were developing it they weren't sure whether they were the triumphant inventors or the crackpot mad scientists, but either way, they were having fun.
then was the familiarization briefing. i'll give you the highlights:
- like a motorcycle, except you can get it with automatic transmission
- like the beetle, it has a trunk in front
- unlike the beetle, the trunk can double as an ice chest
- unlike either a motorcycle or a beetle, it has... um... THREE wheels
then there was the road ride!!!! they let rose join our group because it was small, so she got TWO road rides on the spyder today. (jealous!) ummm... first off, it's ZIPPY. that's very common for a v-twin, they're very torque-y engines, generally. i'm used to great torque on my valk, but this was crazy. the acceleration on this thing was HAWT. like pull your arms out of their sockets and leave your helmet a block behind you hawt. even, (dare i say it?) like a bacon bikini hawt.
also, it was stable. this isn't terribly surprising, since it has (i may have mentioned this) THREE wheels. but 3-wheelers can be tipped, especially in corners, especially if you're going fast. the beauty of the Y-arrangement on the spyder is that the drive wheel is the single back wheel, so it's much harder to flip than a 3-wheel ATV. there's a lengthy explanation of the stability control system available on the website, but the basics are that it's monitoring all the wheels all the time and adjusts traction by occasionally braking one or more of the wheels so as to keep them all on the pavement. it's also smart enough to know if you have a passenger on back, and adjusts differently for that than when you're riding solo.
it's a neato machine and was very fun to ride. i think it'd be a helluva lot better in nasty traffic than a motorcycle, simply because you don't have to keep putting your feet down to stay vertical. of course, if i had the huevos to try lane-sharing in texas, a motorcycle would be better. with that wide-front stance the spyder is just as wide as a small car and you definitely could NOT lane-split with it. you could still get two into a single parking space, though, especially if you parked them yin-and-yang style. rose and i are thinking about getting one if either of us ends up in a work-from-the-office job anytime in the near future. for now... it's not in the cards, but it was fun to have it in my hands for half an hour!