Bombardier Recreational Products swears that the Can-Am Spyder is a roadster, owing to its lack of doors and a roof. We say it's a snowmobile with tires instead of skis and a track. Whatever you decide it is, this thing is a blast to drive.
Powered by a 106-hp, 998-cc DOHC V-twin engine, the 697-pound Spyder is suitably quick: it sprints from 0 to 60 mph in about 4.5 seconds and tops out at 118 mph. Suspension is by control arms up front and a swing arm in the rear.
Piloting the Spyder is essentially the same as riding an ATV, so motorcycle techniques, like countersteering into a corner, are useless. (A motorcycle license is useful, however, as only California, South Carolina, and Delaware allow you to operate the Spyder without at least three-wheeled certification.) Shifting the five-speed-plus-reverse gearbox is more bikelike, with a left-hand clutch and a foot shifter. An electronic, thumb-shift automatic will be a $1500 option next year. The integrated, three-wheel antilock disc brakes are strong and quick to respond and are controlled solely with your right foot; your right hand's only job is twisting the throttle. Twist it too hard in a bend, though, and the Bosch-supplied stability control kicks in. Thankfully, the system's not a total killjoy-it allows straightline burnouts up to 35 mph.
BRP has little clue about who will buy the Spyder, but it believes that 35- to 55-year-old powersports enthusiasts will be interested. (That's not vague or anything.) We see snowmobilers picking one up to extend their riding season into the summer, as well as perhaps a few folks who find the two-wheel tango a bit too dangerous. Whoever ends up buying a Spyder, however, is going to end up having a seriously good time.