Leaner, leaning Spyder

Can-Am's oddball trike could be getting a whole lot crazier

THE Can-Am Spyder is already a pretty strange machine, sitting in no-man's land somewhere between cars and bikes, but a new patent application from Can-Am's parent firm, Bombardier, shows that it's already got its eye on doing something even more unusual.

At first glance, the drawings seem to show something remarkably like the current Spyder, but dig a little deeper and the difference is clear: this one leans like a proper bike.

A clever front suspension set-up means that while this is still a trike, it's more like a Piaggio MP3 in terms of its cornering – the main body of the machine and all three wheels lean into corners. That means the handling should be far closer to that of a conventional bike.

Is Can-Am really going to make the leaning version of the Spyder? It's quite possible; the first glimpse the world got of the original Spyder came from patent applications, so why shouldn't its follow-up take the same route?

Underneath the bodywork, from the look of it, there's the same Rotax V-twin (better known as the Aprilia RSV Mille engine) as the current Spyder. Bombardier owns Rotax, so using one of the firm's engines is inevitable. In Spyder form the engine makes 106bhp but the motor is capable of far more than that, with older Aprilia versions good for 140bhp-plus.

What do you think – is a leaning trike a worthy replacement for a bike, with a bit of additional grip and safety, or a pale imitation of the real thing?