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Photos: BRP Can-Am Spyder

The Can-Am Spyder is similar to a motorcycle, in that it uses one rear belt-driven wheel, but two front wheels differentiate it. The Spyder is relatively easy to drive and gets about 35 miles per gallon, making it a potentially inexpensive commute vehicle.

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Wayne Cunningham
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BRP, a company known for recreational vehicles, released the Can-Am Spyder last year. This vehicle combines elements of motorcycle and car, with one rear belt-driven wheel and two front steering wheels.
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The two front wheels ensure stability. Unlike a motorcycle, you don't have to hold it up when stopped, and parking is simple. Of course, you also won't be able to cut through traffic by splitting lanes.
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Two people fit easily on the Spyder. The shocks can be adjusted with a click dial, to accomodate the weight of the driver and whether it will be used to carry passengers.
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The front wheels turn like car wheels, from a fixed pivot point. This makes the driving experience different from a motorcycle, as you don't lean into turns.
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The Spyder has anti-lock disc brakes on all three wheels. You activate the brakes with the right foot pedal.
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The Spyder has other advanced safety systems, such as traction and stability control. With stability control, a sensor can tell when one of the front wheels leaves the ground, and will slow the other wheels to bring the Spyder back under control.
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A large belt drives the rear wheel. It gets power from a 990cc Rotax engine, delivering 106 horsepower and getting the Spyder to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Fuel economy is about 35 mpg.
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The hood of the Spyder opens up, revealing a small storage compartment. It doesn't offer a lot of room, but a commuter could store the necessities for a work day.
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The handlebars are similar to a motorcycle's, with clutch lever on the left and throttle on the right. But there is no brake lever on the right, as that function is operated by a foot pedal. This Spyder has a Garmin navigation unit mounted to the handlebar, although that is not a factory option.
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The Spyder has a speedometer and tachometer, and a large LCD in the center. This display shows a variety of information, such as speed, temperature, fuel level, and the trip computer.

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