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  1. #1
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    Default Not yet a Spyder owner

    Hi folks !

    I am about to purchase my first 2020 Spyder RT Limited. Maybe.

    However, after my first test ride on an F3, I have some concerns and was hoping you could set me straight.

    I've been riding motorcycles since I was 8 years old. I'm now 64 years old. Never in my life have I ridden a 3 wheeler of any kind.

    1) There is a small back and forth lateral movement that kinda terrifies me. I've read your do's and don'ts about a half dozen times and I see that one is supposed to have a relaxed grip. I used a death grip due to the lateral movement. I'm hoping a change in grip will eliminate this problem. Is this correct or is this lateral movement part and parcel of a Spyder? Will this improve on an RT as opposed to an F3?

    2) Cornering. Seems like every corner is about to turn me over. I'm guessing this is due to this being a 3 wheeled machine, not a 2 wheeler, and I'll get used to it. I never exceeded 45 MPH during my test ride. And apparently I was ALWAYS shifting too early.

    Those are the only things stopping me from owning a Spyder. And I R-E-A-L-L-Y want one.

    Can you folks help me with this?

    Thanks a million!!!

  2. #2
    aka: akspyderman ARtraveler's Avatar
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    and on your first post.

    It will work out. Unlearning the two wheeled habits are important. The handle different because of the configuration.

    The information in the do's and don'ts is right on so I will not repeat it here. If you take corners and have to hit the brakes to enter, you going to fast to begin with. You should be able to accelerate if you want to during the turns.

    The will NOT turn over and lose it during the turn. If you are going that fast...that is on you.

    I took 1500 miles before being completely comfortable. Six and 150,000 miles later, no issues or problems on those turns.

    Currently Owned: 2019 F3 Limited, 2020 F3 Limited, 2015 Vulcan 900 LTD

    Previously : 2008 GS-SM5 (silver), 2009 RS-SE5 (red), 2010 RT-S Premier Editon #474 (black) 2011 RT A&C SE5 (magnesium) 2014 RTS-SE6 (yellow). 7 Spyders, 12 years, 175,500 miles

    2020 F3L , Magma Red

  3. #3
    Active Member Garydj's Avatar
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    Coming from 2 wheels to 3 is always an adjustment. The wheels up front will track a bit different on uneven road surfaces. A lighter grip will allow the Spyder to find it's own way. You do get used to it after a some miles. Alignment could also be an issue, but it may not need it.

    As to the issue in turns, if you grip with your legs and lean into the curve you will feel more secure. Centrifugal force is acting on you since the bike does not lean.
    Gary

    US Army Vietnam era vet

    2020 Can Am Ryker 900 ACE
    2013 Can Am Spyder RT SE5 (traded)
    2012 Suzuki Burgman 400 (sold)
    2012 Honda NC700X (sold)
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    2020 900 Ace , Black on black

  4. #4
    Very Active Member gkamer's Avatar
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    On a motorcycle, you lean the bike into the turn. I believe when you do, you have two physical forces in play. You have gravity, which is trying to pull you down in the direction of the lean, and centrifugal force, which is trying to push you away from the direction of the lean.

    You hit the sweet spot between the 2 forces and glide effortlessly through the turn.

    On a Spyder, you are only dealing with the centrifugal force. Since you can't lean the bike into the turn, you have to lean yourself into the turn. The faster your speed and the sharper the turn, the greater the centrifugal force you have to over come. At least this is how I've come to understand the situation. I have a Ryker, which doesn't have power steering, so making sharp turns can be a bit of an effort, but I've learned in really sharp turns to just slow down entering the turn and increasing speed coming out of the turn. Work great for me.

    As far as the twitchy handling goes, let the bike find it's own path. As other have said, keep a light touch on the handle bars and let the bike find it's own path.

    When I purchased my Ryker, I didn't have any 2 wheeled riding experience and only a few hours of three wheeled "experience" from 4 years ago when I took the three wheeled rider course, during which I never got over 20 mph.

    I've owned my Ryker for about a month and a half now, have put over 2,000 miles on it already, and have no problem riding one handed at interstate speeds of 70+ mph. You'll get used to the unique handling characteristics of the Spyder quickly and then the fun will really start.
    Greg Kamer
    "If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much room"


    2019 Ryker ACE
    F-4 Custom Windshield


  5. #5
    Very Active Member JayBros's Avatar
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    In addition to leaning into corners and whether or not you grip the ride with your knees, if you plant your outside foot hard on the floorboard/peg that helps a lot. As ARtraveler said it takes miles to get accustomed to a Spyder and this getting accustomed is an individual thing so don't worry about how many miles it took other riders in comparison to how you're feeling on a given day.
    Artillery lends dignity to what would
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    Cognac 2014 RT-S

  6. #6
    Very Active Member SportsterDoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayBros View Post
    ...so don't worry about how many miles it took other riders in comparison to how you're feeling on a given day.
    +1
    It took me a week and 300 miles to be somewhat comfortable, after 2 wheels for 57 years.
    Took about 1000 miles to get more adventuresome in the twisties.

    The main point is assurance that you will become accustomed to the VERY different feel.
    This comes from a 73 year old
    20 Can Am Ryker 900 ACE...02 H-D Sportster 1200S.....72 Yamaha AT2
    14 Honda CB1100 std..........03 H-D Sportster XLH883...70 Honda SL350
    18 Yamaha XT250...............76 Honda CB750F..............70 Honda CL350
    16 Moto Guzzi V7II..............75 Honda CB360...............67 Honda CL160
    17 Yamaha TW200...............70 Yamaha CT...................67 Honda CB160
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    2020 900 , NGK 4218 iridium CR8EIX Matte black

  7. #7
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    I totally get what you are concerned about. I rented a F3 in San Diego for the first time 3 years ago. I rented it for three days and had 1000 miles all planned out. After 10 minutes, I thought I made the worst mistake of my life. I seriously considered turning around and asking for a Harley. I thought I would flip the bike and HATED how twitchy it was. But I pushed on. After 3 hours I was like, I can do this. By day two, I felt really good. By day three, the F3, was an extension of me that I trusted more than my own bike of three years. Stick with it. You WILL fall in love.

  8. #8
    Very Active Member BLUEKNIGHT911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregQ View Post
    Hi folks !

    I am about to purchase my first 2020 Spyder RT Limited. Maybe.

    However, after my first test ride on an F3, I have some concerns and was hoping you could set me straight.

    I've been riding motorcycles since I was 8 years old. I'm now 64 years old. Never in my life have I ridden a 3 wheeler of any kind.

    1) There is a small back and forth lateral movement that kinda terrifies me. I've read your do's and don'ts about a half dozen times and I see that one is supposed to have a relaxed grip. I used a death grip due to the lateral movement. I'm hoping a change in grip will eliminate this problem. Is this correct or is this lateral movement part and parcel of a Spyder? Will this improve on an RT as opposed to an F3?

    2) Cornering. Seems like every corner is about to turn me over. I'm guessing this is due to this being a 3 wheeled machine, not a 2 wheeler, and I'll get used to it. I never exceeded 45 MPH during my test ride. And apparently I was ALWAYS shifting too early.

    Those are the only things stopping me from owning a Spyder. And I R-E-A-L-L-Y want one.

    Can you folks help me with this?

    Thanks a million!!!
    After 60 yrs on TWO wheels, I bought my first Spyder ( 09 ) ..... the dealership owner gave me the best advice, DRIVE IT LIKE A CAR ....Although it didn't feel natural I did what He said .... I had no problems at all .... and traded my 03 Wing on the spot ..... I won't ever go back to two wheels......and ..... Mike

  9. #9
    Very Active Member Mikey's Avatar
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    Start out slow, and don't be in a rush, relax and don.t fight the bike, light grip on the bars, because your going to over steer in it if you do, coming into a curve in the road try to look as far as you can around the turn and just steer into it, if you look in front of the bike you probly end up drifting out of line and feeling like you have to brake at every corner! The bike will go where you point it, and is very touchy, hens the light grip and don't over steer! The more your on it and get the feel of it the easier it will get, trust us , we all went threw it and we all have our war story's!!!! Good luck and have fun!!
    2012 RTL , Pearl

  10. #10
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    Gregg
    I can relate to your concerns. This “back and forth” motion was an issue for me plus I was concerned about how it would affect my passenger, which it did. I added a few accessories which helped in this area including Baha Ron sway bar and OEM arm rests for my passenger. In addition, all the comments from list members were of help.
    It seems the natural thing to do is to keep comparing the spyder to a two wheeled motorcycle but in fact I have found they are two different things as far as driving. My experience so far is that the sway is a part of the configuration of the three wheels and I have become pretty well adjusted to it. Mikey said “don’t fight it” rings true to me. I have to admit there was the occasional frustration with this issue but now I am riding a lot and my wife seems to ride more often.

    I thought and studied the move for months and there are times when I miss riding two wheels but there are things I don’t miss. The spyder also has many advantages as well and I’m happy I made the switch.

    Good luck with your decision making.
    Poasttown

  11. #11
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    I'm in the same boat. Have been riding 50+ and old habits are hard to break.The problem I'm having is not getting out enough, bought our Spyder in April I think and haven't put a thousand miles on it yet. I really like it but there is a learning curve. Would buy it again today.

  12. #12
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    You get used to the body roll,after 3000 KYS,now mixing it with my old mates on there motor bikes,I ride the twisters a lot ,getting in the right gear for the corners much like a motorbike, button off going in & power out, I was able to follow an experienced Spider rider in our club which also helped, had motorcycles for 55 years, Not sorry I went to 3 Wheels.
    John

  13. #13
    Active Member Fjrwillie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregQ View Post
    Hi folks !

    I am about to purchase my first 2020 Spyder RT Limited. Maybe.

    However, after my first test ride on an F3, I have some concerns and was hoping you could set me straight.

    I've been riding motorcycles since I was 8 years old. I'm now 64 years old. Never in my life have I ridden a 3 wheeler of any kind.

    1) There is a small back and forth lateral movement that kinda terrifies me. I've read your do's and don'ts about a half dozen times and I see that one is supposed to have a relaxed grip. I used a death grip due to the lateral movement. I'm hoping a change in grip will eliminate this problem. Is this correct or is this lateral movement part and parcel of a Spyder? Will this improve on an RT as opposed to an F3?

    2) Cornering. Seems like every corner is about to turn me over. I'm guessing this is due to this being a 3 wheeled machine, not a 2 wheeler, and I'll get used to it. I never exceeded 45 MPH during my test ride. And apparently I was ALWAYS shifting too early.

    Those are the only things stopping me from owning a Spyder. And I R-E-A-L-L-Y want one.

    Can you folks help me with this?

    Thanks a million!!!
    When riding aggressively do what we were suppose to do on two wheels. Shift yourself on the seat into the corners with the opposite firmly planted (in my case) the floor board. Makes cornering a whole lot easier. Being a bit more lazy you can lean into the corners so that your hear is outside the edge of the shield. Riding normal uses you feet on the boards and knees against the body.

    When I first acquired my Spyder I said to myself counter steering needs to be forgotten, it's not 2 wheels.

    Braking when you are in the corners will unsettle the suspension, no trail braking on these puppies. Do your braking before you enter the corner.

    Do use the engine for braking just like them 2 wheel things.

    I went from a Yamaha FJR (sport touring bike) to my RT-S and never rode the FJR again. Sold it and no regrets.

    On the shifting thing, just like a 2 wheeler. I generally keep the RPM's up above 3,000 until I reach cruising speed which seems to be around 4000. Sound of the engine will tell you what you need to know.

    Give yourself 1,000 miles to be comfortable, especially since there is no hand break (I still kind of miss that thing)

    At 63,000 miles, I am still loving my Spyder. Oh I am on the closer side to 70 and still cranking out the miles. (well with this COVID stuff a little less this season)

    YMMV

    Willie
    The Future is Not Today (Motorcycle Blog) http://nomadwillie.blogspot.com/ IBA 32847
    2015 RT-S
    2015 RT-S , White

  14. #14
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    Was riding yesterday and thought of something that I haven't seen brought up. For those that have rode two wheels many years is the width of the front wheels, easy to forget they're out there.A friend with a Goldwing conversion has almost run over his leg a couple of times. For me it's easy to get closer to the center or edge of the lane than I would like. Another sign that I'm getting used to the Spyder is that I didn't reach for the front brake, getting there.

  15. #15
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    I've been on 2 wheels since 1995 and a BMW F800ST is my most recent/current (for sale) bike. Before I bought my 2013 ST, I test-rode a 2012 RS-S, with this being my first time on 3. I did notice the "squirrely" feel in the front, though I couldn't tell whether it was tire pressures that were off (he didn't even know what they were at or what was ideal!), the front wheels were out of alignment, or just my inexperience riding on 3. I didn't end up buying the RS-S due to an unfavorable mechanical inspection report, but that shop also said they felt it pull to the left, so who knows.

    My 2013 ST is in the shop getting inspected/certified right now, so I look forward to giving her a go and heeding all the advice given here.
    2013 ST , Pure Magnesium Metallic

  16. #16
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    I am new to three wheels also. Just acquired a 2016 RTL with 1370 miles, guess the original owner never got used to it. I'm 69 yo and primarily went to the Spyder to continue two up touring. The wife lost some confidence when I dumped my GS Adventure on a gravel road in Alaska and she tried to break the fall by putting her hand out...wrest lost to the GS. Got a Harley RK and we toured on that for a year but she hated the ride. Well anyway, a word of encouragement, I just passed 300 miles and experienced many of the same sensations that have been described, but my last couple of rides have been a revelation. I followed the advice on this forum, especially loosening up on my grip and concentrate on turn entry and exit points, looking through the turns, which I always did on two wheels but seemed to forget on the Spyder. Corners I was taking at 45 I'm taking at 55 now. Hopefully you'll have the same experience. And thank you all for your tips and advice.

  17. #17
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    To the original poster, Greg ... yes, it will be difficult, but let the Spyder hunt and wander in the lane as it wants. It will not wander far as it adjusts to the road surface. Keep your upper body, shoulders and arms loose. You may have to do some minor corrections through the bars from time to time.

    I am quite fortunate in that I have been snowmobiling for 20 years/50,000 miles, and a snowmobile and Spyder handle very similarly. A freshly groomed trail, and a sled will wander on that surface as well. Therefore, I am quite accustomed to allowing the front end of a machine find its way. I was able to adjust to a Spyder, coming off a motorcycle, within a mile and the feeling you are describing is not foreign to me at all. Being from Georgia, I doubt you have spent much time on snow.

    I also read about the wander of the Spyder front end before I rode one. When I did finally ride one, I was surprised at how much of a non-issue it was. I do not even notice it now. Again, my advantage of decades of snowmobiling just meant that I had no break-in period; you will get used to it as well, it will just take longer. Enjoy!
    Current Rides:
    2015 Spyder ST-S SM5
    Additions: pass. backrest, hardwired battery tender, California Sci. windshield
    2016 Honda Gold Wing ABS/Navi
    Additions: full LED lighting, Utopia backrest, Madstad, Baker wings, spoiler
    2021 miles:
    ~700

  18. #18
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    "Being from Georgia, I doubt you have spent much time on snow."

    Absolutely correct!

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    Very surprised nobody mentioned the very light sway bar on stock machines! In my opinion a Bajaron or Lamonster sway bar is a must!

  20. #20
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    Does this improve the left/right wandering?

  21. #21
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    Just purchased a 2019 Spyder RT Limited, April 29, 2021. Still trying to get used to the lef/right wandering thing. Riding with arms and upper body loose, leaning my body into turns, foot pressure on outboard floorboard when cornering. With ya'lls help, I'm trying. Thank you to each and every one of you.

  22. #22
    Very Active Member JayBros's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GregQ View Post
    Does this improve the left/right wandering?
    Congrats on your new ryde. A heavier duty sway bar will help immensely in crosswinds as well as when you're contending with semis on interstates. Has you Spyder been laser aligned?

    Now that you have it, just relax and log miles and your Spyder will grow on you.
    Artillery lends dignity to what would
    otherwise be a vulgar brawl.
    ******************************
    Cognac 2014 RT-S

  23. #23
    Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie Peter Aawen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Day View Post
    Very surprised nobody mentioned the very light sway bar on stock machines! In my opinion a Bajaron or Lamonster sway bar is a must!
    Quote Originally Posted by GregQ View Post
    Does this improve the left/right wandering?
    Certainly Does!! :thumbup!

    Especially if you practice looking waaaayyy down the road ahead & planning where you want to be when you get there!

    A lot of the 'wandering' many complain about is because they are spending too much time concentrating on and trying to 'micro-manage' the Spyder/Ryker's position on the road immediately in front of the machine, often because they get more 'road feel' than on a 2-wheeled motorcycle or in a cage insulated from all that by design - but on a Spyder/Ryker you're much less insulated from it all than those in a cage and you've got TWO wheels up front to manage, so that plus the front suspension design means that they WILL provide more 'road feedback' than the single front wheel & suspension on a 2-wheeled motorcycle! And THAT means that trying to correct for all the close-in little irregularities is a battle you will never win!

    Instead, Look waaay out ahead, plan where you want to be when you get there, scan back down your intended path, & continuously repeat this as you 'gently' (or 'loosely'? certainly without a death grip on the bars! ) guide your Spyder/Ryker along your intended path with your view up & waaay out ahead again most of the time - if you're consistently looking out well ahead those little irregularities induced by the Two front wheels & the suspension will rapidly become inconsequential & you won't notice them at all!! Same for your pillion - if they are looking up & out towards the horizon, the close in stuff becomes less of an issue & they'll notice the 'wandering' far less!

    The more miles you do like this, the easier it all becomes and the smoother your ryding will get! Go on, do it! You know you want to!!

    Enjoy!
    2013 RT Ltd Pearl White

  24. #24
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    Smile Now a Spyder owner

    Quote Originally Posted by JayBros View Post
    Congrats on your new ryde. A heavier duty sway bar will help immensely in crosswinds as well as when you're contending with semis on interstates. Has you Spyder been laser aligned?

    Now that you have it, just relax and log miles and your Spyder will grow on you.
    Not been laser aligned yet. Just found a place that does it. Will get there ASAP.

  25. #25
    Active Member Rednaxs60's Avatar
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    New to the Spyder culture, been 5 weeks since I bought my 2014 RT LE with 9100 Kms on the clock. My friend started me down this road when he sold all his two wheels which he is slowly replacing with different make/models, and bought a 2018 F3 Limited. Still have my '85 Honda Goldwing Limited Edition to satisfy the 2 wheel riding - sold my 1500 Goldwing when I bought the Spyder.

    My friend had his 2018 serviced and needed someone to drive his truck once he picked up his Spyder. Unbeknownst to me, he organized a demo day for me, a 2020 RT LE. Went out for a couple of hours and it wallowed in the corners, no upgraded sway bar. My 2014 has BajaRon's sway bar and it makes a serious difference.

    Raised and lived in the snow regions, and quickly learned that the riding a Spyder is similar to riding a snowmobile. Since you have not had this luxury, a two wheel advance riding course, or track day to learn how to hang out the side of a bike is beneficial. Slide to the inside of the corner, hang your butt and leg out there, and cornering will become easier - motorcycle racers do this well and it allows them to go faster through the corners. After a while you will get the hang of properly entering a corner to minimize the effect of the corner on you, speed - entry/exit point, same as a two wheel.

    I still want to corner much like on a two wheel in that I want to keep my body in line with the bike. I think it's because I have the visual concept that I look foolish hanging out the side of the Spyder in a corner. Will get past this.

    Three wheel trike concept like the Spyder is not a new concept. Late '60s/early '70s there was a summer bolt on kit for snowmobiles. Install wheels where the skis were and a sprocket on the drive shaft with a chain to a rear wheel. Not many around back then, but these kits were available.

    I have been riding my friends 2018 F3 intermittently over the past couple of weeks and find there is a considerable difference in the "feel" of the machine especially in the corners. Had a friend follow me today and I asked him to comment on the lean of my 2014 RT LE on a couple of cloverleafs we had to go round. He mentioned that the Spyder did not appear to lean at all, but the sensation felt was the opposite.

    Another technique to try is to brace the leg that is relative to the turn/corner - left turn/left leg, same for a right turn. This stabilizes the lower body. After this, lean into the turn as appropriate so that you are comfortable. You can also use the arm that is opposite to the corner being negotiated to stabilize your upper body. To steer through a left handed corner use the right arm and hand to do most of the steering through the corner - push and relax as required to accommodate, helps stabilize the upper body and can assist in how much you want to hang out the side of the Spyder.

    When you mention a lateral movement I'm thinking side to side. The road could be the culprit, lots of rutting from traffic. Since the Spyder needs to be more towards the centre of the road, the rear wheel can be on a high point and the front tires in the ruts. Doesn't take much to move either way when something occurs, trucks passing/gust of wind and such. You wouldn't use a death grip on a car steering wheel if this happened, don't have to on the Spyder. My Goldwing has a bad habit of going from side to side in my lane when I'm riding unless I concentrate on what I'm doing, but I let it go and enjoy the ride. Boating is the same. See lots of boats doing a zigzag dance instead of going in straight line. Fixated on what is close instead of fixing their sites on a more distant item. Lots of similarities with various forms of transportation.

    We're taught on a two wheel, or any other vehicle to not fixate on what is immediately in front of you, look down the road. Same with the Spyder, it will go where you look. I used to groom snowmobile trails with a tracked groomer. When I started I was all over the place, too much seeing what was close to me. Adjusted where I looked, much further down the trail and I started to do a good straight trail groom. Same principle.

    The Spyder RT LE has a higher centre of gravity than an F3. Notice this more after I ride an F3. Nature of the beast.

    As has been mentioned, it will take time to adjust to the nuances of the Spyder. Keep to the posted speed limits to start, and the recommended corner speeds. It takes time to get used to it, and your background is instrumental in this. When I started riding a 750 cc bike was a monster, I bought a 250cc. My father was with me and mentioned that I should really buy the 750 - a Suzuki "Water Buffalo". I mentioned that it was too big, some 4 months later wished I had listened.

    Shifting is a personal issue. Don't let others influence your decision on how to shift, just don't lug the engine. I like to stay above 3000 RPM for shifting and riding in any gear, similar to my '85 Goldwing. Shifting is also dependent on how I feel. If I am alone, not two up and want to play a bit - more RPMs before shifting. If I feel lazy, closer to 3000 RPM. There is no right/wrong with this.

    There are a lot of similarities between riding a Spyder and a two wheel, just have to realize that the Spyder itself acts more like a snowmobile/car in that it leans away from the corner instead of into it and adjust for this. On a straight stretch, it's the same.

    Not a lot of videos on riding a Spyder, but there are a lot of videos about riding an ATV 4 wheeler. Watch a few especially those relating to sand dunes and going through the bush. Watch how the rider counteracts how the ATV is behaving. Might find a video or two on instructional techniques for different riding conditions and apply these to riding a Spyder.

    Having mentioned the above, and it is a bit long, don't let your two issues be a basis for not buying a Spyder. Had the same trepidation when I got my 1800 Goldwing several years back (now sold). Took some courses facilitated by instructors that rode and instructed on their 1800 Goldwings. After the first course, noticed that the "beast" of an 1800 Goldwing now did what I wanted and not the other way round.

    Buy the Spyder and enjoy the ride. You won't regret it.

    Cheers
    "When Writing the Story of Your Life, Don’t Let Anyone Else Hold the Pen"
    "Too many of us are not living our dreams because we are living our fears.” – Les Brown

    2014 Can-Am Spyder RT LE
    1985 Honda GL1200 Goldwing Limited Edition
    2012 Suzuki V-Strom DL1000 - on the chopping block
    1995 Honda GL1500 Goldwing - sold - now have room for Spyder

    Ernest

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