The original Can-Am Spyder had every right to die a slow, Edsel-like death.
Launched on the eve of the 2008 economic collapse, the pricey motorized tricycle wasn’t exactly something consumers were clamouring for. Early reviewers said it lacked both the convenience of four wheels and the nimbleness of two. But the good folks at Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP) in Valcourt, Quebec, didn’t panic.
As the maker of the Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo, this is a company accustomed to outwaiting skeptical initial reviews. It knew it had two distinct advantages going for it: a great product and demographics. While the boomer brain still craves open roads and wind in the hair, aching boomer joints don’t heave Harleys like they used to.
With two front wheels and a handy reverse gear, the Spyder provides all the fun without the strain. That may help explain why Spyder sales grew 24% annually between 2009 and 2012, while motorcycle sales slumped 7% a year over the same stretch.
For 2014, the company expanded its Spyder lineup to three models that range from $16,900 to $33,800. The newest addition, the RT, features a 1,330-cubic-centimetre, three-cylinder engine that was three years in development.
See a pattern? It seems BRP truly believes good things come in threes.