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Becoming a Spyder Rider After 30 Years on Two Wheels


I became a Spyder owner Sept 16, and it has been an adventure I did not foresee. Here's why...

Discovery #1: Lack of Backrest = Problem

On my 10yo daughter's first ride with me, she felt like she was going to fall off the back. I felt that way too, after having a passenger backrest for 10+ years (not to mention the safety harness we had when the kiddos were younger).

So, first order a business was to secure a passenger backrest. That set me back $500, although I’m very happy with the seat (special thanks to Jim @, another family-owned business manufacturing in the USA).

Discovery #2: Excessive heat by legs

Almost immediately I started noticing how hot it got by my legs. And lo and behold, without me even mentioning it to our Spyder customers, Bernard S offered up some SpyderPops parts he’d bought for his wife’s Spyder and never used (she traded up before he got it installed) – all for the price of postage. It was a deal I couldn’t pass up (thanks Bernard!). I confess I haven't installed them yet (in Minnesota, you WANT extra heat when you ride in October!) but I think the heat will be borderline intolerable in the heat of the summer, so they will get used!

Discovery #3: Ancient battery

A couple weeks later, we lost out on a couple rides because the battery wouldn’t hold a charge. I’d hoped to limp it through the fall, but when I found out the battery was nine years old (in 30 years I’ve never had one last more than 7!) I knew it was time to let that one go. $150 later, I had a new battery.

By mid-October, I was enjoying the heck out of the Spyder. My right hand had finally stopped reaching for the front brake automatically, and I’d gotten used to that “jiggly feeling” I wrote about back in September.

But I can’t say I was truly “one with the machine” yet. My biggest challenge was cornering, especially to the left. I’ve been leaning on two-wheel motorcycles for thirty years, and I have to admit… I miss leaning! My cornering was still herky-jerky.

I figured I had another few weeks to work the kinks out of my cornering methods before the Red Beast would have to go under wraps… and then disaster struck!

Discovery #4: Gear Shift Issues

We were having an unseasonably warm Indian Summer the week of Oct 16, and my daughter was off school. She and I tooled around town on the Spyder that Monday (that's us!) and even splashed around in the Rum River. I dropped her at home (with her brother) and headed to her parent/teacher conferences.

I never made it. The Spyder got stuck in first gear. (Did you know it takes 45 minutes to go 12 miles in first gear?!)

The repair shop picked it up the next day, but they were confounded. They consulted with BRP technicians. Meanwhile, the BEST week of the season raced by (Friday’s high that week was 80).

To make a long story short, it was a swing arm that had not been installed properly, either by a previous technician or maybe even never. It had hung on but over time finally vibrated off. By the time I was able to pick the Spyder up, a week had gone by and it was now 50 degrees with 35mph winds.

As a further indignity, we got SNOW two days later!!

Sad to say, I haven’t had the Spyder out since I brought it home, since temps haven’t gotten out of the 30s (in fact it's snowing lightly again now).

One thing I need for spring is a bigger windshield. After a couple decades on cruisers with a windshield, having the full blast of the wind in my face in Minnesota fall season has not been very enjoyable.

I hope you are still out riding your Spyder, and I hope we get at least one more day of 50+ degrees so I can get one more ride in!


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  • Tracey Cramer