Leaning Spyder

Looks similar to the existing Spyder from here but this new concept takes off in a completely new direction. Notice the motorcycle-like rounded profile of the tires.
Images: Intellectual Property Library.

Bombardier Recreational Products (BRP), makers of the Can Am Spyder applied for a patent (#12/501,025) on July 10th of last year for a very unique three-wheeled vehicle. That patent was published on Jan. 13.


BRP’s take on the leaning three-wheeler differs greatly from Piaggio’s.

Similar in styling to the Spyder, its underpinnings are entirely new. The main feature differentiating this Y-framed vehicle from the existing Spyder is that it designed to lean into turns.

It’s also quite different from existing free-leaning three-wheelers like the MP3 in that it is an assisted-leaning vehicle.

The reason BRP is exploring this new configuration is that this new three-wheeler will exhibit a second feature that all motorcyclists are familiar with aside from leaning into turns: countersteering.

Unlike the current Spyder, on which you turn the handlebar into the direction you want to turn, this new three wheeler will mimic how a motorcycle steers, so its rider will apply pressure to the inside handlebar when initiating a turn: to turn right, you push right.


An actuator motor acting on a gear will actually lean the Spyder into a turn. Note the inboard brake disc.

It will do this with complex electronics, which will sense vehicle speed, lateral acceleration, steering torque and lean angle to tell the ECU how far to lean the body into a turn. The actual leaning will be accomplished by an actuator motor, which will both lean the three-wheeler into a turn and lift it back up on exit.

The actuator will also hold the vehicle upright at a stop automatically, unlike the MP3 which will fall over if you don’t put your feet down or push a button to hold it upright.

Kind of makes you wonder why BRP doesn’t also pour some of its resources into developing the ultimate leaning machine: the motorcycle.

There is no news yet on whether this vehicle will hit the market, but it’s probably intended to entice the remaining boomers who still like the feel of leaning into turns but are put off by two wheelers.


  1. There are a couple of those leaning 3-wheeled MP3s here in S.J. … I’ve personally talked to the owner of one of them … he Rides the piss out it and loves it! I’ve also Ridden (driven?) a neighbor’s Spyder … man steering that thing is WORK!!! If Bombardier can re-engineer the Spyder to be a reliable leaning 3-wheeler, then it’d be a definite improvement IMHO …

  2. If I could be confident of a reasonable degree of reliability, plus buy the Spyder here in Canada without paying a 20% premiun for being Canadian (they are built in Canada, remember…), then it might be a tempting alternative to a real motorcycle for the “mature” rider, especially if it leaned like a bike.
    However, casual reports of reliability problems keep popping up. The one rider I know personally who bought one had nothing but problems with his (excessive vibration, elec. issues, rideability issues, finally a complete new engine), before eventually trading it back to the dealer in frustration, and at a huge loss, because they were the only ones who would take it on trade.
    Makes me wonder, if Bombardier can’t get the standard model right, then how much worse will it be when they add the complexity that “lean” entails?

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