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.
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.
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.