Can-Am’s Spyder line of three-wheeled vehicles has always been about easy entry into the power sports market. Spyders are undeniably easier for beginners to ride than motorcycles. First, 3-wheelers support themselves at a stop. Second, operating them is initially more intuitive than a motorcycle. Also, in some states, California being a prime example, no special license is required to operate them on a public roadway. However, there was one area that put a major barrier to entry – price. For 2019, starting prices for Spyders range from $15,999 to $24,599 – not an amount to be sneezed at, though lower than in 2018. To appeal to a wider group of prospective riders, Can-Am needed a way to ease the entry into the market. That’s where the Can-Am Ryker, with its base price starting at $8,499, comes into play.
The history of motorcycle engines powering other vehicles goes back a long way. Look at the original Morgan 3 Wheeler, for example. Almost a century ago, J.A.P. bike engines were plunked onto the front of a strange piece of machinery with two wheels in front and one in the back. It proved to be popular and a rather high-performing vehicle in its time. For this Top 10 list we take a look at other applications for motorcycle engines. As you can imagine with a list like this, there are a wide variety of vehicles. Some are production cars, while others are one-offs or boutique items. And yes, even though this is Motorcycle.com, I want to get behind the wheel of every single one of these! So, if you’re a rep from one of the below companies (or are simply a kind soul who owns one), give me a jingle and let’s make it happen!
Having the chance to partake in our recent 3 Wheeler shootout, I was fortunate enough to pilot three very different machines. Two of which, let’s face it, are basically cars with one rear wheel. Apart from the obvious fun we were having romping on the different “motorcycles,” what I distinctly remember was the ease at which I was willing to explore the limits of the Morgan 3 Wheeler and the Polaris Slingshot, the former void of any electronic aids, the latter with switchable stability control (the Spyder F3 stability system is always on).
Technically, and by that I mean according to the way in which the vehicles here are registered through the DMV (except Texas, but more on that later), each of these three-wheelers qualifies as a motorcycle. In California, at least, a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license to legally operate them is not required, and the two with seatbelts eschew the state’s helmet law. Still, without a more explicit category available and the law being what it is, “motorcycle” becomes the default label for this trio.
Your eyes aren’t fooling you. Yes, this is Motorcycle.com and, yes, the thing you’re looking at has three wheels, a steering wheel, bucket seats, seat belts and three pedals on the floor. It’s called, simply, the Morgan 3 Wheeler, and because it’s missing a fourth wheel, the Department of Motor Vehicles classifies it as a motorcycle (yes, even in Texas). And so, since we are Motorcycle.com afterall, it’s our duty to give the 3 Wheeler a whirl.