Greg’s Spyder

The SPYDER

If you can transfer, the Can-am Spyder, with “SE” semi-automatic gearbox is the easiest means to get the wind back in your face on a standard motorcycle-type vehicle.

With two wheels at the front the Spyder is classified as a reverse trike with potentially better dynamics that the traditional layout. The down-side, increase steering weight is handled in the Spyder by power steering, one of a range of smart electrics that also includes stability & traction control, ABS and of course, the semi-auto transmission option.

If you can do the transfer from chair to saddle then, almost by definition, steering weight is not going to be of concern. Likewise stability on the standard seat shouldn’t be an issue although the RT Spyder, the touring variant, has small “wings” at the rear of the saddle that may provide increased lateral support for your arse.

The semi-auto transmission means no clutch with buttons for changing up and down gear. Obviously this requires some hand function although the transmission can be left to change down gears by itself if, for example, you pull up to a set of lights.

Greg, a para from Brisbane, Australia, converted a RS SE5 Spyder for his own use and couldn’t be happier with the result. Building on the experience of others in the Sypder Owners Association, Greg undertook modifications to link all brakes to the one hand lever, to catch his legs with custom floor boards, and added a side mounted wheelchair carrier to hold his folding Quickie wheelchair.

Greg used a radial Brembo master cylinder with a 20mm bore to control the brakes. Custom brake lines run from lever to rear calliper and from lever to the original link block that joined the front brake lines. Kellet Motorcycle Engineering undertook the bulk of this work and minor fabrication on the floor boards and chair carrier.

Foot bords on Gregs outfit were fabricated first in cardboard then cut and folded in the garage before welding and fitting by Kellett’s. Powder coating may come in the future.

Greg & Mira on Spyder RS SE5

So what’s it like to ride? I’ll leave that to the man himself but here are a few photo’s of the bike, details of the chair carrier and of Greg transferring, chair to bike.

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A video of Greg doing this transfer is on his facebook page here.

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Greg: I find that the Spyder is an ideal reverse trike for me, being a person with T8 complete Paraplegia. I try to keep myself reasonable fit by swimming 1500 – 2000 two or three times a week. I use a manual chair and keep my weight down by eating home cooked meals mainly.

The Spyder has got very good brakes, in fact if I have to stop quickly at a set of traffic lights I look in my revision mirrors to make sure that the car following is not right up my backside, because I know I can stop quicker then most cars. The suspension works well and my partner really enjoys the comfort of the Can Am backrest. Using these floorboards with the 30mm edge on the outer sides keeps my feet in and I have never had to worry about having Velcro around my thighs to keep my legs in or thighs coming out. This maybe different to other people! In fact everybody is different and you need to be aware of this. I agree it is a gamble, because no one can honestly say that you can or cannot ride a Spyder!

I did not have a bike license so you need to get an L License first and hold it for six months before you buy a Spyder. This means  that you need to answer a few questions at QT and you can find the questions on the QT website and then go in and answer them correctly. You don’t need to ride a bike while on L’s it is bureaucratic bullshit! Depending on your Doctors Report you can go from having the L to open in a matter of three weeks. While on the L you must/should have a rider that has an open license with you. I did a Q Ride practical test and I believe this is a great idea and a must. They have excellent tips of riding safely.

My research came mainly from www.spyderlovers.com and then click Forum and then search down the page to Enabled Spyderlovers.com or

http://www.spyderlovers.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?128-Enabled-SpyderLovers this is a really good site to research information from people who have already done it in America and where to buy some equipment like Brambo Brakes etc.

The Spyder is really responsive with the steering and I need to lean into corners to keep myself on the seat or else it will throw you off in no time. My daughter bought a screen from Martin on the Gold Coast. http://spyderryders.net.au/ or Australian Spyder Ryders. The screen is very adjustable, I would suggest it would suit people of most heights if not all heights. The frame that I use to put my wheelchair on is a Givi Pannier frame with some new bolt on attachments, NEVER WEILD ANYTHING ON THE SPYDER because it will stuff your Spyders BRAIN. It is very much an eye catcher for everybody around you in traffic or pedestrians this can be good or bad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I like the yellow and black because people see you in the traffic, but that is personal preference. I enjoy riding the Spyder very much, but I haven’t been on any long rides YET. The throttle is really responsive off the mark and the semi auto transmission works really well. You can flick back the gear changes or let the transmission do it. A bonus is that the Spyder has reverse. If buying a Spyder second hand which I did, get the ex owner to show you how to open the boot, fuel tank and lock the steering before you leave. The boot comes in very handy, but never put the key in the jacket and then put the jacket in the boot it is a little difficult to open the boot without the key.

Some problems that can be fixed with MONEY

The fuel tank is under the seat so you need to hop off each time. I have seen some pictures that have the filler up near the tank bag sits. Depending on the level of fitness and spinal break you may need a screen to keep the bank of wind off your chest and helmet. Services are around $350 each time and this is because the panels need to come off or you can do it yourself and only buy oil and filter from the Spyder Dealership. You can read how to do this on the Spyderlovers forum. DIY

Greg's mate Barnie with a similar approach to modifying his Spyder.

13 thoughts on “Greg’s Spyder

  1. It looks like Barnie has his spyder mods with left hand brake.
    this is what i need to get on the road have a 2012 se5 rt.
    I am a stroke victim on right side have enough use of right hand to throttle
    but do not think it is a good idea to trust the braking duties to my right foot
    and cannot squeeze hard enough right handed. People like you give me hope to ride again I have been riding 43 years and and the spyder was what I traded the ultra for. Any help with left side brakes and knowledge you have gained would be greatly appreciated.
    Thanks Sam
    “Only a biker knows why a dog sticks his head out the window”

  2. Hi Sam,
    for a LH brake I think you have a few options; the big scooters, like TMAX, Silverwing, Burgman etc have a LH brake for the rear disc since they are auto’s so no clutch. However the master cylinder is probably too small to run all the spyders discs in a linked set up.
    I think any brake with a separate reservoir can have the lever upside down (so on the LH side) so long as the reservoir is mounted right way up.
    Also the NABD page of adaptions here:
    http://www.nabd.org.uk/adaptions/adaptionkits.htm
    has a twin kit it says can be mounted left or right with both master cylinders able to run brakes.
    Best wishes, see you on the road!
    Brett

  3. Hi I have a t10 complete spinal injury I’m running a rss I converted the brakes to hand operated using the same basic design as ics they work but there not brill could you explain how you plumed into the system on your spyder it sounds a better way to go many regards Brian

  4. Hi the post about the fuel tank filler being under the seat I am a parra so to save getting of all the time I pulled the seat cover back and bored a 31/2 inch hole inline with the filler retrimed the seat and just lower my leg to refuel hope this idea my help .

  5. Hi Brian
    Yes my brakes are a little soft too. I got Dave Kellett a motorcycle engineer from Logan to plumb my brakes in and then he rode the trike to Springwood Suzuki to pressurize the brakes up. Because the Spyder has so much technology it needs to be put onto the computer. I am not sure where you live, however Bills Motorcycles in Adelaide has done the conversion too. The dealer in Townsville has done a conversion. My email add. is 97landy@gmail.com

  6. Hi Brian
    Yes my brakes are a little soft too. I got Dave Kellett a motorcycle engineer from Logan to plumb my brakes in and then he rode the trike to Springwood Suzuki to pressurize the brakes up. Because the Spyder has so much technology it needs to be put onto the computer. I am not sure where you live, however Bills Motorcycles in Adelaide has done the conversion too. The dealer in Townsville has done a conversion.

  7. I had an old harley before and was trying to make it so that I could ride it but it got too expensive and I let it go. I had a stroke at 8 yrs old and the right side is partially paralized. I don’t trust me to work the right side at all but to hold on to. I am really wanting to get a Can-Am and be able to ride all over. Any help and suggestions anyone can give would be appreciated

    • The great thing about the Spyder is you can try it at a dealer as standard and get an idea if it would work for you. I’ve never ridden one but understand there is still some physical effort involved so whether it would work for would depend on your strength, balance etc.
      Brett

  8. I understand the hydraulic hand brake system but i would like to see more in depth description of how or what device you used to mount your wheelchair to the can-am spyder.. Freebird Custom has such a device but the cost runs around $4500.00 — thems a lot of bucks !!!
    Waiting to hear from you..

    Ted Tabbert
    Double Amp who love to ride..

  9. Hi Ted
    My name is Greg and live in Logan, Queensland.
    This is much cheaper then 4500.00. When I bought the Can Am Spyder RS 2008 and it must be an RS because the RT has all those panniers in the tourier. You must have a collapsible wheelchair too. On the RS came Givia panniers which on one side is still a box. I will take pictures and send them to you so it makes more sence. I attached a U bracket to the Givia frame and the push rail of the wheelchair goes down between the U so that holds the back up off the ground. For the front I used the pillion’s footpeg plate and was able to bolt two bolts upright and the front of the wheelchair frame sits in there. So the width between the upright bolts is the width of the tubular frame of the wheelchair. I used a screw clamp (emp top or bottom radiator hose clamp) and attach it to the strong part of the frame of the trike then I used a thick rubber strap from Clark Rubber and bring it up over the frame of the wheelchair in the collapsed position and attach it to the Givia Pannier frame to keep it tight. I have done nearly 50,000k using this system and only have had one problem, with a pillion I need to put the shock obsorber on the hardest setting so that the back wheel doesn’t hit the ground and come off on rough ground. This has not happened sence I have bought a great after market shock absorber that can be fully adjusted. It comes from Germany. I hope this helps I will send you pictures to make it clearer. Where do you live Ted? I sent some photos to wirewheel1@aol.com of my trike, is that not your email address. If it is not your email address please let me know what it is so I can resend it to your proper email address please Ted

    Cheers
    Greg

    • Mate, Brett here running the site, I don’t know your physical impairment but most things are possible (speaking as a c4/5 quad). Look around, weigh your options, do your homework, getting back on the road is worth it!
      B

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