How Do You Get a Two-wheel License on a Three-wheel Vehicle?

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March 16, 2011 | By: Lowell Anderson

I was spending my Sunday afternoon doing what I normally do on Sundays —watching the supercross race — when a commercial came on the screen. The ad was for the Can-Am Roadster, also commonly referred to as a Can-Am Spyder. If you’re not familiar with the Can-Am Roadster, it’s a three-wheeled vehicle that features two wheels in front and a drive wheel in the back. The vehicle is made by BRP.

Personally, I don’t have a real issue with this vehicle, other than I’d just as soon drive an ice cream truck with music blaring and kiddy signs all over it before I’d throw a leg over one of these things. To me it’s just another, well, vehicle. Sorry that I can’t come up with another acceptable name for the thing. Anyway, what caught my attention was the announcer telling me that I could take my motorcycle endorsement test on one of these —vehicles.

Now I’ve never claimed to be one of the most intelligent individuals on the planet (except maybe when I’ve been discussing issues with my wife a time or two). But it’s always been my opinion that a motorcycle had two wheels. Just to double check, I looked it up, and sure enough, I was right. Wikipedia says a motorcycle (also called a motorbike, bike, or cycle) is a single-track, engine-powered two-wheeled motor vehicle. So how on earth can you successfully pass a motorcycle license test on one of these things? I mean, I can’t go get my commercial driver’s license endorsement by driving a Honda Civic, can I?

The real issue here is that riding motorcycles is a potentially dangerous undertaking. I’ve been riding them for more than 20 years and I know that one small mistake can become a devastating tragedy for a family and the loved ones surrounding that individual.

You shouldn’t be able to get an endorsement without being able to pass the test on the proper vehicle. I had to take my test on GSXR 750, and I remember I was real nervous. But I passed the thing. I also remember there were lots of folks there that day that didn’t pass. They had different bikes, but they couldn’t handle the maneuvering course test. And logic tells me that if they couldn’t pass that simple test in a huge, empty parking lot, they surely shouldn’t be out on the open road. Period!

If they decided to make a special endorsement for three-wheeled vehicles, I’d have no issue with that. But there’s absolutely no way people taking their test on these three-wheelers should be given a motorcycle endorsement.  Unfortunately, we’re probably going to have to wait until someone gets seriously hurt before the government steps in and controls another part of our lives due to a stupid initial decision. What a shame.

Comments: 174 Comments | Categorized Under: Announcements, Can-Am Spyder, Motorcycle Laws

Comments (174)

Florida Residents (varies in other states):
Starting on July 1, 2008 the State of Florida requires that new Motorcyclists (regardless of age) must take and pass the Basic Rider Course through the Florida Rider Training Program before they get a motorcycle only license or can have the Motorcycle Endorsement added to their drivers license.

When you have successfully completed the Basic Rider Course the sponsor will submit the results to the DMV electronically.

There are two types of motorcycle drivers licenses in Florida. You must have one of the following if you are going to operate a two or three wheel motorcycle that has an engine over 50 cc.
Motorcycle Endorsement

If you already have a Florida drivers license then you can get a motorcycle endorsement on the drivers license you hold. To obtain your motorcycle endorsement you must show proof that you have completed the Florida Rider Program.

Motorcycle Only License

To get a Motorcycle Only license you must be at least 16 years old and have held a learners permit for at least a year with no traffic convictions. If you are over 18 you are not required to have held a learners permit. You must pass the standard class E operators license test that all drivers take to get a drivers license and complete the Basic Riders Course.

Three Wheel Motorcycles

To operate a three wheel motorcycle you must complete the S/TEP – Sidecar / Trike Evaluation Program. This course provides basic skills for those operating three wheel motorcycles and and side car rigs.

Those who pass the Motorycycle S/TEP course will have an “S” restriction on their license. The S Restriction indicates that the person only has permission to operate a three wheeled motorcycle.

Temporary Instruction Permit To Operate a Motorcycle

As of July 1, 2008 there will be NO temporary permits issued by the State of Florida.

Just wanted to note in WA state you cannot legally ride a 3 wheeler with only a motorcycle endorcement. There is a separate trike/sidecar license.

Think it’s funny how high and mighty ppl can be and talk sh@t about a bike they’ve never riddin.. A true rider would jump on anything to still beable to ride… So catch an IED fighting for others freedom to call u and what u ride sh@t… But, with one leg you tell me that the spyders isn’t a blessing of a ride for someone who needs some asphalt therapy and freedom of there own..

Any Bike …. it don’t mean Sh@t…. “It’s all about the Ride”

Thank you for your Service to Our Country!

Down here in the Australian Capital Territory in Oz, you CANNOT get registraion or insurance for any [modified motorcycle] rear wheeled trike, as the attached compliance plate always reads “motorcycle,” and their definition of same is “..having two wheels”. Only in this state though. The first Spyder owners hit the wall of beaurocracy – a straight up “No!” when they showed up at the DMV office. But it eventually came out that the Can Am Roadster” is built that way. “OK then”-noting it had its two wheels on the front. But have to have a motorcycle licence, and cannot do the course/test on the Spyder. The Feds [who write the compliance rules] will not even allow the new Harley Trikes into our country as it has two wheels on the rear which makes it a ‘trike’ and the rules were written years ago to keep out the tuk-tuks from Asia. HD are kicken and screamin’ but it does not look good for a change anytime soon. New Zealand has them, and don’t need a bike licence to ride even a Spyder. I have a Spyder dealer 2 miles from my house…. :)

I think its so funny to hear the “real” two wheeler bikers act like snobs towards the can am riders. Get a life and stop TRYING to be tough. You are a bunch of douche bags. Acting like you have balls because you ride a two wheeler and would NEVER throw your leg over a can am. The only balls you guys have are on your chin.

many of these laws fall way back to the war years where bikes were the cheapest transport available. Even the whizzer motors were grandfathered in and classed as mopeds, although 130 cc displacement.
The bottom line is the laws need revisiting so that they take into account the vehicles of today. Like cars, in the UK you must sit your test in a manual, if you do in a automatic, you cannoth thenm drive a manual..
On bikes two wheels first three second. If you take your licens on a three wheeler, you should not be allowed to just go and ride a two…
as someone else here said, it is a different skill set..

I have been up on Bemers, Trumpets,, Hondas, Kaws, and older Harleys. Both chopers and dressers and now own a dresser. I am 67 years young and ride every day I can. My wife rides with me just about all the time. Up here in the Oregon rain, we still ride. Not a garage queen. My hips are going out and it is getting hard to swing my leg over the seat. If the day comes when I can’t ride two, I will ride three. At least CanAm put the two wheels in the right place. It will at least keep the wind in my face and give my wife and I a piece of enjoyment we can do together. Keep on riding my brothers, wether it is up on two or with three.

DON, I’m waiting to catch a ’14 can am on a special deal. i’ll change up. i’m getting tired of swinging 850lbs (older too), i’d rather sit on the 1k weight

Okay, I’m way late to this conversation. I got here because I was curious as to whether a motorcycle endorsement was required for three-wheelers in Texas, and this article turned up.

As it happens, someone has already said that the M endorsement is required in my state, as well as in many others. There’s also a relatively new law in Texas that includes enclosed three wheelers in the motorcycle category. This means that they don’t have to have the same crash protection as automobiles.

I’m commenting simply to express that I agree with the “less that four wheels” definition. The word “motorcycle” is short for “motorized cycle”. Whether it’s a motorized bicycle or a motorized tricycle, it’s still a cycle, and it’s still motorized, so it’s still a motorcycle. If you want to restrict it to two wheels, you have to call it a motorbike.

YMMV, of course.

I’m 30 and have had my motorcycle licence for 10 years, so three wheels are NOT or the old or incapable!

Ohios law states that to ride a trike, you need the endorsement, but if you already have your motorcycle endorsement you are covered on both. Great news because it is hard enough to make sure they switch the endorsement over for one thing when you renew your license!

Correction to above:

I am *now* switching to adding a sidecar!

I began riding at 15 on an Indiana beginner’s permit in ’65, and I got my first MC endorsement when Florida “grandfathered me in” for about $3.00 just before the law went into effect there sometime in the ’80s. Then in 1990, I took my first-ever test, a written one, after moving back to Indiana …

I failed that ridiculous test the first time around, but no harm was done since I already knew how to stay alive on two wheels anyway.

With my arthritis and back trouble and all, I am not switching to adding a sidecar …

… and anybody who thinks that means I will no longer be a real rider can come on over and suck my hot pipes!

However, I actually ran across this discussion thread while trying to find out what Louisiana is going to expect of my wife when begins riding my new hack. She is too small to ride a two-wheeler, but I will have no problem getting her going and doing well on three wheels.

Joe

Like my dear friend Big Red said ” its not what you ride its if you ride” so who gives a shit just go out and have some fun……be safe

I must agree with Mr. Radar. Live and let live !!! I’ve been riding for nearly 40 years and until 2009 rode only two wheelers. Advanced age and aching bones sometimes prohibits throwing the old leg over a saddle like the ‘old days’. A three wheel machine, whether it be Can-Am, Harley, BMW, Honda, or Victory, etc., fits the needs of the we ‘baby-boomers’.

In Pennsylvania Can-Ams are three-wheelers, and trikes are any brand with two wheels in the rear. A two wheel license allows you to drive two or three wheels. A three wheel license, dubbed the M-9, is for three wheel vehicles only. Classes for both genres are available for novices.

There is also a bill being worked on now by the government that will do more to designate two wheel, three wheel, and four wheel motorcycle vehicles. Each will be separate and will be charged registration fees to match their number of wheels. The interest in this tax form was started in Europe and will be here soon.

Enjoy our sport while you can. The government can provide more than enough barriers to our way of life—why add more.

For all you riders out there,stop bashing each other and be brother/sister riders with the wind in your face and bugs in your teeth. I have riden in germany on cobblestone streets and usa with pot holes,ihave had 2 wheel bikes then side car which is harder to get used to then what i have now a 2011 harley trike. Just because i dont lean around cornors dont mean its not a bike. try it you may like it.
It sounds like because one person said,I DONT LIKE IT then my god we should stop riding. Is this going the way of no prayer in school or pledge to the flag because some idiot dont want it or like it!!!!! Get over it and keep the shiny side up and keep riding.
as far as lic,then we need one for SUV,CAR,PICKUP and so on and so on….
thats my story and i’m sticking to it!!!!!! 70Plus and still riding

I would point out the simple fact that MOST people WITH a license do not know the rules of the road and do not practice safe driving habits. While I agree it should be essential to learn to operate your vehicle safely and properly and with information and experience pertinent to the vehcile type, I have to point out that having a license provides no evidence of this. The endorsments you speak of are simply legal routines.

If you don’t believe this then explain why the majority of people do not leave appropriate following distances. Ask a few of your buddies what you’re supposed to do at an intersection when the traffic light is out or who has the right of way at a stop sign when a person turning left is there and a person going straight shows up. … but please look it up first as over 90% of people I ask get these things wrong.

I frankly think there should be only one test and that it simply covers all non-commercial classes of road vehicles. It wouldn’t hurt anyone to have to learn the things specific to operating two wheels, three wheels or four wheels and what the difference are. Being tested on some pylons in a parking lot won’t keep you from getting killed on a bike if you or others fail to operate according to the rules of the road or without the appropriate experience an individual is responsible for when undertaking the operation of any vehicle type.

My point is that you shouldn’t believe that regulation will correct ignorance or irresponsibility. Perhaps a single license system is your best bet for informing all about motorcycle, trikes, cars and trucks. Keep the legal requirements minimal and try to find positive ways to encourage responsible vehicle operating practices that will benefit all motorist. The current licensing system does not do this very well at all. The road is filled with dangerous, irresponsible but legally licensed drivers.

I own a can-am and I haven’t found it to skip on connering. and further more. It is as quick as anyroad bike around. I have found that you must relearn to ride on a can-am. and my wife loves it

I have sen the Spyder around town and laugh every time I see one….Ski Doo-doo on the road. Why someone would spend money on something so ugly is beyond me – the real experience of RIDING can only be had on 2 wheels, the lean is like flying not sitting on top of a smart car.

Well, certainly you are entitled to your own opinions and you are free to chose whatever bike you chose to ride. You are pretty closed minded of you think the Can Am Spyder is a Skoo be do or whatever you said. But, that being said..you lack empathy of people who really would like to ride but for some reason or another can not handle, ride or control a 2 wheeled motor cycle. That is insane. I’m no youngster anymore and I spent my whole life working hard and taking care of my family…my needs and wants had to be put on the back burner. Well, I’m now at the age where I no longer have those responsibilities and have the financial stability and freedom to do what I would like to do. And you are telling me..that because I can’t ride a 2 wheeled bike..I should just forget it and not even try. Not very kind. Yeah..maybe when I was 20 I could have gotten on the 2 wheeled bike and went to town..but it’s not so easy when you get older or have some sort of other problems that restrict what you can and can’t do. I for one…want to learn to ride..and I want to learn to ride safely, competently and and live. So..the CanAm Spyder fits the bill for me as I’m sure it does for many others. Open your mind a little bit..remember..you are not getting any younger either!

Really? You are going to compare riding skills to an endorsement skills test? Go as slow as possible and weave these cones 2 feet apart and make a U-turn, then top in 50 feet…. Make a skills test, where the test is going 65 and someone cuts you off, or put a deer in front of. Make the skills test worth a damn before you write an article on something you obviously have absolutely no skill or knowledge on.
Idiot.

I can’t believe so many people are so hung up on the letters stamped on a man’s license or even if he has one. I have ridden bikes sense I was 12, I am now 61. When I started riding there was no endorsement for motorcycles in my home state (Montana). I say let BIG BROTHER worry about that. Let the man ride whatever turns his crank. If everyone would worry more about what they are doing and a hell of a lot less about about the other guy, everyone would be happier! A license to drive/ ride does not make a driver/ rider only years of experience will do that.

The CanAm Spyder is not a motorcycle – period. It should not be an acceptable vehicle for taking the motorcycle test. By the same token, the motorcycle endorsement should not be required to operate it. The Spyder steers like a car, it does not countersteer like a motorcycle.

What a bunch of egoists! “Lowie,” you should be ashamed of yourself. You do not do your magazine honor by crying about something you don’t understand. Yes, I worry about people on trikes, but more than that, I worry about the youngsters on their “crotch rockets.” Are those bikes? Does it have to be a two wheeled cruiser to own a part of the road? Do we all pay our taxes to build and support the roads? Are you also a snob when it comes to the little roust-abouts, you know the three and four wheel chairs for handicapped? Hey, I see them on the road every day. Do you really care about what people ride or drive and what they call their mode of transportation?

By the way, do you worry if we truckers really know how to drive and are properly trained and licensed? Does a helicopter pilot really fly his craft? Well, you know, it is not a jumbo four engine jet after all. You know what we trike riders think about you coca cola riders with your fancy leathers and colors and chaps and boots and tatoos and half beards and unwashed faces? Nothing. We like to see bikers, trikers, scooters, and others who are out there having fun, feeling the wind, sensing the earthy smells and living life to its fullest without spending most of their time wondering about who calls their ride a bike or a trike, or who writes little articles with an obvious inability to outgrow their freshman literature courses in college.

Some of us rode two wheelers when you were in diapers, and some of us changed over to trikes during the old VW modification days. By golly, some of us like trikes and don’t care to change. Stop whining and crying over things that don’t effect you in the first place. Just enjoy what you have and always try to better yourself, not try to put others down. That is such poor taste.

Thanks, just my dollar’s worth.

I have also noted this commercial, thinking to myself that I really cant see how one of those contraptions could pass the MD road coarse, at least the salom maneuvering portion.

That said, even if someone can pass the test on a three wheeler, it does not prove that they have the ability to handle a motorcycle, which by my definition is a two wheel motorized vehicle.

Here is where my opinion gets muddied. I believe that most people with a motorcycle endorcement and experience have the necessary skills for a Trike/Can-Am, although very different in their handling characteristics. But on the flip side, someone with only a Trike/Can-Am endorsement/experience does not have the necessary skills to safely ride a two wheel vehicle.

So, while I have no problem with someone with a Motorcycle endorcement riding a three-wheeler, I have a problem with a three-wheeler endorsement riding a motorcycle. It makes it unsafe for all of us out there, not just those particular riders.

Just my two-cents, spend at your leisure.

Richard said on 04-12-2011

So with your comment, does that mean those of us who happen to ride and still wear diapers are not actually rideing?

Or would you perfer I ride without a diaper and leave a wet mist for you to ride through as you pass me?

Hmm.. Does J&P sell products for Spyder’s? Probably do, wonder why they would allow a bashing… Maybe trying to shed customers.

Shut your yap. Learn to ride well whatever you choose. A MSF course or simple test proves nothing two or three wheels. Most of the zipper heads I see on the road don’t even wear a helmet. I am sure they all passed the test.

My buddy just brought a Polaris Razor up to the farm from Arizona where it is licensed as a motorcycle.

+I’ve got over 640,000 miles on bikes, including 49,000 on my 2008 Can-Am Spyder Roadster GS. As Jim mentioned 4/12, in NY if you test on 2 wheels, you’re covered for 2 & 3 wheels. If you test on 3 wheels, you’re limited to 3 wheels. I think this is the best option, and wouldn’t recommend allowing a 3-wheeled licensee open access to 2-wheeled travel. I still have three 2-wheelers and switch back and forth comfortably, but devotefar more saddle time to the Spyder because it’s extremely fun to ride aggressively.

Ride on.
Roadkill

Does federal law differentiate licensing a trike rider as different from riding a bike and sidecar?

In the interest of true reporting, I would like Mr. Anderson to do some research. I would appreciate a list of those states that will give you a 2 wheel endorsement if you take the test on 3. I have not heard of any, and many have posted here about the 3 wheel restriction there state or province has.

Licensing for any motor vehicle is a decision made by the states, and not any manufacturer. The Can-Am commercial in question simply states “Take your test on the Spyder today, and ride tomorrow”. For those states that have a 3 wheel endorsement this is factual. For those living in California, Deleware, and South Carolina, they don’t need any type of permit. Their standard drivers license covers it.

So, please take the time to do some diligent research, then let us know how many states you found that will issue a 2 wheel license for a 3 wheeler.

tricycle/bicycle= put a small child on a tricycle they have no problems. put the same child on small bicycle they have problems. they are not the same. why when you step off your 3 wheeler and hop on your 2 wheeler and slap your feet on the pegs, guess what, you learn the same lesson, you will fall over. which then should take you back to your childhood. respect them both and understand just because you can ride a 3 wheeler dont mean you can ride a 2 wheeler so there.

With motorcycle only checkpoints and new exhaust noise regulations coming , we should forget about this non-issue.
Don’t buy a CanAm if you don’t like them!

Getting the government (feds) involved in defining what a motorcycle is- not what we want. Let the states figure it out.
I get what Mr. Anderson is saying about the ad. Their job is to sell the CanAm, and they just want to let potential buyers know they could take the test on the thing.
You can’t stop stupid with rules.
Gearheads are interested in anything with wheels and a motor.
’02 Softail & Rigid Custom.

I earned my endorsement after a private 3 day two-wheeler course and rode two-wheeleres from 400′s to 1500′s, single and double -up until in 2009 I had a bad bout with Vertigo which caused me balance issues during low-speed manuvers. My choice was to stop riding or convert to a trike! I triked out my GL 1500 with a Champion trike kit so I was still able to enjoy riding in the wind. YES, a TRIKE IS A MOTORCYCLE and from experience, I can tell you that riding a trike takes more strength and just as much skill and savvy as riding a two-wheel! Shame on you two-wheelers that dis trikers as non-bikers because at one time, most of us were riding two’s just like you. There may come a day for you, maybe not so far down the road, where you will have to choose between NO RIDE or moving to a TRIKE. If you are a real RIDER, you will suck-it-up and choose that TRIKE rather than rot away just watching two and three wheelers go by.

I think most people have agreed that 3 wheelers and 2 wheelers should have different test and endorsement. I have been actively riding street and dirt bikes since 1970, 18ys old. I was on the Hawaii Honda support race team in 250cc class,for ten years. I have owned every make of motorcycle in all sizes. I couldn’t afford a Harley Wide glide untill I bought a 2005 in 2004. Now I have a 2007 Flhtpi (Electricglide Police bike) that I am customizing.
My point is any that has ridden dirt or trail bikes HARD has a foot above everyone else.
When I bought my Harley, I had never ridden one so I took the MSF to freshen up..Ihad so much fun on 250cc bikes.
To Trever who said you could
not pass the driving test on a
big Bike.You need to practice. The instructor let me use my Wide Glide,but said if I failed I could tray again in two weeks. I passes.When I bought the Electro Glide Police bike(103cui) I took the advanced saftey course with 890 ld dry Bike and passed easily. Learn what you drive and take and advaced course.You will only help yourself and maybe others. I AM 58 and a disabled vet.Back and knees. I may end up on a trike. I. Am spoiled and a diehard Harley owner,so that’s what it will be. To many finds loyal riders. But to each his. Just ride safe…

I agree that these 3 Wheelers should not be called motorcycles, any more than a Gold Wing with training wheels (I do understand the need due to physical reasons.)

As far as licensing goes, I don’t think it’s any different than a young person taking their driving test in a Honda Civic, then getting a 6,000lb 25ft SUV with a “Soccer Mom” sticker on the back.

To me this is much more dangerous than taking a driving test on a Can Am, then getting a crotch rocket or a lead sled.

PA has a seperate course for it just to say you took the course with it but u cant pass your test on it needs to be on a true motorcycle

knocking on the door @ being a greybeard
have older couple friends with spyder
will ride with them anytime
everyone ride ride ride
do it smart educated and w/common sense
enjoy what so many don’t understand
iit’simple put the wind in your hair if you have any

I’ve been riding since I was 8 years old, I got my drivers license in 1972 (before you needed an endorsment in Pa.), when an endorsment was required I was granted it because I had a valid drivers license and a registered motorcycle. With that said, I still took the safety course and motorcycle test. I agree with Lowell, three wheels are not a motorcycle, it’s a vehicle.

It only bothered you because the kinds of bikes you ride don’t advertise at all. When was the last time anyone has saw a KTM commercial you fruitcake ??? You should just quit these uneducated belligerent responses and formally apologize for your remarks to the Spyder community and we all can move ahead. Does your boss have any clue what you write ??? Your boss is losing $ as we write. Theres thousands of us Spyder riders already who caught wind of this, that will no longer purchase from your bosses company. And more to follow. How do you think you have had so many responses in two days ??? I hope you don’t think you have had so many posts because you have something to offer the motorcycle community. We will all stay tuned for a public apology on this blog. But don’t wait to long ice cream man !!! Man up, and do it.

I appreciate all the feedback both good and bad. I own a Suzuki, a Honda, and a KTM. I ride them all the time, and yes they do advertise. Open a dirt bike magazine, and you may even find a KTM ad. I think you are missing the point of the article, but that’s ok too. Glad to see you are so passionate about your brand!

I own a Suzuki, a Honda, and a KTM, and all of the companies do advertise. Open a dirt bike magazine and you might even see a KTM ad. I think you are missing the point of the article, but I appreciate all the comments both good and bad. Glad to see you are so passionate about your brand.

in VA, anything with less than 4 wheels is a motorcycle.

and it was incorrectly stated above that you need a motorcycle endorsement in VA to buy a Spyder.
It is your responsibility to be properly licensed when you drive out onto the public road, regardless of what you just purchased. Dealers are not required or encouraged by the law to check the status of your Driver License. what if you have one, but it is suspended? should the dealership have a State Police computer to check your license?

lets not encourage a law for every situation, we already have too many!

I don’t know what all the concern is when comparing two wheelers with tree wheelers, anyone who desires to be in the wind should be there. The heck with the license, ride anyway. We , bikers have been known to not pay much attention to rules anyway. If you can drive, you can ride with a little practice. Tell the powers that be to stick it, I’ve been riding for 40 yrs, when they woudn’t let me take my test, on a 58′ pan, because it didn’t have turn signals I haven’t tried since. Haven’t been pulled over in 20 yrs. so the heck with it.

If you’re not going to ride a Can-Am, then why does it bother you? There are a lot more things to be bothered by than someone getting their license on a 3-wheeler. Let me ask this…do you have the same problem with folks riding a trike?

It only bothered me because they are using it as a marketing tool to sell more Can-Ams. Trike companies are not advertising that you can get a motorcycle license is you take your test on a trike.

The could be said about the Harley and the Honda trikes on the road. Just because the Can-Am’s in reverse of the Harley and Honda should be of no consequence a three wheeler is three wheeler no matter the configuration or the manufacturer.

While I have been reading the comments it occurs to me only one this really needs to be said — ignorance is bliss and Lowell must be blissfully happy.

Will definitely take any aftermarket business elsewhere.

Dear Sir,

Might I suggest if you plan to make it as a legitimate journalist, please to not take the path of Dan rather….intestigate your facts. Wikipedia is not exactly the best source for fact-based information, but even there, one must read the ENTIRE description. May I quote:

mo·tor·cy·cle (mtr-skl) KEY

NOUN:

A two-wheeled motor vehicle resembling a heavy bicycle, sometimes having two saddles and a sidecar or with a third wheel.

And just as an update: Wikipedia definitions are continual free-flowing edits and have since changed the definition of Motorcycle to “a two[1] or three wheeled[2] motor vehicle”

Would have been better to stick with a traditional source such as the Oxford Dictionary which still keeps it at two wheels.

Then there’s the legal definition in some areas which simply say if it’s motorized, has a saddle, and NO MORE THAN three tires on the road at any time, then it can be called a motorcycle — or to say another way, a motor-bike which you straddle to ride but with two pairs of closely placed wheels can not be called a motorcycle.

Anyway, enough of that. Nice blog.

Agreed, bikes can kill and if you can’t ride you can’t ride. There’s a BIG difference between even riding in the country and riding in the city and if you’re not on your game every second you’re on that bike riding in the metroplex you’re toast. Everything should be done to assure that the one getting a license can handle the vehicle the license is for and if you can’t balance a 2-wheeled bike you should NOT be getting a license for it.

I know that you sure can’t get an M endorsement in Illinois. They have a 3 wheel endorsement that you get if you test on one of these or a normal trike. I agree that it is ridiculous that someone could get a motorcycle license on a vehicle that doesn’t operate like a motorcycle.

I agree that you should have to ride a two-wheeled motorcycle to get a motorcycle license. I don’t believe in the engine size limitation, either. I agree that the best solution is probably similar to Florida, where you just have to take and pass the Basic Rider Course. That way, at least we know they’ve been taught at least once how to ride the right way and have been tested more extensively than the DMV can and our taxes don’t have to support the DMV tests anymore. MOST OF ALL, the guys taking DMV tests on Honda 50′s and then foot-dragging and duck-walking their big bikes all over town are cheating themselves and should be embarrassed about it.

As for the greybeards (show of hands?), understand that there is a technique to picking up a downed bike that works for just about everybody, and if you’ve never taken a course, you could learn a lot more than just that if you’ll give it a chance. Road conditions, vehicle types and capabilities have changed a lot in just the last five to ten years, let alone 20 or 30, and it’s changing and diverging even more all the time. If we’re not updating your skills with a rider course every three or four years, we’re not doing all we can to stay sharp while age continues to take the edge off our reaction times. If you’re riding two up, then you’ve got even more to think about than just you. So let’s just keep feet on the pegs and try to ride a little better every day instead of slowly giving it up to aging. It’s lot more fun that way, anyway!

Well, I don’t know about most states, but in California, if it has 3 wheels, you don’t need an M1 or M2 rated License. Cus really, it’s just one step closer to being a Car.

Does that go for trikes as well . Have you actually tried on of these Spyders . You’d be surprised how they handle and are as safe if not safer than regular bikes !!!!

“Lowell’s job is to discover what products our customers want, gather up all the information available for those products, and then deciding how they should be displayed and marketed.”

Looks like you’ve eliminated a share of the market with your article.

Too bad,really. Spyder riders like myself spend LOTS of money.

Do you feel the same about a HD,GW, or any other “conversion” trike that you haven’t ridden?

The vast majority seem to agree that: an endorsement for 3 wheelers of any kind should be different than the endorsement for m/cycle.
If you have never taken an advanced rider course, you don’t know what you are missing and it could just save your life.
“Countersteering may be learned by a 7 year old on a bicycle” BUT if you don’t conciously think about doing it for accident avoidance, obstacles in the road etc. and use it when you need to, you really didn’t learn it after all…
If taken literally, the saying “if it aint a harley it aint s–t”, implys that only Harleys are s–t, and everything else isn’t… HAHAHA
Don’t cry in you cereal bowl I have 4 Harleys, a Ducati and a Triumph and ride them all.
For those of you who think certain types of bikes belong only on a track, then loud pipe stripped down bikes could easily be put into that same category; the drag strip. Don’t like what I ride? Good! I don’t wanna be like you anyway!
Lighten up everyone, we are in this together, us against the regulations, the judgements, and the “cagers”!

This Lowell is probably some Marketing nerd who doesn’t even own a bike.

I think the commercial is very misleading. As stated by several posts describing the various endorsement requirements for each state, the blanket statement in the commercial that you can ride a Can-Am the next day after getting your motorcycle license, and ride your Spyder during the test, is ridiculous.

They keep the lawyers happy with the fine print shown for two seconds at the end of the ad. But who’s gonna read that?

I like ice cream!

In the County i live in in Alabama all u have to take is a computer test. But i agree these should not be called motorcycles,and there should be a different endorsement..

Lowell, interesting article. You know what that license is for don’t you — it is to provide evidence that a person has sufficient knowledge and practice of the vehicle he/she is operating with a reasonable amount of safety as to abide by the laws of the road to not endanger other motorist and him/her self. You being a over 20 year rider should know that, and you throw that 20 yrs. up there like it might entitle you to make such a comment. Does your motorcycle license allow you to ride a Spyder, Harley, Honda, etc.. Before you judge how license should be issued for what type of vehicles that people ride maybe you should ride a Spyder, I think you will find it quiet challenging. Most Spyder riders are former motorcycle riders that were riding bike before you were born. Does your license say on it that you are allowed to race. You know there are a lot of license motorcycle riders get killed every year. I seems to me that the only thing that that commet you made only shows the only thing that surpasses your ignorance is your stupidy.

I ride a Piaggio MP3 400, which is a bit different than the Can-Am. The Piaggio has 3 wheels but also tilts and rides and handles much like a 2 wheeler. In CA. the law is that you can ride one with just a car license, no M at all. I get lots of looks and probably even derogatory remarks behind my back about my 3 wheeler. But 2 years and over 20,000 miles on it, riding everyday and in almost every condition (it is my only transportation) I don’t care much for what others think. Especially when I am out there in the freezing winter and have had to ride home in the snow twice, while other riders but their “lil babies” to sleep for the winter and I keep on riding. That is what it is about, right?

Lowell I read this and a few of the other articles you wrote and I think you have a point and I would agree with you on one of them, if you take a test on a Spyder then you should be restricted to riding a Spyder or three wheeler. As we both know a motorcycle is as different to a Spyder as a 4-wheeler is to a dirtbike. Nothing much about it is the same other than being in the wind and the fact that their owners enjoy much of the same things like buying parts for them and going on rides.

My problem with your article is the way you dis the Spyder without ever riding one. I see you’re a big fan of dirtbikes, do you dis the 4-wheel riders the same? If so I haven’t found that writeup yet.

I started out on dirtbikes and raced them when I was younger. I rode Santee Sand Pits when Team Honda use to practice out there with Marty Tripes and Marty Smith. Back then the ATC 90 came out and even though it wasn’t a motorcycle it was still a ton of fun and look where we are today because of the evolution of something other than a two wheeled dirtbike.

I would challenge you to find a local Can Am dealer and take one for a test drive. I can tell you that I have owned and ridden every type of motorcycle there is and I never thought I would fall in love with the Spyder the way I have. I have been cross country on my Valkyrie, my Boss Hoss and my M109R but I have more miles on my two Spyders in less time than all those bikes put together. I ride a Spyder because it’s fun not because I have to.

I still have a custom M109R with nitrous that puts out 165hp and 159fts of torque and I have as much fun on my Spyder as I do on it. It really is a fun ride and deserves more respect than you gave it. Give a try before you dis the ride.

I agree with the writer, this thing is neither fish nor foul and no one should earn a m/c endorsement on it. While it may be a fun ride, it is NOT a motorcycle!

Aside from the authors comments on the merits of three wheelers I think his point was that you shouldn’t be allowed to get a M/C license by riding a three wheeler in the riding test. Even though I’ve been riding since 1964, the cost of a three wheeler would turn me off. Rather spend the same amount on a good used Corvette convertable, but, to each their own.

In Ontario Canada a motorcycle test must be taken to drive a 3 wheel bike, but you have a condition on your licence that you can only ride 3 wheel. You can not drive a two wheel Bike even though your licence says “M”. You have an asterisk beside it with condition.
You can have a full motorcycle licence when taken on a two wheel bike and you are allowed to drive both two and three wheel bikes with the full motorcycle licence.
I drive a Honda Goldwing 1800 with motor trike conversion kit on it. The trouble I”ve run into is insurance. I don’t plan on riding a two wheel bike, I’m insuring a TRIKE, but most companies won’t insure me as I have a “Condition” on my licence. The condition is for three wheels, their insuring a trike..but they don’t want the condition on the licence. It’s all a money grab as far as I can figure out for the industry.
I can’t re-take my test on a two wheel bike with dealer plates on it as I checked.
So my option is to go buy a two wheel motorcycle just to get my full M or put up with the extra fees.
As far as the convo on “cool/not cool” I ride for safety reasons. I rode two wheels for years, and have a handicapable son with no balance that loves riding. The TRIKE is much safer with him, and the cars, trucks and other idiots on the road give you much more space and respect than when on two wheels. Safety first over “COOL”.

Well some people are just idiots. I guess if you would never throw your leg over one of these it makes you wonder how you can write an article about the Spyder. Make me wonder what you are capable of throwing your leg over — a minibike comes to mind for sure. Everyone is entitiled to their opinion but before you gave us yours you should have applied for a brain first!!!!!

All I have to say is: ELITIST!!

Oh how I long for the old days. When I took drivers ed about 1970 I lived in Florida. Back then you could ride a motorcycle with your learners permit at the age of 15. I actually road a yamaha 60 road bike to drivers ed during the summer. The teacher had a Sears 80 and we use to race after class. I did beat him a few times.

Frankly, I think people driving any vehicle including cars should have an M endorsement. Not so they can ride but to be aware of us around them. A trike rider with a M endorsement can’t be a bad thing. If all they needed was a car license, that would be a lot worse. Still, I see gaps but there are gaps in every licensing process. That’s where practice comes in.

I do see an issue because the whole test is designed to make certain that you have good balance and can maneuver. But of the other hand in Mass you can ride for 2yrs or longer on your permit, on the open road Instantly after passing your writen test. So whats worse? A 3 wheeler or a completely inexperienced rider thats never even sat on a bike one day on the highway the next?

I do see an issue because the whole test is designed to make certain that you have good balance and can maneuver. But of the other hand in Mass you can ride for 2yrs or longer on your permit, on the open road Instantly after passing your writen test. So whats worse? A 3weeler or a completely inexperienced rider thats never even sat on a bike one day on the highway the next?

I ride a Harley Night Train 96ci and love every second Im on it. I also loved my 175 Honda that I got my licence with at age 16. At 52 I have had 2 back surgeries and am building a trike. (Since we seem to need some cridentials to post lol)
Someone mentioned that in Oregon you must take a class to get a mc endorcement that is not true. If you take the class you do not have to take a drive test you only take the written test. There are 2 corses for the drive test one for 250cc and smaller with tighter corners than the corse for larger bikes. If you take the test on a trike thats all you can ride but I don’t know how the drive test is administered. Regardless of what you ride keep the rubber side down and enjoy.

It would nice to have special instructions and appropriate courses for three wheeled vehicles. There should be seperate licensing for a two wheeled vehicle which would need to be taken on a two wheeled vehicle.

I ride a Spyder and yes, they are a different breed. Should you be required to have a diffferent test other than a motorcycle, that is not for me to decide. I have found that most people who choose the Spyder has had a motorcycle at one time or another and is familiar with riding something besides the Spyder. Just like any other bike, the dynamics are different just as they are different from switching from a crotch rocket to a cruiser. There definitely is a learning curve to the Spyder, but once you master the bike, they are excellent vehicles. As always, everyone is entitled to their opinions

I’m pushing 70 and figure I have 10 or hopefully 15 years of riding my Road King before my old legs won’t push me back out of parking places. When that day comes I would consider one of these things rather than a trike. However, I agree that a separate road test should be required. Getting an endorsement on 3 wheels and then jumping on a motorcycle with no addtional training is a good way to die.

I THINK A PERSON NEEDS TO TAKE A TEST ON A MOTORCYCLE GIVE HIM AN M AND IF HE RIDES A TRIKE HE SHOULD GET A T, IF HE RIDES BOTH , HE MUST TAKE THE TEST ON BOTH MOTORCYCLE AND TRIKE WHEN I GOT MINE I TOOK IT OWN A HONDA 50CC SCO0TER , THEY GOT A KICK OUT OF IT AT THE DMV..

In Nebraska you take a separate road test for a 3-wheeler. I agree, someone endorsed to only ride a 3 wheeler should stay on a 3-wheeler unless they also take the required MSF course and get licensed to operate a two wheeler. I would bet money that those that ride two wheelers would find riding a Spyder or any 3-wheeler a real challenge! But hey Lowell, when you can’t handle a two wheeler any longer and your pride won’t let you continue to enjoy the open road on a 3-wheeler, you might as well just sit your ass in a wheelchair…after all, it’s only got two wheels! I don’t think it was necessary to demean someone who rides a Spyder or any other trike, after all, it’s the adventure on the road, the fellowship of other bikers and it’s whatever blows your hair back! Lighten up!

I hear people stating that since they have leg problems and/or old they have to ride a trike. BS. I am 70, lost my left leg above the knee on a bike and I ride with a side car with wife and my dog. I also ride on 2 wheels on my 2001 FXDWG. If you want to ride on 2 wheels bad enough—you can with almost any disabilities.

Had to comment after reading the statement that mostly older people would be riding 3 wheelers & would be more mature. Well around here we have way more 50+ drivers getting killed on bikes then kids. Why? Cuz they just gotta go out and get that full bore Harley 15 mins after they get out of class. Age does not necessarily make for common sense and I agree that 3 wheels won’t teach you anything about 2 wheels (& vis versa). That is NOT a slam on 3 wheels, just a simple acknowledgement that they are two very different machines, just like the difference between Class 1, 2 & 3 driver licenses, and should be treated as such.

I guess J & P writers need to do some more research before they write another article on Motorcycle laws….
Lots of laughs tho….Guess I will need the Ice crean truck to cool my nuts after the are roasted cause I will only ride an American Air cooled Dinosaur no matter what they come out with…Unless it runs on something other than gasoline.

In CT a separate road test is administered for three wheeled vehicles, even though they may be classified as a motorcycle. The license is also restricted to three wheeled vehicles.

In CT a separate road test is administered for a three wheeled vehicle, and a restriction on the license to three wheeled vehicles only. I’m a retired Sgt. from the CT DMV.

PA has a seperate license – Everyone has the right to their opinion, I think the Can-ams are for sofa-super heros I think the trikes are going to make people think they can go even faster and drive even more dangerously (if that’s possible.) Crotch rocket bikes don’t belong on the highway, (they should be restricted to the track) But Richard if you show up with a Tri-glide you can ride with me anytime. Just don’t show up with a Spider cause WE ALL KNOW If it ain’t a HARLEY….It ain’t …….

When I learned to ride in the late 60s my class consisted of ” There”s the bike, go ride it” I started on dirt bikes and worked my way up. Back then we had enough common sense to not ride on the street or on a highway until we felt comfortable.
Classes are good for some but far to often make people feel they really know what they are doing after taking the class. Everyone I know who has had no motorcycle experience and took the class came out of the class ill equipped to handle a bike on the open road and needed a lot of practice riding around the neighborhood before going out on the road. I have also seen some people get there Motorcycle endorsement that probably should never be on a 2 wheel vehicle ever.

In California you need no special license to drive a trike or spider, just a standard drivers license, called a Class C in California. The California vehicle code states a motorcycle has two wheels only. If you add a side car to a two-wheeled motorcycle it is no longer deemed a motorcycle because it now has more than two wheels.
Take my word for it as I am a motorcop in California.

I have been riding/owning motorcycles since the late sixties. I currently have a Suzuki M109R and a Can Am Spyder GS. I agree with your point about not being able to ride a two wheeled cycle if you took your test on a Spyder. however I didn’t appreciate your smart aleck comment relative to the Spyder. I love my Suzuki but I feel a lot safer. And more relaxed on the Spyder. Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it. It has plenty of pep, gets lots of attention and handles well just differently than a standard Motorcycle. can Am doesn’t claim it’s a Motorcycle, andin fact they call it a Roadster. Next time do a little more research before you pop off and I wouldn’t think J&P wouldn’t appreciate you denigrating the Spyder since they are only to happy to sell add ons for it.

In re-reading all of the posts to try to fugure out why you all are thinking the skill set on a two wheeler is more difficult than on a Spyder. If you people can lay off the crackpipe for a second I’ll inform you that your wrong. Remember when we were all a child ??? Did you ever ride a bicycle ??? Even a 7 yr old child knows how to countersteer, balance, lean and put your feet down when they stop. It’s not that hard people. We have all been doing it since we were kids. So tell me what is different other than anything a 7 yr old can already do. Know the bike and the basics. So by this ignorant authors opinion and some of the posters, we should all be required to get retested when we switch to another type or brand of motorcycle because they all handle and perform differntly. Don’t stop there. You should get re-tested when you switch from a honda civic to a ford pickup truck too. You would think someone in the industry would know this. I know now, not to purchase from you people because you don’t know squat !!!

Back in the early 1970′s I built a 45 Harley trike and when finished with the DMV on all my paperwork for it the lady from DMV said I was to take the Motorcycle test for my license. Got my name called to do the test and when I came around the corner on my nicely chopped trike the instructor looked at me like “what do you want, you don’t have to have a motorcycle license on this thing but looks pretty cool though. Then we both busted out laughing when a guy came around the corner embarrassed as hell on a 250 when he saw my Harley in front of him. Never could understand why you have to get a motorcycle license for it considering it’s not one and it isn’t your run of the mill VW in any state.

First let me start by saying some people need to get off their soap box. We all ride and we all ride for different reasons. I rode a R1, and now a spyder. I am young and not an old man but my disabilities allow for me to enjoy riding. Reading these threads give me mixed emotions, yes its a trike to ride on base and if you are smart you will go to a MSF course and you will get some skill as it is a three-day course. Welcome and educate the riders not look down on them, when I wave and someone does not wave back I always wonder is it because I am on my Spyder or are they just one of the non-waving people out there…RESPECT each class of rider and help educate as we all can have the same injuries if we are not careful!!

Never rode a motorcycle before. I Just never got around dong it. 65 years old I decided to buy the 2008 Can Am Spyder SM5. Road it for 1/2 hour and the salesman took their demo Spyder and he and I went 4 or 5 mile through town to a burger place got lunch. He went back to the dealership and I took the long way home. I live in Sacramento, CA.
I put 25478 mile on that Spyder in 16 months traveling through California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona. You are so right that it in not a motorcycle, and I am so very glad it’s not. At least 15000 mile of that was done on secondary roads and county back roads, and 150 or so miles of dirt roads. It one of the most stable vehicle I have had the pleasure of operating. The Vehicle Stabilization System has saved me a couple of times when misjudging the speed when going into a corner. The Traction Control has stopped fishtails in heavy rain and snow. ABS brakes top it all off.
Thank God not everyone wants the same things. I just happy to get up on this side of the ground each day and Spyder ryde myself to where ever it is I can remember where I am going.

From IL. I had a 1954 Trike and took my test. I had a class M with a restriction of N 3 wheels only. That was in 1979

Indiana requires you to pass your skills test on a TWO wheel MOTORCYCLE

For someone who can no longer ride 2 wheels due to bad hips, back etc it is one choice they have, not for evryone but some.

In Mo. I took my driving test on a trike. I have a MW on my license, with the W meaning that I can only ride trikes.meaw

what about teens getting the’re license in an automatic and are allowed to drive a standard shift….????

Pennsylvania has just passed a trike only endorcement. It isn’t good for a two wheeler.
M9 class.

I was in the Air Force when my Squadron Safety NCO talked me into attending the one week MSF Rider’s Course at Holloman AFB, NM, in 1984. I bought a Honda 125cc. In 1985, I was transferred to Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, and took a refresher course, then bought a Suzuki 450. I went to Kadena AB, Okinawa, Japan in 1986 and took my Suzuki with me. I had to take a local area rider’s course because of the unique riding situations (driving on the left). Coming back in 1989, I went to Robins AFB, Ga. I retired in 1991 and sold my Suzuki in 1994. In 1996, I wanted to ride again, having missed the fun. I took another three day MSF Rider’s course and bought a Kawi 500, traded it in after 18 months for a Honda Shadow 750. Last year I bought a Honda 1500c Goldwing with a Lehman Trike kit. The point I am trying to make is that it makes no difference what you ride or where. I learned something new every time I went through an MSF course. All military services REQUIRE members to attend MSF Rider’s courses. In Ky, you must have a course completion card to requister your bike and ride on base. Ride what you can handle and handle what you ride. Keep the wheels down guys.

I agree with you on this issue as one who has completed the basic and advanced motorcycle safety course. I have also participated in the sidecar or “hack” safety course and the “real” trike course. Having ridden both a trike and the Can Am Spider, they handle totally different from a motorcycle and even each other…the Spider handles like a snowmobile! There probably should be separate certifications much like the FAA gives to rotary wing pilots where a Chinook (tandem main rotor) is given a BV 117 rating. Just because you can ride a standard motorcycle doesn’t mean you can handle a sidecar (especially in a high speed right hand turn) or a trike or a spider…

Look what it all boils down to is that the Can-am and Trikes are ALL 3 wheeled vehicals. Whether the two tires are in the front or the back they are 3 wheeled vehicles and deserve their own classification and should be tested differently than 2 wheeled motorcycles. I have been riding since I could practically walk and my dad started us on mini bikes. I am 47 and have rode both trikes and motorcycles. My choice is without a doubt motorcycle all the way. Now, the biggest difference between the two are that to take evasive measures when a problem arises on the rode are two TOTALLY different maneuvers, and for that simple fact alone they should have their own test and classification. Bottom line…anyone with half a brain can ride either, but a true skilled rider can greatly minimize their risk of injury by knowing how to maneuver that bike/trike when the time is needed. Not to mention, but the last time I looked my bike doesn’t have a reverse other than my legs…lol

For the greybeards taking offense … not directed at you. I believe the issue is a nooby (seen a bike, never been on one) getting a two wheel endorsement on a three wheeler. Personally, I wouldn’t feel safe whithin a 100 yards of them if they used that endorsement for a two wheeler. That said, how many of us learned to ride (and survived) before the word “endorsement” got in the dictionary? Could motorcycle accidents/fatalities be nothing more than another form of gene pool maintenance? NOW you can take offense.

The canam spyder is a joke – wimps ride them to pose as bikers. These 3 wheel jokes have nannies and traction control…..and only get like 25 mpg. They corner like a bus on bald tires. I would wear a full face helmet and never stop – being seen on those things proves your gay -

I read with great interest the author’s insight on not being the most intelligent person in the world, to include never having ridden the vehicle in question or learned from anyone who does. Beyond that, I found no value in the article.

I was most impressed by the author’s insight on not being the most intelligent person in the world. Beyond that, I found no value in the article.

I am an amputee ( right leg below the knee ) I have been rideing MC since the 6o’s . I am thinking about a three wheeler .Still don’t want to give up my ROAD KING . Thinkin’ about it ?

I’ve been riding two wheelers since 1968, 3 & 4 wheel ATVs since 1982, and decided to take the Team Oregon trike & hack class in Hood River. Haven’t been that frightened of anything since my first carrier landing. Stopped by the CanAm dealer on the way home, for a test drive. I was totally sold. Bought my first one in 2009, and am on my 2nd (touring version) now. Actually sold all of my two wheeled collection. But then, I’d never spend 2 minutes watching a Supercross, or riding a crotch rocket.

Want a real scare? Take a fast tight turn on a Harley TriGlide….

I own 2 Can-Am Spyders(both models) and a couple of GSXs.They are as different as night and day! They should have separate endorsments and in my province(Manitoba) they do.

My wife rides a trike. In Florida you get a restricted motorcycle license (3 or more wheels).

I love how you people on here think you know the Spyder when you don’t even own one. What a joke !!! Then we have the idiot author of this article, that writes this article to bash the safest bike on the road today. I have a crotch rocket as well, and mine is much bigger than this authors girly 750cc Gxr. Then some dirt bag Harley guy says it doesn’t corner good. If you owned one and rode it for more then five minutes you would know it will go through corners better than a sport bike and certainly better than your peice of crap oil leaking Harley. Then we have the moran who says two wheels are the only real bike. If I wanted to, I could put my feet down at a stop sign too … because thats a real bike in your eyes. So putting your feet down at a stop sign should allow you to receive a M endorsment on your license. Wow, you are a way better rider than a Spyder rider for that !!! (That is sarcasum for all you ignorant two wheel riders that are commenting but don’t know jack squat about the Spyder) But go ahead a bash the Spyder all you want, we don’t care. Because while your out driving your ice cream truck, just know your girlfriend is out with us, on the back of one of our Spyders.

m2 and m3 seems to be the best way. Most people seem to agree that it’s common sense that 2 and 3 wheeled “bikes” are going to behave different. Everyone has a different learning curve so to each their own. It’s not what you ride, it’s that you ride.

I love how you people on here think you know the Spyder when you don’t even own one. What a joke !!! Then we have the idiot author of this article, that writes this article to bash the safest bike on the road today. I have a crotch rocket as well, and mine is much bigger than this authors girly 750cc Gxr. Then some dirt bag Harley guy says it doesn’t corner good. If you owned one and rode it for more then five minutes you would know it will go through corners better than a sport bike and certainly better than your peice of crap oil leaking Harley. Then we have the moran who says two wheels are the only real bike. If I wanted to, I could put my feet down at a stop sign too … because thats a real bike in your eyes. So putting your feet down at a stop sign should allow you to receive a M endorsment on your license. Wow, you are a way better rider than a Spyder rider for that !!! (That is sarcasum for all you ignorant two wheel riders that are commenting but don’t know jack squat about the Spyder) But go ahead a bash the Spyder all you want, we don’t care. Because while your out driving your ice cream truck, just know your girlfriend is out with us, on the back of one of our Spyders.

ive done the research, in fl.to be classified as a motorcycle, three or four wheels, u must sit on it ,,, not in it, thus making my awesome black and yellow a motorcyle, i would like to take my 08 zx 10 and run it over with the can am

Im 58 now and I had to pick up my Royal Star tour Deluxe the other day, fell over in the driveway. NOW I see the attraction of a trike. I wonder if they will ever make a street legal suv like the new Polaris. I bet a lot of people would go for a sporty street oriented four wheeler

I think your man Lowel sould take some time to use a good foot powder when he gets his foot out of his big mouth. If he meant it just wasn’t for him he should have said so. Have ridden sense 1962 on 2 wheels and now have issues with only 2 and ride a Triglide from Jan of this year. I felt insulted and think his excues sucks

In Nebraska, any vehicle with less than 4 wheels requires the rider to wear a helmet. I know because I have been after the cops to ticket a fat old fart in my neighborhood riding a cushman cart with no helmet for years. Thus, the trikes are classified as motorcycles. I also feel that someone working for JP should not slam someone else’s product. Kind of goes back to that old saying that I don’t like. If you don’t ride a harley, you aint s__t.

I think Red Ralphs issue is who is a “real biker”not 2 or 3 wheels

The Canam Spyder is a joke……..hard to corner – no leaning, has a nanny for the wimps that ride them. They are not even in the same class as a REAL bike – all that ride them are posers and should just get a little smart car – same thing except a smart car gets good milage – I heard the Spyder gets like 25mpg

The commercial refers to getting your “operators license” they do not say motorcycle license, in fact, BRP always refers to the Spyder as a Roadster never as a motorcycle. My state issues a cycle license with a 3 wheel endorsement allowing me to only ride a 3 wheel cycle. This is the case in most states.

The commercial refers to getting your “operators license” they do not say motorcycle license, in fact, BRP always refers to the Spyder as a Roadster never as a motorcycle. My state issues a cycle license with a 3 wheel endorsement allowing me to only ride a 3 wheel cycle. This is the case in most states.

I started riding when I was 10….now 63…ok you do the math..Spider is not a trike… Its not a Bike….If you ride a ..what ever it is?? its your ass. You will never be a biker..A bike has 2 wheels thats why it is called a bike ….. so if you think you are getting permission from the state you live in to ride a bike …testing on a Spider go ahead and get all pumped up and think you can ride a bike…some one will scrape your hide off the black top and who ever else you injured. Got a neighbor with a new spider…scrapped him up!

I think if you ride 2 or 3 wheels you should have the M. What gets me is all these idiots on scooters that cant or have never rode anything. They only ride them because they dont have a lic. I feel they are more at risk than anything.

HD rider here. Just to be clear, Wikipedia is NOT where you should go for your answers. Most states classify a motorcycle as 3 wheels or less. I do although agree with you that riding one of these is not the same as riding a true motorcycle and that a license given on one will not prepare you for two wheels.

I agree it is unfair to those taking the test and potentially dangerous to assume that taking your motorcycle test on a three wheeled machine makes you safe to ride two wheels. I see a large number of issues coming from this for years to come and none of it in the riders best interest. Thank you for your excellant article.

For you old timers that can’t get a leg up anymore….get a side car put on your Harley and leave the junk to those non-biker want-a-be’s

Well I ride a 1200 Gl LTD. (85 Goldwing) and have had several other bikes over the years since 1964 when I started on a Triumph 500 Tiger. Point is I’m a retired mechanic that’s beat his body to pieces through the years and would love to get the trike conversion kit installed on my “wing”. Just not enough money in the kitty anymore. My right leg won’t cross over the seat like it used to & I had to remove my back rest to drag it across as I don’t intend to stop riding.But….It sure would be nice to climb onto a trike set up and not have to worry about tipping the 2 wheeler over onto me as I have done. 772 lbs is a lot for a 66 year old to lift up off of himself even though I can and have done it. Figured the problem. Now I hold the front brake lever so it doesn’t roll. Didn’t used to as my leg never hit the seat getting on until now.

I think a lot of folks are missing the point. I did not see the author put down the spyder, but only state that it would not be his preference because he likes ice cream trucks better. What I read was that just because a person could pass a motorcycle endorsement on three wheels, did not mean they could handle two wheels safely. I totally agree with that. I personally would support a seperate class license for three wheels, with a license for two wheels able to also ride three, maybe even being required to pass an endorsement specially for three. Where I live, we have a G for general (cars and trucks and minivans) an M for motorcycles, and then all the other ones for truck and big bus drivers. We do not have an endorsement for three wheel bikes. Perhaps we should.

I agree with Sandy…I too live in West Virginia and got my license after a three day school. I rode two wheels until a broken ankle ended all of that so I got a Can Am Spyer RS (Wow!) Even if I could I wouldn’t go back to a two wheel machine (my Kawasaki is still sitting in the garage). But I see Lowell’s point and agree, A two wheel endorsement should come FIRST, then a trike. But what about all the guys (and girls) that are riding with only a standard operators license? I know a lot that dont even bother to take the classes and pass the test. They just ride…at least until they crash which is what usually happens. In Virginia, you can’t even BUY a Can=Am without a motorcycle endorsement so, I agree Can Am (BRP) shouldn’t advertise the idea that you can test on one and recieve a standard motorcycle license. By the way, Lo-well. the only thing Spyders and Ice cream truck have in common is they are both Waay Cool!

In NY trikes are seperate from motorcycles. I think they are even moving to not allow you to take your drivers test on a scooter.
How can you discount one persons choice vs your own? And plenty of old riders are going with the B choice after years of hard tails and hard tales….

In Florida you can get a 3 wheel endorsement that allows you to only ride the 3 wheeler, no 2 wheel motorcycles. Of course a motorcycle endorsement does allow you to ride the 3 wheeler. Maybe other states should follow suit.

Guess I won’t worry about it. NY requires 2 wheels for a motorcycle endorsement. If you take the test on a trike, that’s all they will let you drive. Take the test on a two wheeler and you can drive either.

First let me say don’t trash talk the Can Am Spyder till you have ridden one, they are a great, fun machine to ride. If you don’t like it thats fine but don’t trash other peoples machines. you sound like the goldwing riders trashing Harleys or vice versa. Second, I agree with you about the license issue. Texas requires a license applicant to complete Motorcycle Safety Foundation course before being issued a license. no other way to get an “M” on your license. There is a new MSF course for 3 wheeled machines. A Lady with a new Tri-Glide went to Dallas the other day to take the course. I am not sure if you get an “M” after completing that course. If I understand your argument you are against anyone being able to get the “M” on their license by taking the test on 3 wheels, no matter if the 2 are in the front or back. if that is the case I agree, 3 wheels are not a motorcycle and should not be treated as such (even though hd has been making 3 wheeled machines, servi-car, for many years. There needs to be a seperation of the two and if MSF has a course for 3 wheelers then that should be required for new non licensed riders.

I recieved my motorcycle endorsement after a 3 day course in West Virginia. I bought a bike and love to ride. I also love to ride quads. I just bought a Can Am and love it. I feel like its a combo of both. I know I will ride more because my fear of my 1/2 mile long gravel driveway is diminished. Most of my friends have Harleys and it was hard for me to keep up on my Honda but not anymore!! The guys laugh and then they take it for a spin and are impressed with the power and stability.This was a dream come true for a small,short girl like me!

I think y’all are missin the point here…He don’t like the Can Am…so what…that’s not the point…He don’t care if your old or not…that’s not the point…
The point is you should not be able to get a motorcycle license while taking your test on a backwards trike!!

What is all this endorsment crapp anyways, it only gives you a basic idea, of bike manuvers, Nothing can get you ready for the road like experience,You can take safety classes and they only set you up on a speciasl sanerio, and you never know how you’ll react in an emergency situation until you get in it and every situation would be different anyway, Its like taking your Car driving test they don’t teach you any emergency tactics, you get them with experience, Just like riding the Bike or Trike and most of the time common sense will keep you out of a bad situation, If anything needs regulation it’s those crotch rockets, most people riding them have no common sense, As for us Older Bikers we still like to ride and it’s the only safe way to get around, we don’t have to worry about gravel patches at every intersection, we are much more visible and we don’t have to worry about laying it down whenever we come to a stop. So don’t knock something unless you’ve tried it, and don’t forget you’ll get old someday too, Have a nice ride!!!!!!!

I don’t care what you ride if it puts the breeze tween the knees and that smile on your mug then you know one of the best things in life. BUT if your new to riding then I don’t see how you should be able to get a motorcycle endorsement on a trike. I think that if you don’t have a motorcycle endorsement and you want to ride a trike then get a trike endorsement. If you already have a motorcycle endorsement then you can ride a bike or a trike. They both handle different so learn the ride before you get out there among the citizens.

I have a Harley supersport custom. I’ve been riding for 43 years. I tried one of the Canams and had a terrible time cornering. In my opinion you really need good upper arm strength. The trike also skipped going around the corners. I will stay with my 2 wheeler until I can’t drive any longer.

I’ve had my M endorsement since purchasing my first bike in 1980. Since then I’ve had several 2-wheelers including my current mounts, a VTX1800 and a GL1500 Goldwing. Seven years ago I added a sidecar to the wing primarily to be able to include my family in my favorite passtime. Although the passenger capacity and convenience were the main motivating factors, I soon realized piloting the hack is a heck of a lot of fun, even when alone! At 54 yrs. young and relatively healthy, I’m still very comfortable and competent on 2 wheeels, but comparable trips are much less tiresome on 3 wheels than two. I hope to add a Spyder to my stable very soon!

In Delaware, you do not need an M endorsement to oprerate a trike. I agree with others that while there are some common factors, the skill sets for the two configurations are sufficiently different that it merits different training. In states where the government still maintains the training and testing, different license designations may be a cost issue. However, I would support separate M2 and M3 requirements and designations.

Its not about how long you have riden and end up in one of these its how long you have not riden that is the issue. Im glad there is somthing out there for those who are unable to ride on 2 wheels but it is a diffrent vehicle and should have a diffrent license if you are on your way up.

I don’t think that one of these “Trikes” will handle anything like a motorcycle. When you have two wheels in front of you it is a whole different animal. I have been building and riding Harleys for 32 years, and had 10 years of crashing dirt bikes under my belt before I ever bought my Tangerine 59′ hardtail springer on my 18th birthday. I would have never made it to 19 had I not spent the prior ten years laying bikes down competitively! With a wide open chain oiler, the rear (only) brakes were also optional. In my experience it is usually a matter of when, not if you are going down. Be prepared, 3 wheels will not prepare you! I currently ride a custom 99 FLSTS 49 states, Mexico & Canada.

My wife rides one…stability is much greater than with an ordinary trike… she has had surgeries on her left foot so riding a 2 wheeler is out of the question since her foot can’t support any weight… also with the available simi automatic trans it works out well…i do agree about having a 3 wheel endorsement however since we don’t have that… as of yet… just common since tells you to get the endorsement on what you plan on riding on the roads…

What the h ! You guys are making way too much of this. I didn’t take a test to ride a bicycle..I jumped on it and taught myself…period. You either can or can’t ride a motorcycle and if you can’t you won’t be riding it very long. Let’s face it there are the occasional idiots that ride who feel the need to go 120 mph in a residential area but for the most part (and I have no statistics to back this up) I would say most, not all accidents are caused by something other than rider error. Drive defensively not scared on anything you put between your legs and you’ll do fine.

My biggest concern is someone borrowing a 3 wheeled vehical to pass the test then taking there motorcycle out on the road. Some one mentioned that is no different than taking the test on a 150cc machine then jumping on your harley. i beg to differ some bikes are frankly just to large to manuver for the test but are fine for everyday riding. These grey areas will be delt with as soon as someone loses there life. but i think its dangerous for can am or whoever to endorse there product in this manner. THere should be 2 seperate tests, unless u choose to take the 2 wheeled test then you should also qualify for the 3 wheeled vehicals, being that 2 wheeled vehicals are more challenging.

Richard brings up a good point in that a trike gives the individual with physical limitations to continue to enjoy the motorcycle experience. In my state, you are required to take the M endorsement test on a 2 wheel bike, you cannot take it on a trike. What if say, Richard had decided to buy a trike and take the endorsement test after his legs already couldn’t handle a 2 wheel bike? Is he just SOL?

I just don’t understand how they could work the same cone setup we had to do.? The spider would not even fit between them, let alone work their way through them

I’m not sure a few of the folks posting are getting Lowell’s point. I don’t think he has as much of an issue with the Can-Am or it’s riders (well, maybe the ice cream truck comment was a bit harsh), but more the fact that you could pass a motorcycle endorsement test on one of them. I have to agree, they need to be seperate. Just because you can ride a three wheeled vehicle, of any configuration successfully, does not mean you should hold a valid license to jump on the nearest V-Twin. Different skill set required.

I don’t think taking a swipe at 3-wheelers was uselful. It has extended the riding seasons of life for a lot of people. No, they are not 2-wheel motorcycles. Get over it. I still ride a a 2 wheel, but have riden the Cam Am’s on three occasions. They are simply a blast once you get used to the completely different set of road manners. I have a whole lot less respect for your email newsletter after your carelessness, but will not kick you out with the bath water.

Missouri has a seperate endorsement for a trike and a seperate test (which isn’t much). But if you get a 2 wheel endorsement that covers both. By taking the MSF course you get to ride and test on a 2 wheel motorcycle and learn much more than just what is tested. This give you a great foundation to build on.

I think these bikes are great, at least the concept if you already have a class m endorsment so be it ride it. I agree that a new rider should not be able to to get a class m endorsment on the trike, they should put restictions on the m endorsment to three wheeled bikes, until if able to complete the motorcycle test (2-wheel). This bike and other trikes is all my brother can operate he has leg problems and can’t support or balance a 2-wheel bike never has and never will be able too. So what ever it takes for him to be able to ride I’m all for it. I would not like to see that taken away. So get off your high horse or out of that ice cream truck Lowell not all can be as blessed to ride on two wheels, but we can all enjoy the feeling of freedom with the wind in our face even on those pretty sporty looking trikes.

South Carolina does not reguire A Motorcycle license for A trike just A regular class D

I don’t think the article intended to thumb it’s nose at 3 wheel riders, and it shouldn’t. However the skill set required to safely operate a two wheeled bike is much different.

I personally know a few guys who bought Can-Ams because they couldn’t get up to speed on a 2 wheeled bike that size.

Now they have a license for either, but are smart enough to stay on the one they can handle. I think they are the exception, not the rule.

I agree that the license issued should be tied to configuration of the vehicle used on the test. That doesn’t relate to size, and shouldn’t.

You’re right. I wasn’t bagging on the 3 wheel riders. I was just stating that 3 wheelers were not for me. The license requirement is the issue. Thanks for the support!

First off, very good article by Mr. Anderson. I agree whole heartedly with Mr. Busch that the skill set riding a three wheeler and a two wheeler are different. There are a few crossover skills but it more like comparing apples to oranges.

However, look at the folks buying three wheelers. The tend to be older and more mature and as one would hope, act with more wisdom and commom sense. Even though I can fly a fixed wing aircraft doesn’t mean I’m going to jump into a rotory wing aircraft and fly away. I have the sense to know I don’t have the skills and what the devastating outcome would be. So lets hope for the meantime that these folks act the same.

Furthermore, I understand that on the manuevering course, the cones have to be spaced out more. So if you have to modify the course, then you should have a special catagory for the three wheelers. In Texas they can place a restriction on the license for three wheeled vehicles only.

In Texas, the Department of Licensing does not administer the driving test anymore. You must go through an approved motorcycle driving school and present the cerificate of succesfull completion.

So for now, lets hope that common sense prevails until the states can figure it out. I will be writing my state representative on this matter.

IMHO Trikes are more dangerous than Motorcycles and require a different cornering technique. At least the Can-Am is more stable in that regard. The only advantage I can see for a three wheeler of any configuration is to allow someone to continue riding with an infirmity of some sort that would prevent them from riding real motorcycle. That isn’t what I’ve seen mounted on them however in my area.
Ed J.

If you check Florida Law you will see this issue has been dealt with. You can now get an endorsment for a trike, but that is all you can ride. However if you get a motorcycle endorcement (2 wheels) you can ride eaither a 2 wheel or 3 wheel vehicle. I think Florida handled this properly

So ole Lowell would rather drive an Ice Cream truck?? Guess he’s never tried the Spyder. My endorsement was added so many years ago I don’t remember how it got on there. But I do remember my first ride, the year was 1952, “bike” was war surplus Navy Cushman. Many brands/types since then. First Harley was a ’59 DuoGlide, that was in ’60. When my sister had to give up riding her 2 wheeler, but unwilling to give up the riding experience she opted for the Spyder RS E (Auto). At first I thought it was a POS, but after my first “ride”, I was extremely impressed. My state, AZ, MVD was uncertain how they were going to require “riders” to be endorsed at the time (2 years ago), but she was already “M” endorsed at the time so it was a moot point for her. I’ve not seen where they, AZ MVD have made any concessions to the requirement since, so just assume the Bug still requires an M endorsement. Any additional training to navigate the mean streets today, cannot be a bad thing. And Lowell, if this gets back to you, turn down your bagger stero when I pass you on my ole ’89 (TP 120 powered) FLSTC or I might try and flag you down to buy an ice cream bar.

Being the owner of both 2 and 3 wheeled motorcycles, we should be welcoming anyone who enjoys the wind in their face. Every type of motor vehicle handles differently.

Now, as to taking a motorcycle endorsement, Oregon requires all new riders to complete a MSF type course that is taught on a small 2 wheeled motorcycle. Typically 24 hours of instruction.

Rumor has it, there’s a bill in the Kalifornia legislature, that will require a person to operate a trike for 6 months, prior to obtaining a motorcycle endorsement. While it places a rediculous FINANCIAL BURDON on the individual – to have to obtain a TRIKE for 6 months, it also teaches NOTHING about the skills required to operate a 2 wheeled vehicle.

I’ve been riding for 44 years (I’m 50 now, do the math), and currently hold a Class A, fully endorsed, along with MC endorsement. Nothing gives experience, like EXPERIENCE. My son want to buy a scooter – told him as long as he lives with ME, he will not ride a 2-wheeled-motorized-vehicle UNTIL he takes an MSF course – even though an MC endorsement isn’t required for the scooter he wants.

Personally, I think every state should REQUIRE anyone who wants to drive a CAR – to spend at least 4 hours on the back of a MOTORCYCLE, so they can get an awareness of the dangers WE FACE – from THEM.

Rick

Whats the big deal? Like someone just stated,most Spyder riders will not ride the 2 wheels, and if some do,I’m sure they will be practising in parking lots,back roads just like we did,that’s not so bad,it was good enough for this old timer and many others just like me,live and let live, and enjoy your life and the people around you,stay safe be happy. Andy FL.

I would rather set mu nuts on fire then too ride one of those stupid ass contraptions.Just sayin,

Thanks guys. I agree you should take a different test for a trike but what’s the difference from taking it on a 125 then going home and draging out a masave V-twin? I have been riding for 45 years and because of my health I’m stuck on a trike– does that make me any less a True Biker than John? You may sing a different song when you’r the grey beard!!!!! You should take the test on what yiou ride!

Thanks guys. I agree you should take a different test for a trike but what’s the difference from taking it on a 125 then going home and draging out a masave V-twin? I have been riding for 45 years and because of my health I’m stuck on a trike– does that make me any less a True Biker than John? You may sing a different song when you’r the grey beard!!!!!

IN N.H. you must use a regular motorcycle to get licence ,but can drive scooter with operaters licence

Well I have leg problems and I had to go to one of these can ams if I still wanted to get that in the wind feeling. Thanks for puttin us 3 wheelers down. I rode Harleys probably longer then You have been out of diapers …

I can’t imagine passing the California test with that 3-wheeled thing: I highly doubt it would fit within the very narrow lane you have to use for the obstacle course, for a start.

Agree that if you buy/borrow one of those, pass the test & then decide to upgrade to an actual motorcycle it’s a bad idea.

In Saskatchewan (Canada) if you take the test on a three wheeler … That’s all you get the endorsement for, and rightly so.

In Washington State you have to take a different course to ride a 3 wheeler than a motorcycle.

Spyders and tirkes are not motorcycles. They require a different skillset to ride, and behave differently. That being said, so long as the operator can pass the skills course required, the motorcycle endorsement should do the job. Let’s not encourage further regulations as it appears Ohio has done. Better to ammend the currently required courses to address this “sub-catagory”.

I have a Can-Am Spyder and live in Ohio. To get my endorsement I went thru a horrible time. A Can-Am does not have the same turning radius as a 2 wheel-therefor parts of the course were almost impossible to manuever. I did get my endorsement-but the State needs to change course layouts for the Spyder.

I’m from Ohio, and Ohio has a seperate endorsement for 3 wheel motorcycles.

Oh…….I took my test on a ’57 DuoGlide. It was quite new back then. lol

Connecticut says if you have less than 4 wheels, it’s classed as a motorcycle. If you go back as far as I do, remember the Isetta? They gave out tickets to every Isetta operator without an “M” on their license. I cannot answer for all states, but CT has it on their books. I guess if you take the test with a three wheeler and don’t fall off, or hit a cone….you pass? Maybe when I can’t kickstart my Harley? Nah!

When I moved to FL I had to take a 3 day class to get the motorcycle endorsement on my license. The students had to use the class bikes for training – not their own, and they were all motorcycles – no trikes. My partner has no desire to ride two wheels but is interested in riding a trike. I told him he still has to take the class and learn to ride a motorcycle in order to get the endorsement even though he will never ride 2 wheels again afterward. Fortunately, the class bikes are small, lightweight 250′s. He should be able to handle that.

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