Riding to the island the Spyder way
When I decided to take my Spyder to the MotoGP, I didn’t realise what an awesome trip was in store for me. I’ve travelled to the MotoGP on a few occasions, each time a new experience taking a variety of the fantastic bike roads on offer along the way, often pulling out the Hema Motorcycle Atlas to see which highlighted road to take next.
I travelled from Brisbane to Lismore in NSW to meet up with my father-in-law, who was riding his Kawasaki GTR 1400. My first impression sitting on the Spyder for two-and-a half hours was how comfortable the ride was. No sore bum, back, neck or wrists. Prior to leaving I had Springwood Suzuki fit the genuine BRP bar riser that, in effect, raises the steering column creating a very good riding position. At the same time I fitted the genuine BRP touring screen that proved to be very effective.
The Spyder has a 44l front boot so for solo trips there is ample room for your luggage. I also strapped a seat bag on the pillion seat for items I would want along the way. For a 2-up trip I recommend having the optional Givi panniers fitted, or travel light! If your intention is to do several long rides, the other option is to purchase the new Can Am Spyder GT with integrated panniers and top box as standard and a pillion seat to rival most tourers on the market today!
I hadn’t done many kilometres on the Spyder before this trip so keeping up with a Kawasaki GTR 1400 proved to be very challenging. I had read that the Spyders can scare sports bikes in the twisties but I guess it depends who’s riding them at the time. My father-in-law is an experienced rider and this was his third trip to the Island on the big GTR — and he knows these roads well. But I love a challenge so bring it on!
We travelled south over the Ebor range and at times I was very thankful I was on the Spyder, because some of the so-called road repairs had a very slippery surface that the Spyder’s electronic stability system immediately took care of. It was an absolute blast throwing the Spyder from corner to corner with the V-twin doing its thing.
The Snowy Mountains Highway delivered some very chilly wet weather. Again, the electronics on the Spyder made for a relaxing ride through the corners, offering full confidence to the rider. The Spyder’s level of comfort for touring was outstanding; its broad nose offers very good protection for the rider from the elements and with the addition of the higher touring screen I had a very comfortable ride.
We arrived in beautiful Cooma, a very bike-friendly town where the Greenleigh Motor Inn offered clean rooms and newly built garages for motorcycles right outside your room. We went for a meal and a well-deserved beer at the Alpine Hotel, where the service and meals were excellent. The Alpine Hotel is newly refurbished, offers excellent levels of accommodation and a secure garage adjoining the dining room that can hold up to 30 bikes!
The following day we headed for Cann River via Bombala. The Spyder excels on fast sweeping bends; it’s such a thrill riding a Spyder fast through 70-80km/h advisory bends — the G-forces and levels of grip are unbelievable. I had no trouble keeping up with the bikes. It’s a totally different riding experience to riding a motorcycle but certainly not less exciting.
The weekend on the island was awesome and again Casey showed us all how he is the only one who can ride the wheels off the powerful Ducati — simply brilliant! BRP was running the Spyder Experience at the MotoGP, with most sessions booked out. The Spyder has been in the country for about 18 months, yet going by reaction, many people have never seen one, let alone ridden one. The Spyder Experience is changing all that and more people are buying the bike as a result. It’s not a replacement for the motorcycle but a great alternative.
We left the island early Monday morning and decided to head north from Bairnsdale up to Omeo. I had not taken this route before and it turned out to be the best day’s ride I have ever had. We had perfect riding weather all day and the roads and scenery were nothing short of spectacular. The road conditions were the best in the country and the snow-capped mountains in the background made it almost magical. We travelled up through Mt Beauty and Tallangatta, across to Khancoban, before heading over Mt Kosciuszko to Jindabyne. Wow — what an awesome day! The Spyder’s performance and comfort were brilliant and I arrived at Jindabyne feeling great after a big day. If you’ve never ridden this route, DO IT!
Initially the fuel consumption of the Spyder was very disappointing at 10km/l. My Spyder only had a few hundred kilometres on it at the start of the trip so I continued to monitor it during the 5000km journey. The fuel consumption improved dramatically on the return leg to over 15km/l and at no stage was I riding the Spyder economically. Also worthy of note, I gave the tyres a punishing time and yet the front tyres showed no signs of wear. The rear tyre showed only marginal wear, more than likely from hard acceleration out of corners and, of course, the occasional burnout! I thoroughly enjoyed doing Phillip Island the Spyder’s way.
If you want to experience the Spyder for yourself, check out Y Factor Motorcycle Adventures at www.yfmadventures.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org. You can ride a Spyder on an organised tour, go on a fun ride as a pillion or hire a Spyder for a minimum 24-hour period to explore beautiful Queensland for yourself. It’s up to you!