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Andrey Krasilov: Spyder Roadster’s key feature is that it does not fall over

The Can-Am Spyder Roadster, known simply as a “spider” in Russia, is a remarkable and unique product of the motorcycle industry designed by Canada’s BRP. Some Russian motorcycle professionals and enthusiasts have already gotten their hands on the vehicle and come to appreciate its advantages over a traditional motorcycle…

And now those who have never heard of the Spyder before but would like to get a sneak peek at this vehicle get a chance to learn what Andrey Krasilov, General Director of BRP’s official distributor in Russia, Rosan, had to say about it in an interview with Motonews.ru.

Andrey, given that the Spyder Roadster is unique and exotic in our country, how many owners of the vehicle do you think there are in Russia?
- We should bear in mind that the Spyder is an exotic product for not just our country in particular, but the whole world. The first Spyders rolled off the production line three years ago – a very short period of time for new equipment in terms of global history. That is exactly why this three-wheeled motorcycle with a unique design has sparked tremendous interest among both those who drive and who do not. If we want to assess the number of owners, I can tell you that Russia currently has over 500 Spyder Roadster owners, and that number is going up every year. In fact, sales have almost doubled this year compared with the previous year. Even as it generates more interest, the Spyder model range is expanding with new models and configurations.

What is your take on Spyder’s sales prospects in our country, and do you see anything about it that can guarantee future popularity?
- I am sure that Russian car and motorcycle enthusiasts will soon come to appreciate the vehicle. We expect its sales to jump considerably in the next 10 years. Of course, the interest in this type of vehicle can only be driven by a surge of interest in motorcycle tourism globally and in our country in particular.
And again, I would expect a bright future for the Spyder not only because of its unique appearance, but also because of its unique technical specifications. Its three-wheeled design helps it remain stable on the road. Additionally, its high maneuverability makes it extremely convenient for city driving: you will never be late for your business meetings even despite heavy traffic. Furthermore, a Spyder rider does not have to be dressed in sportswear – a comfortable casual suit will do, and a briefcase and a helmet can easily fit into the trunk. When a Spyder owner gets to a meeting, there will not be anything about his appearance to suggest that he is a biker, and he will still be able to enjoy the advantages of getting around the city quickly – a vital condition for a business person.
When it comes to tourism, the Spyder is absolutely unrivalled for touring since it is fit for all kinds of roads, as if it were designed specifically for Russia. The Spyder can easily ride on sand, dirt or even roads that are out of reach for a conventional motorbike. It also boasts a spacious trunk which conveniently allows you to carry all the things you might need. Even the sports version, the Spyder Roadster RS, has an impressive sized trunk, and hence the Spyder’s second name, Roadster, meaning an “inveterate traveler.”
Despite all of this, we have to keep in mind that cars and motorbikes will undoubtedly retain their position as the most popular vehicles, what with their longer history of global presence, and wider price range compared to the Spyder. The Spyder currently represents an upper market segment, although I think other producers may opt to launch similar models in the future, which would certainly provide a strong impetus for the development and promotion of the new vehicle in Russia. Speaking as General Director of Rosan, a distributor of BRP vehicles in Russia, I am absolutely certain that the vehicle has great potential, and that the Spyder, of all our product lines, will show the highest sales growth rates in the next few years. Even now, Russia stands close to selling over a thousand vehicles a year.

How would you describe an average buyer of Spyders? What kind of person will find the vehicle appealing?
As far as the Spyder’s target audience is concerned, it can consist of different age groups, all with one distinct thing in common: the income level, since the Spyder Roadster is very expensive. I think people who buy Roadsters buy them mostly for long journeys, leisure driving around the city, and weekend trips. The roadster even affords the opportunity to travel comfortably with your family; you can carry your wife or child as a passenger. Any trip on a roadster is as safe as a car ride, but more exciting and maneuverable, just like a motorcycle trip. Customers can differ greatly in driving skills, however. For instance, the Spyder can just as well be purchased by a young man who is only starting out as a biker. It is a reasonable choice for a beginner from the viewpoint of safety, since it allows the rider to grasp the motorcycle philosophy, driving style and behavior on the road.
Young women fall within the Spyder’s target audience as well. Men generally tend to protect their better halves against the danger of bike accidents, and the Spyder is a perfect means to avoid any dangerous developments while still preserving the spirit of a motorcycle ride.
The next category of ‘Spydermen’ is comprised of older people with considerable incomes, or millionaire pensioners, if you will, who have retained their spirit of adventurism and a passion for travel. The Spyder is a perfect vehicle for them to take motorcycle trips across Europe and even around the world. The roadster can easily cover great distances without tiring the driver, and, as a huge advantage over other motorcycle products, has a considerable trunk.
There is yet another type of Spyder owner that is more typical of Russia than Europe, where there are more people who have free time and grown-up children, and can afford to spend time traveling on motorbikes. As a rule, they are business owners or people making enough money for more than just beach tourism – for traveling in different countries and visiting places of interest. In Russia, conversely, there are more young people who tend to buy the vehicle to emphasize their status and commitment to new technologies and innovations. The stylish Spyder is, in this case, a fashionable accessory to highlight its owner’s successfulness and contemporary thinking, and demonstrate that he follows the latest fashion trends. I think that the Spyder could even be of interest to governmental organizations – above all, road traffic police, as they already use it in many countries across Europe. The fact is that many roads in Europe’s mountainous regions are paved, which increases the risk of falling off a bike. Furthermore, the Spyder is better suited for carrying out patrols by two police officers than motorcycles.
Additionally, the Spyder may come in handy for various events, such as bicycle races. A passenger sitting comfortably in the back seat will have his hands free and be able to take photos, shoot video, etc.

The uninitiated are often tempted to refer to the roadster as a three-wheeled bike. What is its key feature, and how does it differ from motorcycles?
- The Spyder Roadster’s key feature is that is does not fall over! Indeed, this is the most accurate description of Spyder, since it is a kind of hybrid between a motorbike and a cabriolet. The sensations one gets from riding a Spyder are similar to both riding a motorbike and a car.
Any car owner would feel very comfortable driving a Spyder since it does not require any additional training, and differences are minimal.
Still, the Spyder is a motorcycle vehicle due to its very obvious motorcycle features. It does have, one distinctive feature though –two front wheels, which grant the driver more confidence in narrow places, unlike trike roadsters (three-wheelers with two rear wheels), which make getting through narrow places difficult since the driver always has to bear in mind the vehicle’s dimensions that are out of sight. This feature lets the rider maintain maneuverability in moving traffic, thus putting the Spyder at an advantage. In a traffic jam or gridlock, however, the Spyder’s maneuverability drops, though it still remains above that of a car. Furthermore, the Spyder is more easily noticeable on the road than a motorcycle. Whether other road users have noticed him or not is a constant concern for a biker, while the Spyder clearly stands out, which, in theory, means that there should be fewer accidents involving Spyders.
So, to recap all its advantages, we have a roadster that is more stable than a motorcycle, and better suited for long trips. All the models come with automatic transmission. You can ride the vehicle in your usual clothing and footwear; we only recommend using a wind-resistant jacket. You will not have to shift gears with your feet, which relieves the burden of motorcycle clothing and accessories and, in turn, is a serious plus for many people.
As another plus, I would like to draw attention to the Spyder RT model designed specifically for tourism and equipped with cruise control. The model is heavier than the sports version, which lends it additional stability on the road. A high windshield permits moving at a speed of 100-120 kilometers per hour – the speed optimal for a highway – without any difficulty even in heavy rain with the cruise control turned on. In this case, the Spyder is closer to cars than to motorcycles, as bikers have to pull over and wait until the weather improves (since in cold rainy weather the road becomes slippery and wet, thus increasing the risk of accidents). The Spyder will enable you to follow your schedule despite the weather.

What sort of measures do you take to encourage Spyder sales?
- Rosan has developed and carried out advertising and PR media campaigns to increase the Spyder’s popularity in Russia. It has conducted new product training for sales assistants and is now selling pilot batches of the vehicle through dealerships. To raise brand awareness among motorcycle experts, we have arranged test drives for owners of motorcycle showrooms and dealerships.
We have also been staging events for our clients for two years running now. A group of Spyder fans takes part in annual jamborees in Europe. Last year, they went to Austria, and this year to Erba, Italy. Having seized this chance for an exciting trip in a company of interesting people this year, many of our clients are looking forward to making the journey next year as well.
We are planning an even greater promotion effort for 2012, and I am positive that the number of the Spyder’s fans will increase.

Recently, a ‘green’ Spyder was demonstrated in Geneva. Are there any plans to bring it to Russia?
- Well, the ‘green’ Spyder is a hybrid model, and we only have a prototype so far. It is possible, however, that such models are headed for a great future. As far as I am aware of, BRP, the manufacturer of Spyders, is doing research to establish whether the markets in Europe, Canada and the United States are ready for a hybrid product. The study will also shape the pricing policy with regard to the new vehicle and yield some sales forecasts. Until mass production of the model is launched and it ceases to be available on individual orders alone, its price will obviously remain too high to expect any considerable sales. As soon as the company launches serial production, though, the product will appear in Russia, as long as it will be interesting for the Russian market.

Can we see what the Spyder is like for ourselves – can we test-drive it?
- Most dealerships in our network provide test drive opportunities, for instance those in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Perm, Murmansk, and Kazan, among other cities. Test-driving a Spyder is certainly different from test-driving a car. Unlike cars, it is not sufficient to ride it for a mere 20 or 30 minutes to really get an idea of what it is like. We are running a weekend program supported by most dealerships. We recommend that clients who are interested in the roadster borrow it for a day or two to cover at least 200 kilometers in order to truly appreciate the philosophy behind it and its benefits.

What are your own impressions from riding the Spyder during your trips? What new experience and skills did it give you?
- Actually, I have two versions: the sports version Spyder RS and the touring version Spyder RT. I use the RS version to drive around the city. I think it is more interesting and dynamic for city traffic and fits my lifestyle in the megalopolis. I have been driving the roadster for over three years, and I can honestly say I am in love with the vehicle despite the fact that it takes some getting used to after a motorcycle. Truth be told, it took me only two days. At the start, I missed the drive in making turns, especially compared to leaning a bike to make a sharp turn with counter-steering. But at the same time, I soon got used to its non-aggressiveness compared to a motorcycle and the lack of the need to wear motorcycle clothing. I could now arrive at any party without looking like ‘a knight in a suit of armor.’ Another advantage is the simple fact that the Spyder commands attention on any road.
As for the Spyder RT, I use it for long trips. Last year, I covered over 4,500 kilometers from St. Petersburg to Austria and back. This year, I traveled as far as Italy and back with my wife. Before Spyders came out, a motorcycle was a sort of an ‘outlaw’ in our family – my wife disapproved of it because of the risks involved in riding a bike. So, my responsibility to my family and the sense of guilt for indulging in such a dangerous sport never quite let me fully enjoy the ride. Now, however, neither I nor my wife have any concerns. She understood how safe the Spyder is after her first ride on it, and now she fully shares my enthusiasm. She now has all the equipment she needs, and not only accompanies me on my trips, but actually urges me to travel more. From a passenger’s viewpoint, the Spyder RT is a comfortable and safe vehicle that permits the rider to enjoy the scenery and take unique photos. There is no other motorized vehicle that enables sightseeing as well as the Spyder does. There is nothing to obstruct the view, unlike cars… Again, in busy traffic, the Spyder will, as a rule, be regarded with respect and given the road as an exotic vehicle. Furthermore, the Spyder is easier to park since it requires less parking space than a car. To sum it up, I would like to stress that the two Spyder versions we have been talking about, RS and RT, are both worth all the attention. My personal assessment is based on the positive emotions and satisfaction that I get from every ride on the Spyder.

Bombardier Recreational Products Inc., a private Canada-based company, spun out of Bombardier, a major manufacturer of aircraft and railway equipment, in 2003 to become one of the world’s leaders in the design and production of motorized vehicles for sports and active leisure. Its product line includes Ski-Doo and Lynx snowmobiles, Sea-Doo personal watercraft and boats, four-wheeled motorcycles and Can-Am roadsters, engines and injection systems.

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