Spyder weaves its way into market

Gregg Rylee shows off the first Spyders for sale at Alpha Motorsports, 722 Mount Gallant Road, Rock Hill, on Thursday.
Gregg Rylee shows off the first Spyders for sale at Alpha Motorsports, 722 Mount Gallant Road, Rock Hill, on Thursday.

The newest sports car for sale in Rock Hill isn't a car. But it's not a motorcycle, either. The Can-Am Spyder roadster is somewhere in between.

Rock Hill's Alpha Motorsports is one of the first dealers in South Carolina to sell the unique, three-wheeled machine, general manager Gregg Rylee said. Alpha will showcase the roadster during a free event Saturday and Sunday where the public can test drive the Spyder on a cone course and on the open road.

"This is something most people have never seen before. We just became a dealer on April 1," Rylee said, "And I've already had people checking it out. We're expecting a huge response."

The Can-Am Spyder was developed by BRP, the same company that makes Sea-Doo jet skis and Evinrude outboard boat engines. The Spyder was unveiled last year in select states but is arriving in the Carolinas for the first time this spring. It starts at about $15,500 brand-new.

Matt Mondek, a Can-Am brand representative, said expectations are high in South Carolina because it's one of only three states in the country (California and Delaware the other two) that doesn't require a motorcycle license to drive the Spyder on public streets. Only a regular drivers' license is required.

Mondek said the Spyder was developed to "bridge the gap" between sports cars and motorcycles.

"It's the next dimension in open road riding," he said. "It opens up opportunities for a lot of people who normally can't or don't want to ride a motorcycle."

With its Y-shaped design, anti-lock brakes and electronic traction control and stability system, the roadster handles curves more like a sports car than a bike. But its V-twin, 106 horsepower engine and open-air body style is from the motorcycle family.

Mondek said it's also easier to ride because it doesn't require as much balance as a bike, and it comes with an option for an electronic transmission instead of the standard 5-speed.

This weekend's event at Alpha Motorsports is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Free test rides are available by registering beforehand or in person this weekend. For details or to register for a ride, call Alpha Motorsports at (803) 981-6900 or visit the Web site