Recently my friend Eric Shelton wrote of how products of today are better due to their efficiency created by the modern process. In many ways, I agree. When it comes to computers, televisions, refrigerators and other mundane items, the newer ones are better. They are lighter, use less electricity, have more power, and have more interior space than the earlier iterations in comparison.
But what of vehicles? They are safer, get better fuel mileage, and have more passenger room than their earlier versions. And the ergonomics are beyond compare. Except for the shockingly high repair bills, todays cars have all the old ones beat.
Or do they?
What if the vehicle is not bound by the rules dictated by the average owner? What if the vehicle is more of a sunny day toy than an everyday tool? Does high tech efficiency matter as much against charm and character?
I present unto you our two challengers for this debate. The Spyder and the 3 Wheeler.
Both are similarly equipped.
- They have two wheels up front for steering.
- There’s only one wheel in the rear delivering power to the road.
- They are both powered by V-twin motorcycle engines.
- The windscreens are more of an idea than an actual device
- There are no windshield wipers
- Both have 5 speed transmissions with reverse.
- They will both seat two.
How they offer these features are completely different.
Can-Am’s Spyder epitomizes top of the line technology using:
- Vehicle Stability System
- Stability Control System
- Traction Control System
- Anti-lock Braking System
- Dynamic Power Steering
The Spyder is powered by the BRP_Rotax engine with water cooling and multi-point electronic fuel injection.
It makes 106 hp @ 8500 rpm and 77 lb-ft of torque @ 6250 RPM
The base price range is: $16,500 to $18,000 for the RS edition. (The RT edition runs between 21,300 to $24,000 and comes with a full windshield, wiper, and touring body with rear seat back.)
The Morgan 3 Wheeler takes a more nostalgic route.
There are no fancy electronic stability control systems listed. Neither is ABS, but I’d wager it’s there.
It has an aluminum body supported by an ash wood frame. Yes, wood. The Chassis itself is aluminum tubing.
The wheels are classic spoke instead of modern mags.
The engine is a 1990 cc air cooled Harley/Davidson V-twin
It makes 115 hp, but does not say at what rpm. Nor does it give the torque specs.
Base price is listed at 26,500 British Pounds, or $42,066.
Clearly you might think the Can_Am Spyder wins hands down, but don’t be so quick to judge.
Let’s look at the vehicles in the flesh.
The Spyder is a three wheeled motorcycle. You sit on it like a motorcycle. You shift it like a motorcycle. You turn it using motorcycle handlebars. And you need a motorcycle license to operate it.
The Morgan on the other hand is a three wheeled car. You sit side by side so you can actually talk to your passenger instead of yelling. (Well, not yelling as loud.) It has a proper steering wheel and shifter even if they are on the wrong side. (Part of it’s character) You can stretch your legs without worrying about slipping off the peg in it. You don’t need to wear a helmet driving it; nor a leather racing suit. And most of all, you can drive it with a standard driver’s license.
When it comes down to the actual operation of the vehicle, the older designed Morgan is actually the more efficient of the two. It has features and controls that are standard in any car and I don’t have to spend extra money taking classes to learn how to drive all over again, I just get in and go.
So there you go. Proof that sometimes newer isn’t always better. But I leave an open mind. If either Can-Am or Morgan wish to send me a Spyder or 3 Wheeler for further evaluation, feel free to e-mail me and I will gladly send you information on where to send the vehicle for testing.