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Common Tread

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's a car! It's a motorcycle? No, it's a Slingshot

Jul 27, 2014

Hate reading about things with more or less than two wheels? You may want to move along. Polaris has just released information about its new three-wheeled roadster. While it does suffer from having an extra wheel, it looks like an incredible amount of fun.

It’s a what now?

The Slingshot is a three-wheeled roadster with an open-air cockpit. It has a similar setup to a Can Am Spyder, but instead of sitting on it, you sit in it (which should help keep you from being flung from it while cornering). Along with the steering wheel, instead of a handlebar, the side-by-side seating is the most fundamental difference between the Spyder and the Slingshot. The differences definitely make the Slingshot look more car-like than the Spyder.

Legally, anything with less than four wheels is a motorcycle, but the steering wheel and side-by-side seating are carlike. Polaris photo.

Power from the 2.4-liter DOHC engine is delivered through a five-speed manual transmission to a carbon fiber-reinforced belt drive at the rear wheel. Polaris claims 173 horsepower at 6,200 rpm, and 166 foot-pounds of torque at 4,700 rpm. The whole thing, full of fuel, weighs 1,725 pounds.

Polaris claims 173 horsepower and a weight of 1,725 pounds. Polaris photo.

To achieve that weight, Polaris boasts a high-strength steel “spaceframe,” aluminum swing arm, and lots of carbon fiber bits. Regardless of how they got there, I have to say those are some nice numbers.

To help people keep those sort of numbers between the lines and not fly off the road, Polaris has included electronic stability and traction control, three-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, and three-point seatbelts.

The Slingshot will be released in two trim models. The regular slingshot will have an MSRP of $19,999, while the premium Slingshot SL will go for $23,999, due to its larger wheels, LCD screen, and infotainment system.

I thought this site was about motorcycles

It is. It’s also about things motorcyclists like, or should like. Should this replace your track bike or canyon carver? Probably not. Should we want to take one for a spin, or would I own one if I were the sort of guy who had the money to buy $20,000 toys? Absolutely!

Supposedly we’ll get our hands on one in the coming weeks. At $19,999, the price isn’t terrible, especially if they’ve got the handling dialed and this thing can do some serious track duty. One of the big question marks I have is around their "low center of gravity" claim, which sounds awesome, but without any real measure, seems pretty vague. Only one way to find out, huh? Guess I’ll take this one for the team.