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Polaris Unveils the Slingshot: A Three-Wheeler With Impressive Specifications (with video)

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Polaris calls the Slingshot a three-wheel motorcycle, and your local DMV will require you to license it as one. With no airbags and helmet use mandatory in most states, the Slingshot promises to offer similar exhilaration to that found on a superbike.

No, the Slingshot does not have the power-to-weight ratio of a superbike, but as a hybrid between a car and a motorcycle, most cars won’t stand a chance against the Slingshot. A GM-sourced 2.4 liter DOHC four-cylinder engine delivers a claimed 173 hp at the crank, and drives just 1,725 pounds of fully fueled machine through a five-speed manual transmission. Compare that power-to-weight ratio to your typical automobile. This three-wheeler will be very quick, indeed.

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It should also handle like a go cart. The center of gravity is obviously extremely low, with the driver and single passenger sitting just inches abve the pavement. An awful lot of rubber helps it hold a line in high G corners, with a single rear tire measuring 265 mm in width, and the two front tires each 205 mm (in the base model). We believe that the cornering speed of the Slingshot should exceed that of a superbike. Race cars, of course, carry higher corner speeds than motorcycles, in general.

The steel space frame structure is reminiscent of such exotic automobiles as the Ariel Atom or the KTM X-Bow, but those machines are priced well over $50,000 (in the six figure range for an X-Bow). Polaris promises to deliver the Slingshot to dealers this fall at a base price of $19,999.

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With a single-sided aluminum rear swingarm, and a carbon fiber reinforced drive belt, the Slingshot incorporates motorcycle DNA, but also includes several modern features found on automobiles. Electronic stability and traction control work together with anti-lock disc brakes on all three wheels to increase safety and stability. Those wheels are forged aluminum, sized 17″ front and 18″ rear in the base model and 18″ front and 20″ rear in the $23,999 SL (which adds a blade windscreen, media console, back-up camera, bluetooth integration and six-speaker audio system). The base model is Titanium Metalic in color, while the SL features Red Pearl paint.

Specs

With close to 10 gallons of fuel, the Slingshot adds just a bit of practicality with a locking glove box and lockable rear storage bins. Adjustable seating and tilt steering column offer individualized comfort. The 3-point seat belts are going to be nice to have with the cornering forces this machine is likely to deliver.

Naturally, Polaris is offering several accessories at launch. Take a look at the Slingshot web site for all of the details.

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122 Comments

  1. Montana says:

    This isn’t a 3 wheeled bike, it’s a 3 wheeled car.
    Want a 3 wheeled bike, here ’tis: http://www.tiltingmotorworks.com/

    Disclaimer
    I have no interest of any type in this business.

  2. Bill Helf says:

    There does not appear to have space for storing clothes and gear on long trips (or, short one either). Is threesome type of attachment or trailer available?

  3. Glen says:

    2.4 liter GM engine: simple, cheap, easy to maitain. (easy to soup up?)hmmm.

  4. Glen says:

    It looks like epic fun and performance for $20k.

  5. TimU says:

    Not for me. If I wanted a sports car I’d buy a used Corvette for the same price and drive it year round.

    • Norm G. says:

      it’s definitely not a traditional “car guy’s” vehicle. my neighbour says he’d used the $20 grand to complete a head to make over of his Miata for autocross. it’s the vehicle you buy, once all your other vehicular needs are met…

      cars, check.
      trucks, check.
      suvs, check.
      motorcycles, check.
      funky and different…? talk to me goose.

  6. MichaelJ says:

    Where do you store your stuff for a week long trip? Maybe a trailer will be offered.

  7. skyboy says:

    I absolutely love Polaris products but a little disappointed they didn’t build it motorcycle style, like the Can-Am Spyder. I rode a Spyder on a 500 mile trip recently and it was a lot of fun. They are very easy to operate, with no danger of a 900# machine falling over on you when stationary. I could probably have someone that’s never been on a motorcycle riding a Spyder with 30 min of training.

  8. LarryC says:

    Yes, yes. We all know it’s not a motorcycle. So? It’s another way to have fun with internal combustion. Looks like a hoot. It’s fortunate that Polaris can exploit existing motorcycle laws to help keep the cost down. Makes a Morgan with its (groan) S&S motor and skinny tires look ridiculous for $50k. Harley builds a 3 wheeler that’s a motorized wheelchair with the two wheels at the wrong end. If Harley’s Matt Levatich was serious about shaking things up, HD would have built something like this.

  9. Ryan W. says:

    2.4 liter GM engine and RWD…..so it’s a 3 wheeled Saturn Sky?