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Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

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


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.


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.



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.


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.



  1. Montana says:

    This isn’t a 3 wheeled bike, it’s a 3 wheeled car.
    Want a 3 wheeled bike, here ’tis:

    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… it’s a 3 wheeled Saturn Sky?

  10. Matt says:

    Nice work Polaris! You’re making progress on being forgiven for not making the KTM tie-up work.

    They will sell out, these will be everywhere, and the anti-fun crowd will go apoplectic watching every day working stiffs enjoy themselves. Be prepared to vote out any legislator who tries to curb the fun!

    I love that you have to wear a helmet! No sunburned head like on a car convertible, and I like the anonimity it brings, especially with the attention this will garner. MPG should be good, and 100k plus longevity, simple and inexpensive to maintain and repair.. Wow. Why didn’t someone think of this before?

    With all the RZR’s they sell at similar pricing, that can’t be ridden on the street, this is a no brainer. Some product manager is about to be a hero.

    Can a Dual-Sport with longer legs and all terrain tires be far behind? And hopefully the profits go back into R&D on a next-gen leaning version!

    • HalfBaked says:

      KTM tie-up?

      • Matt says:

        A while back Polaris bought some ownership in KTM, which supplied some motors for their sport ATV’s, the 525 Outlaw etc.

        That gave me hope for a high performance American (mostly?) dirt bike someday in the future. Unfortunately things didn’t work out and Polaris sold their ownership back or something. Not sure the details, but I thought I read somewhere that cultural differences were the culprit.

  11. BBC says:

    It really looks interesting and a lot of fun. Then I looked at the specs…. Disregard the weight and the Slingshot is bigger in many respects than my Mazda Miata!!!!

  12. Anami says:

    Specs are comparable to a Lotus elise… albeit with one less wheel.

  13. Gary says:

    The most exciting motor vehicle I’ve ever seen. I think it will create a whole new niche. I’ve been waiting for an affordable Ariel Atom.

  14. xlayn says:

    weird, one version has bigger front tires and the other one bigger rear.
    they should have leave more exposed the mechanisms around the front tires IMO

  15. chrisgo says:

    All I know is that it looks like fun and I want one. I can rarely get my wife on the back of my motorcycles and she worries nonstop everytime I take my girls for a ride. I could take them to school in this and have fun all the way home. For 20K….they are going to sell the shit out of these things. Polaris is huge here in Idaho, I suspect many utv owners will pick one of these up for summer fun. Wait till they get a turbo…

  16. Norm G. says:

    (tick tock, tick tock)

    norm taps watch as he patiently awaits a Transformers comment…

  17. tonifumi says:

    Good looking !
    Good price !

    A smaller engine (the ford 1.0 Ford ecoboost engine for example) would have been better and this would help to get the weight down to 650-700kg which is what this car really needs.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I didn’t know they had other 3-wheeled bikes.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “but….it is too heavy !!”

      but look at the thing. you don’t have to be a Boeing engineer to figure out there isn’t much more you can do to make this product significantly lighter, that wouldn’t also be SIGNIFICANTLY more costly.

      it’s the legal go kart you always wanted from your childhood… well MY childhood anyways.

      re: “A smaller engine (the ford 1.0 Ford ecoboost engine for example) would have been better”

      who’s to say they didn’t ask, but we’re told no or the price of admission was too high for the limited weight savings…? besides, that engine is for FWD applications and iirc FOMOCO actually has their own open wheel setup (think Formula Ford, Formula BMW). and if they said yes, well then you’re stuck with a 1 Liter lump aren’t ya…?

      then that begs the question, who ya gonna call for this “mythical unicorn” of an ultralight, low cost, OEM 5-speed transmission from…? Xtrac…? Getrag…? Tremec…? GhostBusters…? no such animal in car world.

    • Don Fraser says:

      So many critics, so little time

  18. Trent says:

    I would love this as my summer fun “car”. But I would want a top on it so I would still want to drive it when it happens to rain.

    • TexinOhio says:

      Oh someone will build a top for this thing after market if not Polaris themselves.

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “someone will build a top for this thing after market”

        speaking of after market, right now there is a “yoot” somewhere in the southern states who intends to purchase this vehicle with the intent of IMMEDIATELY fitting it with a 30″ spinning rim and tyre package.

        the only time it will ever see the OE hoops is from the dealer to home. this is another something you can “tap your watch” over, such is the power of after market support.

    • Don Fraser says:

      wear your helmet and bring your rain suit, it is registered as a motorcycle.

  19. Skif says:

    Just remember to take that front end over every parking lot speed bump at one quarter of one mile per hour.

  20. Norm G. says:

    re: “$19,999”

    20 grand…? 2.4 liters…?

    you won’t be able to throw a rock without hittin’ one.

  21. Brent Meeker says:

    If it can’t split lanes it might as well be a minivan cause it’ll be stuck behind one in traffic.

    • Jason says:

      Stuck in traffic just like anyone on a motorcycle in every US state except California.

      • mickey says:

        And this rider from Ohio went he recently rode to California. Couldn’t bring myself to ride between cars lol

  22. Matric says:

    Nice. Another competitor for T-Rex. 160 hp and 1040 pounds. 0-60 mph: 4 sec. top speed: 129 mph.

  23. John Smith says:

    It’s that Raptor thing from Canada, but affordable. Let’s see, $20k to start, but we’ll need a small block crate motor, 501 Chevy? Upgraded suspension, brakes, body kit, fuel cell, oppp, I think I accidentally build an F1 car!

  24. Jeremy says:

    How long until some senator’s kid gets killed in one of these prompting sweeping “motorcycle” safety changes?

  25. SmokinRZ says:

    I don’t understand the RWD but knowing Polaris they have done their homework. What a crazy concept at a reasonable price. I didn’t see this coming.

    • Jeremy in TX says:

      Regarding the RWD, probably get better weight distribution with the tranny in the cockpit vs over the front axle. Plus you get a fun degree of oversteer (or as much as the electronics allow you to have) and no throttle-induced steering anomalies which might be pretty significant on something so light. That is just my guess on it.

      • SmokinRZ says:

        Good points. Very interesting machine. I keep going back to the photos. Why didn’t they use a final drive instead of a belt? How much power or abuse can you transfer to a belt? How many of these will fit on the showroom of a Polaris dealer and are his doors wide enough? Will they make an aftermarket 4 wheel kit? I have no doubt they will sell a ton of these.

  26. Blackcayman says:

    where the hell is Norm?

    Someone needs to help quash all the “its not a motorcycle” talk.



    • Jeremy in TX says:

      I say it is something else entirely. Something that connoisseurs of two-wheeled, three-wheeled and 4-wheeled machines can gravitate to and appreciate for what it is.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “where the hell is Norm? Someone needs to help quash all the “its not a motorcycle” talk.”

      it’s not a motorcycle… or a tumor. (Schwarzenegger voice)

  27. todd says:

    Wait, so it has a drive shaft AND a belt? Why not just stick the bevel gear on the rear wheel and ditch the whole belt and associated parts?

    • Bobby B says:

      I thought the same thing when I saw that, then realised engine-trans have to run down centerline of vehicle, but rear wheel has to be centered also, have to go around wide tire to get to rear hub. I guess you could angle driveshaft to the side, but that would make rear hub very wide. I think this is a good compromise , plus it enables racers to change pulley to alter final drive ratio.

  28. dashui says:

    sure to hit every pothole america has to offer

    • Tom R says:

      Ummm, your point?

      • KenHoward says:

        With a trike, you essentially have 3 wheels across the width of the vehicle, with no center space to allow driving over a pothole; you’d have to steer around all obstructions (when there is room to do that) and this vehicle is as wide as most cars.

  29. RichBinAZ says:

    I wonder how the weight and performance numbers would have penciled out if they had access to the Ford 1L triple turbo engine during the design phase. Wouldn’t front wheel drive work better? It’s where most of he weight is.

    • iliketoeat says:

      Front-wheel drive absolutely sucks for any performance-oriented vehicle. This is supposed to be fun, not a Prius.

      • Dave says:

        There are very few performance vehicles that have only one rear wheel and two fronts. This presents a very strange chassis dynamic. I used to believe front drive had no place in performance vehicles and still believe rear drive is superior (for 4-wheelers) but some wheel time in a Ford Focus ST my eyes have been opened. There are technologies in front-drive cars that fix most of the drive train’s gremlins.

  30. VTS says:

    interesting for a couple of minutes and that’s it. The Ariel Atom or BAC Mono are way way more desirable, better looking cars and surely will out perform this thing. Just compare the Atom specs (300hp to just 1350 pounds..) and see how Polaris are being a bit optimistic and exagerating in their ads.. now comparing this to a motorcycle is nonsense, it doesn’t lean and has a steering wheel, it’s a car with no windscreen, and for that there are better options, three wheeled vehicles? apart from the Piaggio MP3 (great city bike btw), no thanks..

    • ApriliaRST says:

      Very, very few people could actually handle 300 hp and 1350 pounds, let alone come up with 2.5 times the price of the Slingshot to buy the Ariel. The article was clear that the Slingshot is seen as a motorcycle in the eyes of the law and thus requires less equipment. You should rejoice in that.

    • Tom R says:

      Geez, what a gloomy gus!

  31. Tuskerdu says:

    What the. . .?

  32. Jeremy in TX says:

    This looks like a very cool transport option. I like it! Now if only Polaris would make motorcycles this exciting.

    • Norm G. says:

      Re: “if only Polaris would make motorcycles this exciting.”

      If only HONDA would make anything this exciting. See entry for Odyssey circa 1983.

  33. Gronde says:

    I like it except for the Chevy powerplant. I think a motorcycle engine would be more up to the task of being abused as this type of vehicle surely will. It actually priced quite low for this sort of device and my guess would have been closer to $30,000. It does have limited use and wearing a helmet is mandatory as it’s classed as a motorcycle. No lane splitting on this one, tho.

    • Jason says:

      Only 19 out of 50 states require motorcyclists to wear helmets and lanesplitting is only legal in one state.

    • Don Fraser says:

      You need to visit the Tonawanda engine plant where they build millions of these, way better than the S&S motor in the way more expensive Morgan

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “I like it except for the Chevy powerplant.”

      does that even matter…?

      in a chassis like this, as long as the drivetrain that doesn’t say “Briggs and Stratton” on it i’m good.

  34. MadMax3 says:

    I like the looks in front, but from the steering wheel back, it looks like some ride at Magic Mountain… It will have to be cheaper than a Mazda Miata. I imagine crash-worthiness could be an issue.

  35. mkviz says:

    I can wait until the 4 wheel conversions come out. You know it’s going to happen

    • Gronde says:

      4 wheels would be better yet, but then it would have to have a lot of changes made to be certified as an automobile. Sadly, the price would a least double. Also, 4 wheels would undoubtedly end up with a better looking machine that would handle even better.

    • TexinOhio says:

      Hannigan Motorsports would probably be up first. They mod GL1800’s into quads already.

  36. jimjim says:

    Nice CAGE! 🙂

  37. Gutterslob says:

    Looks like a KTM X-Bow minus one wheel.

  38. Don Fraser says:

    Good to think outside the box. Would like to see Jeep build an alternative to all the side by side UTV’s.

    • Hot Dog says:

      They did at one time. I had a 48′ CJ2A that was smaller than most modern UTV’s.

      I’m not so sure about the manual tranny in the Slingshot, seems like the driver may have his hands full. It sure looks like a lot of fun! The things those Minnesota boys think up when they’re ice fishing, uf dah!

      • TexinOhio says:

        Nice! A track in the back and skis upfront for winter time! Bet money we see those accessories come winter this year!

      • Don Fraser says:

        That is what I mean, a small CJ with a 4 banger, independent suspension, doors optional.

  39. Dave says:

    Very interesting. This thing looks really fun and $20k is not unattainable. Kudos to Polaris for continuing to try to attract sports riders/drivers with different vehicle types (Can Am Spyder, now this). By going front engine, they may have solved the side-traction issues that 3-wheel cars have because of the inability to transfer weight to the outside-rear tire.

    Upside – If you’re into burnouts, you only need to replace 1 tire after it’s cooked!

  40. warprints says:

    Who cares if it doesn’t give you a “motorcycle” experience or if it’s ugly. If it’s nearly as much fun to drive as it looks to be, I’d like one. And, no, I won’t be getting ride of my bikes or cars.

  41. Motowarrior says:

    OK, just when I thought the world was completely going to hell, Polaris comes along and gives us something to be excited about. All you negative guys can just step to the side and let us other guys have some fun. Who cares if it is a motorcycle or not? Who cares if it is not your definition of beautiful? You aren’t supposed to park it in your driveway for your neighbors to admire, you’re supposed to drive it or ride it or whatever you call it and have a blast. It’s great to be a kid again!

  42. John F says:

    Since these are considered motorcycles, this also means that they would qualify for diamond lanes during commute hours as well as motorcycle rates over bridges.

    Sound like a winner to me. I predict that everyone one of these will be pre-sold long before they come available. These will end up being as common in Marin County as high end bicycles. It will be specifically targeted to all well off suburbanites whose wives won’t let them have a motorcycle.

    The 2.4 GM engine has already proven itself to be a real winner in both reliability and performance. Just imagine a turbo or supercharger as an aftermarket option.

    I just hope they handle better than Spyders.

    There is absolutely no way that this can be made cheaply in a four wheel configuration because then it would have to conform to all the normal (and very expensive) government safety requirement.

    • Jason says:

      There is no way Polaris could make a cheap four wheel conversion. The aftermarket will just do what they do for motorcycle accessories. They will label the kit “For Off-Road Use Only” and pretend that no one will use it on the road. Almost every aftermarket exhaust sold in the USA is illegal for on-road use. That doesn’t stop them from being produced and sold.

  43. Rendog says:

    This should be a great alternative to the Atom, and you won’t have all the hassle of making it street legal, or the high annual registration fees. I am curious why it weighs so much; but I think I may have to get in the purchase line 🙂

  44. Bobby B says:

    I would consider actually buying this, where I would never buy a Spyder. I can see this being a viable choice for many people:
    those that can’t afford a corvette, those too old for a crotch rocket, people who want to be the center of attention at car nights.
    Plus how long before someone swaps in a Cobalt SS turbo?

  45. allworld says:

    I would buy one.
    Hopefully this will start a wave of similar vehicles from more manufacturers.

  46. TexinOhio says:

    These are going to be sweet! Cant wait to get my hands on a demo unit.

  47. Tim says:

    I like this a lot. Wonder I’d I could convince my wife to sell our roadster and get one of these?

  48. Man Relish says:

    looks cool, good marketing video, but a GM motor, hmmmm

  49. Eric says:

    I like the concept but the styling leaves me cold. Would have much preferred something more organic / flowing than the folded / creased look. Regardless, I would much rather have something like this than the Can-Am Spyder. I’d rather have one of these but at 2.5x the cost I could easily be swayed.

    Wonder if it has a heater? Then you could conceivably use it year-round in the Northeast. Hello Mr. Tire Rack? I’d like to order 3 snow tires…

    • william says:

      I clicked your link, you like the looks of that over this Polaris? What’s wrong with you.

  50. Gary says:

    First a different three-wheeled motorcycle with the spyder, now a different three-wheeled car type experience? Polaris sure is coming with some different vehicles. When I first saw the spyder, I thought, who is going to buy that. Well, I found out different, I expect maybe the same thing might happen with the slingshot, although it might prove to be a better money maker for police departments.

    • Man Relish says:

      lets hope they don’t have the same problem with the power steering issues they did with the spyder….

      • Joe Bogusheimer says:

        The Spyder is a Can-Am product, a division of Bombardier Recreation Products. Polaris/Victory/Indian is a completely different company. The only thing they have in common is they produce many of the same types of vehicles (quads, side by sides, snowmobiles, 3-wheeled car-motorcycle abortions, etc).

  51. ApriliaRST says:

    Oh, boy. The negative comments roll in.

    $20k for a truly different choice in recreational motoring and nearly no one can think of something nice to say? At least Tommy See can see.

    • Jason says:

      That is because we are on a motorcycle site. As a motorcycle the Slingshot is expensive, heavy, and underpowered not to mentioned not a real motorcycle. Jump over to a car site and suddenly the Slingshot is cheap, light, and fast.

    • mickey says:

      Never said it wouldn’t be a blast to drive (notice I didn’t say ride), because like Jason said, this isn’t a motorcycle. It’s just called that to get around the law. Look at the diagram of the “cockpit”. Motorcycles have frames, and handlebars (not tilt steering), not wrap around cockpits with side by side seating, and they lean when ridden through a curve. Leaning is what differentiates motorcycles from cars. Does this thing lean?

      • Norm G. says:

        re: “Leaning is what differentiates motorcycles from cars.”

        FISTPUMP. eat it car world…!!!

  52. GKS says:

    With the side by side seating and a steering wheel, it really doesn’t seem to offer much of the “motorcycling experience”. I think that a “leaning” three-wheeler could deliver something sensations very close to riding a two-wheel motorcycle.
    What would really get me excited is a four wheel version, marketed as an affordable competitor to the Atom and X-Bow. But then it would be an automobile and as such, subject to the federal safety regs, likely making it heavier and not so affordable.

  53. mickey says:

    They may call it a motorcycle, but seriously ……………….

    • Jason says:

      Calling it a motorcycle makes the vehicle possible. Everyone knows that this is a 3 wheel car without any safety equipment.

      I’m curious how one would take a motorcycle test with one of these. In some states a motorcycle endorsement only require a written test but in others there is practical exam on a range which requires slaloming through cones and such. Can you fail the test if your “motorcycle” won’t physically fit between the cones?

      • william says:

        I took that test, and the cones were much closer than what I had practiced with and this vehicle would not fit. Not sure what happens then. I would have preferred motorcycle shifting, but the video looks like standard automobile shifting. It still has appeal to me as a motorcycle rider. I live down a dirt road with potholes. I wonder if it has a full body skid plate underneath. It does seem to sit really low to the ground. I have noticed with low vehicles, the ground is closer to a person vision and it feels like you are going faster. I think the low seating on this vehicle will give it a more sporty feel even while keeping the speeds within the speed limit. Otherwise maybe you could just request your tickets be written ahead of time on a monthly basis or something.

  54. MeanChuck says:

    1700lbs? Isn’t that a bit heave for a trike like this? A series 1 Lotus Elise weighs less than that with four wheels and has a full body and more windows.

  55. Dave says:

    Great. We’re in the market for 2 seat roadster and this looks like a perfect one. I have to test ride it. Comparing to regular car it must be super fun but as a motorcycle I’m not so sure about it. My two wheels won’t go away but 4 wheels may! Great job, Polaris.

  56. paso100 says:

    Looks like fun, but it’s terribly ugly. And I question the handling characteristics with that one rear wheel. I suspect the pitching and rolling, along with awkward weight distribution (is having a passenger actually beneficial?) must be considered part of the entertaining ride.

  57. DiN0 says:

    Aré you sure the ignition it is not a GM product too..?

  58. Samurai Jack says:

    Shut Up and Take My MONEY!!!

  59. Tommy See says:

    Victory,Indian now Slingshot ! Keep it coming Polaris. Elio still in the planning and wondering about the future? Bring it and sales will happen.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Elio still in the planning and wondering about the future?”

      not that this applies, but read a funny comment elsewhere when the Elio was mentioned in the context of the Slingshot.

      “This is a REAL thing from a REAL company that exists in REALITY” – Wes Siler

      gotta good laugh outta that. that’s some sh#%t i’d say. 🙂 LOL

      • william says:

        That Elo looks to be just 1 person sitting in the middle, not 2 side by side. I wonder if both doors still open. It looks like a foo foo little high mileage vehicle, the Polaris looks like its built for fun. I wonder how the Polaris would do in the snow.

        • Norm G. says:

          re: “It looks like a foo foo little high mileage vehicle, the Polaris looks like its built for fun.”

          and therein lies the proof of a comment I made on here some time ago regarding somewhat “wonky” vehicles like this…

          job #1, NAIL THE STYLING. be it 2 wheels, 3-wheels or even 5-wheels…? if you can design a bag of poo to be “aesthetically pleasing” people will buy it.

          it should go without saying, VISION is the primary tool we human beings use to navigate/negotiate/”assess fitness” of things in our world.

          i contend this one principle is what’s allowed Can-Am to ride their “street snowmobile” all the way to the bank. Elio have yet to figure this.

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