Have you ever wondered what a Ferrari mixed with a motorcycle would look like?
Even if you haven’t, you must admit the Polaris Slingshot is eye-catching. Known mainly for snowmobiles and ATVs, Polaris has made a splash with its latest model.
Competing with other roadsters like the Morgan 3-Wheeler and KTM X-Bow, the Slingshot hopes to distinguish itself by adding modern features such as: ABS, LED taillights, power steering, a backup camera and center-mounted media console with 4.3” LCD screen.
The 3-wheeled roadster may look like something out of the Men in Black movies, but it is the real deal. Categorized as a motorcycle for operator licensing and insurance purposes, the Slingshot boasts all the ruggedness of an off-road ATV with all the speed of a road-legal motorcycle. The Slingshot meets the road courtesy of a “reverse tryke” layout; two 18” front wheels and one 20” rear wheel. With a dry weight under 1,700 lbs (770kg) and a very low center of gravity, the Slingshot hugs curves at adrenaline-inducing speeds. Polaris claims the open air cockpit “hits you with 360o rush of sight, sound and smell.”
Even though the Slingshot is garnering lots of attention in the specialty vehicle/motorcycle community, it has weathered challenges. In January 2015, the manufacturer issued a no-sell/no-drive order to its dealerships and owners. The National Highway Traffic Administration quickly followed suit, issuing an official recall for Slingshots built from August 2104 through early January 2015 (affecting an estimated 1,896 units). At issue are two items:
- The upper pinion bearing in the steering rack assembly, which may disengage and cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle, and
- A secondary safety issue identified by Polaris, but not part of the NHTSA recall is with the roll hoops, deemed short of “Polaris performance specifications.”
In either case, Polaris will replace both assemblies free of charge. As of March 2015, Polaris issued a statement to owners that 50% of the affected vehicles had been repaired.
The early issues have not dampened the enthusiasm of specialty vehicle aficionados. Costs range from US$20,000 to $25,000, with sales currently at 4,500 units. If you’ve got a spare US$20,000 and have always dreamed of owning a supercharged roadster, the Slingshot may be just the ticket.
Image 1: Polaris hopes the pairing of sleek handling and modern technology, like this 4.3” LCD screen powering 6 audio speakers, will win over customers. (credit: www.motorcycle-usa.com)
Image 2: Power meets other-worldly style in Polaris’ new 3-wheeled roadster, the Slingshot. (credit: www.popularscience.com)