Chances of the three-wheeler Polaris Slingshot coming to Australia are fairly slim, despite the company shifting up a gear with a limited-edition model.
While Polaris unleashed the Slingshot SL LE model at Daytona Bike Week at the weekend, the machine is no closer to resolution of licensing hiccups in several American states where it is registered as a car, not a motorcycle.
Meanwhile, the chances of Australia getting the car/trike/bike anytime soon are pretty slim.
In the middle of last year Polaris Australia spokesman Robert Rosengarten said plans were “unsure” and this week he simply says “no update at this stage”.
But it sure does look like a whole lot of fun, even though it has a steering wheel, seats, floor-mounted five-speed transmission and seatbelts.
The limited-edition Slingshot SL LE costs $24,999 in the US and comes in “Nuclear Sunset Orange” paint, dual windscreens and an interior LED white and blue lighting package for “an exhilarating nighttime driving experience”.
In the US, Slingshot also comes in base trim for $19,999 and premium Slingshot SL for $23,999 with red pearl paint, larger 18-inch forged aluminum wheels upfront and a 20 inch wheel in the rear and a blade windscreen.
Polaris is best known for snowmobiles, all-terrain vehicles and side-by-side off-roaders, but in recent years has added Victory and Indian motorcycles. However, this is the first time the Minnesota company has produced a “motorcycle” under the Polaris name.
The low-slung, open-cockpit Polaris Slingshot, weighs just 782kg (1725 pounds) and is powered by a 2.4-litre straight-four engine with 129kW (173 horsepower) and 225Nm (166 foot-pounds) of torque. Safety features include ABS, electronic stability control, traction control and three-point seatbelts.
While the Polaris Slingshot has the same wheel configuration as the BRP Can-Am Spyder with two wheels in front, rather than the traditional trike with two wheels on the back, it is a cockpit-style vehicle, rather than a motorcycle you sit on. Polaris calls it a “reverse trike”.
Polaris aims the vehicle at people interested in a motorcycle experience but not ready for two-wheels, plus mature-aged riders concerned about the weight of a big motorcycle.
The company has the largest share of the North American powered two- and three-wheeler market ahead of Harley-Davidson and Honda.
It considers its motorcycle sales have another 50% to grow, so the Slingshot is an important ingredient in that success.