Cars

Half Superbike, Half Race Car, All Awesome: The Polaris Slingshot

Polaris just dropped the all-new Slingshot, a super-lightweight vehicle that’s probably best described as the result of a Morgan Three Wheeler and an Ariel Atom having a discreet liaison. You drive it like a normal car, it propels itself forward like a motorcycle, and it just might be the most exciting new vehicle of the summer.

Technically, the Slingshot is a motorcycle—kinda like an escalator is a staircase. It might seem like semantics, but it’s a big deal when it comes to the government, because legally it only has to comply with motorcycle regulations. That means they can forego a lot of heavy safety equipment, resulting in a curb weight of just over 1,700 pounds, or less than half of a new Corvette.

Take a look out back and the motorcycle denotation makes a lot of sense. The single wheel is driven by a carbon fiber reinforced belt, and looks pretty great with smoke pouring off the tread blocks.

Up front, though, it’s all car, with a performance-oriented double wishbone (look at the shape of the two silver pieces at the top and bottom) suspension that’s actually beautiful in its own way.

The purity of the Slingshot really shines through when the carbon fiber body is removed. The steel tube frame ensure rigidity, sure, but can you imagine how awesome/frightening it would be driving without the floor installed?

All that means, really, is the 174 hp four cylinder engine up front is more than powerful enough, and the chassis is rigid enough to let you have more fun than any law enforcement officer would let you get away with. It’s well-balanced, too: any more power than that and the Slingshot would transition from seriously fun to seriously frightening. 

For a vehicle that’s such a departure from the norm, you might think the interior would be a foreign environment as well, but it’s not. It actually has a very classic roadster vibe, albeit with lots of sharp angles painted in red. Three pedals, two gauges, a steering wheel, and two seats mean this really does feel more like a car than a bike.


Aaron Miller is the Rides editor for Supercompressor. He’ll be driving one of these this fall. Watch this space for the experience..