Polaris Industries reported its fourth quarter and 2016 full year results, offering the first look at the company’s finances since its decision to terminate Victory Motorcycles. The fourth quarter saw a 35% year-over-year decrease in motorcycle sales revenue, while year-end sales revenue remained flat compared to 2015.
Technically, and by that I mean according to the way in which the vehicles here are registered through the DMV (except Texas, but more on that later), each of these three-wheelers qualifies as a motorcycle. In California, at least, a motorcycle endorsement on your driver’s license to legally operate them is not required, and the two with seatbelts eschew the state’s helmet law. Still, without a more explicit category available and the law being what it is, “motorcycle” becomes the default label for this trio.
On November 4, 2014, Polaris Industries received notification from the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles that, despite previous approval, the Slingshot three wheeler would not be allowed to be registered as a motorcycle. This change in classification means that the Slingshot would not be licensable for use on Texas roads because it lacks many features required for classification as an automobile. At issue, according to Polaris, is the definition of a saddle:
I’m really anxious to drive the new Slingshot Polaris recently launched. With 170 horsepower in a 1725-lb package with side-by-side seating and an open top, it promises to deliver a fun factor unlike almost any other machine currently in production. But it’s not a motorcycle.
A few months ago we reported a press release from Travertson regarding confirmation of a forthcoming three-wheeler. We now have updated information from Travertson about its new Stryker 2.0, including some specifications and artist renderings of the vehicle expected to debut next Spring. (Oops, strike that. After informing Travertson about the Stryker from Yamaha’s Star brand, the Florida-based company has decided to name its three-wheeler the Striker 2.0.)
The not-so-secret 2015 Polaris Slingshot has a steering wheel and bucket seats. So we shouldn’t even be reviewing it, right? I kinda felt that way when given the assignment. In hindsight, though, I’m glad I had the opportunity. The Slingshot’s an absolute blast, and at $19,999 for the base model, it’s gonna give Can-Am’s Spyder ($18,999 for the ST) some stiff competition.