In the wake of our 2020 Polaris Slingshot SL Review, we present the latest Sean Matic production delivering moving pictures straight to your autocycle-loving eyes. It was an interesting experience, my few weeks with the Slingshot SL. Out of all of the expensive, exotic, and high-performance machines I’ve had the opportunity to scoot around on, none have elicited the inquisitive stares, hurried cell phone pictures, and general curiosity of the Slingshot. As a motorcyclist, it makes me kind of sad, but I get it, the thing looks like the Batmobile – at least from the front. The greater population can relate to this thing more than some red sportbike – even if that red sportbike is a Ducati Panigale V4 that’ll blow the doors off of most production vehicles you’re likely to find cruising the city streets.
Here we are again. Every few years Polaris (or its PR rep) rings up Motorcycle.com with the opportunity of reviewing the latest Slingshot, a vehicle now designated as an auto-cycle in most US states. It’s not a motorcycle, we know (and I’m sure there will be folks reminding us of that in every comment section available online). For 2020, Polaris tells us its three-wheeler is 70% new with upgrades spanning from the cockpit to the all-new Polaris-built Prostar four-cylinder engine and the AutoDrive “automatic” transmission mated to it. With such substantial upgrades to the machine, we were happy to flog the Slingshot SL for a couple of weeks to give our take on the new machine. This will be a motorcyclist’s perspective of the 2020 Polaris Slingshot SL.
At Daytona, Polaris loaned me a Slingshot for a few hours and I’m not even sure the three-wheeled Slingshot should be in Motorcycle.com, but that’s Evans’ problem. I just do the typing. The 2020 Slingshot is mostly new from the brake pedal forward. The driving experience is 80% automotive, 20% ATV Quad, and 100% motorcycle when it rains. It’s going to take me more than a few hours to acclimate to the oddness of this gearbox and the three-wheeler’s handling characteristics.
Polaris Industries has updated its Slingshot three-wheeler for 2020, giving it a new 1997cc four-cylinder engine, an automatic transmission, revised suspension and a redesigned cockpit. In all, Polaris says the 2020 Slingshot features “70% new vehicle content” in its first major update since its introduction in 2015.
Polaris is preparing to update its Slingshot three-wheeler with a new engine design and an automatic transmission. The new engine will be designed by Polaris itself, unlike the General Motors 2.4L Ecotec engine that’s been powering the Slingshot since its introduction in 2015.
Ah, long-term test bikes. Oh, how we love them. And then we have to give them back, creating a void in our stable. Well, that time has come for the 2019 Niken GT that Yamaha has so kindly let us hold onto for lo these many months. What have we learned, boys and girls? The Niken GT works great in any job you’d ask of a sport-tourer or a commuter motorcycle. In fact, if you ignore the funny looks from passersby and don’t look down at the wide fairing in front of you, you really can’t tell that the Niken is a leaning multi-wheeled vehicle instead of your standard two-wheeled fare. Just ignore the Doubting Thomases and embrace the Niken as a motorcycle because in every meaningful way – save one, and that’s to its advantage – it behaves exactly like a motorcycle.
At EICMA last fall, Yamaha introduced the Niken GT, a sport-touring motorcycle with the company’s leaning-multi-wheel (LMW) technology. But the Niken GT wasn’t the only three-wheeler shown at EICMA; Yamaha also revealed a 300cc LMW scooter prototype called the 3CT.
If there’s one thing that gets motorcycle riders – and Motorcycle.com readers – worked up, it’s the debate about whether a three-wheeler is considered a motorcycle or not. If you’re one of the haters, this news might brighten up your day: Campagna Motors, the company best known for producing the T-Rex, is shutting down.
We’ve heard the term “crotch rockets” thrown around but in this case, “crochet rockets” might be more appropriate. In what may be the most Yamaha thing you’ll see this week, the Japanese manufacturer wants to teach people how to knit their own mini-Niken three-wheelers out of yarn, either by the Japanese art of amigurumi crocheting or by a technique called needle felting.
Take a look at Can-Am’s all new Ryker. Announced late yesterday, it’s a pretty impressive machine with many interesting features, the most important of which is that it addresses the single biggest issue potential buyers of these 3-wheelers have always had: cost.
In addition to the new FXDR 114, three Custom Vehicle Operations models and updates to its touring models, Harley-Davidson announced some significant updates to its trike lineup. In fact, apart from the FXDR which is brand new, the 2019 Harley-Davidson Tri-Glide Ultra and Freewheeler received the most updates of the company’s offerings for the coming year.
To be honest, I didn’t pay any more attention when Yamaha announced it would actually produce the Niken than I do to the unicorns that occasionally wander into the back yard as I’m semi-dozing on the patio after a nightcap. Fanciful creatures of the imagination. But I snapped to fully woke when the invite came in over the email transom to come to Austria and ride the thing. What, it actually exists? Sure, why not?