A surprise encounter with the Polaris Slingshot

The Polaris Slingshot is a novelty vehicle

by Keith Powell

A red Polaris Slingshot sitting in a showroom.

Not quite a car and not quite a bike, the Polaris Slingshot is hard to define. — Keith Powell photo

On a blustery April afternoon I recently had the opportunity to visit the head office of Polaris Industries located in Medina, Minnesota (a suburb of Minneapolis). Just off Highway 55 stands their large corporate office in a wide yawning field. I was on a mission to deliver some marketing material to several key Polaris executives who were unavailable for a face-to-face meeting that day.

Inside the spacious of lobby was a cross section of Polaris products including snowmobiles, ATVs, motorcycles, accessories, clothing (the new Klim line) and the Slingshot.

The Slingshot? I couldn't believe my eyes. I hadn't anticipated getting to see the innovative new Slingshotin person. The Slingshot is the Polaris concept vehicle that has become more than concept. It is a reality, sitting right in front of me in the Polaris head office lobby.

Exactly what is the Slingshot? What is the market for the Slingshot? Is it a novelty vehicle, a sports ATV, a promotional vehicle, a Can Am Spyder knockoff, or a niche market toy product?

It seems like the press doesn't know exactly how to describe the Slingshot, either. Car and Driver magazine calls it “the three-wheel Polaris—which makes it easy to pretend you’re in a Formula car." Cycle World describes it as “a dramatic three-wheeler that feels more like a car than a bike.” The Kelley Blue Book asks, “If it’s not quite a motorcycle and not quite a car, what exactly is the three-wheeled Polaris Slingshot?”

Even the prestigious Wall Street Journal waded in on the debate. “The Polaris Slingshot SL looks like a sports car in the front and a motorcycle in the back (and is) an odd way to blow $24,000.” Forbes magazine said, “Polaris's new Slingshot is a three-wheeled motorcycle with side-by-side seating and a thrilling disposition.”

I asked the receptionist at the Polaris front desk if I could take some photos of the Slingshot. She said sure, go ahead. So I snapped a series of pictures and I am pleased to share them with you.

So what do you think the Polaris Slingshot is? All I know is that the only thing cooler than seeing the Slingshot live in-person would be to ride it. Or would that be drive it?

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