Friday, August 10, 2018

Motorized Three-wheelers, Mostly, Part 1

A couple of months ago, I spotted a motorized vehicle with three wheels. This vehicle had two front wheels and one rear wheel. Thanks to a friend, I learned it was a Polaris Slingshot. Previous motorized three-wheelers I've seen resembled motorcycles with one front wheel and two back wheels. (Occasionally, I've seen pedal-power three-wheelers that resemble "tricycles for grownups". A different slant on pedal-power three-wheelers is recumbent adult tricycles.)

A Google search for "three wheel motorcycle" yielded some sites for Can-Am Spyder and Polaris Slingshot, two vehicles that have two wheels in front and one in the rear. "Best Options for Riders Looking for Three-Wheel Motorcycles", besides info and images for the Can-Am Spyder and Polaris Slingshot, also includes info on Harley Davidson three-wheelers (one wheel in front, two in back). Be sure to view that article's gallery of three-wheelers.

Two Wheels in Front, One in Rear (Slingshot)

The Polaris Slingshot site shows that the vehicle operates like a two-seater manual transmission car. It has a steering wheel, a passenger seat next to the driver, and glove box. In "How to: Polaris Slingshot | Royalty Exotic Cars", the vehicle resembles a convertible with recent tech features and a small storage area behind the seats. View more Slingshot info at "2018 Polaris Slingshot First Ride Review" and "How It Works: The Polaris Slingshot Three-Wheeled Supercar".

Two Wheels in Front, One in Rear (Motorcycle Type)

  Can-Am Spyder
The Can-Am Spyder site shows that the vehicle operates like a motorcycle, with most controls in the handlebars. "How to Ride a Can-Am Spyder" provides very rudimentary instructions about the controls.

  Yamaha Niken
The Yamaha Niken site shows the three-wheeler resembling a motorcycle with two side-by-side front wheels. Click index items for closer look-see for features and 360° viewing option. "Yamaha NIKEN - LMW Product Overview" packs a lot of info in less than two minutes. (This vehicle's controls might be more like my perception of traditional motorcycles that require 4-limb coordination than the Spyder.)

  Honda Neowing
I Googled and found very little 2018 info about this three-wheeler. An op-ed from February mentions it in passing—"History is littered with esoteric three-wheelers, but is now their time to shine?"

"Auto Expo 2016: Honda Neowing Concept Showcased" writes glowingly. (Apologies for copy/paste link for HREF URL results in a hung-up redirect, and Blogger hyperlinks anyway.)
Honda Neowing is a trike motorcycle with two wheels up front and one at the rear offering excellent cornering capabilities and impressive low speed stability. …Under the sporty and well scalpted [sic] bodywork, the Neowing is powered by a hybrid powertrain that combines a horizontally opposed four-cylinder engine with electric motors.
Google results mentioning "concept" and lack of Honda site info makes me wonder about the Neowing's viability against the the two other cycles that have two front wheels and one rear wheel.

One Wheel in Front, Two in Rear (Motorcycle Type)

Harley three-wheelers seem to be street- and highway-oriented. Honda three-wheelers seem to be all-terrain vehicles (ATVs).

  Harley-Davidson Freewheeler and Tri Glide
"2018 Trike Motorcycles } Harley-Davidson USA" shows an intro and image for a three-wheeler. (For vehicles in action, visit YouTube and use "harley three wheeler" for search term.) The "See the Bike" link goes to "2018 Freewheeler | Harley-Davidson USA", where you can scroll for pix and info. A fancier three-wheeler Harley is the Tri Glide Ultra.

  Honda ATV/ATC
Info regarding Honda one-wheel-in-front-two-wheels-in-back seems to center around all-terrain vehicles. I find it odd that so many Google hits for "honda three wheeler" are historical info and selling links, and nothing pointing to an official Honda website.

Dirt Wheels Magazine has extensive coverage about Honda's three-wheeler background "THE BEGINNING & END OF HONDA 3-WHEELERS".

Another look at Honda and ATVs:
Honda brought the world’s first ever three-wheeled ATV or rather ATC (All-Terrain-Cycle) to the United States in 1970 and it was a hit.… The three-wheeled US90 had a seven horsepower engine and sold for $595.
Some Odds and Ends

  The Ultimate Three-wheeler?
"Indiana Trike Builder Believes Bigger is Better" is about a hybrid truck and motorcycle, built by someone who is a semi truck builder and owner of a trucking firm.
The Tower Trike features 15-inch wheels and an 80-gallon diesel tank that fuels the supercharged, turbocharged Detroit Diesel 6V92 engine. Mated to an Allison HT-740 transmission, the powertrain produces 335 horsepower and a staggering 1020 lb-ft of torque. It can reach a top speed of 84 mph and is equipped with an air suspension.

  Banning and Unbanning of Slingshot in Texas
In 2014, the Slingshot ran into a snag regarding its street legality in Texas "Texas Bans The Polaris Slingshot Three-Wheeler" (published in Jan. 2014). Then Texas gave it the green light the following year "Texas reverses ban on Slingshots; Polaris hits the gas on production" (published May 2015).

  Coincidental Kinship between Harley and Polaris
As I'd previously associated Polaris with only the North Star and missiles, my recent research found it coincidental for news that included Polaris and Harley Davidson—"Polaris May Join Harley-Davidson In Overseas Production Move".

  Three-wheelers Spyder Motorcycle and Spyder Forklift
A chance spotting of a Spyder forklift, which has three wheels, led me to Googling for "3 wheeler spyder forklift". Odd that the Can-Am Spyder showed up as a hit. When I Googled "3 wheeler Spyder" while researching for this article, Google never returned a hit for the forklift.  More about the forklift and related items in "Motorized Three-wheelers, Mostly Part 2".

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