Looking for motorcycle alternatives or maybe just something a little out of the norm? There’s a lot more to motorsports than I previously thought. But one quick trip to Coleman PowerSports in northern Virginia showed me there’s a whole new approachable world out there.
Normally, I’m a “four wheels good, two wheels bad” kind of driver, even though my husband makes sure we invest heavily in the motorcycle market (we have three in the garage). I used to ride on the back with him but lately, perhaps because of my age, I’m more cautious than I used to be.
It’s not that I don’t trust his driving (he’s been doing it since he was a teen). It’s just that I’m nervous about the other drivers, distracted drivers, on the road that may not always see a motorcycle. Once you go down, your chances of getting back up aren’t as good as when you’re on four wheels.
But there are plenty of new innovations in the motorsports area and you might be as surprised as I was to learn about them.
You might remember that I had a chance to test drive one of these when I hit the Chicago Auto Show back in February. If you can drive a stick, you can drive one of these.
The Polaris Slingshot not actually a motorcycle. It’s considered an autocycle, which means you don’t need a motorcycle license to drive one in most states. You will, however, have to follow the motorcycle laws of your state and wear a helmet while riding.
The Polaris Slingshot is currently available in four different models ranging in price from just over $20k up to over $30k. I really need to test drive one of these, don’t you think?
PSA: Even if your state doesn’t have motorcycle helmet laws, do me a favor and wear one anyone. It’s your HEAD we’re talking about.
If Vanderhall sounds like something Muffy and Todd would totally drive, I agree. However, I now want to be Muffy and Todd. This three-wheeler, also considered an autocycle, is just about the coolest, prettiest thing I’ve seen in a long time.
It’s looks like an old roadster that’s missing a wheel but with 175hp, it probably goes a wee bit faster. And, once again, a regular driver’s license is all you need in most states.
Vanderhall offers seven different models roughly running between $25k and $45k. With that kind of cash, you might decide that you want to go ahead and just buy a roadster. But this one looks cooler.
Can-Am Ryker and Spyder
Can-Am actually makes four-wheeled off road vehicles (think ATV on steroids) but their three wheeled motorcycles were what had me interested. Although they have three wheels, they are considered motorcycles because you have to straddle them to ride them.
That means that you’ll need to have your motorcycle license to ride one. Note that some states will issue a motorcycle license good for two or three wheels but other states have separate requirements.
The on-road bikes consist of the Ryker, a smaller simpler three wheel motorcycle or the larger, more upscale Spyder. Although you won’t have to worry about balance, they still require a lot of the maneuvering that a two wheeled motorcycle does. Instead of leaning the bike, you have to lean your body.
If you’re looking for more of a traditional motorcycle feel but with the added stability of a third wheel, this might be the route for you. The pricing also makes them much fore approachable with a starting price of over $8k up to mid $20k.
I’ll admit that I was surprised about a lot that I saw at Coleman PowerSports but none was more surprising than the Yamaha Niken. Here’s why.
IT’S GOT AN EXTRA WHEEL UP FRONT.
Technically, it’s a three wheeled motorcycle but only in the sense that it has three wheels. It looks like a traditional motorcycle and (I’m told) rides like a traditional motorcycle but has added traction and stability. It’s considered a sport touring bike and starts at around $16k
You’ll still need a kickstand and you probably need to be a pretty experienced motorcycle rider but this is one Yamaha that will definitely make heads turn.
Two Wheels Only – Just for Fun
If you’ve made it this far, you’re either a gawker like me or you like really unusual things on wheels. So just for fun, I thought I’d show you a few of the other bikes on the showroom floor that caught my eye.
Watch them all in action!
Here’s a quick video of all of the models I talked about above. Hopefully it gives you a better sense of size, style, and quality. You won’t be surprised when you hear my favorite at the end of the video!