Wind in your hair, sun in your face and classic rock on the radio – driving the 2018 Slingshot SL along Maui’s coastal roads is the ultimate “I can’t drive 55” fantasy. But It’s only been a reality for the last few months, because they were illegal up until last year. Adrenaline junkies caught a break in Hawaii when they passed a new law to allow the Slingshot autocycle to drive Hawai‘i roads.
“I started renting the Slingshots right after the first of the year,” says Dustin Winkle, owner of Aloha Motorsports and certified outfitter for Polaris Adventures. “Until then they were illegal in Hawaii. They didn’t have a classification for them at DMV. By definition they could not be a motorcycle because for motorcycles defined in Hawaii you have to straddle the engine and you have to have a handlebar. The slingshots couldn’t be a car because they don’t have airbags. This happened with a lot of states, and Polaris had to work with the states to get a definition for the Slingshots. Hawaii was just the last one. So the past legislative session they created a new classification for an autocycle, that is what the slingshots are under.”
Slingshots are a motorcycle and car hybrid developed by Polaris corporation. Marketed as an extreme driving experience, the three wheeled autocycle became available in January at Aloha Motorsports. Polaris Adventures Director Jan Rintamaki explains that they were developed by Polaris Industries to be unlike any other road experience.
“The engineers at Polaris were charged with creating a unique vehicle for the road that would convey this idea of complete fun excitement and exhilaration,” says Rintamaki. “It was a machine unlike anything else that was offered. That was the focus for its launch in 2014.”
Winkle says he put his name on the list to get one in 2015, and was prepared to wait it out. Now that he can rent them, I decided to give it a roll on our roads to see how they handle.
Here is the fine print: First of all, you have to drive a stick to rent one. Be prepared to get a lot of sun on your cruise; this is an open air experience, wear sunscreen. The Slingshot is low to the ground, the seatbelts go from right to left, and there is not a lot of room for gear. Think small backpack, not beer cooler.
Now for the fun stuff. I am not a convertible girl, but driving this thing on our coastal roads with the sun in my face and the deep blue Pacific breeze grazing my skin screamed instant vacation. This autocycle wants to go fast! I picked mine up in Kihei, but the Aloha Motorsports showroom is on the West Side if you want to check it out. Keoki at Aloha Motorsports checked me in and 10 minutes later I jumped in and headed out on South Kihei Road. Keoki recommended heading up to Ulupalakua for the fun roads. I roamed around Makena, Wailea and South Kihei Road first before I hit the highway.
It was hot in the vehicle with the sun overhead. My first stop was Hawaiian Moons to chill out with one of their superfood smoothies. Then I blazed up Haleakala Highway pushing it to about 70 miles per hour. I didn’t have the balls to go any faster, but the wind was whipping across me in the open air. We stopped at Hali‘imaile General Store for a cushy lunch and an incredible french dip and salmon salad to die for. Then we checked in with the guys at the Hali‘imaile Distilling Company where they do tours and tastings. I applied more sunscreen and let my husband get behind the wheel. He drove like a badass, pushing the speedometer over 80 as we cruised the North Shore, but neither of us got near its 270 miles per hour max.
Winkle says folks rent them and take them all over the island. It would be breathtaking to drive to Hana, I would love to feel a drizzle and see the rainforest and waterfalls in the open air on road experience you get with the Slingshot. Plus the stereo system is all-weather ready.
“You can take them all over. Up around Kahakuloa, out to Hana, up Haleakala,” says Winkler. “The only thing we don’t recommend is dirt roads, they are just too low to the ground. We have two right now in Kihei and they are just out all of the time. You get the open air feel and it is just pretty awesome.”
Polaris Adventures is a new arm of Polaris Industries, launched in 2017.
“We work with each outfitter to curate the experiences so we know what type of adventures they feature,” says Rintamaki. “We use software that can see where the vehicles are and have a standardized digital registration to check in with your vehicle. We have all kinds of safety protocols as well that are present across our outfitter networks. We feel that paired with the local experience this really delivers the best safe memorable adventures. Since all of the vehicles are made by Polaris we know that they are state of the art and we see how they are maintained.”
You can rent them from Aloha Motorsports starting at $199, where they are exclusive outfitter here on Maui for the Slingshot.
“The Slingshot represents a joy ride like none other,” says Rintamaki.”It turns heads everywhere you go.”
Lahaina & Kihei
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