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Discussion Starter #1
I have yet to hear from my dealer in San Jose, but I was visiting my brother in the Sacramento area and we paid a visit to the dealer in Auburn who had a demo SL (they had sold their base model).

After all of the pictures and videos, no surprises in the looks department - way cool.

I didn't do a close inspection for fit and finish, but the edges at the sides where you get in seemed fine.

Getting in and out was even easier than I expected, and the seats are indeed quite comfortable.

Went inside to fill out the waivers etc. for the test drive and mentioned the whine whines I've read about here.

Jeff said yes they make some noise but he thought it was normal and that both of the SS's he'd received were the same.

Off for the test drive, which was about a 20 min loop including miles of curvy mountain road.

Let me preface the following by saying that I'm particularly sensitive to mechanical sounds, both aesthetically (jetlike turbo sound good, harsh gear whine bad) and physically, as certain mid and high frequencies hurt my ears (squealing tots make me wince).

Taking off, I immediately noticed what sounded like loud gear whine.

It was load-dependent; more throttle = louder.

It would quiet down if I let off on the gas just enough to unload the drivetrain, and return at reduced intensity if I let off all the way.

During the transition between on/off there was a brief earsplitting shriek or squeal that might be what others have speculated is belt resonance.

I don't have experience with belt noise, but I'm certain it's gear whine (from the trans and/or bevel drive) because it's so high pitched and its metallic nature.

The whine was so loud that it drowned out the engine exhaust sound when stepping on the gas, and I couldn't bear to wind it out because my ears couldn't take it.

It sounded like it was coming from the transmission directly to my right and below, but it could be that the hard-mounted bevel drive (maybe the trans is too?) is turning the plastic bodywork into a giant speaker diaphragm, in which case it would sound like it's coming from whichever is the nearest surface.

On to other aspects, I really liked the open feeling of the cockpit and seeing the road right there; the feeling of being outside is what I miss the most about motorcycles (I quit after the third time I took a tumble, which permanently spooked me).

Both my girlfriend and I were a bit distracted by the top of the windshield being directly in our line of sight, but that's fixable.

Getting into the curves, it was great having no A-pillars to block the line of sight as happens in cars.

Steering is direct and linear, though the ratio is a bit slow, and handling is really good, with the wide front stance giving a feeling of unflappable stability.

However I didn't push very close to the limits; I wasn't familiar with the not very wide road and the SS's width added to the feeling that there was little room for error.

Add to that the open and exposed feeling of the SS and sheer drops to the sides and I opted for better safe than sorry.

On one curve I did deliberately start to take it wide and then cut in to test the cornering power, and it just followed my input.

Speaking of open and exposed, we were surprisingly comfortable even at speed on what was a chillier day (low to mid-50's) than we'd been used to.

Only my left and her right arm got cold, which would have been remedied with better attire.

I liked the suspension, which was firm but compliant and I was relieved that nothing rattled from the sharper bumps.

I was a bit disappointed in the engine overall; when I put my foot in it did scoot, but you have to wait a bit and it lacks the responsive and directly connected torquey feel that I expected from the torque/weight ratio and flat torque curve.

It didn't exhibit the extreme hanging rpm issue, but it did have what I assume is the normal lazy reduction in rpm when letting off on the gas to shift.

Overall it all amounted to feeling too much like a hyped up econobox, which was exacerbated by the noise issue.

Getting back into town I realized that I hadn't engaged in the obligatory wheelspin experience, so after pulling away from a stop at about 10 mph I floored it.

From the sound of the rpm suddenly increasing I presumed I had spun the rear wheel, but the whine was so loud that I couldn't hear the rear tire squeal.

But my girlfriend said she smelled burning rubber so I guess I succeeded.

Bottom line for me is that the gear noise really takes the wind out of my sails; there's no way I could tolerate that much noise, or even half as much.

I'll wait for my dealer to get his in and try it, but I'm not hopeful.
 

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Im not sure what all the belly aching is over gear whine. Its normal mechanical music.
Most production cars are built with noise and vibration dampeners so you dont hear/feel it as much.
The more raw a vehicle is the more you will get everything that goes with gear whine, gear lash, and everything else.

As for the hyped up econobox feeling, well yeah I can see that, its just an econobox engine afterall.
 

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Good review Noah. I put around 70 miles on mine yesterday, and I agree with all your points. The whine at first for me was actually horrible. Your mind tends to shut it out of your consciousness after a time, but it's still there.
The folks getting turbos and superchargers for theirs may have problems breaking belts and other components I am afraid. They just don't exude the kind of strength needed that I would normally associate with power adders. I could be wrong, and hope I am for the sake of those getting them.
But, when you start hanging the type of meat out back to get these things to dead hook, stuffs going to break, but I am skeptical and believe they will be tire spinners no matter what rubber is put back there.

I am pleasantly surprised at the gearbox for its precision and smoothness. Hey Ford, pay attention, Mustangs could benefit from a trans that shifts this well.

It's still very cool for a toy, and certainly different enough to warrant adding one to the toy box.

I gassed mine up the first time in my garage to avoid the fan boys at the gas stations, I gassed it at a gas station yesterday and held my breath waiting for the first drooler to show up, but no one approached. I think it had a lot to do with my scary appearance and the wind and cold. I also avoided multiple lane roads opting instead for two lane roads to preclude knuckle heads from being able to pull alongside to take cell pics and possibly run me off the road. It's bad enough just knowing that I share the roads with asshats, I don't want to encourage them.
 

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Im not sure what all the belly aching is over gear whine. Its normal mechanical music.
Most production cars are built with noise and vibration dampeners so you dont hear/feel it as much.
The more raw a vehicle is the more you will get everything that goes with gear whine, gear lash, and everything else.

As for the hyped up econobox feeling, well yeah I can see that, its just an econobox engine afterall.
You'll have a much better understanding about the whine when you actually get yours out of the garage and drive it. They don't tend to whine just sitting in the garage, only wives do that. :p
 

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Thanks for the review Noah, struck me as the best one so far.

Just wondering if you noticed that the whine diminish above 50 mph as many have said? 'Sounds' like we have similar ears so I'm concerned about this too. I have to wear gun muffs when working with most power tools and noise canceling headphones when flying. Ear plugs are a must when on MCs, mainly for wind noise rather than engine noise.

I'm wondering why that whine didn't seem to show up during the early prototype testing in what little media there was. Almost no mention of it in the write ups and I barely noticed it in the videos of that time, unlike some of the owner videos where I can hear it well.

I'm still thinking (hoping) that it is belt whine rather than the bevel gears. I get your comments about the metallic nature of it but I'm thinking the CF belt reinforcement is actually stiffer than steel.

Do you suppose it's possible that Polaris installed Kevlar belts on the prototypes and changed them often to get past the whine issues during early testing?

Or maybe our ears are too F-ing sensitive :)
 

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I own an SL and the noises are what's to be expected when you are that exposed to the elements. I love everything about the Slingshot.

I'm thinking most of the whine is coming from those who don't own a Slingshot, posture as if they are going to buy one, but don't, or are pure haters who jump on the forum, make one negative post, and then disappear.

If you want a quiet ride, buy a Cadillac. If you want a rocket ship, buy a Ducati 1199. If you want to be super safe, don't leave your house.
 

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Who stole the jam out of your doughnut G-man?:p

I thought he did a good job and was probably being fair on the write up, but I'm looking forward to the whine actually.....And some aftermarket exhaust....And intake.....I like noises.

My whine is that mine still hasn't been delivered:(
 

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My wife and I have three cars (all convertibles) and five motorcycles (including the slingshot). I sold my Ducats 999 which was so incredibly loud (I put new pipes and cans on it) to the point I had to wear ear plugs. My Rune has so much wind noise with no windshield I wear ear plugs with it as well. My Harley has loud pipes, but it's hard to hear them over the jacked stereo I have blasting away when I ride.

All of the cars are loud since they lack a hard roof. When we took our Slingshot home we (the wife and I) reveled at how quiet the ride was in comparison. It had typical motorcycle noise, but atypical automotive noise with the great exhaust note and the sound of the tires just outside your reach.

I have a little Norwich Terrier who rides on my bike or in my Jeep with me sometimes. He sports a pair of sunglasses when riding. I thought that go a lot of attention until I brought home the Slingshot.

Sorry for seeming to be harsh in the first post. I think this is a great machine and the forum is a great group.

Drank my coffee. Feel better. Time for more.
 

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I also did not like the whine on my initial ride. Now, its all great. Im surprised that when you floored it you didnt feel the rear spinning. I cant keep it straight. Smoke on boys.
 

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My wife and I have three cars (all convertibles) and five motorcycles (including the slingshot). I sold my Ducats 999 which was so incredibly loud (I put new pipes and cans on it) to the point I had to wear ear plugs. My Rune has so much wind noise with no windshield I wear ear plugs with it as well. My Harley has loud pipes, but it's hard to hear them over the jacked stereo I have blasting away when I ride.

All of the cars are loud since they lack a hard roof. When we took our Slingshot home we (the wife and I) reveled at how quiet the ride was in comparison. It had typical motorcycle noise, but atypical automotive noise with the great exhaust note and the sound of the tires just outside your reach.

I have a little Norwich Terrier who rides on my bike or in my Jeep with me sometimes. He sports a pair of sunglasses when riding. I thought that go a lot of attention until I brought home the Slingshot.

Sorry for seeming to be harsh in the first post. I think this is a great machine and the forum is a great group.

Drank my coffee. Feel better. Time for more.
I SO hope your perception of the SS noise is right G-Man. It's not that I dislike all noise, just has to be the right kind of noise. I paid BMW $1700 to put a noiser exhaust system on my E90. It was unbearably quiet before that.
 

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I love the harshness , frame ,motor, trans and you . Autos have a ton of sound blocking material added to them so you hear the motor and trans a lot less in them and a normal motorcycle's has a lot less to the drive train . This is all new and that's just the way it is gear wine , might be the same in a car if you strip every thing off of it and give it one wheel .
 

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I don't have many miles on mine yet, but for me the wine is a non-issue. I know many have much more sensitive ears than me, and can probably hear high pitched noises more acutely. They say part of my hearing was destroyed driving mufflerless tractors as an adolescent, maybe that's it. All I know is the good Lord has blessed me with hundreds of fine vehicles over the last 55 years, I live for God and for the multitude of blessings he brings me. Incredible machines. Because of my many years of experience with this sort of thing, I'd just like to add my 2 cents worth. PLEASE, don't overevaluate this fine example of a wonderful experience. You have to have one and drive it for a while to know if you really like it. Yes there's better stuff out there, and for comparable money, but that other stuff fits into a different nitch of the marketplace, no one machine can do it all. Take it for what it is, have fun, find the joy you so richly deserve. And if you buy one and truly find something you can't live with, FIX IT. In this day and age it's not that hard to come up with solutions to overcome most any problem if the outcome is something that's worth it to you. Again. The SS is not perfect, but for the money we have an excellent experience that can only get better. It's all in our own minds, what do we want and expect.
 

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Nice detailed write up Noah. Hopefully the whine gets better with age.

Spirit Motorcycles has not received any Slingshots as 12/31/14.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the kind words on my review.

G-Man, I know you backpedaled, but to address your comment, I didn't squander hundreds of hours reading and writing in this forum to posture or hate.

That's time subtracted directly from what I could have used to work on my lengthy project list (one of which is to build reverse trike the way I want it).

If the SL I tried really is the way it is, I'm totally bummed about the lost time and not having an open air ride again like I was looking forward to.

1. Just wondering if you noticed that the whine diminish above 50 mph as many have said?

2. I'm wondering why that whine didn't seem to show up during the early prototype testing in what little media there was. Almost no mention of it in the write ups and I barely noticed it in the videos of that time, unlike some of the owner videos where I can hear it well.

3. I'm still thinking (hoping) that it is belt whine rather than the bevel gears. I get your comments about the metallic nature of it but I'm thinking the CF belt reinforcement is actually stiffer than steel.

4. Do you suppose it's possible that Polaris installed Kevlar belts on the prototypes and changed them often to get past the whine issues during early testing?

5. Or maybe our ears are too F-ing sensitive :)
Otter, addressing your points which I've numbered:

1. Not that I could tell; wind noise, a lot of it seeming to be from the side entry areas, increased quite a bit, but that didn't bother me.

2. I was wondering that too; most cameras seem to accentuate background noise and I'd have thought the whine is allyou'd hear, but I only remember one or too videos where that was the case.

3. I don't think so; the stiffness and low damping of the CF should be totally swamped by the damping of the elastomeric encasement, same as a steel belted tire doesn't sound metallic if you thwack it.

4. Dunno but I doubt it.

I think 5. is 3/4 of the problem; as we see here most people aren't bothered by it.
 

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You'll have a much better understanding about the whine when you actually get yours out of the garage and drive it. They don't tend to whine just sitting in the garage, only wives do that. :p
I drove it 50 miles home and have another 50 miles on it. How much more do I need to drive it?
Anxiously awaiting your response!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Im surprised that when you floored it you didnt feel the rear spinning. I cant keep it straight.
What would I feel? I was pointed straight so there were no handling dynamics involved, and the TC keeps the acceleration from changing noticeably.

In my experience wheelspin is more the aural experience of shrieking rear tires.

Speaking of which, can anyone hear their tires spin over the mechanical/engine sound?

If not, then the SL I tried is probably normal; if so, maybe not.
 
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