Tuesday, June 17, 2008
2008 Thoroughbred Stallion Road Test
This is a review of the 2008 Thoroughbred Stallion trike. It's based on a demo ride I recently took at Americade 2008. The Stallion is made by Thoroughbred Motorsports whose parent company is Motor Trike. I currently own two Motor Trikes. I converted my 1998 Gold Wing 1500 to a Motor Trike for my wife in late 1999. I then bought another Gold Wing for myself and converted it a Motor Trike in late 2000. My wife's trike currently has 53,000 miles and mine has 38,000 miles.
After Motor Trike created the Stallion and formed a separate company to manufacture it, we saw it at the Americade rally several consecutive years. It was more of a prototype then. This year the Stallion was at Americade in force. A Stallion fleet was located at Roaring Brook Ranch (RBR) where most of the other demos took place. I decided to take a test ride and convinced my wife to go along and ride pillion.
When we arrived at RBR for the demo, the Stallions were all lined up by the side of the exit road ready to go. They looked very sharp. From the back, they look like small cars but then there is that small roll bar just behind the pillion seat.
It can be a bit of a struggle to get into the Stallion. Our guide was CEO, Jeff Vey, who gave us the tips necessary to easily get in and get seated. Seating is similar to that on a regular motorcycle, with the passenger seated directly behind the rider.
Once inside the Stallion, I didn't feel like I was on a motorcycle anymore. There were no handlebars, only a steering wheel. There was no open space in front of me as in a car. My left leg was on the left side of a raised tunnel where the transmission and drive train was. There was a brake pedal down there. My right leg was on the right side of the tunnel. There was an accelerator down there. On the far right of the cockpit was an automatic shift.
Underneath the sleek body work was a Ford Motor Company supplied 2.3 liter 4-cylinder engine developing 150 hp. All the running gear was Ford. The body, frame, and suspension was Thoroughbred designed, engineered, and manufactured. Since it has three wheels, it's classified as a motorcycle. To add doors and a roof would push it over the edge and turn it into a car, having to then meet all the government standards imposed on cars. This kinda looked like a sports car convertible but in reality it was a more sophisticated motorcycle trike built without the usual motorcycle platform.
The steering wheel column had a place for windshield wiper controls as in a car. For a moment I looked for the wipers but there were none. This is a motorcycle, I reminded myself.
There are two switches that have to be used before you start off. First is an air pressure control that allows you to set the pressure in the Air Lift suspension system to match the load in the Stallion. The other switch controls the brake and accelerator distance away from your feet. Just decide where you want your feet to touch the pedals and push the control until the pedals move towards you the correct amount.
I was told that the power disc brakes can be a bit sensitive and that I should try them a few times before we got on the road so "I wouldn't throw the pillion rider out over my head" -- a bit of Stallion humor I guess, since I had no trouble with the brakes.
There was a slight misty rain as we moved out for the demo ride. We hadn't bothered to put on our rain suits. I had no trouble seeing out the tall wrap-around windshield.
This vehicle also has heat and air conditioning for both rider and passenger but I didn't have time to test either.
There was no problem with the power steering other than it was a little quick at times.
The engine noise was much greater than I'm used to on my Honda Gold Wing Motor Trike. I thought maybe they had a modified muffler but was told later that it was stock.
The transmission has a way of shifting when you least expect it.
On the slick surface it was especially easy to spin the tires when starting off. The rider in front of me did just that on a quick left hand turn from a stop sign. I tried to watch my own performance after that to ease the throttle on gradually. I'm told that the Stallion has almost sports car performance on dry surfaces.
It was easy to drive the Stallion. You can pretty much forget all the controls you have on a motorcycle. The brake pedal controls all the brakes. There is no shifting. Just put it in Drive. There is no clutch. There are no handlebars, just a steering wheel.
I found the side view mirrors to be slightly hidden by the sides of the vehicle. Maybe that could have been adjusted.
The ride was a little rougher than I'm used to with my trike. Again, the air pressure adjustment for the Air Lift suspension might have corrected that.
The trunk capacity was 7 cubic feet, about half of what I have in my 2005 Honda Accord 4-door sedan.
The fuel cell holds 9.5 gallons. The EPA mileage rating is 35 MPG City / 45 MPG Highway.
For the die hard touring motorcyclist, the absence of a CB for group rides is a problem.
My wife once hit the back of her helmet on the roll bar when I started up a bit too quickly.
She did say later that the prospect of having heat and A/C in the Stallion would be a great selling point if she were buying it for herself. She doesn't tolerate heat on hot summer days.
I enjoyed my test ride on the Stallion and so did my wife, Jane.
I did see one Stallion around town and took its picture to show in this review.
The Stallion is being shown across the country in rallies. Check out its rally schedule and go take a demo ride yourself.
The Stallion lists for $32,995. That's comparable to buying a Honda Gold Wing 1800 for $22,000-24,000. and having it converted to a trike for an additional $10,000.
The Stallion is a new kind of motorcycle trike from the same people who continue to bring you the Motor Trike. It's a trike that will appeal to many who don't ride motorcycles at all. Also, licensing requirements may vary depending on where you live.
If you belong to a Gold Wing Road Riders Association (GWRRA) chapter and want a Stallion, you will find that you suddenly become an associate member since members are supposed to ride Gold Wings or Valkyries. Perhaps if the Stallion really catches on, GWRRA will make an exception.
See Americade 2008 - Day 8 for all the rest of my activities on the day I rode the Stallion.
My complete activities for Americade 2008 may be found on Americade Motorcycle Rally Day-by-Day Blog for 2008.