Thu. May 28th, 2020

2020 Vanderhall Motor Works Venice GT Review MC Commute

5 min read
A Vanderhall what? We go for a ride, er, drive, in Vanderhall Motor Works’ premium Venice GT reverse trike.

Half car, half motorcycle—three-wheelers like Vanderhall Motor Works’ Venice GT ($33,950) are a growing segment in the powersport world. Defined as both a reverse trike and autocycle, this vehicle category blends features of the two- and four-wheeled world for an experience like nothing else on the road.

A Vanderhall what? We go for a ride, er, drive, in Vanderhall Motor Works’ premium Venice GT reverse trike.

A Vanderhall what? We go for a ride, er, drive, in Vanderhall Motor Works’ premium Venice GT reverse trike. (Adam Waheed/)

Editor’s Note: In the state of California, the Venice GT does not require a motorcycle endorsement, however occupants are required to wear a DOT-labeled motorcycle helmet.

The Venice GT is powered by a General Motors-sourced 1,485cc inline-four. This LFV generation powertrain is used in Chevrolet’s 2016 and newer Malibu automobile and features direct injection, turbocharging, and variable valve timing with a claimed 194 hp and 203 pound-feet torque. The transverse-mounted engine is positioned in front of the vehicle and puts power to the 18-inch front wheels via a torque converter-equipped six-speed automatic transmission.

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The Venice GT is powered by a GM-sourced 1,485cc inline-four engine as used in 2016 and newer Chevrolet Malibu cars. The engine features direct fuel injection, turbocharging, and variable valve timing.

The Venice GT is powered by a GM-sourced 1,485cc inline-four engine as used in 2016 and newer Chevrolet Malibu cars. The engine features direct fuel injection, turbocharging, and variable valve timing. (Adam Waheed/)

Swing a leg over the fixed composite plastic bodywork and step inside the cockpit and it’s hard not to be impressed with the Venice’s bespoke interior. From the beautiful wood-grain steering wheel to the finely stitched leather seats, aircraft-style gauges, and toggle switches, the Vanderhall screams premium. Bright LED lighting helps you stand out and headlights offer a deep spread of light when driving after dark.

Related: Chevrolet Camaro 1LE vs. Honda Gold Wing Tour vs. Polaris Slingshot Grand Touring Comparison Review

Room for two. The Venice GT offers a bespoke interior with plenty of legroom for taller folks.

Room for two. The Venice GT offers a bespoke interior with plenty of legroom for taller folks. (Adam Waheed/)

An automobile-style three-point harness secures driver and passenger and the Venice offers generous legroom for this 6-foot-tall driver. A tilt and telescopic adjustable steering wheel and forward/back seat let you tweak ergos. Instead of a mechanical key, the Venice GT uses a keyless-style fob. Press the starter button, notch the center-mounted shifter into “D,” and it’s time to ride, er, drive.

We love the not so subtle styling touches of the wood-grain steering wheel and chrome bump shifter.

We love the not so subtle styling touches of the wood-grain steering wheel and chrome bump shifter. (Adam Waheed/)

With the GT’s larger-diameter 3-inch slash-cut pipes, the Venice has a mean growl even at idle. Mash the gas pedal and it jumps off the line in a muted way—initially. It takes a few moments for the turbo to spool but when it does, hang on. The whirl of the turbo and waste gate pop-off, paired with the Venice GT’s low-slung, open-air cockpit make for an exhilarating experience, even without a handlebar.

Spent fuel is expelled from a pair of 3-inch slash-cut exhaust pipes. The exhaust note offers a pleasing growl at any rpm.

Spent fuel is expelled from a pair of 3-inch slash-cut exhaust pipes. The exhaust note offers a pleasing growl at any rpm. (Adam Waheed/)

A broad spread of torque is available for just over 2,000 revs. A degree torque steer pulls the vehicle to either side during wide-open acceleration in lower gears. Stay loose on the wheel and it straightens out as the transmission upshifts though its six-speed gearbox. When manual shifts are desired, there is a left-hand side-mounted chrome bump shifter. However, its performance is slow, unlike a manual, or DCT-enabled motorcycle.

As opposed to other autocycles, the Venice GT is front-wheel drive with a 75/25 weight distribution.

As opposed to other autocycles, the Venice GT is front-wheel drive with a 75/25 weight distribution. (Adam Waheed/)

With a copious turbo boost at lower rpm, the powertrain favors a short-shift-type driving style, as opposed to revving it out to its 6,500 rpm redline. Still, with a claimed 0–60 mph time of 4.5 seconds the 1,465-pound Venice zips around town with slot car-like low-speed handling.

The Venice GT rolls on a set of 18-inch cast alloy wheels. Each wheel hides a single-piston hydraulic disc brake that feels sharp and is very adept at shedding speed.

The Venice GT rolls on a set of 18-inch cast alloy wheels. Each wheel hides a single-piston hydraulic disc brake that feels sharp and is very adept at shedding speed. (Adam Waheed/)

Sharp-feeling triple disc brakes are equally adept at shedding speed, however the brake pedal is extra sensitive, so be prepared. For those seeking even more stopping performance, Vanderhall offers a Brembo brake package as an upcharge. All European-bound Venices are outfitted with this setup due to homologation requirements.

The Venice GT offers the look and feel of a classic car. We are especially fond of its low hood line which not only looks neat but makes it easy to see the road during drives.

The Venice GT offers the look and feel of a classic car. We are especially fond of its low hood line which not only looks neat but makes it easy to see the road during drives. (Adam Waheed/)

With a wheelbase of more than 8 feet, the Vanderhall delivers favorable ride quality over bumpy stretches of pavement, and its pushrod-type front suspension makes for a compact hood line with 4.6 and 4.7 inches of travel forward and aft. The Venice’s 75/25 weight distribution affords inherent road stability, but just in case the vehicle is outfitted with traction control and ABS.

F1-style pushrod suspension makes for a shorter hood line versus a typical MacPherson setup.

F1-style pushrod suspension makes for a shorter hood line versus a typical MacPherson setup. (Adam Waheed/)

Still, the Venice GT isn’t subject to the same safety standards as an automobile, so caution needs to be exercised during drives. Vanderhall says it has engineered front and rear crumple zones, as well as pseudo roll bars (Vanderhall calls them “hoops”), however these features have not been crash tested. So buyer beware.

Although they look like roll bars, Vanderhall is quick to point out that the Venice GT is not subject to federal mandated crash testing. Therefore, it calls this component “hoops.”

Although they look like roll bars, Vanderhall is quick to point out that the Venice GT is not subject to federal mandated crash testing. Therefore, it calls this component “hoops.” (Adam Waheed/)

In terms of creature comforts, the GT-spec Venices have electronically heated seats and automobile-type heater and fan. A Bluetooth-enabled two-speaker stereo lets you listen to audio during drives, and is very easy to pair on our iOS-powered smartphones. Cruise control is another functional touch.

The Vanderhall Motor Works Venice GT can be driven in California without a motorcycle endorsement. However, driver and passenger are required to wear a DOT-labeled helmet.

The Vanderhall Motor Works Venice GT can be driven in California without a motorcycle endorsement. However, driver and passenger are required to wear a DOT-labeled helmet. (Adam Waheed/)

More car than motorcycle, Vanderhall’s Venice GT is a worthwhile option for those who want to make a statement around town. With its classic lines and bespoke finish, it’s a nice alternative for those seeking a fun, zippy, and charismatic three-wheeler that blurs the lines between a traditional convertible and a classic heavyweight motorcycle.

Gear Box

Helmet: Shoei RF-SR

Jacket: Rev’It Overshirt Tracer

Gloves: Racer Guide

Pant: Alpinestars Copper 2 Denim

Shoes: New Balance Arishi

2020 Vanderhall Venice GT Technical Specifications And Price

PRICE $33,950
ENGINE 1,485cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, inline-four, turbocharged; 16-valve
BORE x STROKE 74.0 x 86.6mm
COMPRESSION RATIO 10.0:1
FUEL DELIVERY Direct injection
CLUTCH Automatic torque converter
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 6-speed
FRAME Vanderhall Mono aluminum
FRONT SUSPENSION Pushrod, coilover hydraulic shocks (Vanderhall); 4.7-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION Single-sided swingarm, coilover hydraulic shock (Vanderhall); 4.6-in. travel
FRONT BRAKES 1-piston calipers, 296mm discs
REAR BRAKE 1-piston caliper, 278mm disc
WHEELS, FRONT/REAR Die-cast aluminum; 18 x 8.5-in. / 18 x 10.5-in.
TIRES, FRONT/REAR Federal; 225/40-18 / 285/30-18
RAKE/TRAIL N/A
WHEELBASE 100.2 in.
SEAT HEIGHT N/A
FUEL CAPACITY 8.5 gal.
CLAIMED CURB WEIGHT 1,465 lb.
WARRANTY 24 months, limited
AVAILABLE February 2020

Vanderhall Motor Works’ Venice GT simulates the driving experience of an open-wheel roadster.

Vanderhall Motor Works’ Venice GT simulates the driving experience of an open-wheel roadster. (Adam Waheed/)

We appreciate the classic look and touch of the Venice GT’s interior.

We appreciate the classic look and touch of the Venice GT’s interior. (Adam Waheed/)

The Venice GT rear suspension mounts directly between the frame and single-sided swingarm.

The Venice GT rear suspension mounts directly between the frame and single-sided swingarm. (Adam Waheed/)

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