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Polaris jumps into the electric bike market

By

September 24, 2012

A new type of Polaris

A new type of Polaris

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When it comes to wheels, Polaris is already a well-recognized brand thanks to its line of off-roaders. Now the company is making the move into a new segment: electric bikes. Polaris has partnered with electric drive manufacturer EVantage in launching its own line of e-bikes. In fact, it dives into the market with lines for three different types of cyclists.

Polaris may be best known for its gas ATVs, snowmobiles and motorcycles, but the manufacturer also offers an electric option with its GEM line of four-wheelers. The new Vector, Strive and Meridian e-bike lines expand Polaris' electric footprint to the cycling market.

In developing e-bikes, Polaris teamed up with electric bike drive system manufacturer EVantage. It uses EVantage's DuoDrive system, which automatically switches between high-speed (SpeedDrive) and high-torque (TorqueDrive). SpeedDrive lets you cruise swiftly over flat, smooth terrain, and TorqueDrive kicks in when things get hilly or rough. Switching is handled automatically by the Smart Control hardware, so when the terrain changes, the bike adjusts, providing a smoother ride.

Polaris' e-bike powertrain combines pedal-assist and throttle drive. Cyclists can stop pedaling completely and use the throttle-controlled motor alone. In pedal-assist mode, built-in BioSync sensors measure the cyclists output and work with the smart controller to match or exceed that output with motor power. The system varies the power output to match the highs and lows inherent in a cyclists natural pedal rotation, which Polaris says makes the ride smoother and less jerky.

All Polaris e-bikes use a 450-watt brushless motor and a 29.6-volt lithium ProRide battery. The motor delivers speeds up to 18 mph, and the battery stays live for between 15 to 30 miles of range. Bicycle specs shared by all Polaris e-bikes include a 6061 aluminum frame, SRAM shifters and Suntour front suspension.

To get the most out of the battery, the Arc Regen system captures power lost from braking and when speeds exceed 19 mph and redirects it back to the battery. When regeneration is activated, the motor reverses course and serves as a generator, sending power to the battery.

Polaris has three e-bike lines: Vector, Strive and Meridian

An IC Dashboard mounted on the handlebars serves as a cyclist control unit and display. The cyclist selects his desired ride mode using the dashboard. The dashboard also displays trip information like speed, distance and battery range. A "carbon footprint savings" function calculates how many pounds of CO2 is saved by using the Polaris e-bike in place of a gasoline-driven car. The display also shows information about regeneration and bike maintenance when applicable. The throttle is located underneath the IC Dashboard.

Polaris' Vector line is a sort an off-road/urban hybrid designed for versatile performance. The Strive line is designed for touring comfort. The Meridian has European styling and extras like fenders and a front LED lighting system, aiming at urban commuters. All bikes are priced at US$2,500.

Source: Polaris E-Bikes

About the Author
C.C. Weiss Upon graduating college with a poli sci degree, Chris toiled in the political world for several years. Realizing he was better off making cynical comments from afar than actually getting involved in all that mess, he turned away from matters of government and news to cover the things that really matter: outdoor recreation, cool cars, technology, wild gadgets and all forms of other toys. He's happily following the wisdom of his father who told him that if you find something you love to do, it won't really be work.   All articles by C.C. Weiss
11 Comments

Do any of these bike companies EVER look at the state laws before they come out with these things? This will be illegal in most states because it has shift able gears after the motor drive... I'm not sure about all the other states but in NC you can not legally ride it on the roads.

Lee Bell
25th September, 2012 @ 09:46 am PDT

More overpriced gadgetry. A Honda s150 stepthrough gets 80 mpg and will go 65, making it freeway legal.

Ormond Otvos
25th September, 2012 @ 10:54 am PDT

As per Lee Bell's comment, I was thinking nearly the same thing.

I live in Europe and -- if I read the article correctly -- this bike will not be street legal for several reasons : top speed is over 25kph, motor is >250 watts and it has a thumb throttle that works independently of the rider's pedaling action. All fail the EU requirements in nearly every country for Electric Assist Bikes. I think the Swiss might let it pass.

This machine, while I agree that it is quite lovely, and I'd love to have one -- is an electric scooter. You'll need vehicle registration, a driving licence, motor vehicle insurance, an approved motorcycle helmet... etc. Sorry. No sale. Not round here.

duh3000
25th September, 2012 @ 11:16 am PDT

what about solar recharging through either panels or I heard of a paint that would turn solar energy into power to recharge the battery

decimalhead
25th September, 2012 @ 11:46 am PDT

I saw a simplified in hub transmission that would help this bike. I hope it works in the real world for all bicycles.

Stewart Mitchell
25th September, 2012 @ 11:54 am PDT

Motor > 200Watts can't be used in Australia without licence and registration and complying with relevant design rules. That is, this would be classed as a motor vehicle.

Also at $2,500 it is an expensive commuter. For half that price I can get a little step through that uses almost no fuel and can be ridden without a motorbike licence (just normal car).

If I had that money for a bike, it would be a road race bike for training / exercise not to commute to the train station. Is the world really so full of rich, lazy people with nothing better to do than coast around on electric push bikes?

Scion
25th September, 2012 @ 06:43 pm PDT

Scion: Probably yes.

Fritz Menzel
26th September, 2012 @ 08:25 am PDT

@Lee - never heard of any law regarding gearing. I know the California laws really well!! To not need a license and use bike lanes is must have usable pedals, no more than 750 watts (I think), and no more than 20MPH on motor alone.

@Ormond - I don't want my bike freeway legal. I want it bike-lane legal.

@duh3000 - The EU laws are idiotic (and UK even worse)! Why can't I choose between throttle and assist? I almost always pedal, but sometimes, especially early in the morning, I'll just use the motor for a stretch. But the EU leaders decided I shouldn't be allowed to do that. Also - 250watt max motor and max 15.5mph? That's just ridiculous and would certainly make me dump my ebike for a car again if they made that the law here. Even worse, it looks like some of the car companies now stepping into the ebike world are using these EU guidelines so their bikes will be legal everywhere and making them pointless in the US.

@ Scion - " Is the world really so full of rich, lazy people with nothing better to do than coast around on electric push bikes?" I'm really, really getting sick of ignorant comments like this. I sold my car (a wonderful '06 MINI Cooper S) almost 2 years ago and have been commuting over 30 miles per day - with lots of hills. I pedal quite a bit - even with a Pedego Interceptor with a 48v/500watt drive - in order to extend the battery range (wouldn't make it to work on just battery) - get exercise - and have faster acceleration and top speed. It takes more time and effort than driving a car. Even for other people who don't have as intense commutes, an bike is almost never going to replace a regular bike for a person but can replace a car for many errands. Therefore, even if the person is rich and lazy, it's still getting a car off the road!

David Rogoff
10th October, 2012 @ 10:49 am PDT

You'd have to be a fool to trust Polaris with $2500 for an electric bicycle. Look up the company's history with overpriced electric vehicles. They sold the "Pure Polaris Electric Scooter" back in the last decade (http://home.comcast.net/~twday60/geezer/reviews/polaris_scooter.htm). When they decided to dump it, they dumped the product and any evidence they'd ever sold or supported this overpriced ($1500 list) two-wheeler. Polaris is an ancient technology company (look at their Harley clones) that would love to be 21st Century without the hassle of providing reasonable product support.

Old Guy 2
21st April, 2013 @ 02:53 pm PDT

@Fritz Menzel

You pretty much did my job for me!

The bike assists you while you pedal. The bike cannot self propel without you pedaling first. Meaning, the throttle will not work, unless you have pedaled a full revolution. Additionally, if you are in motion but below 8 MPH the throttle will not re-engage and you will need to pedal a full rotation to re-engage. The motor will only assist you up to 19 MPH from there the bike no longer assist you and any speeds higher you will regain some power into the battery. You will not be able to go higher than 25 MPH on the bike due to the ARC Regen technology.

Always wear a helmet and observe local and state laws.

Check us out, find us on Facebook and ask us anything about the bikes!

Brent@PolarisEBikes
20th May, 2013 @ 07:51 pm PDT

Great comments David Rogoff. It's not quite as bad in the UK and EU as you make out. There are lots of ebikes available with twistgrip accelerators ('throttles') in the UK. And of course Germany has its 'S-class' for schnell (fast) ebikes allowed to do 28mph/45kph, the same as a petrol/gas moped, albeit with some legal and paper requirements. While I would love the EU to allow 20mph and even 500watts of power I doubt it's going to happen if we are to keep the 'go-anywhere, no paperwork, no helmet' freedom of normal pushbikes, which is one of the best things about pedelecs. I've had a lot of enjoyment, and useful transport, out of 15mph/250watt ebikes over the past 4 years and naturally, I've ridden a few illegally fast and powerful ones too. Finally, $2,500 is NOT expensive for this kind of machine. It would probably be priced closer to €2,500 over here, or even £2,500!

paulblez
30th July, 2014 @ 05:50 am PDT
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