The Polaris Meridian is my favorite bike in the Polaris electric bike lineup. It matches smooth, efficient riding with a bike design that supports relaxed upright positioning. It includes fenders, chain guard and an LED light on the front which come in very handy for city riding. The Polaris website describes this bike as having “European Styling” but I’d just describe it as a city cruiser.
The bike comes in two frame styles, high step and step-through for shorter riders or those who prefer easier mounting. Even the high step version of this bike has a slightly angled top tube which allows the seat to drop lower and position the rider more upright. Both models feature swept back handlebars that make them easier to reach. This is great for city riding because it doesn’t require you to lean forward to reach the handlebars, thus raising your natural viewpoint and making it easier to spot traffic. I have found this riding position to also be more comfortable on the neck and back when wearing a backpack or going over bumps.
The motor and control unit on this bike are unique to Polaris and combine the strength of 450 watts in the brushless rear hub motor with ~30 volts of power from the battery. Considering the relatively light weight of this bike, just 53lbs, that’s a decent offering. It’s important to note however that the Meridian doesn’t use its strength to overwhelm riders, it’s there to get you going and it does so very smoothly. Once you’re up to speed the motor cuts out then automatically switches to regeneration mode at 18mph helping to top off the battery.
The wheels on the Meridian are larger 29″ that support 700c tires more like a road bike. That said, the tires that it ships with are rather large and forgiving. This strikes a balance between smooth rolling, absorbing bumps and efficiency. The other two bikes that Polaris offers, the Strive and Vector, come with 26″ rims that are more traditional for mountain biking.
There are three pedal assist modes offered on this bike and they do the job well. Smooth is the best way to describe how they work and this is complimented by the cushy sprung seat and front shock absorber. For people who have tried some other ebikes and felt jerked around when starting to pedal, this bike will feel wonderful. Keep in mind however that it might feel less powerful and more like a regular bike than a scooter. Even the thumb throttle feels more gentle than other ebikes I’ve ridden, less jerky.
The battery on this bike offers higher voltage as mentioned earlier but not as much capacity, just 6 amp hours. Most other ebikes provide 10 or even 15 amp hours but what they lack is the regenerative braking which is activated during stops, higher speeds or coasting down hills on this bike. This combination of technology means the Polaris Meridian isn’t the cheapest bike around but does weigh much less than some comparable bikes.
If you’re looking for a lighter weight bike created by a long running trusted brand that isn’t designed for speed, the Meridian could be a great fit. This bike isn’t perfect, the rear rack doesn’t offer a lot of storage space or accommodate side-mounted panniers very well, the controller is mounted below the bottom bracket exposing it to more bumps and the price tag is a little high but it’s still my favorite Polaris bike and definitely one to check out. If you do end up needing more storage I recommend panniers that can sling over the top of the rear rack vs. clipping onto the side. Also, the high step model comes with water bottle mounting holes and is easier to mount onto some car racks and busses.
- Frame is solid, durable and relatively light weight
- Extras including chain guard, fenders and light are very useful in the city or around town
- Front shock and cushy seat smooth out the ride
- Upright seating position and swept back handlebars are good for town riding, easier on back and neck
- Custom controller is easy to use and includes extras such as carbon footprint calculation
- Front and rear disc brakes provide great stopping power
- Smooth acceleration and limited top speed keep this bike relaxed
- Regenerative braking comes in handy for longer rides or big downhills
- High end Lithium ion battery is light weight and will last 1,000+ charges before decreasing capacity
- Polaris is a well established brand with experience building other light weight vehicles like ATV’s and motorcycles under the Victory brand
- Rear mounted battery puts weight up higher (like many ebikes) but means the bike is rear-heavy and a bit less stable, harder to lift in some cases
- 18mph top speed motor may be frustrating for those wishing to go faster down hills or just in general
- Plastic battery pack design can rattle around more than if it were integrated
- Rear rack is not ideal for clip on panniers, works best with double sided ones that lay across the rack.