polaris-vector-electric-bike-review

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Summary:

  • Custom design with integrated cables, controller, and battery plus regenerative braking
  • Battery mounted in the down tube keeping weight low and stable, looks nice and doesn’t rattle
  • Control system and mid-drive sensors mounted below bottom bracket, exposed to rocks, curbs and elements
  • Only available in high step frame, may be difficult or inconvenient for some to mount
  • Relatively expensive considering competitor specs in the same price range

Stats:

  • Price: $2,999.99 USD MSRP
  • Range: 15 to 30 miles depending on rider pedaling, bike offers pedal assist or throttle only mode
  • Top Speed: 18 miles per hour electronically limited, higher speeds trigger regenerative braking system
  • Gearing: SRAM X7 8 speed with trigger shifter on right side
  • Weight: 46 pounds without battery and 53lbs with battery
  • Battery: 29.6 Volt 6 amp hour Lithium ion ProRide
  • Charge Time: ~3 hours
  • Ride Time: ~1.25 hours throttle only, longer with pedal assist
  • Charge Cycles: ~1,300 if maintained well by keeping it charged
  • Motor: 450 Watt DuoDrive brushless geared rear hub motor
  • Other: 6061 aluminum frame, Velo comfort style sprung seat, front and rear Tektro IO disc brakes, side-mounted kickstand

Video Review:

Written Review:

The Polaris Vector offers a unique combination of efficiency and power. On the one hand, you’ve got a 450 Watt brushless geared hub motor paired with ~30 Volts of power which is actually quite powerful. On the other hand, you’ve got regenerative braking paired with a fancy control system designed to limit top speed and extend range. In my time riding this bike I felt a bit underwhelmed with the torque and peppiness but that’s a design decision Polaris made on purpose. The computer system is striving for efficiency and trying to deliver a smooth ride.

The Vector weighs just 53lbs including the battery pack which mounts and locks right into the down tube. This keeps the center of gravity low and makes the bike easy to handle, carry and park. It rides quiet and the sprung seat and front shock smooth out minor bumps in the road so the overall experience is peaceful. The battery pack on this bike doesn’t rattle around compared with the plastic tray styles used on the other models Polaris offers like the Strive or Meridian.

The Vector is easy to lift but a bit harder to maneuver onto car racks because of the curved top tube, which to me looks kind of funny. The benefit of this design is that it allows the seat to be positioned lower, making the bike easier to mount, creating a more upright seating position. Another unique design feature of this bike is the positioning of the controller system. It’s located just below the bottom bracket in a small plastic box. While this is a more vulnerable location, it does serve the purpose of enhanced torque and drive sensing which helps to create that ultra-smooth acceleration in pedal assist mode.

I think the best way to describe this bike is “controlled”. It’s smart, efficient, relatively light weight and potentially powerful but not directly satisfying. The three modes of pedal assist are the best feature here and really let this bike reach its full potential, they just don’t feel the same as a heavier more powerful ebike. This has actually been described as a benefit to me by Polaris representatives who were trying to design a system that didn’t feel so jerky. I tend to like the feeling of “peppiness” however and prefer to smooth out the ride myself by using the throttle manually.

Considering the relatively high price point of this bike, the technology and offering may not be a fit for everyone. People who enjoy a smoother feel, lighter frame and integrated battery style however will feel right at home. Keep in mind the bike actually limits rider top speed to 18mph when turned on, extra speed is regenerated into power for the battery extending range. It’s one of the few bikes out there with regenerative braking at all. Polaris is a great brand with experience making vehicles of all sorts and I know they are working to refine this offering even more in the years to come.

Pros:

  • Integrated battery design is stylish, keeps weight low to the ground and doesn’t rattle
  • Front and rear disc brakes provide plenty of stopping power, front shock and seat springs smooth out the ride
  • Computer is easy to use, provides some fun extras such as carbon footprint savings
  • Rapid fire trigger shifters work well and are my preference vs. twist shift on other ebikes
  • Advanced computer system provides smooth acceleration and regenerative braking
  • Battery is chargeable on or off the bike
  • High end Lithium ion battery will last 1,000+ cycles and reduces overall weight of bike
  • Polaris is a well established brand with experience building other light weight vehicles
  • Plastic chain guide helps keep the chain on track when riding and using mid-drive

Cons:

  • Drive system leaves something to be desired in terms of peppiness
  • 18mph top speed may be frustrating for those wishing to go faster down hills
  • Frame is a bit awkward, doesn’t mount well to car racks that connect to top-tube
  • No water bottle mounts due to battery placement
  • Expensive price point considering the motor power and battery system
  • Bottom bracket controller mount seems vulnerable

Rating:

Polaris Vector, Rated 3.5 out of 5
Updated by Court Rye

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