Polaris Vector Review

Polaris Vector Electric Bike Review
Polaris Vector Electric Bike Review
Polaris Vector
Polaris Vector Bottom Bracket Controller
Polaris Vector Front Shock
Polaris Vector Lcd Computer
Polaris Vector Rear Hub Motor
Polaris Vector Electric Bike Review
Polaris Vector Battery Pack Lock
Polaris Vector Chain Guide Controller
Polaris Vector Battery Charge Indicator
Polaris Vector Battery Pack

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

Video Review

Introduction Edit

Make:

Polaris

Model:

Vector

Price:

$ 2499.00

Body Position:

Forward

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban, Trail

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2013

Rating:

Electronic Details Edit

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

450 watts

Motor Brand:

Evantage DuoDrive

Battery Voltage:

29.6 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

177.6 wh

Battery Brand:

ProRide

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium-ion

Charge Time:

3 hours

Estimated Min Range:

15 miles ( 24 km )

Estimated Max Range:

30 miles ( 48 km )

Display Type:

Backlit Monochrome LCD

Readouts:

Speed, Odometer, Battery Level, Assist Level (Eco, Normal, Sport)

Drive Mode:

Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle

Top Speed:

18 mph ( 29 kph ) (Automatic Regeneration Above 18 mph)

Bicycle Details Edit

Total Weight:

53 lbs ( 24.04 kg )

Battery Weight:

7 lbs ( 3.17 kg )

Frame Types:

High-Step

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Colors:

Silver with Black Accents

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour XCT Suspension with 80 mm Travel

Attachment Points:

Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x8 SRAM X7

Shifter Details:

SRAM X5 Triggers on Right Bar

Pedals:

Plastic Platform

Handlebar:

Comfort Sport, Low Rise

Brake Details:

Tektro IO Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotor, Integrated Motor Cutoff and Regen Activation Switch in Levers

Grips:

Velo Comfort Ergonomic

Saddle:

Velo Plush D2 Comfort

Tire Brand:

Kenda K935

Wheel Sizes:

26 in ( 66.04 cm )

Tire Details:

Reflective Sidewall

Tube Details:

Schrader Valve

Accessories:

Side Mounted Kickstand, Plastic Chain Guide, LED Power Indicator on Battery

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

Resources:

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17 Comments

Polaris eBikes
December 27, 2012
Thank you for the review of the Polaris Vector, Powered by EVantage motor technology. In developing the line of Polaris ebikes, the goal was to redefine what people expect from an electric bicycle. There is such little awareness about ebikes in the US, and those who have knowledge of ebikes, have only experienced what we call the bolt on ride. This is the ride feeling of having a motor bolted onto a bicycle. It is not a smooth ride, and it takes people away from feeling like they are riding a bicycle. The goal of an electric bicycle is to enhance the bicycle riding experience, not completely change it. The evantage motor system provides the smoothest riding experience, and the closest thing to a bicycle ride of any ebike. We have heard that some customers are looking for enhanced power. This is why we are now offering a turbo software update, that will heighten the power off the line on our ebikes and provide more power over hills. Additionally, we are hard at work on our version 2.0 motor system that will incorporate every piece of customer feedback we have received. Look for the V2 this upcoming summer season. We will have to get the electric bike review on one of our software updated units.
    Gordy Schubert
    May 24, 2013
    I currently own a strong electric bike made in china. I use it every day untill snow , 7miles to work 7 back, I have modifyed it with swicthed lites and strobes and horn, grip throttle and thumb throttle with cruse controll,disk brakes that cut out power when applied. The frame has front and rear suspension with a adjustible shock in the centre works perfect, it has full fenders great in the rain. There is a removable battery pack that locks seperate with the key which also locks a pin in the back disk. there is currently 3 12volt 12ah sealed lead acid batteries making 36 volts, plenty of tork and top speed of 18mph on flat surface no wind loose about 3mph against the strongest wind. I paid 500 dollars at canadian tire. Have replaced batteries once 150 dollars, replaced some spokes in rear wheel and put new michlin 26inch tires on it. Lithium batteries are not cost effective yet but could be added shaving off 20lbs. It would be nice to try the polaris electric bike. I think it could use more stuff and engineering.
      Jackytar
      August 10, 2013
      I am in the market for a pair of electric bikes in the US and the Polaris line up has caught my attention. My wife and I have rented electric bikes in the US and europe and have a preference for well executed (seamless) torque sensing set-ups that give you that magical conditioned athlete experience. We are in our early 50s and plan to use the bikes for leisurely exploring the surrounding area so high performance is not on our list of criteria. Other than the limitied range of the Polaris bikes they appear just about perfect for our needs. However, us ebike enthusiasts are all too aware that there are a lot of companies entering this market and long term ownership has to be a consideration. Will this company be around and support this model bike by making parts available in, say, 5 years? My read is that the US consumer is not taking to ebikes as quickly as expected and there are going to be a lot of ebike models in the graveyard. And sure enough, here it is August 2013 and the only place I can find Polaris ebikes for sale is ebay. And the only credible press I can find about them is this blog dating back to the time of their roll-out. Seems they spent 3 years in R&D, came out of the gate strong and what? Gave up? Very discouraging. The bikes I like that ostensibly have a strong presence in the US market (like Polaris, Stromer, and Emotion) have custom battery configurations or other proprietary technology that effectively asks too much of the consumer - which is to gamble thousands of dollars on the future of the company or, in the case of established companies, their commitment to ebikes in general or this model specifically. Innovation in this market is advancing rapidly - literally month to month - and we seem to be witnessing in real time the birth and demise of one company, or model, after another. I've concluded from all this that manufacturers entering into the US ebike market are just as often driven by a blind enthusiasm for the concept than by the cold hard ecomonic realities. As a consumer I've never felt so paralyzed by a purchase decision.
        Court Rye
        August 11, 2013
        Hi Jeckytar, you have shared a very interesting observation and I would agree on several points. For most people the purchase of an ebike is a high involvement one due to price. There is a lot riding on the decision given that battery packs may expire well before the frame and other components and custom configurations do require that the manufacturer still be providing support for replacement. I recently test rode two Polaris ebikes at a shop in Longmont Colorado called Small Planet E Vehicles http://youtu.be/uEkiDRVtYVI and will be updating the pictures and videos for the Strive and Vector here as a result but am not sure how much support Polaris is providing. The last I heard, they were offering an update to firmware based on customer feedback. They are also still selling through their website. I will dig in again this year at Interbike and provide updates here. Brands that I have high trust in are Pedego, Easy Motion (emotion) and Stromer given their long history of leadership in the space. Of course, iZip is a good choice as well given how standard many of their battery pack designs are.
          Motomanz
          September 19, 2013
          I totally understand Jackytar's concerns as most people "should". I've researched many eBikes from the "bolt-on" kits to the sorry units places like Wal-Mart sell. Sure, the low-end type bikes run $500 to $1200, but for the very poor performance, extremely short run time, extremely long charge time, most with only 7 speeds and no regenerative charging like the Polaris (plus no disc brakes, front suspension, brushless motor, high end seat, etc, etc, etc...), I believe you are just throwing money away buying basically an extremely overweight bicycle (most are 65+ pounds!). Jackytar's concerns are solid at a "Big Box" store and it will be a lost cause in the long run with no manufacturer, dealer support or parts to keep their purchase going for many years. What I do know is that you can count on Polaris to be around. No - I don't have a "crystal ball", but I have over 40 years in the Motorcycle industry and have seen the amazing things Polaris has done in the last 10 years and how they are climbing to the top in ATV/UTV and Motorcycle sales. Do your own research if you want proof. Their design, engineering and technology is cutting edge and the eBikes are no different. I totally expect them to be the leading eBike seller in the world in a short time. Their partnership with leading eBike technology company EVantage will keep them at the head of the pack. A couple test reviews claim they would prefer more power. If one desires a "high performance" model, I'm sure it will be offered as/if demand for such a unit grows, but obviously then one is getting away from the "Bicycle" side of things for sure. If they bump up to a large/strong power sytem that will run - say 30-40+, then you are then basically making a "scooter with pedals" (Sco-Ped) requiring tags, insurance, age limitations, no bike path or sidewalk access, etc, etc.. I do know that they are in the beginning stages of getting the National dealer network established, so before too long you will be able to go test ride and purchase them at your local authorized Polaris eBike dealer. Obviously that takes some time to get set up. The "brick and mortar" type stores that will be carrying them besides bicycle locations would include Powersports dealerships (ATV/UTV/Scooter/Motorcycle/Snowmobile dealers). I believe the eBike is the future for many people as there seems to be a large extensive network of bike paths in nearly every city and fuel prices remain high. Plus; don't we all need a little more excersize?? Thank you Polaris for a great quality product!
            Jackytar
            September 21, 2013
            I got a pair of Specialized Expeditions and put BionX kits on them. Not stealth or high performance but I am otherwise very pleased with this option.
              Vector Owner
              October 12, 2013
              I own a Polaris Vector electric bike. The bike works reasonably well, but the dealer and the manufacturer provide no information when you have questions. One problem i've encountered is that the power will cut out for no apparent reason. I've tried to determine some consistency but so far have been unable. Some times i can get it back on by removing the battery pack and reinstalling. Other times i've continued pedaling and after a few minutes the power came on again. Sometimes it will happen 5 or 6 times a 3 hour ride, other times not at all during a ride. Other information i've requested, relates to the removal of the rear motorized wheel. I've gone to the dealer, the manufacturer, and do constant research on the net to find out how to deal with the wires coming out of this wheel. I've done this many many times, but the dealer who is located over 500 miles away from me is totally unresponsive as is the manufacturer. It seems impossible to get information from them. The simple manual that is supplied has very limited information. Do your research before investing in this bike. If you happen to get any of this information please email me.
                posmike
                November 2, 2013
                I purchased 2 Polaris e-bikes (vector and st stride) late spring 2013. The vector for the most part has been fine except for the above mentioned problem of cutting off when it feels like but cutting the power off for 30 seconds or so then back on usually takes care of it. I have taken the vector Into an adjoining Federal and state park many times with gravel roads and it performs very well. The Stride worked 1 day for about 10 miles and hasn't worked since. After 4 months the dealer replaced the Stride with a new 2.0 version and will be taking it out today. I guess like most new releases there are problems to work out. The bikes appear to be high quality but the handlebar screws are steel and rust while the rest of the bike is aluminum. This should be fixed! I hope Polaris is around for a long time to come and I wish them well.
                  Austin Higdon
                  December 11, 2013
                  Hi all Would like to apologize to any of our customers on this thread that have not received the support they were looking for. Please contact us so we can get you on your ebike again !! In this case, feel free to contact me directly on my mobile @ 954 328 0109 If you ever any questions about the Polaris eBikes, our offices are staffed to answer customer service calls 8am PST- 8 pm PST @ extension 2. Toll Free: 1-855-EVANTAGE (382-6824) Local: 305-538-1406 Fax: 305-397-2476 Email: info@evantagebikes.com
                    Andreas W
                    May 25, 2014
                    Hi! Has anyone tested the polaris vector with the firmware/software update, or is the one selling now an updated model? I see the pricing on the then now is down to 1999 in a few stores, seems like a good deal. In terms of frame size, how tall can You be and use this bike comfortably?, I am 6'4" the price now cheaper and IF the update removes some of the CONS in the review, then it looks like an pretty ok deal? Been reading reviews for e-bikes now until eyes are sore, and there are so many vendors.... omg.... I think a combo of a decent pricing and a vendor that don't disappear soon is a preferred combo. If Polaris ebike is a part of Polaris Industries, it should have the finances and market muscle to be a stayer. My experience is that everything needs maintenance and some parts now and then.
                      Court Rye
                      May 27, 2014
                      Hi Andres, great points... It is nice to get a product from a larger trusted brand and Polaris has done well with their other vehicles in the past. As for size, given your 6'4" height these bikes may feel a bit small. Consider the IZIP E3 Dash, Easy Motion Neo Cross or Pedego Interceptor which are available in Large sizes.
                        Bobby
                        June 5, 2014
                        The description of this bike states that the "Motor Placement" is a MidDrive or a Rear Hub System. The bike reviewed was a rear hub system. Have you seen or test driven their MidDrive motor placement version? At 450 watts that would be a very interesting e-bike setup.
                          Court Rye
                          June 5, 2014
                          Hi Bobby, I don't see the part of the review you're referring to? You're correct that these only use a rear hub motor but the mid-section senses torque and contains the controller. It's meant to be super smooth and frankly, I didn't get to see inside so I'm not sure what other purpose it has. The reps described it to me but sometimes they are also off. I don't think there is a mid-drive Polaris Vector ebike?
                            Bobby
                            June 5, 2014
                            Court, Thanks for the quick response! I was on their website this morning and the description of this bike states that the motor has the option of being placed as a MidDrive or a rear hub. http://polarisebikes.com/ebike-products/vector/ It would be great if the company clarified their statement and if possible provided a bike with MidDrive for review. Regards, Bobby
                              Sebastian
                              July 2, 2014
                              I'm writting from argentina. Y also own a polaris vector bike. I was wondering if you got any update/support in the rear wheel removal since i'm having the same concern and can't find any info in the web. I will really preaciate any info. Thanks!
                                Arnie
                                July 22, 2014
                                I have the company brochure which shows in pictures and words how to remove the rear wheel for tire replacement or repair, and also some other repairs dealing with replacing the display and removing the controller. I don't know how to upload it to this site, as the picture part is important.
                                • Erik
                                  April 13, 2015
                                  Arnie Did you ever upload this? I could not find link. Could you upload it again in the Community "Polaris" forum? Thanks
                                Court Rye
                                July 22, 2014
                                That's awesome Arnie! Thanks for offering to share this information and help other Polaris ebike owners. You could create a new thread in the Polaris eBike Forums here and there is an option to upload photos (even large ones). It could be titled "Polaris Electric Bike Manual" or something. If you have any trouble feel free to email me with the site contact form and I'll help you out or do it for you.
                                  Todd
                                  September 9, 2015
                                  You are right to have concerns. A issue these bikes continue to have is they arrive with a busted battery and falling apart. The company is actually NOT Polaris- the company is called "E-Vantage" and they pay Polaris money to use there name- thats it- the disclaimer is deep in there website. Also, the bikes are made in China, another deceptive area to point out as they make it sound like they are actually Polaris and this all american green bike. In fact they are just adding to the enormous carbon footprint that China produces. I can't find any viable press either, it seems like pretty much everything out there is put out by the company itself. And the price is outrageous for the quality.
                                  • Court Rye
                                    September 10, 2015
                                    Thanks for the feedback Todd, I've done my best to be objective and transparent with my reviews (given the limited time and exposure to the product). I agree there is room for improvement but nearly every electric bike I know of uses parts manufactured in China (as well as automobiles, ATVs and other recreational vehicles). Some companies assemble here in the US and many ebikes from Europe offer great quality and a solid warranty. Maybe we'll see Polaris getting more directly involved with their ebikes in the future, as you stated, right now they seem to be handled by E-Vantage.

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