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

Introduction:

  • Make / Model : Polaris / Vector
  • Price MSRP : $2,499.00 USD
  • Body Position / Suggested Use : Forward / Neighborhood, Urban, Trail
  • Electric Bike Class : Throttle on Demand (Class 2) - Learn More about Ebike Classes
  • Warranty : 1 Year Comprehensive
  • Availability / Model Year / Overall Rating : United States / 2013 / 7 of 10

Electronic Details:

  • Motor Type / Nominal Output : / Rear-Mounted Geared Hub / 450 watt / - Learn More about Ebike Motors
  • Motor Brand / : Evantage DuoDrive /
  • Battery Voltage / Amp Hours / Watt Hours : 29.6 volt / 6 ah / 177.6 wh
  • Battery Brand / Chemistry / : ProRide / Lithium-ion /
  • Estimated Charge Time / Estimated Min and Max Range : 3 hrs / 15 to 30 miles (24.14 to 48.28 kilometers) /
  • Display Type / Readouts / : Backlit Monochrome LCD / Speed, Odometer, Battery Level, Assist Level (Eco, Normal, Sport) /
  • Drive Modes / Top Speed : Cadence Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle / 18 mph (28.97 km/hour) (Automatic Regeneration Above 18 mph)

Bicycle Details:

  • Total Weight / Battery Weight : 53 lbs (24.04 kg) 7 lbs (3.18 kg)
  • Frame Types / : / High-Step /
  • Frame Material / Frame Colors : 6061 Aluminum Alloy / Silver with Black Accents
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  • Fork Details / : SR Suntour XCT Suspension with 80 mm Travel /
  • Attachment Points : Rear Rack Bosses, Fender Bosses
  • Gearing Details / Shifter Details : 8 Speed 1x8 SRAM X7 / SRAM X5 Triggers on Right Bar
  • Pedals : Plastic Platform
  • Handlebar : Comfort Sport, Low Rise
  • Brakes Details : Tektro IO Mechanical Disc with 160 mm Rotor, Integrated Motor Cutoff and Regen Activation Switch in Levers /
  • Grips / Saddle / : Velo Comfort Ergonomic / Velo Plush D2 Comfort /
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  • Tire Brand / Wheel Sizes / Tire Details / Tube Details : Kenda K935 / 26 in (66.04 cm ) / Reflective Sidewall / Schrader Valve
  • Accessories / Other Details : Side Mounted Kickstand, Plastic Chain Guide, LED Power Indicator on Battery / Removable Locking Battery Pack, Regenerative Braking, KMC Anti Corrosion Chain, Quick Release Front Wheel, Model EV206PH

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 Electric Bike Rated 7 out of 10 by ElectricBikeReview.com on

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