Polaris Meridian Review

Polaris Meridian Electric Bike Review

Summary

  • High quality purpose-built frame with integrated cables, battery rack, chain guard and fenders
  • Upright cruiser-style design available in high step and step-through for easier mounting
  • Custom LCD control unit supports pedal assist or throttle mode plus regenerative braking
  • Overall smooth acceleration, lighter weight, top speed limited to 18mph, automatically activates regen

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Polaris

Model:

Meridian

Price:

$2,999 USD

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Neighborhood, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

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

Warranty:

1 Year Comprehensive

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2013

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

53 lbs (24.04 kg)

Battery Weight:

7 lbs (3.17 kg)

Frame Types:

High-Step, Step-Thru

Frame Material:

6061 Aluminum Alloy

Frame Colors:

Black, White

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour NVX Suspension with 75 mm Travel

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x8 SRAM X7

Shifter Details:

RevoShift Grip Twist on Right Bar

Pedals:

Plastic Platform

Handlebar:

Comfort Upright, Mid 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 Sport Comfort

Tire Brand:

Kenda, 700c

Wheel Sizes:

28 in (71.12cm)

Accessories:

Plastic Fenders, LED Headlight, Chain Guard, Plastic Chain Guide, Side Mounted Kickstand

Other:

Removable Locking Battery Pack, Regenerative Braking, KMC Anti Corrosion Chain, Quick Release Front Wheel

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

Evantage DuoDrive

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

450 watts

Battery Brand:

ProRide

Battery Voltage:

29.6 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

177.6 wh

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)

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Written Review

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.

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

Resources:

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Ken Sanders
4 years ago

Are these going to be sold in Canada ?

Austin Higdon
4 years ago

Hi Ken
Polaris eBikes are currently available at the following locations in Canada.
If your local Polaris dealer does not carry the line, just advise us and we'll contact them to load them up with product.

Derand Motorsports
1231 Newmarket Street
Ottawa, ON K1B5N6
(613) 563-0029

Indian Motorcycles (Toronto)
7730 Islington Avenue
Vaughn, ON L4L1W3
(908) 209-0029

Sport Collette (Montreal)
1233 Armand Frappier
Ste Julie, QC J3E 0A1
(450) 649-0066

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Start a new meridian thread on the Polaris Forum page

Kit Babcock
3 years ago

Wait….what, only a euro spec range 450 watt rear hub with a wimpy 30v/6ah battery and all for the low low cost of only $2.5K?!?

Don't these guys "get it" for the USA market, where a hydraulic front disc brake, a 48v/20ah battery system with a 750watt rear hub setup to throttle to 20mph and ped assist to 28+mph is what the market desires? Besides, isn't their bread and butter market products for OFF ROAD only, right?

Good interview. 

Court, so how did it ride….did you put in your order?  :-)

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

Fair criticisms there Kit. These ebikes created a lot of question with shops and other enthusiasts at the show because they have a unique assist that either speeds you up or slows you down (with regen) depending on the gear you choose to ride in. It's the only ebike I've tried that does this and it feels different (perhaps less satisfying) than other bikes. I don't want to fault Polaris for this new innovative direction but it doesn't offer that high power off road feel that their other products are known for. I'm also not old on the extra-large downtube battery style (much less sexy than Easy Motion designs) and their batteries are just so expensive at ~800 to replace. Reviews for these Polaris ebikes will be coming on my other channel +Electric Bike Review shortly.

Matthew Sherman
3 years ago

sweet!  I love electric bikes and electric cars, hope they make more with dual shocks, fenders and lights..that's what I'm looking for.  Like a little electric motorcycle

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

Yeah, I love the full suspension ebikes as well. One good option is the A2B Metro (recently renamed the Octave). Optibike makes a bunch of full suspension ebikes but they cost a lot more. Haibike has a few and I also really like the Easy Motion Neo Jumper but it doesn't have fenders.

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

Yeah, pretty expensive. Not sure on the brakes, great question.

Sven Durmas
4 years ago

I've ridden the first one he displays and it really does boost your pedaling. I was surprised at how much power it had. It feels like a mountain bike with cruise control... pretty awesome!

george04b
4 years ago

nice but i saw its 2999? WHAT!!! and the battery is not that powerful btw nice review.
they use Tektro IO Brakes, are those better than Avid BB7?