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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National eBike Shops

Electric Cyclery
900 N Coast Hwy
Laguna Beach,  CA  92651
Propel Bikes
134 Flushing Ave
Brooklyn,  NY  11205

Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Polaris

Model:

Meridian

Price:

$ 2999.00 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 ( 71.12 cm )

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 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)

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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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Reddy Kilowatt
2 years ago
Hi Oilerlord:
I too am curious what you got or are getting.
I voted with my wallet and am waiting for Optibike to build my Pioneer Allroad and ship it to me.
Did you know that they've announced a Pioneer City bike too? It's a step-through design (what we used to call a girl's bike). I don't know when it's coming or what the price will be, but it might be a nice choice for your wife (and the color would match your Pioneer Allroad).
The Meridian has less battery than the Optibike (30 volts vs. 37; 6 amperes vs. 10.5). It's a hub drive, whereas the Optibike is a mid drive with a higher-wattage motor (500 vs. 450).
So I suspect the Optibike would be a better climber. This is key for me, as I have a pretty stiff hill on my commute and the mid drive configuration uses the bike's gears making it a more capable climber.
Just some thoughts.
I've heard a lot of good things about Optibike, and Jim Turner—the company's founder—is a good explainer and seems like a good guy.
Allen
Vandon
2 years ago
lydwoman888
Well, thanks for those suggestions., Vandon. Yes, the Meridian is a step through and the eProdigy is a low-step. My work commute is about the same, but do u find 20" wheels equally good for longer treks?
I can and do go all over town on 20" wheels but every person is different. I run three miles per morning so I am used to working harder for minimal distance in below-average times. I am asthmatic and I average only ten minute miles. I don't know anything about your commute. I know that mine has more stops and turns than a box of worms. I wouldn't increase my wheel size for anything. If you have a perfect trail with few interruptions, maybe something with 26" wheels is your Cadillac. If you haven't looked at 20" bikes yet, I liked this review that Court did here. He rates this one a 5 out of 5. It isn't my style and it's out of my price range but I am assuming that it receives more attention than the one I chose.

http://electricbikereview.com/izip/e3-twn-exp/
lydwoman888
2 years ago
Vandon
Chris Nolte (above) is the expert here on this post but my question for you would be: Have you looked at some low-step or step through bikes? Your aging knees would appreciate it! Also, I only have a 6-mile RT commute and have found that 20" wheels are perfect for short distances... AND short people. (5'8") You will get exercise with any bike that you choose, regardless of the specs!
Well, thanks for those suggestions., Vandon. Yes, the Meridian is a step through and the eProdigy is a low-step. My work commute is about the same, but do u find 20" wheels equally good for longer treks?
Chris Nolte
2 years ago
lydwoman888
Am entering ebike market, and budget is a big consideration. I'm a total newbie who wants to commute to work, shopping, etc. Terrain is not in the cards. Want to get some exercise, but want a little power assist to deal with hills & aging knees. The two bikes I'm considering are the eProdigy Cypress & the Polaris Meridian. The price point is identical, tho' the Meridian comes with lights, fenders & a rack. Excuse me for being an ebike idiot, but is there anybody out there who could share some insights?

Thx.
Please list your location and height and I can hopefully provide more options for you to consider.
Court
3 years ago
First of all, I'm so happy to hear that the Seattle Polaris dealer was good to you guys! The Meridian is a solid ebike and that $2K quote for last year's model is pretty sweet. They put a ton of effort into those first models and I was thrilled to hear about the computer updates to make them stronger.

There are benefits to having a dealer nearby but if the drive and cost are holding you back and Optibike is being good to you (and you like the bike) then I'd go for it. Jim is a great guy, they are very hands-on with their technology to make sure it's solid and they're just a good company all around... he even drops by the forums here from time to time to help people!

I really think you have a win-win situation on your hands and I'm excited to hear how it all turns out. I hope you and your wife love the bikes and I'm a little jealous that you get to live in Canada; it's one of my favorite nations in the world :)
Court
3 years ago
Hey @oilerlord, great question here... There are many factors that go into buying an ebike and the first ones that seem to come up are price, power and fit but having a local dealer nearby is also worth considering. I've only demoed the Polaris ebikes two times and they worked alright but the 2013 models felt kind of weak (though I heard they put out a software update to provide more power). This company does have dealers across the country but I don't have nearby so I can't say how responsive they'd be if you needed service.

As far as Optibike, I think they are also sparse in the dealer department but they are much smaller than Polaris and I know the founder and I've heard they offer great support. Their new Pioneer Allroad ebike is pretty cool and as you say, well balanced and more bicycle than scooter. I think it only comes in 19" medium frame size (similar to the Meridian) so I hope this works for you and your wife, would she prefer a stepthrough?

Are you considering the 2014 Polaris bikes (which are more powerful and which I have not ridden yet) or last year's? Do you own other Polaris stuff or have a reason besides the specs to prefer them? I think I'd go for the Optibike and then spend a few extra bucks on lights and a rack to make it more functional for commuting. To me the balance thing is a big deal and I also like the way it looks better. I'd be happy to dig in a bit more and share further details if you have specific questions. The Meridian has a few nice features like the chain guard, lights and fenders so it's really a tough call :)

I realize you didn't ask for other suggestions but considering that this is for you and your wife, have you considered the Volton ebikes like the Alation? They have high step, low step and 350 or 500 watt models to choose from. They also offer pedal assist and throttle mode but they use rear hub motors vs. mid-drive which the Polaris and Optibikes use.