Polaris Strive Review

Polaris Strive Electric Bike Review
Polaris Strive
Polaris Strive Motor
Polaris Strive Battery Pack
Polaris Strive Throttle Lcd Computer
Polaris Strive Front Fork
Polaris Strive Electric Bike Review
Polaris Strive
Polaris Strive Motor
Polaris Strive Battery Pack
Polaris Strive Throttle Lcd Computer
Polaris Strive Front Fork

Summary

  • Sturdy design features integrated cables, custom control unit and Lithium battery with regenerative braking
  • Control system and mid-drive sensors mounted below bottom bracket, exposed to rocks, curbs and elements
  • Available in both a high step and step-through design to accommodate different sized riders
  • Relatively expensive considering competitor specs in the same price range

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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:

Strive

Price:

$ 2499.00

Body Position:

Forward

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

Electronic Details

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Geared Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

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

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:

Silver with Black Accents, White with Silver Accents

Frame Fork Details:

SR Suntour XCT Suspension with 80 mm Travel

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 1x8 SRAM X7

Shifter Details:

SRAM X5 Grip Twist 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

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, Welded Rear Rack, Integrated Spring Latch Carrier on Battery

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Written Review

The Polaris Strive electric bike 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 on the higher side of mid-level. On the other hand, you’ve got regenerative braking paired with a fancy control system designed to actually limit top speed but extend range and ride time. Compared to bikes with similar motor and battery specs, this one feels a little slow and weak. It’s really meant for efficiency and range, and it accomplishes that pretty well but comes at a high price point that for me left something to be desired.

The Strive weighs just 53lbs including the battery pack which is mounted to a rear rack. That’s pretty light considering all of the features it has along with the front shock absorber. Thankfully, Polaris did not use a bolt-on rack to integrate their battery. Instead, they welded it directly onto the frame. It’s the kind of battery mounting design that many other ebikes go for as well but it does create a rear-heavy feel and makes the bike harder to lift from the middle when mounting to racks etc. The good news is, if you get the high-step version of this bike it’s actually possible to mount to cars and busses. Most of the other models from Polaris lack a straight top-tube so that might be a deciding factor if you’re choosing between the three models.

This bike rides pretty quiet and the sprung seat and front shock smooth out minor bumps in the road. The battery pack is encased in plastic which mounts directly onto the metal rack and because of this, there is some rattling noise. The spring loaded top rack is kind of weak and doesn’t offer a lot of storage capacity but could help with mail or other thin light weight objects. The unique square tubing and battery pack limit what kind of panniers you can use with this bike and I recommend a “slung over” style pannier set for best performance. One of my favorites is the Basil Elements.

A good word to describe this bike is “controlled”. It’s smart, efficient, relatively light 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 when pedaling. I tend to like the feeling of torque however and the Strive is a sportier model so it would be nice if the thumb throttle had more kick in it and could reach higher top speeds. Remember, even if you do pedal faster than 18mph the bike actually kicks in regenerative braking so it slows you back down in favor of extending range.

Taking into account the relatively high price point of this bike, the technology and offering may be right for some but it’s definitely not for everyone. For people who enjoy a smoother feel, lighter frame and solid company reputation, this bike could be a fit. But keep in mind, this is the first generation of the Strive and Polaris worked with a third party company to create it. For those who like the idea of a smooth ride but might benefit from fenders, chain guard and upright positioning I recommend the Meridian from Polaris over the Strive. All in all, the Strive is one of the few bikes out there with regenerative braking and its unique torque sensing system is in a class all its own.

Pros:

  • Rear rack and battery holder are welded onto the frame reducing rattling and wear
  • 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, especially for the sportier Strive model that is setup like a mountain bike
  • Advanced computer system provides smooth acceleration and regenerative braking
  • 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 like motorcycles and snowmobiles
  • Plastic chain guide helps keep the chain on track when riding and using mid-drive
  • The high step version of this bike is easier to lift, mount to cars and other racks because of the open triangle and straight top bar
  • Built in water bottle mounting eyelets

Cons:

  • Rear mounted battery puts weight up higher (like many ebikes) but means the bike is Rear-haevy and a bit less stable
  • Drive system leaves something to be desired in terms of peppiness
  • 18mph top speed motor may be frustrating for those wishing to go faster down hills or just in general
  • Expensive price point considering the motor power and battery system
  • Plastic battery pack design can rattle around more than an integrated design
  • 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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2 Comments

Motomanz
October 21, 2013

I wanted to comment about a few things said in the article. Firstly; the written specs are correct where it states it has a 450W motor, but in the video, he says it only has a 250W motor. Also, as far as down hill speed, you can go as fast as you want with no restriction from the motor (while it is charging over 18 mph). During throttling on level ground it has a maximum unassisted (by pedals) "legal" bike path motor speed of 18-19 mph. You can pedal right past that with no restrictions or being "restricted" or held back. I was doing 47 mph down the hill near my house (pedaling/coasting past max motor speed). And when you exceed 18 mph it is charging. He comments that it has speed restrictive "regen braking" at 18 mph speed which doesn't make sense. It will charge during braking AND when you are going faster than 18 mph. I have a lot of hills where I live, but have never had the battery go below 2/3rd's of it's full charge range only requiring about 45 minutes to fully charge at that point. I also like being able to take the battery out of the bike with the key lock and charge it inside with the handy included adapter if you want (you can also charge with the battery in the bike). I have over 500 miles on my Polaris Strive (upper horizontal bar some call "mens" version) and absolutely love it! The model with the lower frame design (some call them a girls/womens model) is the Strive "ST". Something else I see on the internet on these is that they retail for either $2999 or $2499. They actually retail at $1999! Remember; if an eBike goes faster than 20 miles per hour on motor (unassisted) and has bigger than a 750W motor, it makes them illegal on bike paths and sidewalks across most of the US states. Some states have their own special rules, so check before purchasing. If you are only buying an eBike to use battery power and hardly pedal, you should probably get a scooter or mo-ped. But then you have possible licensing, insurance, tags and no bike path or sidewalk access. Don't we all need a little more exercise? This Polaris eBike is whipping me into shape using the pedal assist and I'm loving every second! The Polaris eBikes are very nice high quality units and are not near as bad as this review might suggest. Thanks for listening.

Brent Jareske
December 16, 2013

We're glad that you are enjoying your eBike. Let us know if you have anything else you would like to share with us about the bike. We're always interested to hear! You can email me or you can find us on our social media outlets. Again, thanks for enjoying our bike!

All the best,

Brent

Mike Kelley
September 28, 2015

I need help with my Polaris bikes. I have a Vector and a Strive. Neither works and the Strive has only 57 miles! Please have someone from the factory call me at 757-536-1445. Mike Kelley

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