Polaris is traditionally known as a powersports manufacturer, selling a range of ATVs and snowmobiles. Lately, however, the North Star brand has begun to move into the electric vehicle space. They now own neighborhood electric vehicle maker GEM, and have also made a significant investment in Brammo. And now, its extended its empire into the realm of electric bicycles.

Leveraging technology developed by EVantage, the company recently launched a range of bicycles with great looks and quality construction. With a couple of examples of the Vector model making an appearance in the paddock at the TTXGP World Championship, we took the opportunity for try it out for ourselves.

After a quick explanation of the simple controls, we were off for a short, but very fun ride. The electric drivetrain springs to life with a simple push of the pedals and it felt as if someone was giving us a slight push as we made our way down past the row of garages, working our way slowly through the gears and picking up steam. Around the back of the building, the spacious parking lot offered lots of space to play around and we enthusiastically began testing out the throttle.

The Polaris/EVantage system is different from most others in that it not only operates as a pedelec – using torque sensors to decide how much assist to dish out – but also offers a stand-alone throttle system that, once you are moving, can take over all the locomotive work from your tired (or lazy) legs.

Had we not been having so much fun making high-speed loops around the parking lot, we might have checked out the various readouts available from the display on the handle bar, such as speed, battery range, and carbon footprint impression. We also might have paid a bit more attention to the regen function, which kicks in – subtly, we think – when you stop pedaling and/or pressing the throttle. It also comes into play when the bikes speed reaches 20 miles per hour.

Sadly, our time in the saddle was all too brief but it did give us hope that someone is working hard at bringing the same electric bicycle experience to America that is proving popular in Europe and Asia. The bicycles are already in some shops, with the company focusing on retailers in urban areas to begin with. You can check out the dealer locator on its website and make friends with them on Facebook. Scroll below for additional information on the official press release from the launch.
Show full PR text
PRESS RELEASE

Polaris® Electric Bicycles to be launched at Interbike 2012
E-Bikes Feature New Patented Technology

MIAMI (09.19.12) – Polaris Industries Inc.®, worldwide leader in powersports, in conjunction with EVantage™, is proud to introduce a new line of electric bicycles. The Polaris brand entering the electric bicycle category is a major move towards making electric bicycles a viable mainstream recreational option in the US. To develop a full and complete line, Polaris & EVantage set out to not only meet, but exceed the standards of performance, design, and materials engineering in the industry. All Polaris e-bikes have been developed from the ground up with the customer's needs in mind first. Every component, from the frame to the EVantage DUODRIVE™ motor and battery system, embodies elements of Polaris standards.

"The Polaris name has always been synonymous with superior design and quality, and these electric bicycles are no exception," says EVantage President Brandon Kaplan. "Each and every detail was crafted with the consumer in mind, which stays true to Polaris' inherent need to provide usable and applicable products to their customers. These electric bikes are an expansion of this brand, with its great history, while also paving a way toward new trends in transportation.

The Polaris e-bikes feature new proprietary technology in their motor, battery and controller systems:

Motor System
DuoDrive™ is the propelling force behind every Polaris electric bicycle. Patent pending, DuoDrive™ technology allows the motor to use both speed and high torque, switching from a SpeedDrive configuration on flat or low intensity terrain to a TorqueDrive configuration on hilly or other high resistance terrain. The Smart Control system automatically manages the drive mode, changing to accommodate the ride
environment.

ARC regenerative braking
The ARC Regen system is an energy recovery system that captures power through both regenerative
braking and when the bike exceeds 20mph, returning power to the battery supply.

IC Dashboard
The onboard display reveals Speed, Trip Distance, Odometer, Battery Range, and a Carbon Footprint Readout. The rider can control the assist levels and integrated LED lighting (on select models) from the IC Dash as well.

Not Just Another E-Bike
Most electric bikes are either throttle controlled or pedal assist. However, Polaris e-bikes feature both poweron demand (through the use of a throttle) and pedal assistance (the motor provides power assistance during the regular pedal motion). The throttle works just like a throttle on a scooter or motorcycle would and there is no need to pedal. The pedal assist mode will match or exceed the rider's pedal power to give them assistance in riding. A rider can choose the type of assistance needed based on the ride.

Vector, Strive and Meridian
With 3 different lines and a total of 7 models, Polaris bikes hit all niches. The Vector line includes all around rugged e-bikes designed to go from the trail to the street and every place in between. The Strive line features touring models, built for comfort and ease. The Meridian line targets the urban commuter with its sleek European styling, fenders and front LED lighting. All models of e-bikes will be distributed throughout the Independent Bicycle Dealer network, as well as select Polaris dealerships nationwide.

Polaris is Serious about Electric Vehicles
Over the past couple of years, Polaris has been strategically working its way into the light electric vehicle (LEV) field. Polaris purchased GEM (Global Electric Motorcars), neighborhood electric vehicle company, and has recently relaunched the line. Polaris additionally acquired Goupil Industrie SA, a commercial light electric vehicle manufacturer and has made a sizeable investment in Brammo electric motorcycles. The introduction of a Polaris branded electric bicycle is a natural extension in brand development.

About POLARIS
Polaris is a recognized leader in the powersports industry with annual 2011 sales of $2.7 billion. Polaris designs, engineers, manufactures and markets innovative, high quality off-road vehicles (ORVs), including all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) and the Polaris RANGER® side-by-side vehicles, snowmobiles, motorcycles and on-road electric/hybrid powered vehicles.
Polaris is among the global sales leaders for both snowmobiles and off-road vehicles and has established a presence in the heavyweight cruiser and touring motorcycle market with the Victory and Indian motorcycle brands. Additionally, Polaris continues to invest in the global on-road small electric/hybrid vehicle industry with Global Electric Motorcars (GEM) and Goupil Industrie SA, and internally developed vehicles. Polaris enhances the riding experience with a complete line of Pure Polaris apparel, accessories and parts, available at Polaris dealerships.

Polaris Industries Inc. trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol "PII", and the Company is included in the S&P Mid-Cap 400 stock price index.

About EVantage, LLC
EVantage is a developer of electric drive systems and high performance electric bicycles. Founded in 2009, with offices in Miami Beach, FL, Boston, MA, and Hong Kong, EVantage designs motor systems to include proprietary technology that meet the fast evolving demands of the electric vehicle category. They specialize in providing the whole package: engineering, design and development. Their electric bicycles are designed as a complete system to include not only the electric components, but also the bike design bike itself. The result is a complete and unique electric bike experience, rather than an add-on, off the shelf product. Proprietary technology is the benchmark for any EVantage system, currently driven by their DUODRIVE
motor technology. With facilities in the USA and Hong Kong, EVantage is a developer of full line products as well as an OEM supplier of electric motor systems.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 24 Comments
      • 2 Years Ago
      Happy Birthday, Domenick. Wish I could buy you one of these for your birthday.
      • 2 Years Ago
      "Break" is busted. "Brake" is stop. Proofread, folks.
        Domenick
        • 2 Years Ago
        Neither word is used in the post.
        • 2 Years Ago
        In the comment to which you're referring, break is used correctly. Not sure if it was changed after your post but "break the cycle" is a correct term.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'd like an electric bike to be foldable, as they are expensive to leave outside to be nicked, and chainless, as I don't want to get grease on my trousers or wear clips. This seems to fit the bill: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-mando-chainless-e-bike-europe-video.html The only thing I don't like is that I would like a basket which could remain integral to the folded bike. Handy for bits and pieces of shopping.
      GasMan
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is cool. How about some useful details like range, weight, price and availability?
        Domenick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @GasMan
        Good point. Range is given as 15-30 miles, depending on terrain and rider input. With the 7 lb battery in place, weight is 53 lbs. The bikes have a MSRP of $2,999, though the company representative we spoke with was quoting a price of $2,500. As mentioned in the post, bikes are available now, and dealers can be found using the locator function on the website.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      E-Bikes are a great way of doing a 25 mile cycle into work, the run it on electric back home when your a bit tired.
        GoodCheer
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        Or e-bike it in to work so you're not hot and bothered when you start your workday, and get a workout in getting yourself home. Either way you win.
      Marcopolo
      • 2 Years Ago
      For those who enjoy cycling, but want that extra range, or convenience, this would seem to be an very good product from a great manufacturer ! Sadly, in many cities where the incompatibility between two-wheeled traffic and the majority of traffic is greater, conflict often arises. Increasingly, the misbehavior of some cyclists extends to pedestrians. Extending a license plate system to power assisted bikes may help lower resentment by motorists, and make cyclists more conscious of being held responsible for their actions.
      2 Wheeled Menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Sounds like you had fun. I remember my first eBike ride, it was a Bionx kit on a carbon fiber road bike. My face just lit up instantly when i realized what it could be useful for - climbing the 1000ft killer hill to get into Portland, OR. from Beaverton, OR. Or maybe those 20-40 mile rides i'd like to take into the country - if i go a little too far, or there's a lot of wind pushing against me, the electric power is there to save my butt! It's been a slippery slope since then. Now i have a cargo bike with a nice comfy upright position on very fat thick thornproof tires that can be pedaled + electrically propelled for 100 miles or more at 25mph. A fine machine for getting totally lost, because it is very comfortable to ride & has no problem with hills, gravel, rain, bumps, offroad, etc etc. Electric bikes are wicked fun and there are many more possibilities than this polaris cycle out there.
      cinilak
      • 2 Years Ago
      I'm sorry right, but speaking as a cyclist I don't see much point in electric bicycles. Anything with an engine should be classified as a moped etc and have licenceplates. More importantly, the electic assistance given by these is where the exercise is needed for those who need to overcome the need for the electric assistance in the first place. I.e. people who are unfit. Again, if driven by someone who rightfully needs the electic power, i.e. elderly or disabled, these fall under the first point I made.
        Ryan
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cinilak
        Maybe you have people who live 10 - 15 miles from work and this would help them make it in under an hour. $4-$5 a day savings adds up quick.
        cinilak
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cinilak
        Distance argument is a fair point. Anything over 15 miles per day can be a bit hard. Sweatty people should get better gear and/or perhaps change into work clothes once you get to work. My issue here is unfit people who can't break the one month cycling barier that generally render's them fit to cycle. Also, I've seen countless overweight people on electric bikes. And I love the way no one here has bothered to point out what environmental toll production of an electric bicycle has in comparison to a regular bike. Esp a refurbished one. Everyone is hailing the electric vehicles as something that will save the planet, whilst someone else on a different blog made a very good point about what excuse they are for further consumerism. Great amount of people will take the low cost of running them and no emissions element as a perfectly good excuse not to consider other, more friendly environmental options for shorter distances. These things are for most people yet another consumer fad, whilst everyone likes to ignore the fact that we should all consume less if we wish to make any difference to the planet's eco system.
        paulwesterberg
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cinilak
        Also speaking as an avid cyclist, bike commuter etc. I like to exert myself, pushing to go faster, on my 17lb carbon fiber road bike. Racing I have averaged 23mph over 90 miles. I regularly bike commute 20 miles a day, but I realize that is too far for many people. I don't begrudge anything that gets more people out of their cars and onto the bike paths. Old people, commuters going the distance, people with a bit of luggage or hauling kids, if they want to pay a little extra for an easier peddling ride while forgoing petrol that is fantastic. I hope that electric bikes are a gateway drug that will help more people to find the engine burning within themselves.
          cinilak
          • 2 Years Ago
          @paulwesterberg
          "I hope that electric bikes are a gateway drug that will help more people to find the engine burning within themselves." - problem is that it doesn't in most cases. 9 out of 10 people I see on an electric bike act like they don't know what the pedal are for.
        PeterScott
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cinilak
        They are limited to a top speed of 20 MPH, so no faster than a fit cyclist. So they need a license why? As a commuter vehicle there is a valid reason, for the assist even for the physically fit. That is to not arrive at work soaked in sweat. I bike commuted to work on two different jobs, and is a PITA dealing with sweaty clothes, one place I worked didn't even have showers, so I had to try to bike slower, to not get sweaty. It doesn't really work. I would never cycle commute to work again because of the above, but I would if I had an ebike and could glide into work effortlessly (and sweat free) and then bike home for the exercise after work. I would. If it gets me and others out of cars and onto ebikes, then it makes a ton of sense.
          cinilak
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          So something that's twice or 3 times as heavy as a bike, gives you acceleration on tap and can maintain 20mph for its full range is the same as a push bike? Try wearing bicycle specific clothes, you'll sweat less. And then changing to work clothes once you get to work.
          cinilak
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          GoodCheer problem with "bike-like things" is that fat people never pedal. thus making the bike part of them for emergencies only, and not for what its meant.
          GoodCheer
          • 2 Years Ago
          @PeterScott
          "If it gets me and others out of cars and onto ebikes, then it makes a ton of sense." This is the biggest factor for me (my route to work is short and downhill). As anyone who reads up on cycling safety knows, the vastly most important factor in the accident rate of cyclists is whether car drivers are accustomed to sharing the road. If cinilak is a purist and don't want to call them cyclists, fine, knock yourself out, but as a bike commuter you should do everything you can to get more people on bikes (or bike-like things)... for your own safety.
        skierpage
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cinilak
        Stop being an elitist jerk and start being in favor of more efficient transport options. Anyone getting in a 3000lb vehicle to carry his or her sorry ass and a few pounds of stuff on short solo trips is doing it wrong. People are able to pedal bicycles because they're so efficient. E-bikes are more efficient than other modes of transportation, even for people who have no intention of pedaling.
        2 Wheeled Menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @cinilak
        News flash, the majority of people in the western world are unfit and we have a serious obesity epidemic, anything to get them on a bicycle is a good thing. Some people may live distances beyond what can be bike commuted to reasonably, or don't want to arrive at work sweaty, or want to get there sooner, or have major major hills, and an electric helps out with that a ton. Even when i was 150lbs and 18 years old, my 36 mile ( round trip ) semi-hilly commute really wore on me. I didn't know about electric bikes back then, but if i would have, i woulda avoided buying a car. I'm not sure how having liscense plates changes things. Of all forms of transportation, i like the electric bike best because i can relax and enjoy the scenery as i move along. It's so much better than a motorcycle or car because it allows you the most freedom.
          cinilak
          • 2 Years Ago
          @2 Wheeled Menace
          News flash, most fat people on electric bikes never bother to pedal.
      • 2 Years Ago
      E-bikes are indeed an excellent way to reduce congestion (and obesity). Over here in The Netherlands they are increasingly used for commuting distances between 5 and 15 miles. Indeed, their use is encouraged by: * Employers who want to promote the health benefits and also have to deal with congestion and car parking restrictions at office locations. * Regional governments, especially when large roadworks are scheduled. Taking just a few hundred cars off the road during peak hours reduces congestions significantly. The increased popularity of e-bikes goes hand in hand with the development of cycling highways, which are medium distance cycling lanes with a smooth (asphalt) surface, priority crossings or tunnels and without traffic lights. More info through Google Translate on http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=nl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=www.fietssnelwegen.nl or in Dutch on www.fietssnelwegen.nl
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