Initially, this review of the 2015 Polaris Sabre EV505 may seem as somewhat of a departure from the usual scope of what is normally a motorcycle column format, but it really isn?t. After all, early motorcycles were essentially motorized bicycles that could either be pedaled with the benefit of exercise, or moved down the road by an alternative power source in the form of a gasoline internal combustion engine.
Adding further credibility to this two-wheeled transport, the Polaris Sabre EV505 is manufactured by Polaris Industries, the company who also happens to produce Victory motorcycles, Indian motorcycles and Brammo electric motorcycles. In addition they build ATVs, Side by sides and snow mobiles.
The Polaris Sabre EV505 is only one example of the Polaris line of electric pedal-assist bicycles. There are several sizes and types focused on delivering the ideal in electric-assist transport, based upon their intended use. I first spied an EV505, resting on its side stand in the paddock and pit area of California?s Sonoma Raceway during the recent Ferrari Challenge, which was held at the iconc track. No one was around, so I noted the make and model of the fat-tired mountain bike- looking ride. It featured a step through frame that housed the battery and rolled on fat ?knobby? off-road or trail tires. I shot a couple of reference photos and later in the day, spied someone riding it at a healthy rate of speed with seemingly little or no effort, but still with no opportunity to find out more about it.
The next step was to contact the Polaris public relations representative regarding the possibility of obtaining one for review. Shortly thereafter, I was able to pickup a new Polaris Sabre EV505 finished in Matte Brown (a light tan) from a nearby bike dealer.
The Sabre is actually a pedal-assist (pedelec ? ?pedal electric? ? there is also a pedelec-s version) bicycle that is capable of operating either as a regular geared bicycle, as a totally electric powered bike, or a bike that utilizes both human and electric power in combination. The frame is made of 6061 T-6 alloy with a low step through/stand over and balanced geometry for optimum weight distribution. The Polaris Sabre EV505 rolls on Kenda Juggernaut Sport Fat tires mounted on lace-spoke 26 x 4-inch wheels. Other components include: the rear Duo Drive motor and quick disconnect, Pro Ride? lithium battery and controller, Information Center Dashboard? display, the BioSync cadence and gear sensor, in-frame charging port, battery safety lock, Dual hydraulic disc brake levers, a rear rack mount, the suspension forks, a front tire quick release, the chain stay and crank, a bottom bracket, the rear derailleur, drop outs, reflectors fore and aft and the head set.
The Sabre motor system consists of a rear hub-mounted 750 watt Evantage DuoDrive? motor that is given life from a 44V lithium-Ion Pro Ride battery that weighs 11 pounds and locks into the main crossmember. The bike is capable of reaching a speed of up to 25 mph and operates in EV or assist mode from 12 to 25 miles depending upon several variable factors. When using Pedal Assist modes only, range will vary dependent upon terrain, weather, riding style (starting/stopping), tire pressure, overall weight, mode and gear of operation. The use of Active Trail Mode extends the riding range. The battery may be charged in or out of the bike?s frame using a 110v to 240v Smart charger.
Pedelec bikes provide a top assisted speed up to 20 mph and are class e-bikes that are regarded as bicycles, and, as such, are subject only to standard local ordinances for sharing the road safely on a bicycle. S-Pedelec (?Schnell-Pedelec or ?Speedy-Pedelec?) bicycles deliver a top assisted speed of up to 28 mph and are usually classified as mopeds, and depending on local jurisdiction, may require registration and insurance. S-Pedelec riders may also need to obtain a license and be required to wear a helmet. Rules and regulations can vary with local jurisdiction.
Some pedelec models come equipped with a throttle for pedaless power, which may be engaged by beginning to pedal, which disengages the safety and by pressing the throttle lever. This feature is easily added to all models and the speed is limited to 15 mph, and will not affect the overall pedal assistance speed.
The Information Center Dashboard display provides key information for the rider including: speed, odometer, trip time, battery status and regeneration status. When the motor is in regenerative function, the display flashes REGEN. EVantage contains built-in software to automatically diagnose itself, informing the rider that troubleshooting may be necessary by displaying fault codes in the event of a motor, battery or display issue. There is an LED backlight for night time use.
With the system off, the Polaris Sabre EV505 functions as a conventional bicycle. When turned on, the system activates at SPEED 3 level mode and displays the current gear selection. Pressing UP or DOWN buttons scrolls to reach the desired level, which also offers a Utility 2 assist mode and an ECO 1 assist mode. There are also levels of REGEN: Active Arc Regeneration and – 1 Perpetual Arc Regeneration / Active Trail and – 2 Perpetual Arc Regeneration / Active Trail.
Active Arc Regeneration automatically activates when braking or when pedaling above certain speeds in all modes. When using Perpetual Arc Regeneration / Active Trail negative modes -1, -2, the motor acts as a generator, recharging itself while pedaling on flat ground or in downhill scenarios, with the motor automatically providing pedal assistance when the terrain requires it. -1 regenerates the motor up to 50W. -2 provides regeneration up to 100W. Back Pedal REGEN is an additional feature that allows the rider to regen and slow down in curves by initiating a short backpedal movement, creating Regen on demand. Active Trail technology automatically delivers power when needed for acceleration up hills, adjusting back to regeneration on flat or downhill surfaces.
My test Polaris Sabre EV505 pedelec as already mentioned, wore a Matte Brown finish with a base sticker price set at $3,499. and an as tested price of $3,813.91.
SUMMARY: To pedal or not to pedal ? that is the question. Riding the Polaris Sabre EV505 eBike allows one to exercise as in riding a regular bicycle, or to take a break from a rigorous physical encounter. The Sabre?s Gear Speed technology is an integral part of the speed acceleration and deceleration process with each gear programmed to provide the appropriate torque or acceleration based on riding style and terrain.
As one starts pedaling, a burst of speed pickup is noticed with each gear change to boost rapid acceleration. The BioSync pedal assistance is the proprietary cadence sensor that reads cadence speed and power output. Instant pedal responsiveness is designed to provide the torque when climbing hills or to conserve power for longer distances.
Shifting gears is accomplished by two levers on the right handlebar ? pushing the aft lever shifts gears upward, while downshifting is done by pulling on a forward trigger, with the current gear registered in the attached display. The throttle lever is positioned on the left handlebar and is activated by pressing forward. It is important to shift to the appropriate gear before taking on a steep hill, and to benefit from the electric assist.
Riding the Sabre EV505 delivers an exhilarating riding experience ? not as rewarding in terms of exercise as a regular bicycle unless you want it to be, but not as exhilarating as riding a motorcycle. The riding position for a long-legged rider requires that the seat be placed at a heightened level for the proper leg extension when pedaling. Without also raising the handlebar, this can place the rider in an awkward ?topheavy?, forward-canted orientation minimizing optimum control.
Adding a rack for cargo and rear view mirrors would enhance the overall riding experience, making the Polaris Sabre EV505 an ideal form of urban transportation. There is an available accessory rear fender (Defender XC11-650) that attaches to seat tube.
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?[wptabtitle] SPECIFICATIONS: 2015 Polaris Sabre EV505 Pedelec Bicycle [/wptabtitle]
|Price as Tested:||$3,813.91|
|Engine Type and Size:||750 Watt Evantage DuoDrive? Electric Motor, powered by 44V Li-ion Pro Ride? battery with 110v 240v smart charger.|
|Horsepower (bhp):||Not rated|
|Torque (ft./ lbs.):||Not measured|
|Transmission:||SRAM X4 Trigger, 8-speed / SRAM X5 rear deraileur|
|Drive Train:||Final drive ? Chain.|
Front – Tapered alloy, rigid Fat Tire fork.
Rear – Tapered alloy, rigid Fat Tire fork.
|Brakes:||Tektro Aquila dual disc mechanical.|
|Tires:||Kenda Juggernaut Sport 26×4 Fat ?Knobbies? mounted on lace spoke wheels.|
|Length Overall:||45.55 inches|
|Height:||Ground clearance – 6 inches|
|Curb Weight:||58 pounds|
|EPA Mileage Estimates:||Range: 12 ? 25+ miles per charge. When using Pedal Assist modes only, range varies dependent upon terrain, weather, riding style (starting/stopping), tire pressure, overall weight, mode/gear of operation. Use of Active Trail Mode extends riding range.|
|Seat Height:||35 – 42 inches max (adjustable)|
|0 – 60 mph:||Not tested –|
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.