Priority Current Review: Premium Belt-Driven Electric City Bike
The Priority Current is an electric bike from Priority Bikes. There are certain companies where details matter. Priority Bicycles is one of those companies. The founder of Priority is a person who prides himself on considering the entire experience. Their reputation is a promise that whatever they make is going to have a well thought experience.
With a few notable exceptions what Priority Bicycles does is make urban city bikes for commuting. It only makes sense for them to offer electric bicycles along with their pedal driven counterparts. The Priority Current represents the second generation of electric bikes from Priority. It’s an evolution but there are core features that run through both.
One of those features that you will find in all Priority bikes is a Carbon Gates belt. When you trade a chain for a belt there are big advantages. Riding a belt drive bike is smoother, there are no routine tune up intervals, and you never have to worry about grease on your clothes. When it comes to a city bike there’s no better choice than a belt drive and combining it with an electric motor is a great way to get around.
When talking specifically about the Priority Current you can expect top of the line components. The battery is a 500-watt unit integrated in the frame and there’s a 500-watt mid-drive motor that boasts 140NM of torque. Shifting comes by way of an internally geared rear hub using a Gates Carbon belt drive. Pricing for all this is set at $3,299.00.
- Related review: Best Belt-Drive E-Bikes in 2023
Priority Current: Frameset and Geometry
It seems like every bike manufacturer lists the geometry of their frames differently.
Priority even changes language when moving from the Embark to the Current. The updated language is better but it is different. Gone are the effective top tube measurements from the Embark and in their place is the more standard reach along with stack.
Reach and stack paint a picture of how far forward the rider position is. The longer the reach measurement the more stretched out the rider is. If you were to pair a long reach with a short stack, you’d have a typical race bike. The Priority Current is no race bike.
Instead, the Priority Current represents a hybrid bike. Hybrid bikes are easy to ride and versatile but there are differences among them. Looking at competitors in the same category you can see that the Current has a somewhat standard stack but with a longer reach. It’s a design that’s consistent with the Embark and is a pattern that appears within the Priority model line.
While I have a lot of experience looking at geometry numbers, I wanted to be sure I was interpreting the numbers correctly. A discussion with the owner of Priority bikes gave a little bit more insight. There’s always more to a bike than the numbers and that was the case here as well. Expect the Priority Current to be a very comfortable and upright bike but also useable for longer rides. There’s also an adjustable stem so you can further adjust the position for your body.
Put everything together and you can expect a sporty feel even though it’s an easy cruiser. The low 23.5″ (size medium) step through height means you can enjoy easy on and off, and easy stops at traffic lights. Then once on the lightweight 6061 aluminum frame it will be a fun and engaging ride.
Small – Inseam range of 26″-29″
Medium – Inseam range of 29″-32″
Large – Inseam range of 32″-35″
Priority Current: Motor and Battery
For the motor on the Embark Priority reached out to what is arguably the maker of the best electric bike motor company in the world. Bosch was early to the electric bike market and they’ve only improved over the years. With the experience of the Embark behind them this time Priority decided they could do better.
The motor in the Priority Current is an in-house design. With the benefit of time and experience Priority bikes felt like they could design an even better solution for their bikes. The Priority Current represents the culmination of a long design process and it’s also a market leader. The max available torque comes in at an unprecedented 140Nm. For comparison, both the Bosch active line plus and the Shimano Steps E6000 offer a max of 50Nm.
Along with the 140Nm max torque spec the new motor is also a 500-watt system that measures rider input using a torque sensor. 500 watts is the power that the motor is capable of generating and all things being equal a more powerful system is going to mean better performance. You may not ever need a 500-watt system but if you need more help up hills, or want to carry more cargo, it’s nice to have it just in case.
Being a pedal assist bike, not a moped, means that a system must exist to measure the rider input. Less expensive bikes use a cadence-based sensor that knows the rider is pedaling but not how hard. The feel of a cadence-based sensor is very binary.
It’s either on or off and the selected assist mode selects the speed. If you want a ride that feels closer to a standard pedal bike what you want is a torque-based system. A torque-based electric assist system measure how hard the rider is pushing the pedals and adds help for a more natural feeling.
The battery on this system is 500-watt hours. Quoted range is 30-60 miles depending on the level of assist used. What’s nice about the battery on the Current is the integration into the downtube. The integration keeps the battery mostly hidden and doesn’t immediately scream electric bicycle.
Despite that integration though it is removeable and the charging port is on the battery. With the charge port on the battery, it’s possible to charge either on the bike or off.
Priority Current: Components
Like all Priority bikes the Current is a belt drive bike with an internally geared rear hub. Belt drive bikes are quite simple the absolute best option for urban riding. They require no maintenance to speak of, they are ultra-quite for greater safety awareness, and they will never ruin a nice pair of pants with grease.
The only reason they aren’t the best solution for every bike is that they tend to be heavier. Not a problem for a city bike normally but especially not a problem for an electric assist city bike.
Part of what makes a belt drive system possible is a geared rear hub. In the case of Priority Current there are two possible hubs. Unfortunately, 2022 has been a crazy year and lots of companies are experiencing shortages. One of those companies is Enviolo who generally supplies the N380 for use in the current as well as other Priority bikes.
The Enviolo N380 is a continuously variable hub with a 380% ratio range. Shifting is a smooth continues motion with no distinct gears. If you want pedaling to be easier just twist the grip. A lot or a little, it doesn’t matter, and it works if you are moving or not.
Given the reduced availability of the Enviolo N380 Priority is currently using the Shimano Steps C7000. The C7000 is an ebike specific hub with 5 gears and a ratio range of 265%. Unlike the Enviolo with its smooth range of gears the Shimano is 5 distinct gears like any bike you might have ridden before.
When talking about gear ratio the number listed is a representation of how much the rear wheel will rotate in comparison to the crank. In other words, a gear ration of 1 will mean that every turn of the pedals will be a turn of the rear wheel. For the Shimano C7000 the available gears are 1, 1.277, 1.622, 2.07 and 2.63. That’s exceptionally easy gearing.
Whichever hub you end up with the other features aren’t going to change. Braking duties fall to a set of Tektro dual piston hydraulic disc brakes, there are front and rear fenders included as well as front and rear integrated lights, a padded gel seat, a height adjustable stem with ergonomic support grips, and a USB charge port for external devices. The display handles bike settings, battery life, pedal assist mode, and is a speedometer.
Priority Current: Delivery and Assembly
Once you’ve decided to purchase a Priority Current you’ve got a few options for the handling of delivery and assembly. Shipping is the least expensive option. If you choose to ship your bike it will run an incredibly affordable $30 shipping fee. Not only is the shipping affordable but it’s also fast.
If you place an order before noon Eastern time, and it’s in stock, it will ship out the same day. Orders placed later in the day will go out the next business day.
Every bike shipped goes through a hand quality control system to ensure that it’s ready for you. From the factory it almost completely assembled and will only require about an hour of your time to finish. Most of the time in assembly is really time unpacking the carefully packed, and protected bike.
Once you’ve gotten it free of the packaging use the included tools to tighten a few bolts and put pieces together. If you get lost there are videos available on the website and all the customer service you need.
Even though it’s very easy to assemble yourself if you decide you’d rather not go that route you may have other options. Delivery covers anywhere in the US but if you live close enough arrange for pickup from the Tribeca NYC showroom. The fee is $100 for a fully assembled bike and personal service. Too far from Tribeca but still interested in a pre-built bike? Check service area of VeloFix and you may be able to arrange a delivery for $150.
Priority Current: Specs and Details
Motor: Priority designed 500-watt mid-drive moto
Battery: Frame integrated, removable, 500Wh
Display: Priority designed unit
Top speed (with motor assist): Ships as a Class 1 system with a 20-mph max but can easily increase to 28MPH Class 3 based
on your ride needs and local regulations
Max Range: 30-60 miles based on pedal assist mode (Class 1)
Weight: 51 lb
Frame and fork: Ultralight 6061 T6 aluminum
Drivetrain: Enviolo N380 CVT with 380% range or Shimano Steps 5 speed ebike hub both with a Gates Carbon Belt
Brakes: Tektro Hydraulic Disc Dual Piston
Included Accessories: Front and rear integrated lights. Front and rear fenders. USB accessory charger
Riding modes: 5
Frame sizes: 3
You Might Also Ask:
- Can I order from Canada, Australia, or the UK?
Unfortunately, the Priority Embark is only available in the United States.
- Is there a warranty?
The frame and fork fall under a 5-year warranty while the rest of the components carry a 2-year warranty. The battery is guaranteed for two years or 700 cycles, whichever comes first, to 70% charge.
- How is the Current different from the Embark?
The Current is a versatile, more utility-driven model, with tons of power and the flexibility of the class 1 & 3 option. It brings more comfort and speed, making for a great suburban to urban commuter, for fun and fast weekend hauls, or act as a car replacement. The Embark is Priority’s first electric bike to market offering a great all-around experience, simplicity and reliability, along with a brand name Bosch motor. The Embark adds a boost to daily rides, brings your destinations closer and expands your reach, making it a great worry-free ride.
- How much does the Current weigh?
The Current electric bicycle weighs 51lbs.
More Priority Bicycles Reviews:
The Priority Embark is a great bike. There was an innovative delivery system and big-name industry partner components. By all accounts it was a success but a good company is always moving forward. The Current represents lessons learned both in terms of components and focus.
While there is a lot of overlap between the Embark and the Current the Current leans a little more towards day to day getting around. The Embark has a subtle focus on leisure and the Current has a subtle focus on utility. Pick the one you think makes more sense for you.
Whichever one you choose the internally geared rear hubs, belt drive, and hydraulic brakes make for a fantastic ride. The motor has changed from a Bosch piece to a design straight from the mind of Priority but there’s no change in the service and support. As always there are cheaper options on the market but if you want a well thought out and quality design Priority is a good choice.