Priority Embark Electric City Bike Review
Priority Bicycles is a US based bicycle company with a reputation for absolutely nailing the details. The bread and butter of what Priority does is urban commuter bikes and you can be sure that if they’ve made it everything you want is there.
Without exception, the bikes that Priority puts out are belt drive bikes. When you trade a chain for a belt you also get rid of all the maintenance and hassle of the chain. There’s no grease to get on your clothes and no matter how much rain or muck you ride through you’ll never encounter rust. Belt drives are quite and they can go years without a second thought.
In this case the Priority Embark costs $3,299 and includes components from the top names in the industry. The motor system comes from Bosch, there’s a Gates Carbon Drive system, and the shifting gets taken care of with an Enviolo rear hub.
Let’s jump into the details.
Priority Embark Frameset, Geometry, and Sizes
The Priority Embark frame is a 6061-aluminum alloy frame with comfortable and relaxed geometry numbers. 6061 is an easy to weld alloy that is inexpensive to produce but still carries a high strength to weight ratio. as with other Priority bikes you can expect quality construction and solid welds.
A quality aluminum frame helps keep things nice and lightweight.
More and more modern bike brands are eliminating gender-specific frames and Priority is following this trend. The Embark is available in three non-gender specific frame sizes covering anyone with a height of 5 feet up to 6 ft 5 inches.
If you have looked at frames with a size listed in inches based on the seat tube length that means these are a
17″ – fits 26″-29″ inseam
19″ – fits 29″-32″ inseam
21″ – fits 32″-35″ inseam
If you are more familiar with T-shirt sizing for bikes these are somewhat standard small, medium, and large frames.
While the sizing is very standard the geometry numbers are a little bit different than what you might find on other bikes. The silhouette of the Priority Embark is that of a hybrid bike. Hybrid bikes are versatile and easy to ride.
They strike a balance that trends closer to easy to cruise but keeps you aggressive enough that if you want to push yourself you can. What’s unusual about the Embark is that the effective top tube length is longer than most hybrid bikes. Paired with the long top tube is a slack head tube angle.
When a bike has a long tope tube, the placement of the handle bars puts the rider forward and in a sportier position. At the same time a slack head tube angle makes for a long wheelbase and a very stable bike. Put together this kind of geometry makes a bike feel fun while still being very stable.
It is worth noting that the long-wheelbase means you’ll need to make sure you have plenty of room for this bike.
Motor and Battery
When it comes to electric bike motors there are a few top contenders. Common top brands include Bosch, Shimano, Yamaha, and Fazua. Each option is a little bit different but the Bosch motor used in the Embark is one of the brands in the running for the best. For many people there is no real comparison to the Bosch and while there are other good options the Bosch motors are certainly among the best.
Unlike lower end motors located in the rear hub, all Bosch motors are mid-drive. The electric motor in an electric bicycle is one of the heaviest pieces on the bike. Locating it down low and centered in the frame helps the bike remain balanced even when leaning aggressively into turns.
The specific motor in the Priority Embark is the Bosch Active line plus. It’s a motor designed for city trips and relaxed rides, exactly what the Embark aims at. The max torque in this system is 50Nm and the pedal assist speed peaks at 20mph. It’s possible to ride faster than 20mph but there will be no electric assist. Thankfully, Bosch has taken pains to keep pedal resistance as minimal as possible when riding without motor assist.
Another important detail is that the Bosch Active Line Plus system uses a torque sensor. Torque sensors, vs a cadence sensor, provides a more natural feel. While a cadence sensor knows only that the bike is being pedaled when it adds assist the cadence sensor knows how hard the rider is pushing.
Pedal harder and more assist comes online. This way it feels like riding a bike with a push. Alternatively, a cadence sensor adds assist based only on the pedal assist more chosen and tends to feel more like a switch.
The battery in the Priority Embark is a 400wh unit. Priority quotes a range of 50 miles in Eco mode. That may well be true but Bosch uses an average of all four modes and quotes 36 miles. Both numbers are probably somewhat accurate but your mileage will definitely vary. If you want to ride more and pedal less it would be worth your time to choose a flat commute.
However long it takes to empty the battery the charging time should be pretty consistent. The lithium-ion battery is removeable for charging either on the bike or off. With the standard charger a 50% charge should take about 1.5 hours while a full charge should come in 3.5 hours.
Take a look at the traditional part of the Priority Embark and you quickly realize that there’s nothing traditional about it. It might be pedal powered but it’s one of the most unique drivetrains on the market. The heart of the system is an internally geared rear hub using a Gates Carbon Belt drive system to connect with the pedals.
There are only a few internally geared rear hubs on the market. Most notable are the options from Shimano and Rohloff but Sturmey-Archer is also an option. Enviolo is a new, and considerably smaller, contender making waves with a unique design. The first prototype of the unique design is only 20 years old and the first commercial product hit the market in 2007.
The Enviolo N380 has been on the market since 2015 and its what Priority has chosen for use in the Embark. The naming convention comes from the gear range of the hub. In the case of the N380 that 380% gear range is quite wide. Putting it in the context of a traditional geared cassette a 380% corresponds to something like an 11-42 cassette size.
If you were talking about normal bike gearing, you’d also want to know how many gears there were to know the size of the steps between them.
The Enviolo is different.
Instead of distinct stepped gears the Enviolo drive train is continuously variable. The right handlebar contains a twist shift mechanism with infinite adjustability. Twist the adjuster to any spot in the range to dial in exactly what the gearing feels like. It’s unlike any bike you’ve ever ridden. Paired to the 4 pedal assist modes it gives practically infinite adjustability to the ride experience.
Along with going forward stopping is obviously an important part of the riding experience on any bike.
The Priority Embark uses a Tektro HD-M285 Hydraulic Disc Dual Piston brake system. It’s an open hydraulic system from a quality manufacturer. Brake fluid consists of non-corrosive mineral oil and the pads will self-adjust as necessary.
It works exceedingly well and never rubs. This kind of system is so good it’s almost not worth commenting on because it completely disappears when riding. It’s not likely you will ever have to do anything more than change the pads. At this price range anything less would be more notable but if you’ve used cable pull disc brakes before expect a pleasant surprise.
Assembly and Delivery
Priority Bikes in generally come in a box and are mostly assembled. The arrangement is like any number of other brands and it’s an easy assembly process. Expect about an hour even if you aren’t experienced. The Embark takes this arrangement a step further.
The Embark includes the Velofix white glove delivery option in the price of the bike. Velofix delivery is available on other priority bikes but will run an extra $150. In this case it’s completely free.
Given that Velofix is not available in every location there are a couple of other options for the Embark. If you’d like to have the bike assembled at a local shop Priority will help you find a shop and cover the cost of the assembly. If, instead, you’d rather just handle everything yourself the Embark is more assembled than other Priority bikes.
With 95% of the assembly already taken care of at the factory it should only take a few minutes to finish things off.
Specs and Details
Motor: Bosch Active Line Plus
Battery: Bosch PowerPack 400 (400Wh)
Display: Bosch Purion
Top speed (with motor assist): 20 mph (32 km/h)
Max Range on Eco: 50 miles (80 km)
Average Range: 36 miles (58 km)
Weight: 45 lb (20.4 kg)
Frame and fork: Ultralight 6061 T6 aluminum
Drivetrain: Enviolo N380 CVT with 380% range and Gates Carbon Belt
Brakes: Tektro HD-M285 Hydraulic Disc Dual Piston
Tires: WTB Horizon 650B PLUS 47M/M Tubeless Ready
Included Accessories: Front and rear integrated lights. Front and rear fenders.
Riding modes: 4
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 Continental 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.
- Where can I get the Priority Embark serviced?
More and more local bike shops are ready to handle electric bikes so you might start there. Bosch is a well-known company and works hard to make sure that there are specially trained techs available all over the world. This includes many local bike shops. If you are having trouble Priority is available to help you.
Like all Priority bikes the Embark is a premium bike. The price is premium but the bike includes premium components and unique features. When it comes to a city bike there is no comparison to riding a continuously variable belt drive system. It’s comfortable, requires almost no maintenance, and will never get grease everywhere.
Take those points and add one of the best electric motors on the market and you’ve got a winner. The torque sensor assist means a natural feeling and at 45lbs the embark isn’t too much heavier than a standard commuter bike. The 650b tires are going to make for a comfortable ride too.
There are cheaper options on the market. If you can swing the price though you are getting a great bike with a great company standing behind it. The easy delivery options are a nice detail that make it even easier to buy it today.
Priority Bicycles is a US based bicycle company with a reputation for absolutely nailing the details. The bread and butter of what Priority does is urban commuter bikes and you can be sure that if they’ve made it everything you want is there. Without exception, the bikes that Priority puts out are belt drive bikes. […]