Priority Bicycles has been building traditional bicycles for years, with a focus on delivering high quality maintenance-free bikes. Those same philosophies underpin the Priority Current e-bike that blends top notch components and modern design for a premium electric bike that raises the bar for the entire category.
Disclaimer: Priority sent us the Current free of charge to enable us to perform our review.
Gliding down the road on our first ride of the current, the smooth Gates Carbon belt drive eliminates the mess and noise associated with chain-driven bikes. The belt drive eliminates an external derailleur in favor of an e-bike-specific 5-speed Shimano Nexus hub system.
Combined, the Gates belt drive and the internal Shimano Nexus hub all but eliminate the need for maintenance, which is one of the fundamental tenets of the Priority brand. Streamlining the mechanics of the drivetrain enables for the seamless integration of the high tech electric powertrain. The dual piston Tektro hydraulic brakes add powerful braking capability while eliminating yet another set of tuning cables from the bike.
Priority selected a 500-watt mid-drive motor for the current that really kicks the party into high gear. Much like the automotive industry boasts about the power output of the latest V8 motor, the electric bike industry has incorrectly focused on the wattage of motors. In reality, the torque output of the motor makes a far bigger impact, as torque is what actually enables more rapid acceleration.
The Current packs a punch when it comes to torque, with 140 Nm max torque output from the mid-drive motor. All that acceleration is beautifully tamed by integrated torque sensing that matches the output from the electric motor to the input from the pedals. Torque sensors are far more accurate at determining the need for assistance from the motors as traditional cadence sensors simply look at how fast the pedals are spinning.
As a mid-drive e-bike, the Current does not come with a throttle. Electric assistance is delivered solely through pedal assistance on one of five levels selected by the rider. The bike comes stock from the factory as a Class 1 e-bike, with assistance from the electric motor up to 20 miles per hour. A few quick changes of the settings unlocks the bike to a Class 3 e-bike capable of delivering electric assistance up to 28 miles per hour.
Tech specs are exciting, but e-bikes are defined by how they perform in the real world. The Current is impressive as it packs in a wide range of capability in without over-complicating things. It’s a breeze to just hop onto the mid-step frame and ride.
On more casual rides around the neighborhood, we loved how easy it was for riders of all sizes and shapes to simply adjust the seat on our “size large” bike for a proper fit. Priority offers the current in three different frame sizes to fit a wide range of humans, with each boasting a 6- to 8-inch seat height range.
Combined with the mid-step frame and adjustable stem, the Current delivers a ton of flexibility in who can ride any particular frame size.
On longer rides, we found the Selle Royale gel saddle to be nearly the perfect balance between weight and comfort. Fat tire e-bikes often come with massive saddles that aren’t ideal for pedaling, while lighter premium bikes come with saddles that leave a lot to be desired when it comes to comfort on longer rides.
The removable 500 wH battery is fully integrated into the down tube of the frame, adding structural integrity while keeping the weight down. I personally love the look of bikes with frame-integrated batteries as they look much sleeker than those with batteries bolted awkwardly onto the frame.
At 53 pounds, the Current is much easier to maneuver than most e-bikes we’ve ridden and as a result, feels light and responsive on the road.
A pair of 47mm wide WTB 650B tires contribute to a great experience on the road, with a smooth profile to minimize rolling resistance. They may look like road tires, but the extra volume they’re packing is noticeable and makes the Current a far more comfortable ride than most road bikes. From a comfort standpoint, the Current is much closer to what you’d expect to find on a commuter bike rather than the ultra light road bike segment.
We were able to ride and see the Current in both white and charcoal, and they both pack plenty of pop beyond what their base pigment description implies. The charcoal paint is flecked with a rainbow of color that makes the glossy coat pop in the sunlight.
The white paint isn’t quite pearlescent, with the glossy white paint instead hosting a slightly muted sparkle. It’s enough to give the bike a subtle bit of pop of excitement up close without having to roll into work everyday with all your bling on.
The Current also sports a front and rear light kit that’s wired directly into the main battery of the bike for additional safety. It’s a nice perk that has become standard on most modern e-bikes and it streamlines just one more part of the bike ownership experience.
Another nice perk on the Current is the composite fenders. These fully adjustable fenders keep the water, grime, and road grit down on the road where it belongs and not on your back.
The Priority Current is an exciting new entrant into the world of premium electric bikes. Designed as a flexible commuting e-bike, the Current is packed to the brim with premium components normally reserved for much more expensive bikes. Ergonomic grips, cable shielding, integrated cable runs, fantastic customer service, massive torque, and impressive range. The list of features and impressive points about the Priority Current is longer than your attention span, but suffice it to say: this is an impressively well thought out and executed bike.
$3,299 might seem expensive to folks not familiar with the performance cycling scene, but for what you’re getting with the Priority Current at this price, it feels like an absolute bargain. E-bikes with this much quality packed in typically tip the scales at upwards of $6,000 or more, so getting a belt drive, internal gearing, hydraulic brakes, and the powerful mid-drive motor at this price feels like a fantastic deal.
We have consistently chosen the Priority Current over the deep bench of review bikes we’re currently hosting, and that tells perhaps the tale more accurately than I can. We have racked up hundreds of review miles on these two bikes and look forward to riding our review bike for as many hours as I can squeak out.
Priority has built its business around a direct-to-consumer sales model, keeping margins razor thin in order to deliver the best value for customers. Check out the full specs below, or you can get all the juicy details about the Current on its official home on the internet.
For the next week, CleanTechnica readers can secure a fat $300 discount on the Current using promo code “cleantechnica” on Priority’s website. That drops the price down to $2,999 for the next few days only. If you’re at all interested, that is a fantastic deal on the best e-bike we’ve ridden at even twice that price.
- Battery – Frame-integrated 500wh, 48v battery
- Motor – 500 watt mid-drive torque sensing motor with 140 Nm torque max
- Range – 30-60 miles based on pedal assist mode (Class 1)
- Top Speed – Ships as a Class 1, 20MPH setting, but can increase to Class 3, 28MPH setting. (Please note local laws)
- Belt Drive – Gates Carbon Drive CDX belt
- Rear Hub – E-bike specific Shimano Inter-5 internal hub
- Brakes – Tektro dual piston hydraulic disc brakes
- Frame/Fork – Accessible & comfortable mid-step 6061 aluminum frame & fork
- Fenders & Mounts – Composite fenders and braze ons for front and rear accessories
- Tires – WTB 650B
- Display – Digital visual display with 5 modes,speedometer,and bicycle settings
- Lights – Automatic front and rear LED lights
- Power Outlet – USB port for charging external devices
- Saddle – Gel Padded Comfort Saddle
- Stem/Grips – Height adjustable stem with ergonomic support grips
- Weight – 53 lb / 24 kg
- Range – 30-60 miles / 48-96 kilometers
- Colors – Charcoal Grey and White
- Price – $3,299