Priority Current electric bike review: it has the power

Priority's first electric bike continues its no-nonsense approach to cycling with a strong feature set and a class-leading performance

Priority Current electric bike review
(Image credit: Robert Annis)
T3 Verdict

With its powerful 500W motor, strong acceleration, and almost zero maintenance, the Priority Current is an ideal city commuter e-bike.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Virtually no maintenance

  • +

    Strong, smooth acceleration

  • +

    Top speed can be increased from 20 to 28mph

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Battery life could be more robust

  • -

    No rear rack as standard equipment

  • -

    Control screen is rather large and not as useful as a smartphone app

Priority Bicycles are designed to be maintenance-free, reliable bikes that offer value for money. This ethos has been carried over from its standard bikes into its debut electric bike model, the Priority Current.

Aptly named, the Current is not at the budget end of electric bikes but it does offer some high-level specs for its $3,299 price tag. The e-bike is only available in the US from the Priority website (opens in new tab) and has recently come back in stock.

I took the bike with me on my latest road trip and used it for various explorations across Utah on my journey west. My aim was to get an idea of how it handles different conditions and if it warrants a place among T3’s best electric bikes.

Priority Current ebike review

(Image credit: Priority Bicycles)

Priority Current review: Design and Features

The Priority Current comes with a choice of either a Shimano or Enviolo battery systems. I wasn’t familiar with the Enviolo before this test, but came away impressed. For an extra $200, this is a continuously variable transmission system rather than Shimano's distinct five gears. 

Its 500Wh 48v system is plenty powerful. At the top e-assist level, I was able to get to top speed in just a few pedal strokes. The bike ships as a Class 1 e-bike with a top speed of 20 mph, but you can easily make a settings adjustment to boost the speed to 28 mph. It’s like transforming a Miata into a Porsche. The increase in top speed will lessen your battery range, but most riders are probably willing to make that trade off, especially if they’re charging it most nights.

Folks who don’t want to deal with much maintenance, this could be the bike for you. Unlike most standard and e-bikes, the Priority Current doesn’t use a chain and cogs; instead, it uses a Gates carbon belt drive. That means no cleaning and lubing chains or getting oily stains on your right pant leg. The shifting feels different than a regular geared bike; I’m so accustomed to the comforting click after tapping my lever that the smooth grip shift took some getting used to.

Priority Current ebike review

(Image credit: Priority Bicycles)

The large standard computer has a few different screens you can scroll through, but I wanted more functionality, like integrated GPS maps. You can add a smart-phone mount to the handlebar for navigation purposes, but two massive screens makes for a much-too-cluttered cockpit. (If you do decide to go that route, there is a USB port for charging electronic devices.

With the integrated battery, the bike looks pretty sleek; it’s not obvious that it’s an e-bike at first glance. The mid-step thru frame was easy to mount and dismount. For an e-bike, the Current doesn’t feel that heavy. More importantly, it doesn’t ride that heavy; on flat ground, I could pedal easily with no electric assist. The wide 650B wheels provide a very stable base, and the Goodyear Transit Tour tires are great on paved streets. While the bike does come with both lights and fenders, given its utilitarian nature, I would have loved a rear rack as a standard option.

There is a little assembly out of the box, but the instructions are robust enough that most people should be able to get it completely built up in no time.

Priority Current ebike review

(Image credit: Priority Bicycles)

Priority Current review: Performance

I used the Current in a variety of situations, from daily errands in the city to pedaling through national parks and monuments on a long road trip. With each task, the Current performed almost flawlessly. At stop lights, I was able to get to speed quickly and easily. Unlike several e-bikes I’ve tested, the acceleration was smooth; I never felt jolted as I started pedaling. When the pavement pointed up, the Current never faltered. The Lucid hydraulic disc brakes provided decent stopping power, even when churning along at a fairly fast speed.

I was less impressed with the Current’s battery life. Despite a claimed charge cycle of 30-60 miles, I barely got to the low end of that estimate on my initial rides, and that’s with keeping it at very low assist levels. My anxiety level rose as the battery level quickly dropped from about half charged to one bar while on a relatively short winery tour. I would love Priority to include a screen that gives a countdown meter based on power-assist level; that way you know roughly how long you can expect the power assist to last.

You can now buy a battery extender for the Current. This large battery sits on a custom rear rack and can increase the range to up to 100 miles. It does add another $799 to the price though. 

Priority Current electric bike review

(Image credit: Robert Annis)

Priority Current review: Verdict

The Priority Current is one of the smoothest, most capable e-bikes I’ve tested. With a top speed of 28 mph, the Current could be a great option for city dwellers looking to replace their gas-guzzling car for an e-bike. Just make sure to keep it charged.  

Priority Current review: Also consider

The Charge XC is a similar, but slightly more versatile, e-bike option that’s a great balance of value and quality. It does come in nearly $1000 cheaper but only offers a 250Wh battery and a top speed of 20mph. 

The Elektra Townie Go (opens in new tab) offers more relaxed looks than the Current, but also a more relaxed motor (250W).