The Priority e-Classic Amps Up The Classic High End Road Cruiser – CleanTechnica Tested

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Priority Bicycles has built its brand around delivering low maintenance, high quality belt drive bicycles. One by one, it seems to be electrifying each of its manually operated models, and we were excited when they reached out about the e-Classic.

The Priority Bicycles Classic is the quintessential casual road cruiser, and the e-Classic takes all those ideals to the next level. It features the same standard frame geometry in both a diamond frame and a step-through, just with an oversized downtube where the battery lives.

Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The 374 watt-hour battery is removable and paint-matched to the color of the frame. Its slender profile combined with the matching  paint makes the e-Classic blend in with traditional bikes. Unless you know you’re looking at an e-bike, you probably wouldn’t give it a second thought. The lower capacity battery and slender motor in the front hub also mean that the e-Classic is a lightweight amongst its peers, tipping the scales at just 49 pounds.

Tapping into that battery is a 250 watt front hub motor. Priority programmed the bike to offer three levels of pedal assist as well as a zero level that completely disengages the front motor.

The motor itself has more of an audible wine than we would prefer for such a sleek bike, though the noise quickly faded from conscious thought as we started moving. It is more pronounced given the silent Gates belt drive on the bike.

Priority Bicycles e-Classic
Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Priority Bicycles did a nice job of balancing the weight allocation so the front doesn’t feel excessively heavy with the hub motor up front, as opposed to the more traditional rear hub or mid-drive locations.

This decision was largely due to Priority’s desire to add a three-speed mechanical Shimano Nexus 3 gearbox in the rear hub. The combination of the three mechanical gears at the back with a twist shift on the right handlebar grip and the three levels of battery powered motor assistance makes the Priority e-Classic far more capable than its manually operated sibling.

Priority Bicycles e-Classic
Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

Having said that, three mechanical gears is fewer than we would like to see on a bike, and definitely relegates this bike to the flatlands or even mild hills. Anything more than that and you’re going to be breaking a sweat or slow to a crawl, whether it’s riding into a headwind, up a steep hill, or trying to hit higher speeds. That’s a simple tradeoff for the lower power motor Priority opted for to keep the bike light.

The beauty of distilling the bike down to three mechanical gears and three levels of pedal assistance is that the e-Classic is easy and almost thoughtless to ride. Gears and assist levels fade from your mind as you silently glide along, soaking in the nearby pasture or crashing waves across the sand.

Priority Bicycles e-Classic
Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

These two systems are connected to the rider with a butter-smooth Gates belt drive. The Gates belt drive really accents Priority Bicycles’ beautiful Priority Classic design, with the electric powertrain taking the experience even farther into the future with its near-silent electric assistance.

The Gates belt drive is all but silent, requires essentially no maintenance, and eliminates the clunky derailleur. Switching to a belt drive for a bicycle is like upgrading from a quiet gasoline car to an electric vehicle. There are almost no vibrations, pedaling is silky smooth, and all of that translates to a greater sense of peace and connection with the world around you.

Priority Bicycles e-Classic

The e-Classic features a set of nice swept-back handlebars that allow you to ride in a more upright posture, whether on the diamond frame or the step-through frame option. It features color-matched plastic fenders in the front and rear. A set of threaded eyelets make it easy to mount a rear rack if you so desire.

Inside the frame, the diamond frame includes two sets of water bottle eyelets in the typical locations, making it easy to bolt in a water bottle cage or folding bike lock for a seamless integration into your daily experience.

Priority Bicycles e-Classic
Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

When it’s time to slow down, the dual hydraulic brakes built in-house by Priority Bicycles do a fantastic job of clamping down on the 180 mm front and rear rotors. They have a firm response and provide a sense of confidence and control when bringing the bike to a halt.

Overall, the Priority Bicycles e-Classic is yet another slick integration of electrified motors, batteries, and motor controllers into Priority’s growing stable of timeless ultra-low maintenance bicycle designs.

Priority Bicycles e-Classic
Image credit: Kyle Field, CleanTechnica

The e-Classic is a high-end bike with high-end components that should last a long time, making it well suited for use as a daily commuter, in fleets for hotels or resorts, or as a reliable weekend warrior if that’s what your heart desires.

For more information about the Priority Bicycles e-Classic, head over to the website at

Disclaimer: Priority Bicycles provided this e-bike to the author for the purposes of this review.

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