Priority Current Shimano 5 speed - First impressions

ebikerr

Member
Region
USA
So I finally bought the current from costco. I was expecting the enviolo, but it turns out Costco version is Shimano. That's what you get from not paying attention :D

Anyways, its 800$ less than what the Enviolo costs, and is indeed a very good bike.
I have done about 20 miles on it now.

Assembly
I have never assembled a bike before, and was expecting it to be daunting. But their video was very easy to follow, and with the provided tools + a screwdriver I was able to assemble the bike in under an hour. Its easy and fun.
The handlebar adjustment took some time, and I guess I will be fiddling some more to achieve a more upright dutch bike position

Riding and comfort
The seat is not very comfortable. Nothing to do with it being a hardtail bike, but more to do with the seat itself. Will look for something with better aftermarket cushion which is a bit wider.
Otherwise the bike is nice to ride, and the L size is perfect for my 6'2" height.

Road manners
The bike handles and rides very well. At 0 assist it does feel quite like a regular bike and not overly heavy. Very similar to my regular Trek Verve 1 Disc. Now higher end expensive bikes may feel nimbler and lighter, but I do not have experience with those.
While the bike can corner hard and I can lean easily, a flaw is the pedal height. Its very easy to scrape the pedal on the ground even with mild leaning. So I am consciously keeping the leaning side pedal up so as not to scrape it on the ground.
The bike rides very well on paved roads, and better than my skinny tired verve on gravel. Stability at high speed is amazing. For example downhill on underpasses when I hit 20mph on the verve, the bike felt jittery and ready to fall, but this one is rock steady at 28mph. Yes I did try out the top speed too.

Power and acceleration
With the Shimano, I was worried that due to shorter gearing range, 28mph would be impossible, but pedal assist 5 makes it easy. This bike is very powerful, and I can sustain 26-28mph for 1-2 mile stretches easily. 25mph on paved sustain is surely possible for longer runs, but a comfortable high speed is in 23-25mph range. For the power the motor is very quiet, with a very low whine which is inaudable over the wind noise at high speeds.
I do not have hills, but the underpasses I tried, even at pedal assist 3 I was able to maintain 10mph with ease where on my verve 5mph was a struggle.
On gravel, high speed is 25mph esp for loose sandy gravel with 20mph+ requiring a lot of work.
This bike is a speed demon on pavement though. If you are looking at 20mph sustained riding, its easily doable, and I am not a very expert cyclist (longest pedal powered rides have been 15miles, with most being 7-8 miles). When I gave my best effort I used to cover 5 miles in 25-30 minutes on the regular bike depending upon wind. This bike will easily double the average speed with the same effort.

The Cadence at 28mph is achievable, and its the force you need to apply that is the limiting factor rather than the cadence. 25mph requires normal cadence. Not sure about numbers as this bike does not have a cadence sensor.
That said, I read a post which said that you can fit a bigger front pulley with a bigger belt to get higher gearing. When its time to replace belt (which will be after a long time hopefully) I may go that route!

I am also wondering is it possible to switch out the 5 speed shimano with a 8 or 9 speed hub
Other thoughts
Upshift is a breeze, for downshit as recommended I stop pedalling. I am used to derailleurs and still find the internal turn shift a bit annoying. I guess habit. That said, if I am coming to a stop I start riding from gear 2 and and for short stretches where know I won't be going fast I stuck to gear 4.
Long stretches, 5 on assist 5

That said, the indicated speed is about 7% higher than actual according to GPS. I am wondering if should dial in wheel diameter of 26 inches instead of 27 for it to be more accurate. I am wondering what happens if I dial in 23 inches, so bike thinks its going slower. Will it stop cutting power at 28mph. Will I be able to go faster? Have to try it out. Looks like a cheat code.

Lastly there is no "range" on display. So nothing to tell me whats the remaining range. Just battery level meter. The screen is bright and big, but very basic.

Brakes are adequate. Better than my verve disc, but I do not have any other reference. Stopping from high speed is not an issue.

Headlight is "meh". Surely not for doing 20mph+ on a dark trail. Will attach my aftermarket long range lights for night rides. I also wish there was a separate switch to make tailight always on or blinking. For now I just turn on both front and back. A blinking strobe at rear is better for attention considering the ever distracted drivers of SF bay area. Had 2-3 cars pull out of parking without looking in my 20 miles of riding. I was at 10 mph though so could stop and also effectively use my digits for sign language.

Conclusion
Amazing value for the costco price of 2599$. Esp with the belt and the amazing motor. I wish it came with a rear rack from priority itself.
20mph is too less to make an opinion. Will start commuting on the bike a couple of weeks and then would be able to give more input
 

TimGNO

Member
Region
USA
One thing to be mindful of, especially if you intend to change out the front chainring, is that the Shimano version of the Current uses a 118T Gates CDN CDX** belt, while the Enviolo CVP model comes equipped with a 125T belt. I haven't counted cog or chainring teeth on either, nor measured the chainstay length, to see where the differences lie, but get hold of those numbers before you swap parts out.

** as noted further down, looks like Priority recently upgraded from CDN belts to CDX.
 
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TimGNO

Member
Region
USA
Odd question: Does the Current's Owner's Manual state the maximum combined rider + cargo weight limit? For other e-bikes, this stat tends to be in the 274 to 300 range, so I'll be surprised if it's substantially different from that.
 

BobR

New Member
Region
USA
the Shimano version of the Current uses a 118T Gates CDN belt
@TimGNO Maybe this got a silent upgrade somewhere along the line in their manufacturing, but mine came with the ribbed CDX belt (my Current is with the 5e Shimano). Weight limit varies by the kind of riding conditions and type of bike, in Appendix B of the rather generic manual. For instance a maximum 285lbs/129kg for high performance road bikes up to 355lbs/161kg for General Purpose, and mountain bikes are somewhere in between (it does not say what the Priority Current “type” is in Appendix B, I’m guessing “general purpose”).

Yes @ebikerr , I’m sorry a rack didn’t come with it. That will be the next thing I add. I already replaced the seat, I went with a cheap one at a big box store, with springs on the mount. Best $30 (or less) that I’ve spent on the bike, so far. My sit bones would not stay perched on the original.
 

ebikerr

Member
Region
USA
Okay, doing some more rides, and testing out the range at full pedal assist.
Its been very windy in the bay area nowadays with evening 10mph winds with maybe 12mph gusts. In such conditions at pedal assist mode 5 and mixed urban trail circuit, the bike gets about 17-20 miles of range.
I think with pedal assist 3 only it would do 30 miles.

The bike is quite silent, and today I drove past another ebike (hub motor), and it was much louder than mine. Even other mid drives seem louder. This one is so quiet. I was worried about gearing, but on my urban mostly flat commute it works perfectly.

I also did an odometer test, and it appears that it is about 5% over optimistic. I am going to change my wheel size in settings to be 26" for it to be more accurate.

My commute is 10-12 miles, so I am comfortably within the 5 pedal assist range as long as I make sure to charge full at work. I now have a pannier and next upgrade is a wider seat. This seat is very uncomfortable, and its not about the suspension seatpost (which probably is an upgrade I will do too ).
I also got some "construction over glasses" goggles and it has helped tremendously with watering eyes at 20mph. They completely seal my face and I can wear them with my glasses.So absolutely no wind hits the eyes, and then are vented to avoid fogging. Much better than biking sunglasses and cost less than 20$ :)

On the speed front, with 10mph headwind anything above 20mph is quite difficult. Without headwind 23-25 is doable, and during the return on the trail with a tailwind I was doing 27-28 with ease. I had to pedal very fast, but there was not much effort required. Against the wind, at 20mph I had to really give it my all.

Stability is also extremely good and now I have developed a muscle memory of lifting up the pedal on turning side, and also letting off when downshifting, and also downshifting before I come to a stop at a light.
That said, I still prefer the easy click shift of the standard shimano derauliers

Other notes : When charging there are no LEDs to tell you battery percentage. Just a red light on charger and a loud fan. Even when battery is on the bike, and I charge, the display does not light up. So there is no way of knowing charge percentage. I was hoping to keep my battery to 90% and then stopping charging, but without knowing %, its very difficult to do.
I wonder why priority missed such a basic feature. The bike is made of very high quality components, yet a simply battery percentage indication (even a row of LEDs) would have worked great on this bike!
 

TimGNO

Member
Region
USA
I think you're onto something... Today, I rode over 7 miles on Assist Level 2 and finished the ride with 9 bars intact. I'm going to continue testing in that range to see how far I can stretch a single charge with light effort.
 

ebikerr

Member
Region
USA
I think you're onto something... Today, I rode over 7 miles on Assist Level 2 and finished the ride with 9 bars intact. I'm going to continue testing in that range to see how far I can stretch a single charge with light effort.
Good idea. I am thinking of doing the exteme other end test. Ride at assist 5 maintaining around 20mph and see how many miles I can squeeze out till 1 bar is left!
 

ebikerr

Member
Region
USA
Way ahead of you, bro... check out my post from earlier in the week, when I did exactly that. I'm eager to hear your results as well!
Thanks!
Will be trying this when I get time. For not its my 10 miles to work which drops my bars to 5 and then charge to full at work.

I changed wheel diameter to 26" and now the display miles accurately match with my watch. Infact its about 1% on the lower side instead of 5%+ optimistic earlier

Got a few mods and accessories.

  • A cheap gel seat from amazon
  • Venzo suspension seatpost
  • Bell
  • Rear view mirror
Oh boy what a difference the suspension seatpost makes? Its a Suntour clone but costs only 69$ (Suntour is 100$+). Completely elimited the jarring bumps. At time I would feel a strong bump on my arms, and I anticipate similar bump at the back, but don't even feel it. Just soaks up everything. For my commute roads with potholes and some gravel, this is perfect.

Some pics from sunset time on today's 5 mile grocery roundtrip to safeway. The panniers sure come in handy. I am running 50PSI, but with the seatpost, I am thinking of trying 60 now.

IMG_6064.jpgIMG_6066.jpgIMG_6069.jpg
 

TimGNO

Member
Region
USA
Good points, all! After my first few rides on the stock seat induced a rather unexpected and near-debilitating case of sciatica in my lower back/buttocks/upper thighs, I also decided to swap seats:
  • Upgraded to substantially larger Selle Royal Gel seat with thicker rails and non-metallic shock absorbers underneath;
  • Was going to try my Thudbuster seat post until I realized the Current takes a 31.6 while my prior hybrid Treks each have 27.2's, and I don't want to buy an adapter;
  • Keeping my tires at 60PSI for the moment, but (since I'm huge/heavy) am contemplating taking them up to the full 70PSI maximum just to compare;
  • Which bell did you decide on? I have 3 old standard-size IncrediBells, but was contemplating the larger model for added volume (since I'm moving faster, lol);
  • Still waiting, after a week, for my RhinoWalk pannier bag to arrive;
  • Found that under-seat clearance (due to rear rack) is insufficient to accommodate my old trusty tool bag, so am contemplating a smaller bag to tuck elsewhere;
  • Moved one of my Mirrycle mirrors to the left handlebar (you have to remove the locking grip to cut the necessary hole smoothly) and won't ride without it.

    Lovely pix. I'll have to take some of my own soon!
 
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ebikerr

Member
Region
USA
Its a 6$ Accor bell from amazon.
My mittor is the clamp on handlebar type not end type. So I just had to move the controller about an inch to the right
 

ebikerr

Member
Region
USA
Okay, now I have raked over 100 miles. First the range. At level 2 I can get atleast 40 miles on flag ground even when windy. Kind of matches what Tim says here

Full assist riding to escape an asteriod hit. Well 15miles it is.

I have also been loading up the panniers for grocery shopping. The Venzo seatpost really helps. And now I am starting to feel maybe Priority should have given us a basic front suspension. Earlier my back was hurting so I never realized the front jarring bumps, but now that the back end is fine front seems too harsh. Of course suspension stem's exist, but they cost 200$ !!

I just ride with 40PSI front and 60 PSI rear

I have also noticed that with no wind assist 5 allows me to do 25mph with ease and assist 3" well around 20-22mph. For the range penalty it does not make much sense. I am altering my commute to 3 assist for shorter streches and 4 for really long straights.

At 2/3 assist the torque from motor is really seamless. At level 4-5 I sometimes get that lurch as the motor excitedly tries to propel me. Level 2-3 motor is like a natural extension of my legs. As I get more exercise, and increase my stamina, I think I should be able to do my 9 mile commute at 13-14mph (with level 5 its 15mph average). And consume half the battery!
 

rarobo

New Member
I put a stop shock from redshift on my current, makes a big difference, it can be adjusted to how soft or firm you want it I bought the extended one to sit me up more
 

TimGNO

Member
Region
USA
Totally concur on running the tires closer to 40 PSI for comfort! I, too, have noticed the occasional "lurching" at higher assist levels (4 or 5) but they seem to be timed with high acceleration, such as getting up to speed from a standstill.

My Rhinowalk rack bag pannier should arrive in the next 48 hours, whereupon I will undertake my first grocery shopping ride, something I've been wanting to do since Day One. I also invested in a nice nylon hammock that packs super small and light, so I can stop in the park and take naps or just chill watching the ducks.

Lastly, thank you to whoever recommended the Accmor bell (Amazon, $7). Mine arrived last week and it's the perfect balance of cost, quality, loudness and stealth looks that I had hoped for. I just hope it performs well in the rain and somehow holds up over time. Now, at least, I'll have a way to make myself heard before speeding by fellow walking/cycling path users.

In turn, I'd like to recommend the Giro Fixture MIPS Adult Mountain Biking Helmet (Amazon, $76) if you are looking to replace your old helmet with something substantial. Lots of reviews on YouTube to check out.
 

etiej

Member
Region
USA
I've now down two rides mostly on assist 1 but with a couple of boosts. I ride pretty slow so far. But my Current still has about 40% battery left which seems pretty great.
 

TimGNO

Member
Region
USA
I've now down two rides mostly on assist 1 but with a couple of boosts. I ride pretty slow so far. But my Current still has about 40% battery left which seems pretty great.
I've been nothing short of impressed by the overall battery capacity on this bike. Word on the street is that it actually gets better the more you ride, as if there is some magical power curve balancing algorithm at play behind the scenes. I just rode 11 miles in (mostly) Assist Level 2, and recall seeing 8 bars still on the display when I dismounted.
 

etiej

Member
Region
USA
I've been nothing short of impressed by the overall battery capacity on this bike. Word on the street is that it actually gets better the more you ride, as if there is some magical power curve balancing algorithm at play behind the scenes. I just rode 11 miles in (mostly) Assist Level 2, and recall seeing 8 bars still on the display when I dismounted.
Nice.
 

ebikerr

Member
Region
USA
Okay now I have done more than 200 miles on the bike and also did a range test at level "3". I decided to stick to level "3" and run the battery down to blinking.

29.6 miles, with about 9 miles with lights on. From 1 bar to blinking it tool more than 6 miles. Looks like there is indeed some power reserve. After blinking started I was able to go 2 miles home without bike dying (headlights on)


Capture.JPG

So with level 3 level ground, you definitely have 30 miles of range, which is impressive. Level 3 allows me to pedal at 20 miles/hour without headwinds, but with the Bay area winds up nowadays, I do normally 16-18mph against the wind. The suspension seatpost was the best investment, and now I can ride for 1.5 hours without getting sore.

Level 2 is now my "exercise" level when I want to do 15 mile rides just for fun. Aim to go to level "1" once I build up stamina.

No more battery tests now though. I intend to charge the bike when I see 4 bars on the display.
 

etiej

Member
Region
USA
Yeah I have been trying to charge after the battery looks to be below 50%, which so far is only once :)