Sub $3000 Leisure/Commuter Bike For Hilly Area [Final Choice: Priority Current]

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Hi folks,

Holiday season is upon us, which also means decision season. I have been admiring e-bikes for years and feel it is finally the time for me to get one of my own. However, the amount of different companies, models, feature sets and price-points has been honestly overwhelming. My goal here is to talk about my objectives and requirements, list out my top contenders and why I like them, all to make it easier for you fine folks to help me out. Feel free to also suggest new brands/models that I am not aware, but please keep the base requirements in mind. With that out of the way, let's get to it!

Base Requirements
  • Use Case: This primary purpose of this bike is commuting in the city. I have a 4 mile each way commute with about 350ft elevation gain. The commute is relatively short, but the hills are what mostly challenges me. However, I am working from home for the majority of 2021, so the immediate use case for this bike will be leisure: my city has beaches, parks, all of which I intend to explore on this bike. I want this to be a pleasant ride and not just a way to get from place A to place B. It will be my main means of transportation (i.e. I don't own a car).
  • Comfort: Given the leisure aspect, comfort is key. I want to ride through the city, sightsee and enjoy the ride. I used to own a beach cruiser, which to me was the pinnacle of that feeling. A commuter bike will not be that extreme, I understand, but I will give preference to more upright and comfortable riding positions whenever possible.
  • Torque Sensor: As much as I understand the appeal of cadence sensing bikes, it's not for me. I like the feeling of pedaling - I'm just not strong enough to overcome some of these hills, so I need considerable extra help. I have tried the Rad bikes, for example, and they feel more like scooters and less like bikes, if that makes sense.
  • Price: I started with a $1500 budget, then moved up to $2000 and now I am at an absolute maximum of $3000. Not a cent more, or I'll soon be living in the streets. Keep in mind that is is not only about which bike is the best, but also which is the best for the money. If a bike a marginally better, but much more expensive - it's not that attractive to me.
  • Weight: This is not a quantifiable requirement but more of an observation. My building has a set of stairs in the front. About 8 steps, very wide, not very steep. I will have to carry the bike up and down daily to access the building. The bike will be kept inside my apartment, which is located on the ground floor. Think something like this.
  • Speed: I don't need a motorcycle, but I'd like to have fun at higher speeds every once in a while. I think 28mph is a good goal, while still being legal in my city.
  • Shipping: I am not in a hurry, but I'd like to have the bike by mid January. Bikes that ship later than that wouldn't interest me.
  • Tires: No fat tires.
Now let's go to the contenders! Prices reflect best deal available, with discounts, coupons, etc.

Ride1Up LMT'D (link)
Price: $1600 + tax

What I like about it:
  • Affordable.
  • Comfortable upright riding position.
  • Torque sensor.
  • Supposedly 100Nm torque
  • Class 3/28mph
  • 51 lbs
  • $390 standard replacement battery (can get it from anywhere)
  • Suspension fork
  • Hydraulic Disk brakes
What I dislike about it:
  • Ok-ish range
  • No integrated lights
  • No fenders.
Juiced CrossCurrentX (link)

Price: $2000 + tax

What I like about it:
  • Torque sensor
  • Class 3 (33mph max speed!)
  • 80Nm torque (not great, not awful)
  • Great range due to 52v 19.2A battery
  • Integrated lights
  • Fenders (although I hear they're bad)
  • Suspension fork
  • Hydraulic Disk brakes
What I dislike about it:
  • Aggressive, leaned forward riding position. Potentially uncomfortable.
  • Lots of issues reported with customer support/quality control recently.
  • 64lbs
  • $1300 replacement battery, only available from Juiced
Priority Current (link)

Price: $2700 + tax

What I like about it:
  • Mid-drive motor (torque sensor, better weight distribution, more energy efficient, easier to replace a flat, better at climbing hills)
  • Belt drive (reliable, low maintenance, silent, no grease)
  • Internal gear hub (reliable, shift at a stop)
  • Supposedly 140Nm torque
  • Two-year warranty
  • Supposedly great customer support compared to the previous two
  • Class 3/28mph
  • 51 lbs
  • Integrated lights
  • Fenders
  • Hydraulic Disk brakes
What I dislike about it:
  • No suspension.
  • Small battery and reduced range. Due to mid drive, probably on par with LMT'd. Lower than Juiced.
  • No throttle.
  • $600 for a replacement small battery seems too expensive
Thanks all for the help!
 

CodyDog

Well-Known Member
Typically suspension forks on the bikes under a certain price point can be very heavy. If you are riding good roads I would opt for a solid front fork to reduce weight. I'm a big fan of integrated batteries for several reasons. I'm also a fan of purchasing from an LBS and ride the bike before you buy if possible. I agree with you on tire size, I have both fat tire and narrower tire ebikes. I much prefer the narrower tires.
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Typically suspension forks on the bikes under a certain price point can be very heavy. If you are riding good roads I would opt for a solid front fork to reduce weight. I'm a big fan of integrated batteries for several reasons. I'm also a fan of purchasing from an LBS and ride the bike before you buy if possible. I agree with you on tire size, I have both fat tire and narrower tire ebikes. I much prefer the narrower tires.
Yes, I think you're right regarding suspension. If my commute ends up becoming bumpy, I can always add a suspension seatpost for not much more.

Regarding purchasing from LBS - I understand. The people from my LBS are great. I also would love to try the bike beforehand. However, I always feel like the models the LBS closest to me carries do not fit my requirements. The only have the same brand (Raleigh, Izip, Haibike) and no class 3s.

If I'm being honest, the Current is the one that draws me the most. What makes me doubt is the age old question: it is nice, but is it worth the money?
 

Marrduk24

New Member
I am looking for a commuter as well and have priority current on my short list. So will be following this thread.
did you consider Avanton level too?
 

Kevin8tor

Active Member
Hi there, have you considered the Rize RX? It's $2,600 U.S. and has a 48V 19.2ah battery, Bafang Ultra motor, good lights, nice fenders, solid cargo rack, very decent components, hydraulic brakes, cadence & torque sensors....I've had one for 2 months and several hundred miles and it's a great bike and a terrific value for the sum of its parts. 64lbs.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
It looks like you are only looking at internet only bikes. Those are great for a second or third bike, but if you aren't already skilled at both riding and repairing, they are often likely to end up unused in the garage for various reasons.. don't fit, can't fix, wrong bike for use case, etc. 2 cents.
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Hey folks - thanks for the great responses so far!

I am looking for a commuter as well and have priority current on my short list. So will be following this thread.
did you consider Avanton level too?
Oh, awesome, glad to know that it's not just me who has bikes with widely different prices in their list :)
I considered the Level in the past, but not anymore. I'd consider it to be closer to the Ride1UP. However, torque sensor is a non-negotiable part of my requirements, so the Level doesn't cut it.
Hi there, have you considered the Rize RX? It's $2,600 U.S. and has a 48V 19.2ah battery, Bafang Ultra motor, good lights, nice fenders, solid cargo rack, very decent components, hydraulic brakes, cadence & torque sensors....I've had one for 2 months and several hundred miles and it's a great bike and a terrific value for the sum of its parts. 64lbs.
The Rize RX is a great bike for the money, for sure! It is much more powerful than all three, has front and seat post suspension, adjustable stem, throttle... The reason why I didn't add it here is that it may be too much of a bike for me. First of all, at 1000W and 35mph on throttle, it's 100% not street legal in the US. But otherwise, it seems to me it's more geared towards eMTB than urban commuting. It's definitely not a clear cut decision and from specs alone I'd say it's vastly superior to the rest (although as heavy as the Juiced). However, in terms of power, I'd prefer to stop at where my needs are met and not go too overboard. Does that make sense?
It looks like you are only looking at internet only bikes. Those are great for a second or third bike, but if you aren't already skilled at both riding and repairing, they are often likely to end up unused in the garage for various reasons.. don't fit, can't fix, wrong bike for use case, etc. 2 cents.
Hey @Art Deco - I 100% understand where you're coming from. Just not sure the way you phrased it matches my reality. Having one e-bike is already a hefty investment, having a second or third sounds like a totally different tax bracket. After buying one, I will do my best to learn how to care for/maintain it. Simply put, I wouldn't be able to afford leaving it "unused in the garage". You'd have to really not care about the money you earn to treat it like that. Admittedly, I won't be able to take a motor apart and fix it myself - that much is true.

Now, back to your completely valid point. Yes, I admit that it is wiser to purchase a bike you're able to test ride first. It's not only helpful to support a LBS but you can also get continued support with maintenance. Unfortunately, it feels to me that the online brands are offering a best overall value (i.e. more comprehensive set of features for the $) than what is offered at my LBS.

I'm also intrigued by your argument of being skilled riding the bike before getting an online bike. What do you mean by that?
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
If you haven't ridden a bike in a long while or an ebike ever , then buying based on specs is a risk because you may not be able to interpret the difference in specs.
Example .. If you get a bike that doesn't fit, you may find that you can't control it well. Happened to me when I bought a bike that was a little too big. Dropped it twice in the first week, took it back to LBS and exchanged for a medium ( what the LBS suggested in the first place) and love the bike now.
If you can't test ride, at least rent a couple of different bikes ... like a hub drive, a middrive, a heavy and a light weight, so you know what you like before spending thousands of dollars. I believe most Trek and Giant dealers rent bikes for a day and will apply the cost against a purchase...
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
If you haven't ridden a bike in a long while or an ebike ever , then buying based on specs is a risk because you may not be able to interpret the difference in specs.
Example .. If you get a bike that doesn't fit, you may find that you can't control it well. Happened to me when I bought a bike that was a little too big. Dropped it twice in the first week, took it back to LBS and exchanged for a medium ( what the LBS suggested in the first place) and love the bike now.
If you can't test ride, at least rent a couple of different bikes ... like a hub drive, a middrive, a heavy and a light weight, so you know what you like before spending thousands of dollars. I believe most Trek and Giant dealers rent bikes for a day and will apply the cost against a purchase...
Another example is the Specialized Como and Vado. Very similar specs . Motors, battery, shifters, brakes,etc. The Vado is a little heavier and slightly more money b/c of sus. fork, but seems very similar on paper. They are completely different bikes to me, I didn't even need to ride the Vado ... just sitting on it was enough to cross it off and buy a Como. Sorry for the too long reply.:)
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
If you haven't ridden a bike in a long while or an ebike ever , then buying based on specs is a risk because you may not be able to interpret the difference in specs.
Example .. If you get a bike that doesn't fit, you may find that you can't control it well. Happened to me when I bought a bike that was a little too big. Dropped it twice in the first week, took it back to LBS and exchanged for a medium ( what the LBS suggested in the first place) and love the bike now.
If you can't test ride, at least rent a couple of different bikes ... like a hub drive, a middrive, a heavy and a light weight, so you know what you like before spending thousands of dollars. I believe most Trek and Giant dealers rent bikes for a day and will apply the cost against a purchase...
Ah, yes, that's good advice! I definitely see where you're coming from now.

My experience with bikes/ebikes is limited, but it exists :) I had a (regular) Electra cruiser which I rode every day between 2017 and 2019. Heavy and slow, but very comfortable. As far as ebikes go, for most of last year I commuted to work daily on those citi bike type bikes (Jump, Lyft) which are also extremely heavy hub bikes. I've also test driven a RadCity bike (also hub, but DD) - didn't enjoy it that much due to the cadence sensor/not very impressive on hills. My thought was that if I survived that, anything else will be an upgrade.

Regarding fit, that is definitely important! This is where a test drive would be extremely useful. Thankfully, a lot of those online bikes offer multiple sizes and have detailed sizing specs on their websites. Being able to count on the wisdom of the LBS folks would be helpful.

Now, renting the ebikes for a test is a great idea! I feel like I would benefit from at least testing the feel of a mid drive. I have experienced a few hub drive bikes, but never a mid drive. One benefit of the Ride1Up and the Priority is that both accept returns. You only need to pay for return shipping (which I admit is expensive, but it's better than being stuck with a bike you don't like!).
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Another example is the Specialized Como and Vado. Very similar specs . Motors, battery, shifters, brakes,etc. The Vado is a little heavier and slightly more money b/c of sus. fork, but seems very similar on paper. They are completely different bikes to me, I didn't even need to ride the Vado ... just sitting on it was enough to cross it off and buy a Como. Sorry for the too long reply.:)
Nothing to be sorry about - just look at mine/the thread. :)

In terms of riding position at least, the Como and the Vado look very different. The Vado has a very aggressive riding position and seems definitely intended for speed. The Como looks a lot like a cruiser with a much more upright riding position.
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
Nothing to be sorry about - just look at mine/the thread. :)

In terms of riding position at least, the Como and the Vado look very different. The Vado has a very aggressive riding position and seems definitely intended for speed. The Como looks a lot like a cruiser with a much more upright riding position.
Very true. I know that now, but didn't know enough then to be able to visualize the differances from a picture until I'd ridden a few bikes. Sounds like you are ahead of where I was when I started looking. Happy hunting to you.
 

Kevin8tor

Active Member
Hey folks - thanks for the great responses so far!


Oh, awesome, glad to know that it's not just me who has bikes with widely different prices in their list :)
I considered the Level in the past, but not anymore. I'd consider it to be closer to the Ride1UP. However, torque sensor is a non-negotiable part of my requirements, so the Level doesn't cut it.

The Rize RX is a great bike for the money, for sure! It is much more powerful than all three, has front and seat post suspension, adjustable stem, throttle... The reason why I didn't add it here is that it may be too much of a bike for me. First of all, at 1000W and 35mph on throttle, it's 100% not street legal in the US. But otherwise, it seems to me it's more geared towards eMTB than urban commuting. It's definitely not a clear cut decision and from specs alone I'd say it's vastly superior to the rest (although as heavy as the Juiced). However, in terms of power, I'd prefer to stop at where my needs are met and not go too overboard. Does that make sense?

Hey @Art Deco - I 100% understand where you're coming from. Just not sure the way you phrased it matches my reality. Having one e-bike is already a hefty investment, having a second or third sounds like a totally different tax bracket. After buying one, I will do my best to learn how to care for/maintain it. Simply put, I wouldn't be able to afford leaving it "unused in the garage". You'd have to really not care about the money you earn to treat it like that. Admittedly, I won't be able to take a motor apart and fix it myself - that much is true.

Now, back to your completely valid point. Yes, I admit that it is wiser to purchase a bike you're able to test ride first. It's not only helpful to support a LBS but you can also get continued support with maintenance. Unfortunately, it feels to me that the online brands are offering a best overall value (i.e. more comprehensive set of features for the $) than what is offered at my LBS.

I'm also intrigued by your argument of being skilled riding the bike before getting an online bike. What do you mean by that?RE

RE: Rize - Sounds like you know the lay of the land and what you want. I rarely go above PAS1 on my Rize RX, and have only sampled the throttle a few times, but I do like know the power is there. I bought the bike for excercise and to commute and go shopping & it is a perfect match for those tasks. I see it as a huge value next to the BIG 3 Bike Shop brands, and it even matches up favorably with Watt Wagons & Biktrix offerings.
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
RE: Rize - Sounds like you know the lay of the land and what you want. I rarely go above PAS1 on my Rize RX, and have only sampled the throttle a few times, but I do like know the power is there. I bought the bike for excercise and to commute and go shopping & it is a perfect match for those tasks. I see it as a huge value next to the BIG 3 Bike Shop brands, and it even matches up favorably with Watt Wagons & Biktrix offerings.
Right! And that is a good reason. I feel like the Rize brings a better value than the Priority Current, given that it has much more power, suspension, bigger battery, throttle, etc. However, the low maintenance features of the Current are what attracts me: belt drive, internal gear hub, etc.

Basically, you can tell from this thread that I want the Priority Current. At this point I'm just waiting for someone to tell me if it's not worth it or if I am making a big mistake, before actually going for it! How to justify having the same price as the Rize without all of those extra features/power/battery size?
 
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Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
I'll refer back to your post #10 or so about renting or test riding a mid pefore choosing, but your money, your choice.
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
The Current looks like a great bike to me. I say go for it!

Regarding the lack of suspension, if that turns out to be an issue (spoiled rotten, it would for sure here), both seat post and front suspensions are easily added by anyone with a desire to do that. Neither are real expensive, and no rocket science involved to install.

There's little doubt that's a Bafang motor, most likely an M600, which is one of their latest. It's a smaller version of the M620 Ultra Max everyone is raving about. Should be a good match for the Shimano internal geared hub. They do mention it's "tunable". This may be questionable, and if you plan on doing any of that "tuning" you might ask for a little more info from Current, as my understanding is that Bafang is moving to change how easy that tuning is to access for anyone that's not a dealer.

Last, wanted to mention I also purchased a Rize RX Pro. It's my fourth e-bike, the second rated for 1000w+. Purchased purely on a bucks spent for bang received basis, and that bike only rarely sees 15mph while under power. Going down hills is another matter. I buy the big motors for their ability to climb hills. I don't want to wonder if I'm going to make it without having to get off and walk. Been there, and didn't care for that at all. -Al
 

Art Deco

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Selinsgrove
The Current looks like a great bike to me. I say go for it!

Regarding the lack of suspension, if that turns out to be an issue (spoiled rotten, it would for sure here), both seat post and front suspensions are easily added by anyone with a desire to do that. Neither are real expensive, and no rocket science involved to install.

There's little doubt that's a Bafang motor, most likely an M600, which is one of their latest. It's a smaller version of the M620 Ultra Max everyone is raving about. Should be a good match for the Shimano internal geared hub. They do mention it's "tunable". This may be questionable, and if you plan on doing any of that "tuning" you might ask for a little more info from Current, as my understanding is that Bafang is moving to change how easy that tuning is to access for anyone that's not a dealer.

Last, wanted to mention I also purchased a Rize RX Pro. It's my fourth e-bike, the second rated for 1000w+. Purchased purely on a bucks spent for bang received basis, and that bike only rarely sees 15mph while under power. Going down hills is another matter. I buy the big motors for their ability to climb hills. I don't want to wonder if I'm going to make it without having to get off and walk. Been there, and didn't care for that at all. -Al
Only thing I hate about my "E" version Como ... too many times in walk mode up the hill. To be fair the path coming up the last hill coming home from anywhere is like climbing a cliff face, and I make it up most times now.
 

Achterbahn

Active Member
Region
USA
City
Bay Area, CA
Only thing I hate about my "E" version Como ... too many times in walk mode up the hill. To be fair the path coming up the last hill coming home from anywhere is like climbing a cliff face, and I make it up most times now.
Ah, this also made me realize the Priority does not have a Walk Mode as far as I know. I either make it up the hill by riding or I have to haul the thing uphill.
The Current looks like a great bike to me. I say go for it!

Regarding the lack of suspension, if that turns out to be an issue (spoiled rotten, it would for sure here), both seat post and front suspensions are easily added by anyone with a desire to do that. Neither are real expensive, and no rocket science involved to install.

There's little doubt that's a Bafang motor, most likely an M600, which is one of their latest. It's a smaller version of the M620 Ultra Max everyone is raving about. Should be a good match for the Shimano internal geared hub. They do mention it's "tunable". This may be questionable, and if you plan on doing any of that "tuning" you might ask for a little more info from Current, as my understanding is that Bafang is moving to change how easy that tuning is to access for anyone that's not a dealer.

Last, wanted to mention I also purchased a Rize RX Pro. It's my fourth e-bike, the second rated for 1000w+. Purchased purely on a bucks spent for bang received basis, and that bike only rarely sees 15mph while under power. Going down hills is another matter. I buy the big motors for their ability to climb hills. I don't want to wonder if I'm going to make it without having to get off and walk. Been there, and didn't care for that at all. -Al
Thanks, @AHicks. This is helpful (and not just because your first sentence is what I wanted to hear all along!).

Regarding suspension - I'll keep an open mind at first and judge based on the ride. The first thing I would add would be a suspension seat post. I thought about a suspension stem, but those usually aren't as high rise as I'd like, for a more upright position. Adding front suspension might also add more weight, which I want to avoid, and I hope it doesn't feel necessary. As I said, I'll judge it after a few rides. I appreciate hearing your experience.

Regarding the motor, this is an interesting point of contention. This bike doesn't use Bafang nor Bosch. It uses the relatively (completely?) unknown brand Wuxi/Truckrun based on the information in this thread here. You can find more information about their motors here. More interestingly, I only see this motor listed as 250/350w anywhere - no mention of a 500w motor as listed by Priority. This also makes me sorta question their torque claims. @abpdx has the bike - any insights about motor performance? Anyway, my impression was that the 'tunable' claims were just marketing-speak for the different PAS levels and nothing else. I don't plan to do any tuning, however.

As long as the Current allows me to tackle hills easily (and, most importantly, easier than the alternatives I mentioned), it's enough power for me. Who knows when I am able to have a fourth ebike my opinion might change :D
 

AHicks

Well-Known Member
Region
USA
City
Snow Bird - Summer S.E. Michigan, Winter Gulf Coast North Central Fl.
Live and learn! I based my thought on the bracket the motor is bolted to. I THOUGHT that bracket was proprietary - for the newer Bafang motors.
Clearly, there are others (knock offs?) that use it as well. The fact it's not a Bafang motor might be a show stopper for me. No history, and no path to parts distribution would make me nervous. Worst case I suppose, is you could buy an M600 - or an Ultra, and do a little update.....

Oh, and I don't have 4 bikes. My first 2 are putting big grins on the faces of their new owners - who purchased great bikes very reasonably.
 

Coolbob

Active Member
@siqueirah, your wish list sounds a lot like mine as well as your creeping budget. :). Many times in life I've talked myself out of what I really wanted and got something cheaper and often regretted it. You've obviously done your research, but here's a bike that you may have overlooked. It resembles a cruiser, had cruiser type 27.5" wide (not fat) tires, assist up to 28mph, torque sensing pedal assist, reliable Yamaha mid drive, internal 7-speed hub (no derailleur) and hydraulic disk brakes and retails for $2600. Momentum is a division of Giant sold by giant dealers. You can buy one at your Giant dealer, or order on line and it will be shipped to your nearest Giant dealer. Unlike many mail order bike companies, the bike will be assembled, tested, warrantied and serviced by your Giant dealership. I ordered mine in June and it was ready for pickup in a week. Two friends liked mine so much they each bought one and theirs arrived an 3-5 days. I've put 500 miles on mine with 97,000 feet of elevation gain (it's very hilly where I live) and I love it.