As an urban commuter, I am pretty demanding of my chief mode of two-wheeled transportation.
First and foremost, it has to be durable to withstand the wear and tear of every day city living: hauling it up and down stairs, through elevators, onto light rail cars, or placing it on bus racks. Other criteria include speed, agility and comfort. Finally, I am a self-admitted tech-tard, so I prefer my commuter bikes to be as low maintenance as possible.
With the introduction of the EIGHT, such a bike exists. The EIGHT offers smart engineering at a low cost. Other bicycles with similar features and components sell for above $1400, while the EIGHT’s pre-sale price is $799.
The latest from Priority Bicycle’s line of maintenance-free bikes, the EIGHT is performance-focused with premium components including: dual-piston Hydraulic Disc Brakes for maximum stopping power, alloy fenders, Continental tires, wide power range and 8-speed internal Shimano hub.
A key feature of the EIGHT that I am the most excited about is the Gates Carbon Drive Belt System. No more telltale grease marks on my legs or clothing when I walk into the office!
The grease-free carbon drive not only looks cool, but it requires no lubrication and is not susceptible to rust and bad weather (I was introduced to rusty chains the hard way when I unwittingly left my first commuter bike outside uncovered for an entire year). Compared to conventional chains, belt drives are more durable, quiet and cleaner and decrease the number of services stops I make at bike shops- all pluses in my book!
Priority Bicycles founder, Dave Weiner, started the company because he was frustrated with bicycles on the market. There had been so much innovation in the industry, but all to the benefit to professional riders. He wanted to change the game for the recreational cyclist and launched a successful Kickstarter campaign in July of 2014. It quickly hit its goal of $30,000, ultimately raising over $565,000, and selling over 1,500 bicycles.
“Life’s too short to ride a bad bicycle,” said Weiner. “We know you’re busy. That’s why we’ve reimagined the bicycle through innovative design and unparalleled engineering and created a bike for recreational riders that is easy to assemble, easy to ride, and requires no regular maintenance. You will not find a more high quality bicycle at a lower price point than Priority.”
Made from ultralight aluminum, the EIGHT is surprisingly light (due in part to the Gates Carbon drive). My first ride on the EIGHT proved that it is nimble and can take quick turns and switch backs off the main bike path with ease. It is also light enough to quickly haul up the light rail car stairs without much effort. While I was riding, the bike received admiring looks and compliments from onlookers about its slick design.
For those who like to pimp their rides, a wide array of Priority accessories including interlock/seatpost hidden lock combo, pedal straps, light kits, helmets, and more are also available. Already committed to a favorite rack or saddle bag? No problem. The EIGHT can handle most standard racks and saddle bags.
The EIGHT offers comfort across sizing for cyclists 5’4” to 6’5” tall and comes in three sizes 17”, 19”, and 21.5”. Arriving 90 percent pre-built, the EIGHT is available in one color (matte charcoal grey) and requires a simple 10 minute assembly process that requires no prior bicycle knowledge. A helpline is also available 7 days a week for any questions owners might have.
Not available in stores, the EIGHT can be purchased through pre-order and sign up only on the Priority Bicycle website. The average wait for pre-orders is 2-4 weeks. For those hesitant to commit to a bike that can’t be demoed in the local bike shop, Priority Bicycles offers a 30-day no questions asked return policy and a 5-year belt drive guarantee.