Let’s get this out of the way: The Priority Embark isn’t cheap. For $3,999 you could get a respectable secondhand car.

That’s actually not a crazy comparison, because for urban riders the Embark is intended to supplant or replace a car. This is a bike you could ride far, every day, an electrically augmented two-wheeled commuter—a real bicycle, but one with the ability to deliver you at work without being drenched in sweat.

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Priority Embark E-Bike

prioritybicycles.com
$3,599.00

The Embark uses Bosch drivetrain components, which is notable because everything is designed to work together and is supported by a national dealer network (and a two-year warranty). A 250-watt motor in the crank runs through a Gates belt drive to an Enviolo Trekking CVT transmission at the rear. Translation: smooth power, with no greasy chain slapping your leg.

Because the motor is on the upstream side of the transmission, it benefits from the gear reduction on hills. The more common hub-mounted motors can get hot when climbing, but a crank motor like this one is happy on inclines. And the bike’s modest size means that A) you can get up to 50 miles of range, and B) nobody can claim you’re riding a motorcycle in the bike lane.

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Ezra Dyer

The CVT doesn’t select its ratios automatically, as in cars. You do that with a twist grip on the right handlebar, but the ratio change remains seamless. You can change the gear ratio while pedaling and there’s no clack-clack of a derailleur smacking a chain onto a new sprocket.

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Look ma, no grease.

Ezra Dyer

The Embark has no separate throttle but electronic assist commences automatically when you begin pedaling. You can select various levels of assist. The best one is max assist, which is labeled in the menu as Turbo.

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Regardless of mode, the motor assist is limited to 20 mph. That’s not to say the bike can’t go any faster, though, just that everything above 20 is up to you. Throwing my legs into it downhill, I saw 35 mph. And the Embark was stable, smooth, and happy. If anything, it could’ve maybe used some taller gearing, but I guess most people won’t be hitting 35 on their way to the office. A steady 20 is entirely reasonable.

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The good stuff: a Bosch crank motor.

Ezra Dyer

If you’re interested in a test ride, Priority will bring you a bike via Velofix, the mobile bike shop, provided you live in one of the cities they cover. And if you order a bike, Velofix is the company that will handle delivery and assembly for you. As with the maintenance of the bike itself, the idea is that you don’t have to think about anything except riding.



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