Aside from having to re-learn how to ride a bike in an urban setting, testing the Neverflat from Priority taught me that there really can be convenience in owning a bike in the city. From terrible roads to broken glass, I rode this bike all over Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens for over a month and it didn’t flat out once.
The Good: The bike is built to be low maintenance, and it delivers. Throughout my almost daily rides to and from work, I didn’t have any tire, belt or other maintenance issues. Thanks to airless tires, an aluminum frame and grease-free carbon drive belt, the bike and tires are puncture-, water- and rust-proof.
Who They’re For: While Priority partners with Element Hotels to outfit each location with a variety of bike for the guests, these bikes work beautifully in a city for daily riding. They’re as ideal for riding along New York’s West Side Highway as they are for hopping around from coffee shop to coffee shop to beer garden in Austin or Seattle.
Watch Out For: If you’re a serious commuter, and are used to riding your commuter bike to and from work, you might find this bike to be a little heavy and a little clunky. Since the tires are made from solid rubber, there’s not as much suspension or softness as you thud over bumps and cobblestones in the road.
The bike sits a bit high, which is great for cruising around Brooklyn on a Sunday afternoon, but not so great when I’m lugging my laptop, change of clothes, lunch and another pair of shoes for the office in 174Hudson’s Pannier backpack ($80), which proved to be invaluable during this experience. Lugging around an extra five pounds of weight in the bag might seem like a small amount, but paired with the 25 pounds of the bike, it can tip over fast if you’re not super comfortable.
Alternatives: You can put airless tires on almost any bike with the Bell Sports Solid Tube NoMorFlat Bicycle Inner Tire Tube ($23) or the NexoTires, offered in a variety of sizes for MTB, road and hybrid bikes. In terms of similar commuter bikes, some of our favorites include State Bicycle Co. Elliston Deluxe ($469+), the Raleigh Carlton 8 ($550) and the Cannondale Bad Boy I ($1,850).
While I was excited about the prospect of biking to work every day, I was simultaneously petrified to navigate the streets of New York on a bike that weighs 25-pounds. The most exciting prospect of this was that I would never have to change the tires or tubes, which even as a former triathlete, I avoid like the plague.
Living in New York City means I was able to go and pick the bike up directly from the Priority showroom. They’re location down in TriBeCa, roughly a 15-minute bike ride from the Gear Patrol office. When I arrived, the Classic Plus was all set up for me, complete with the All Alloy Rust Free Basket ($60), the Rear Rack ($30) and a U-Lock.
The tires are Nexo airless tires, so there’s no tube and no fear of punctures. Every time I left work and cruised down Fifth Avenue to make my way to the Williamsburg Bridge, I tried my best to hit as many potholes and bumps as I could. It’s been a month now and I’ve yet to pop, injure or replace the tires. I even have a nail in the tire currently — I have no clue when I rolled over it, but it has had zero effect on my ride. While I will say the ride is a bit bumpy, I was also warned that this would be the case. The tires are solid rubber after all. While I was initially aware of it, I quickly became used to the feel of this bike and learned to avoid cobblestones — or plow right through them, depending on the day.
I was sometimes forced to keep my bike outside (when my building’s bike racks were full) so when it rained my bike wasn’t always covered. The vegan-friendly water-resistant ‘looks like leather’ seat and bar grips held a little bit of water, but after a quick wipe down from the shirt I was going to wear later (it dried!), I didn’t need to worry about it.
The grease and rust-free Gates carbon belt drive was wonderful to use — especially if I was wearing a light colored pant and accidentally bumped into the belt while walking my bike. I only ever had one issue, which occurred almost on camera thanks to all of the film crews you find in New York City. As I was riding home from work one night, my pant leg slipped down from where it had been rolled up above my knee, and as soon as I started pedaling the bottom cuff was caught in the belt. Conditioned to working with greasy belts, my first thought was not to grab the belt and lift up, freeing my pant leg, but rather to step off the bike, lift the back wheel and spin the pedals bringing my cuff around the entire belt loop. After that, I made sure to keep all fabric away from the belt drive. In the belt drive’s defense, there were no grease marks on my pants post-incident.
Verdict: If you’re someone who is good at packing light, leaving everything you need at the office and you get around exclusively on a bicycle — this works for you. If you hate changing tires and want something you can ride around town and never give a second thought, it’s a great option. If you’re on vacation and need a cruiser to get to and from the beach and then off to dinner, this bike is a breeze to use, and you never have to worry about it, no matter what the weather is.
What Others Are Saying:
• “If you’re looking for a reasonably priced commuter bike that doesn’t require regular tuning or maintenance, you might want to check out Priority Bicycles.” — Steve Fisher, Bike Rumor!
• “Don’t get me wrong, I love my loaded, geared-out and racked-up bikes and ride them every day. But, when a lunch ride is in the cards, the Classic is my choice. The easy-rolling attitude of this upright ride encourages conversation and taking it all in – a slow cycle bike with plenty of style. Shop bikes, bar bikes, city cruisers – whatever you call them they have something in common. They strip off all the extras and keep it dead simple, ready to ride and easy to make the bike your first choice when stepping out the door. The Priority Classic will sway you on this choice, and it’s an easy one to make. Take the bike.” — David Niddrie, Momentum Mag
• “And the best part is, we never missed having extra gears (even on hills, we could push it up a notch for a little more power), and we could carry this 25-pound bike with one hand while a CitiBike can take two people to lug anywhere. Despite multiple rainstorms and an unprotected bike exposed to the elements, no maintenance was required.” — Greg, Truly Outdoors
Frame Options: Diamond or Step-Through
Inseam: Small (26″ to 30″) or Medium (30.5″ to 32.5″)
Colors: Slate blue or gloss white
Speed: 3-speed internal Shimano Nexus Hub
Extras: Assembly tools, kickstand and water bottle cage