Priority Continuum Onyx Review: The Best Around Town Bike

Priority Continuum Onyx Review: The Best Around Town Bike

Sometimes, I need a bike that doesn’t require twenty minutes of changing into spandex. I want to drive less, I want to take a bike to the store more, and I want to have something I can lock up with a good lock. Also, it’s far from practical to ride with my boy while clipped in on a bike with more carbon than a Ferrari. So, I need a solution for that challenge as well. Could the Priority Continuum Onyx be the answer?

The Priority Continuum Onyx
The Priority Continuum Onyx

I’m not alone in these needs. In fact, the challenges I’m looking to solve are some of the biggest segments of the overall bike market. The Priority Continuum Onyx knocks it out of the park. Priority offers a great looking bike, with thoughtful features, at a great price.

Although you’ll find lots of bikes in this segment, the Priority Continuum Onyx includes a range of features not quite matched by anyone else. That remains true even at higher prices. Hydraulic disc brakes have actually become pretty common for a bike like this, but it’s nice to see them here. A somewhat less common inclusion, although not unheard of, are the front and rear fenders. Of course, there are tons of third-party options for fenders, but it’s nice to not have to think about it. Equally nice is having all the pieces on the bike match, and fit, exceptionally well.

Lights and mudguards come fitted as standard
Lights and mudguards come fitted as standard

As I keep running through the feature list, we are starting to get into the nearly unheard of features this bike includes. Front and rear lights, powered by a Dynamo hub instead of batteries, come standard. Being permanently attached means less likelihood of theft and no need to remove them every time you park the bike. It also means never needing to charge them or remember them after you’ve brought them in for charging.

They are bright, they won’t dim as the battery gets low, and you never need to think about them. In fact, they really speak to the nature of the Priority Continuum Onyx as a whole. They are thoughtfully considered and work seamlessly to provide a better experience.

The NuVinci continuously variable rear hub
The NuVinci continuously variable rear hub

The real standout feature on this bike is the rear hub. Out back is where you will find a NuVinci continuously variable rear hub connected to a Gates carbon belt. Belt drive bikes are a joy to ride on their own. There no worries about grease on your pants. Plus, you never realize how loud even a well-maintained bike chain is until you experience the near silence of a belt drive. It makes talking to my boy when I’m riding with him a substantially easier proposition.

Belt drives are less rare than the NuVinci rear hub, though. The NuVinci offers continuously variable gearing. The range is like a standard eight speed bike but without the distinct gears. It’s hard to really grasp how much this changes the riding experience. When you ride a bike with distinct gears, as with almost all other bikes, the gearing really influences the way you ride in a range of situations. You don’t consciously think about much but it’s a big influence.

A Gates belt drive offers hassle free operation
A Gates belt drive offers hassle free operation

How many times have you felt the need to shift, but since you were about to stop, you figured you’d just push a bit harder for a few minutes? Or perhaps you’ve come to a stop and realize you forgot to shift to be ready for what’s ahead. With the NuVinci rear hub you can shift at any time and in whatever increment you want. There is no gear to clunk the chain into, so if you want to just make it a tiny bit harder, or easier, you can.

You don’t need to worry about movement in the rear wheel, or torque on it, when you shift. If you stop at a light and realize you need to shift before starting again, go ahead and do it. As soon as you start pedaling, the bike will be in the correct “gear.” If you suddenly find yourself in the wrong gearing on a steep hill, you can smoothly shift. There’s no need to worry about the chain slamming into the next gear because you are standing on the pedals trying to go up a hill.

The dynamo hub means you'll always have lights
The dynamo hub means you’ll always have lights

After just a few minutes riding the Priority Continuum Onyx you start to ride different. I found myself keeping my hand on the shifter and gently adjusting it almost constantly. The quiet drivetrain, easy shifting, lights and fenders you don’t have to think about, all come together for an amazing package. It’s the greatest city bike you could imagine.

The Priority Continuum Onyx has transformed a good segment of my riding. It’s something I can jump on in any clothes and take all over the city without all the thought I have to put into my race bikes. I didn’t even talk much about some of the more common features, but it has a good quality, and comfortable, saddle. It has a riding position that’s aggressive enough to compete in this segment, but still upright enough to feel comfortable with jeans and a slow pace.

Tektro hydraulic disc brakes on the Comtinuum
Tektro hydraulic disc brakes

There are a good smattering of reflective touches and a decent set of 32mm tires as well. In the area where a bike lock would typically sit there’s a hard-wearing matte finish. Assembly is easy with quality directions and tools included. It’s a long list of subtle, but pleasant, touches.

The Priority Continuum Onyx is not alone in its market segment. There are a fair number of competitors. There is the Breezer Beltway 11+, a flat bar belt drive bike with integrated lights and included fenders, which carries an MSRP of $1799. Another option is the Trek Lync 5 which also has a belt drive, flat bars, integrated lights, included fenders and again a higher MSRP at $1469.

The Nuvinci controllers will allow you to shift any time, even if you aren't pedalling
Shift any time, even if you aren’t pedaling.

Using a slightly different playbook Kona offers the Dr Drew. The Dr Drew is not a belt drive and has no integrated lights. What it does have is a match in pricing even though it’s offering less. Nothing else out there matches the features and pricing of the Priority Continuum Onyx. Either pay more for similar, but not quite the same, products or you can find products with fewer features for less money. The Priority Continuum Onyx costs $1199 and comes with all the features that make a great riding experience. There is a CVT rear hub, integrated lights and fenders, flat bars, and hydraulic disc brakes.

The front light uses three Cree LEDs
The front light uses three Cree LEDs

You could find something at a local shop, but it’ll likely cost quite a bit more for similar features. You can also save a few hundred dollars and get something in a similar silhouette but with more conventional features. Bottom line, the Priority Continuum Onyx is a killer deal on a fantastic, and thoroughly well thought out, bike.

Buy Now: Priority Continuum Onyx for $1199 from Priority Bikes

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