Priority Start F/W

Priority Start F/W

Next to flat tires, chains are by far the most annoying part of a kids bike.  From falling off (after you just put it back on), to covering your child’s leg and/or pants in grease, the chain is a necessary evil.  Or is it?  Over the past few years, belt-driven bikes have slowly been entering the bike market. Much like the belts often used on motorcycles, belt drives are chain-free, grease-free, rarely come off and are essentially maintenance free.  A perfect solution to kids bike, a new bike company, Priority Bicycles is taking the lead in bringing belt-driven bikes to the kids market.  The brainchild of a dad with years of experience in the bike industry, Priority Bicycles made ease, quality and performance their priority.  Perfecting simple and basic, they officially hit the market this year in part due to an overwhelmingly successful Kickstarter campaign and have since released three kids bikes.

Priority Overview4

*The Priority F/W is now $249

With their previous release of their 12″ and 16″, their new Start F/W is their first bike for advanced riders.  With a belt drive, 16″ self-sealed tires and dual hand brakes (no coaster), the Start F/W (freewheel), packs a lot of punch into it’s $269 price tag. With a U-shaped handlebar, a threadless headset and no coaster brakes, the Start F/W is perfectly suited for kids with an inseam of 17″ to 22″, but our testers as old as 11, who were certainly too big for the bike, loved riding the bike anyway.  Weighing in at 17 lb. the Start F/W is additionally lighter than most bikes in price range.

Priority 16 ages

The princess of the party, its hard to take your eyes off the Start’s belt drive.  Smooth in function and quiet in operation, our testers would ironically stop pedaling and look down to make sure the bike was still working since it wasn’t making any noise.  Upon doing so, however, the rear freewheel hub would begin to hum, quickly reminding them they are in fact moving and they would happily keep on riding.

Priority Belt Drive

With higher-end components, the Start is built to please. With easy-reach brake levers, a threadless headset, a railed saddle and with removable color coded stickers on the cranks and pedals for easy assembly (link to video instructions), the Start was clearly thought out from top to bottom. The charcoal gray paint with metallic flakes additionally adds an extra set of wonder to the Start F/W.

Priority 16 bike features

While more advances riders can generally balance a heavier bike, lighter is generally always better with kids bike.  At just over 17 lb., the Start isn’t the lightest on the market, but for it’s price, it is certainly one of the best.

Priority Weight

While newer to the market, the Start isn’t the first kids bike to have a belt.  The Early Rider Belter was developed several years ago and although it is lighter than the Start, it has essentially the same geometry and seat height, but with a much more expensive price tag.  Compared to the Next Rocket (Walmart), the Start is vastly different as it has lower handlebars and a much longer wheelbase.

Priority vs. Early Rider3

When done correctly, an upright geometry is beneficial for beginning riders, but for more advanced riders, a more aggressive position allows for greater handling and increased maneuverability.  Still in 4T clothes, our four-year-old testers was slightly too small for the Start, but loved the smooth ride it offered and happily rode it regardless.  Our five-year-old tester, who normally rides a big-box store 20″ bike (which is too big for him), and therefore took every chance he could get to ride the Start.  In fact, he often jumped on the bike as soon as our four-year-old tester was done without even giving us the chance to raise the seat for him (which is why it is to low in the picture below).

Priority Geometry

The gearing of the Priority is also larger than other bikes in its price range.  The Priority Start F/W has a 36/18 while the Cleary Hedgehog has a 25/16.  The larger gear ratio of the Priority allows riders to ride faster on flat surfaces, but will be more challenging to ride uphills.

Bottom Line

A smooth, fun ride for kids and maintenance free for mom and dad, the Priority Start F/W is a great buy for kids in at size 5T pants and up.  An aggressive ride, the Start is best for eager balance bike graduates or for kids outgrowing their 12″ bikes.

Where to Purchase

Priority Bikes are only available at PriorityBicycles.com.

 

FTC Disclosure:  All opinions given are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review, but a demo bike was provided by Priority Bicycles to facilitate this review.  Two Wheeling Tots is an affiliate of Priority Bicycles, but are also an affiliate of Amazon, REI, Target and Walmart and therefore have no financial gain to recommend one bike over another.

      • Jason B

        Wow, glowing review. Makes my choice harder now. After my son has done so well on his Scoot XL we got him last year, I’m wanting to get him a traditional bike this year (he will be 6YO in November, and has an 18-18.5″ inseam). I was originally looking at the upcoming Commencal Ramones 16″ bike, which is more traditional, but the Priority Start F/W has some interesting features.

        It doesn’t seem like you guys have reviewed any Commencal bikes yet, do you plan on doing so? I still have a couple weeks I could wait, but it looks like the 16″ Ramones is still 10 days out before it ships… Any advice?

        • No luck with Commencal about reviewing their bikes yet, but I have heard great things about them. They two bikes are very comparable as they both weight 17 lb., are single speed and don’t have a coaster brake. Based solely on pictures, I assume the Ramones has less of a stretch for riders compared to the Priority as it appears to have a shorter stem. As a result, I assume the Ramones would be a better chose for a beginning rider while the Priority a better choice for the more advanced rider.

          • Jason B

            Thanks Natalie, I think I’m leaning more towards the Ramones for him now, as he will be a new rider to a pedal bike. I like the features of the Priority, but also wonder about getting a belt when/if it wears out. Slime tubes can be installed in any tire, so shouldn’t be an issue there, if I wanted to go with that.

            • Jered Goodyear

              Jason, please respond once you get the bike. I am debating between the Priority Start F/W, Commencal Ramones 16, TykesBykes Sprinter 16, and Cleary Hedgehog 16 (I spend any more than that so I’ve limited myself to that on the upper end). As you can see I have some narrowing down to do! Any help in the decision process from anyone would be greatly appreciated!

          • Jason B

            LOL, well, the innovation got the best of me again…I went ahead and ordered the Priority Start F/W. I did the same thing when looking to buy my first full suspension mountain bike back about 6 years ago, and bought a bike from a new start-up called Pivot Cycles. I was really impressed with it, and still ride it to this day. I hope the Priority doesn’t let me, or my son, down! Can’t wait!

      • sumeet27

        i would love to see a comparison between islabike, Ridgeback MX16, Clearly and this bike …… with Clearly and Priority having similar aggressive geometry

        • Unfortunately, I don’t have the Islabike or the Ridgeback in a 16″ around to compare them to. A friend does have the Cleary I can probably used to get a comparison shot of, I’ll see what I can do. From what I know, the Cleary and the Priority are going to have more aggressive geometries than the others. I assume the Cleary would be more aggressive, but I would have to see comparison shots to confirm. In my opinion, the Ridgeback bikes aren’t as good as quality as the others, but I would say they are about the same as those found at a local bike shop, so certainly not bad. Islabikes is going to be more upright than the others as it has a riser handlebar versus the flat bar, it also has a coaster brake. Hope that helps for now.

          • sumeet27

            Thank you for your reply

      • chris

        Let me start off by saying that as adults/ consumers in our world, we typically make calculated decisions to make a purchase like this (as with vehicles, etc.) from who we “like” or get a fair and honest deal from. Well, Priority has done that plus some. Leaving aside the intriguing and bold story of owner David Weiner leaving his old job with a vision, knowledge of and ability to design/ produce simple and effective bikes for people like us….this company impressed on many levels. Starting with customer service: we buy from who we like..I like Priority and its customer service period. Extremely polite and informative on the phone answering a barrage of questions surrounding the Priority Start F/W, I ordered one towards the end of my call. Owner David whom I spoke with personally, went leaps and bounds to help the bike get to me in time for my sons 4th birthday here in CA…they’re in New York! Now all the positives on the Priority Start F/W: Hands down hard to compare on to others in the same class. What a quality build, great geometry and even better price point. The Start is light, has freewheel which proves to be very advantageous for young riders and has the innovative belt drive! For future kid bike buyers out there, you’ll without a doubt feel good about purchasing Priority. My son who just turned 4 was down the road pedaling happily on the second shove..the rest is history. I love to ride myself, have 3 sons and this stuff matters to me as it likely does you if you’re reading this. I’ll post pics soon soon of Reece ripping his new ride. Thanks Priority Start for making it happen. P.S. I have to send a shot out to Natalie–thank you for reviewing this bike on twowheelingtots! So helpful.
        Peace,
        Chris

        • Totally agree. I was able to talk to David on the phone a couple times as well as meet him at a bike show and couldn’t agree with you more. An amazingly nice guy with a passion for kids that shows. In addition to his great bikes, I know that he stands by his bikes 100%. Great guy, great bikes. Glad you had a great experience with them! Thanks for reporting back.

      • Jered Goodyear

        @disqus_j754f5Cm5q:disqus I am debating between the Priority Start F/W, Commencal Ramones 16, TykesBykes Sprinter 16, and Cleary Hedgehog 16 (I spend any more than that so I’ve limited myself to that on the upper end). As you can see I have some narrowing down to do! Any help in the decision process from anyone would be greatly appreciated! What things should I be considering when deciding between these 4? My son turns 4 in January but is big for his age. He started on a Stryder when he was getting close to 2 and he just transitioned to a pedal bike (probably could have done so a little sooner but he loved his Stryder too much to switch). He picked it up extremely fast and by day 2 was zooming around our neighborhood. On ride 3 or 4 I was able to ride my bike next too him around the neighborhood. But his current bike is a beater we got used for $5; its a 12″ and too small and it is heavy as can be. Ready to get him a new bike and with Christmas around the corner its the perfect time. Any help is appreciated. Thanks!

        • Awesome. Isn’t it amazing how quick kids can pick up balance bikes and simply take off!

          To help figure out the best bike for him, a couple things will help. First, what is his inseam? Second, is he experienced with a hand brake, or is he going to want to stop with his feet, like he is familiar with on his Strider. Lastly, what type of riding do you plan on having him do, mainly paved surfaces around the neighborhood, off-road single track riding, or anything in between. Let me know and then I can give you my recommendation between those four.

          • Jered Goodyear

            Hi Natalie,

            I prefer the idea of him learning how to use hand brakes but he’s never used them before. His $5 junker bike has coaster brakes; it was problematic on his first day but overall he doesn’t have too hard of a time with it (accidentally triggers it sometimes but just enough to slow him down), but he can’t stop super effectively with it either. He kind of slows down with the coaster and then used his feet to finish it off.

            I just tried to measure him. As close as I can tell with a basic tape measure he is about 43″ tall with a 17.75″ inseam based on being barefoot (not an expert in inseam measurements, lol).

            In terms of terrain, I’d like something that’s good for all purpose. I imagine we’ll do our fair share of family rides around the neighborhood (paved), but we also have a closeby park with a big field and I’d love to be able to hit the trails with him as he develops more strength and stamina (I have an old full suspension Gary Fisher I used to love to ride but haven’t done much since having kids).

            Thanks!!!

            • Jered Goodyear

              Correction, I re-measured using a book and making sure it was fairly tight under his groin/pelvic bone and I think his inseam is 18″.

              • Yep, I totally know the feeling of having a dusty bike in the garage once you have kids :). Of those bikes, the Priority has a more aggressive position than the others, but with a 19″ seat height, it is going to allow him to touch the ground with is toes, which will be helpful in getting him used to a larger bike. Compared to his cheapo, the geometry of the Priority is going to be vastly different, so I assume he is going to need some time to adjust to it. If he is less on the adventurous side, then the more relaxed positioning of the Commencal and the TykesBykes might be better. The TykesBykes, however, will require you to saw a couple inches off the seat tube in order to fit your son at first. The Commencal will be slightly big from the get-go, as the minimum seat height is 20″, but he should be able to touch with toes. For some kids, not being able to put their whole foot on the ground can be unnerving, but for some kids its not a problem, especially those who have already mastered riding a pedal bike (especially a cheap one). Lastly, the 16″ Ridgeback is currently not in stock (and has been out-of-stock for a while), so if you still want to consider it, I would call WeeBikeShop at 858-265-9975 (the US distributor of Ridgeback) to see when it will be back in stock.

              • Jered Goodyear

                Thanks Natalie! I don’t like the idea of needing to permanently mod the TykesBykes so I think that option is out. On your last comment… The other bike I was considering was the Cleary Hedgehog, not the Ridgeback. Any comments on that one? Also, are there any drawbacks to the no chain approach of the Priority?

                Sorry for all the questions. Thanks again for your help!

              • Ugh, sorry about that. Got confused with another question.

                The Cleary is has a really aggressive geometry, almost more so than the Priority, but is great quality. If you don’t plan on doing a lot of single track, I wouldn’t recommend it though as it is really meant for an aggressive rider.

                For the belt drive, the main benefit for kids is that there is no grease, which often gets on legs, pants, etc. (as I am sure you know). It is also very quite (which kids love) and certainly has that coolness factor. In terms of performance, we didn’t notice a difference, other than the fact that the “chain” never comes off :).

              • Jered Goodyear

                Thanks Natalie! You are a lifesaver! In terms of gear ratio, any difference between the Comencal and the Priority? It sounds like at this point it’s between those two.

              • Jered Goodyear

                That is of course, unless you think there is a better option I’m not considering. Lol 🙂

              • sumeet27

                Hi Natalie,
                what about the gearing ratio … it seems that the Priority bike has a far greater ratio than the other kids bikes on the market (cleary/ comencal …); so while it might not matter on flats, it might be hard for the kids when riding up on very low gradient climbs .. thoughts??

              • So I went out to count the teeth on the Priorities chain only to realize that, umm yea, it doesn’t have any. The diameter of the chainring though, is smaller than those on our cheapo bikes and about the same size as those on our Islabikes. Compared to the Cleary and the Commencal, the Cleary is has a smaller chainring, so it will be easier to ride up hill, while the Commencal and the Priority appear to have a larger chain ring which are about the same size.

              • sumeet27

                the ratio is 36/18 for Priority (based on email from Dave) while the others are at 25/16 ….

              • Thanks for correcting me as I was clearly wrong. Dave is great to work with, so I’m glad you got in touch with him. So by the others, do you mean Commencal and Cleary?

              • sumeet27

                Cleary has the 25/16 ….. as i was considering either the Cleary or the Priority …. do you have a Commencal 16 for review

              • No, I don’t, they are on my list for next year. I have only heard good things about them though. If you plan on doing a lot of trail riding, I would be sure to look at the Spawn Banshee (http://spawncycles.com/bikes/spawn-cycles-banshee) which has a 26T chainring and weighs a mere 15 lbs. (they are also on the list for next year).

      • Jason B

        I received the Priority Start F/W yesterday, and after boy
        child went to bed, started working on putting it together. After watching the online video, and then
        reviewing the one page quick start guide stuffed in the rather lengthy manual,
        I felt pretty good about getting it assembled.
        I have a couple drawers in my tool chest dedicated to bike tools, but
        honestly, all but a screwdriver was already included, and all that was needed
        to get it assembled. Working slowly, it
        took me about 30 minutes to get it all put together, and setup. All that is needed now, is to adjust the seat
        height, and possibly the handlebars for him when he gets it in T-9 days.

        Overall, I am really impressed with the build quality of the
        bike. There are some minor scratches
        already on the frame though, but shouldn’t be an issue, as it will eventually
        get those with use. The seat post
        actually caused the biggest one, because the post was not wrapped in any
        protective paper like the rest of the bike, so in shipment, the end of the seat
        post banged against one of the lower triangles of the back of the frame, still
        not a big deal.

        The belt drive is really nice and quiet. It seems to be fairly high quality, looks
        like it is actually made by another company, but can’t remember the name
        stamped on the big ring. It looks like a
        fairly easy thing to adjust, but one thing I’m not certain of, is how much
        tension would need to be on the belt if it needed to be adjusted later. The adjustment system is pretty clever,
        basically loosen the rear axle bolts, then there is a set screw on either side
        that adjusts the position of the rear axle with respect to the bottom
        bracket. Once you have the tension you
        want, and have it aligned, looks like it is as simple as bolting down the rear
        axle again. I wonder if a spoke tension
        gauge could somehow be used…

        So at this point, I’m really excited about the bike, and
        hope he likes it. The quality seems
        really good for the price point. I think
        maybe in some areas it could be improved, perhaps the brakes, the levers are
        totally all plastic, so time will tell if they will last past any crashes or
        not. But for some of the higher end
        bikes, you’re looking at spending close to $100-130 more on those, and I didn’t
        want to do that on a bike he may only ride for 3-4 years. I will put more money in his next bike, that
        he will likely ride until he gets a full size bike.

        One last point I’ll make, the Kenda tires that come on the
        Priority seem to be mostly designed for street use. They have hardly any knobs, if any at all,
        that I remember, so riding this bike on tough off-road trails without changing
        the tires would probably result in a lot of tire slippage. I was okay with this, as I looked at the
        pictures of this review beforehand, because I figure he will probably not be
        riding mountain bike trails for at least another couple years or so. If need be, I will install a more trail
        suitable tire, which should not be an issue.
        The street tire is probably best for his learning right now.

        I’ll report back further after he has had time to ride it.

        • Not sure why I am just now seeing this, but thanks for your input. I always love to get feedback on the bikes I review, as I often missed things that should be addressed. All in all, I agree that it is a very well made bike for the price. Not perfect, but within a decent price range for kids bikes. I agree that the brake levers could be better, but we’ve never had a lever (cheap or high-end) brake on us, so I wouldn’t worry too much about that. I do feel that the brakes are harder to engage than other bikes, like the Cleary’s. I did feel that the chain guard was a little chinsy, but Dave at Priority mentioned that they were already working on getting a better one for the next batch of bikes.

          So since the 9 days have past, I’d love to hear how your son liked it. Did he take to it right away?

          Thanks again!

          • Jason B

            LOL, Natalie, well, not so much. We helped him ride it around the house a bit, but it’s just too confined to really ride it. He was already concerned with the seat being a little higher than his Scoot XL, but told him it was the right height for him. So a couple weeks went by, and he wasn’t interested in riding at all, even though we had some unseasonably warm weather. After being a little frustrated about that, I encouraged him to go outside with me and the new bike.

            I got him to a nice open residential road that wasn’t busy with traffic, on a slight decline. After holding him up 2-3 times by his upper body, I was able to help him get going on the bike, with his feet on the pedals, and then would wait until I felt he had it balanced, and let go. After those attempts, I just told him to scoot along like his old bike, until he got up some speed, and then put his feet on the pedals. He had a pretty good hang of it, after just the first day, only spending about 30 – 45 minutes on it. I was shocked to see him pedaling along by himself…just amazing.

            So, he seems to like it now, but I’m sure it will take a couple more weeks before he feels confident in going at it by himself.

            At this point, I really like the bike. I think my initial concerns were just that, concerns. He was able to brake just fine with the brake levers, although he was a bit confused going from one lever to two, so once I explained that, and showed him the calipers, he understood. The levers seem a lot more sturdy once you get them tightened down on the handle bar. He is able to sit flat footed on the seat, with it in the lowest position, so he has a ton of room to grow into this bike. I liked the stretched out geometry of the frame, he seemed to have really good control of the steering, right out of the box, more than I thought he would. The belt drive is also really quiet. In fact, when he is pedaling, you cannot hardly even hear a sound other than the tires on the road.

            I was also impressed that Dave himself contacted me a couple times after buying the bike, to see how my son liked it. He is incredibly friendly, and answered any questions I had about the bike. I’m not sure many bike companies do or would do such a thing. I hope that Priority continues to grow into a bigger operation, and is around for years to come. I think his vision for a simple, reliable, and cost effective design will put the company above others. I can’t wait for spring when my son will be able to spend more time on his new bike.

            • Nice, glad it didn’t take him too long to get up and sounds like it is a good fit for him. Nothing beats that first time they pedal off on their own. No matter how many times I see it, it’s always surreal. Come spring, I imagine he’ll be cruising along just like you said.

              Lastly, couldn’t agree with you more about Dave. Nice guy all around, plus a great company. In fact, I’m so impressed by his bike that I wanted to help get the word out about his adult bikes, so we are going to do giveaway of two of them on our site this weekend. He sent me one to test out with all the child bike seats and I loved it. The coaster brake took some getting used to but, I honestly feel they are a great buy for parents wanting to get out and ride with their kids. The link will be up on Facebook when the giveaway opens up.

              Thanks for your feedback as always!

      • Melissa Harrer

        I am trying to decided between the Woom3 and Priority F/W. My son is an experienced rider, has been riding his cheapo bike since he was 3 and has a tykesbike balance bike with a hand break that he used before going without the training wheels. The geometry is vastly different and we really want something fun for our son to ride. My son has an inseam of 18 inches. Suggestions?

        • Glad to help and sorry for my delay in getting back to you. Things have been crazy around here! You are right in that the bikes are vastly different. If you plan on riding around the neighborhood and some bike rides around town, I would go for the WOOM, if he is more aggressive rider and it planning on hitting jumps or trails, then I would go for the Priority.

          • Melissa Harrer

            We decided on Woom, the 2016 version is lighter at 13.5 lbs and now is standard with free wheel. We will be riding on bike trails and in town. Thanks for your input.

            • Good to know! I wasn’t aware that the new models were available. I will have to update my charts and reviews. Thanks for the heads up.

      • Jordan Barnes

        My son just turned four and we got him the Start for his birthday. He was confident on a balance bike and on his first ride he was able to pedal to the end of the block and back. He was even figuring out coasting and the brakes on his first run. What a great bike. Colt says, “Dad that bike is cool. ” I agree, cool bike. Jordan- San Diego

        • Awesome. Isn’t is amazing how quite it is? I’m still amazed by that every time a kid rides by on it.

      • Adam Nelson

        After purchasing a bike from a discount store that was way to heavy and the crank arms where too long that it caused my 4 year old not to want to ride, I started to dig. I found several bikes that seemed to fit the mold but my gosh where they expensive, like 400$ expensive. I came across the two wheeling tots page and found that priority bikes matched the the specs of the early rider belter. After some conversation with Dave with priority I found that the crank arms and belt drive where going to make the grade also that the bike was lighter than most standard store bought models. After ordering the F/W version for our boy witch is very neutral and would work for either gender, it took about 20-30 minutes to assemble and was very easy, even if you had very little bike knowledge. My son was so excited to test it out, and I hadn’t seen him like this with the other bike i had to try. My son rode on the first bike from 2-4 and was very good in fact gliding circles around his friends with trainers and them wanting to try his because it looks and is so much more fun. After about 10 minutes of explaining pedals and how they only work in one direction and walking behind him while he pedaled and adjusted to two hand brakes vs one. I gave him a heavy push and he pedaled and glided to a controlled stop. This was already leaps and bounds better then the BMX bike we purchased, and will be selling. After a few pushes we called it a night, but to my surprise he wanted to try the second i got home from work the next day. We went to the store and got some knee and elbow pads and strapped him up. After 2-3 push starts he was pedaling 1 full block and stopping with the hand brakes with control. After 10 more minutes he biked 3 blocks with out stopping. Everything about this bike is geared for a 4 year old with some very good balance bike experience. I will and would recommend this bike to friends, and the customer service is great and fast to respond to questions or issues you have.

        Thanks again Priority (Dave)

        Adam Nelson – Minnesota

        • Awesome, glad you found us and Priority. Dave is just as amazing as his bike! Isn’t it amazing just how different a “kids” bike can truly be? Thanks for reporting back, happy riding!

      • Aiyappan

        We purchased the priority start f/w for my son who is a balance bike graduate. I was torn between getting the bykE 350 vs. priority since my son is 42″ tall with an inseam of 17″ which was an inch shorter than the recommended height for priority. Since ByKE was out of stock until june we decided to go with the prioirty start f/w. The assembly took me around 30 mins but had a hard time adjusting the brakes initially. Dave was really helpful in giving me videos that showed how to adjust the brakes. As soon as the assembly was done, i noticed that the height wasn’t optimal for my son and his feet was barely touching the ground. So I took off the seat reflector to get an half-inch more out of the seat height and that really did the trick as he could now maintain stability. The wonderful experience for me was when I saw within few minutes he was riding his bike without any assistance! He really loves the bike and went around more than 10 times around the block. The bike is really fast on the descent and i was surprised that he could understand the brakes that quickly. He was able to stop gracefully. A big thank you to Natalie for reviewing this bike and to Dave from Priority Bikes (very helpful and quick in responding). Without Natalie’s help i wouldn’t have bought a balance bike to begin with which I feel many parents should know about. Just wanted to share my thoughts.

        • Awesome! I’m glad to have helped you along the way. Plus, Dave is truly amazing, he will bend over backwards to help his customers! Sounds like you have an amazing summer of riding ahead of you :). Thanks for reporting back!

      • Jeffrey M. Gould

        Hi there – any experience or impressions of the 12″ Priority? Can’t quite get a sense of the geometry or pros/cons of the no-inflate tires. Had been considering a ByK E-250 OR Specialized Hotrocks 12 for my 3.5 yr old twins who have 15″ inseams. Think the Hotrocks might be a tad tall for them and the ByK would give us a longer life span. As a fan of belt drives and the Priority company, though, I’m intrigued. (Also don’t see a weight online for the 12″ so will ask Priority.) thanks!

        • I would call over to Priority and talk to them about it. They sent me their 16″ for review because it was a more advanced bike design (a more aggressive geometry and no coaster) as compared to their 12″. Their 12″ is also designed to be used with training wheels at first (although you don’t have to), which I don’t recommend. That being said, I must say that the tires are very intriguing and having a belt drive on kid bikes is pretty awesome (although my son has gotten his pants stuck in belt drives before). As far as geometry goes, it has a really small cockpit (the space between the seat and the handlebars) which makes it great for training wheels, but not ideal for kids who are transitioning from balance bikes who tend to learn forward more as they ride.

      • MagicWagon

        Any reason this was recently dropped from the exceptional category? Just wondering if there were any updates.

        • No, that was a mistake. I recently updated the charts and I put the divider in the wrong part of the code. It’s fixed now.

      • The SureStop system is only available on Guardian bikes as they are the ones who invented the system :). They are working on different sizes, but only the 20″ is currently available. In regards to the tires on the Priority, they should be fine for most riding, but if he plans on riding on mainly non-paced conditions, I would look into a bike with knobby tires. The Pello Revo has a similar set up to his regular bike as it has a coaster as well as a rear hand brake, but it is light weight at 16.3 lb. and has knobby tires. It also has a more upright position. As a comparison, here are two kids riding both bikes. The child is a 4yo in 4T and the bottom a 5yo in size 5 clothes. The Priority is the top picture in the middle and the Pello is the bottom picture to the right. These are sets of pictures we are putting together for our 16″ comparison guide.

        • Francis Lam

          Thanks for your quick reply!
          I suppose another option is to purchase another set of wheels (not that expensive). I like everything else about that Priority Start F/W 🙂

      • Marco Grubert

        Overall I would give this bike 3 out of 5 stars. It seems to have a rather high gear ratio. Where my son would easily go up a hill on the 16″ Huffy bike he now has to get off and push the Priority F/W because it’s too hard to pedal. Though the belt is completely quiet while pedaling, it sounds like an angry bee hive when the FW clutch is engaged.

        I am also not sure whether lower handle bars make for better steering, I am seeing the opposite here, but it could be based on a kid’s body height and preferences.

        • Thanks for the feedback, I really appreciated it. I actually spoke to the owner of Priority Bicycles this morning about the gear ratio as well as the handlebars of the F/W. I agree that the position is really too aggressive for many kids, which is something they are going to fix for their next model. He many also decrease the gear ratio for the same reasons you expressed. Lastly, I agree that the hub is loud! Personally it is not my favorite, but many parents like it at is allows them to hear their kids when they are riding. Of course they have to stop pedaling for the hub to make noise, but kids often stop pedaling, which allows them to be heard around turns on trails or simply riding around in front of the house. In the end, there really isn’t one perfect bike, but rather bikes that are best for various types of rides and riders. In the end, it sounds like perhaps another bike would have been a better fit for your son.

      • Brandon

        Can you please tell me if the front forks are steel or aluminum?

        • Honestly, I’m not sure. I will check with Priority to confirm.

      • Joachim Espeland

        After quite a bit of research, I purchased two Priority Start F/W in April for my twin boys 4th birthday as. Previously they had learned to ride on a 12” bicycle from Walmart. I was a bit concerned with the transition from a bike with pedal brakes to a bike with hand brakes only. However the boys got used to that the first day and never had any issues. They love their bicycles, and I love the belt drive. It is clean and pretty much maintenance free. On their 12” bikes I had to put on or adjust the chain every other day it seemed like. I see some comments below about slightly high gear ratio. That is probably true, but in a kid bike you can’t have it all at the same time. The Priority Start F/W is great on “flater” trails, road, surfaces. When I ride together with them we actually can keep a decent pace. Yes it is true, in the beginning my boys sometimes had to get off the bikes up a hill, but once they learned to stand up
        and pedal it hasn’t been a problem.

        Most IMPORTANT of all is the exceptional customer service at Priority Bikes. I had lots of questions before and after I bought the bikes. My concerns have always been addressed immediately that same day. Customer service alone is a reason to by a bike there.

        • I agree, the customer service over at Priority is top-notch. Thanks for the feedback on the bike as well as well as your input on the gear ratio. You are right in that there truly isn’t one gear that works for all rides and riders, but as you pointed out, kids generally always find a way to make it work :).

      • Scot

        I bought the Priority F/W for my 3 1/2 year old son a little over a month ago and he is thrilled with it. I chose the Priority F/W for a few reasons: 1) handbrakes, 2) no coaster brake and 3) seat height.

        1) The handbrakes are very easy to use, even for a 3 1/2 year old.

        2) Not having a coaster brake is a huge plus for me. We tried a coaster bike previously and he got very frustrated trying to get the pedals in the proper position to launch. He was also already used to the handbrake from his balance bike.

        3) My son wasn’t quite tall enough for most any pedal bike, so I was really interested in any bike that had a lower seat height. I waited until he could stand on his tippy toes with shoes on and the balance bike seat set at 19” measured from the ground before ordering the Priority. The Priority’s seat sits just at 19.5”, and even being slightly too tall for my son, he is a very aggressive rider and it was not a problem at all. Transitioning from the balance bike to the Priority F/W was seamless.

        The one concern I had buying the Priority F/W was the gear ratio. I wanted something that could easily pedal up hills and the gear ratio seemed a little high. But after a month I can say it is a trade off, but one I don’t regret. There are some moderate inclines that he has to walk the bike up, but he loves being able to pedal fast on flat ground, and I’d say he enjoys that more than riding up a hill so I’m happy with the gear ratio.

        Finally, a word on customer service. Dave at Priority Bikes truly cares about his customers and he made sure everything was the best it could be. Dave responded super quick to my e-mails with questions before and after the purchase. A very refreshing experience after dealing with large companies for other products I’ve bought. I am very satisfied with his product and the experience. 5/5 stars from us!

        • Awesome, glad to hear! It is one great bike, but I’ll agree that the personal attention Dave provides can’t be beat. I appreciate your comment on the gear ratio as well. You are right in that there really isn’t a perfect ratio, so right in the middle (where the Priority is) is best for most riders. Thanks again for the feedback!

      • cronopio

        I am thinking of buying this for my 3.5 yo boy. The belt drive is one of features that attracts me, but at the same time I am concerned about durability/reliability over the long term…Your thoughts?

        • The only component of the Priority that I felt was not up to par was the chain guard, which is still many times better than those found at big box stores. We have been riding the bike for about and haven’t had any issues with it, with the brakes or the belt drive. My only concern for a 3.5yo would be the reach, at the Priority is longer than many 16″ bikes, BUT it can also easily be fixed by swapping out the stem.

      • Dos

        Hi,
        Would you recommend this for a tall 5-yr old girl (47″) who never rode any bike including balance bike before ?
        I only recently learnt about balance bikes and thinking of letting her try one of these without pedals as a balance bike.
        Trying to decide b/w a 16″ or a 20″ given her height and its also her first bike.
        Thanks!

        • This bike is completely sold out and the new model, expected Spring 2017 is going to have many changes, so I can’t comment on it specifically. In general, however, if she is hesitant on a bike, it is best to go with a 16″ versus a 20″. The sizes of 16″ bikes vary greatly, so a larger one, such as the Specialized Hotrock, would be a good place to start.