Priority Bicycles e-Classic Plus Bike Review

Easy, breezy, and beautiful, the Priority e-Classic Plus pairs modern e-bike technology with the timeless look and feel of a retro analog bike. Offering just enough power to help you ride faster and farther, but not too much to take away from the natural feel of riding a bike, the e-Classic Plus is the perfect bike for casual riders or light commuters.

In addition to being a lot of fun to ride, the e-Classic Plus is easy to maintain. With no chain to clean and grease (the bike has a carbon belt drive), or clunky derailleur to tune-up (gears are inside the rear hub), the e-Classic is designed for those who need a simple, reliable e-bike.

women riding the Priority E-Classic Plus electric bike

Priority e-Classic Plus Overview

stars

RATING: Exceptional

MSRP: $1,699

FRAME SIZE: Three sizes – Step-thru (5’2 – 5’10), S/M Diamond frame (5’6 – 5’10”), M/L Diamond frame (5’11 – 6’3″)

WEIGHT: 49 lb. (including battery, pedals, fenders, and kickstand)

MOTOR: 250W Front Hub Motor, 36V
PAS MODES: 3
BATTERY (Removable Internal Lithium-ion): 374 Wh
TOP SPEED/CLASS: 20mph/Class I
TORQUE SENSOR: No
THROTTLE: No

TIRES: 700c x 38mm, Puncture Protection Layer
GEARS: 3-speed internally geared Shimano rear hub
BRAKES: Dual hydraulic disc with brake sensing motor cutoff

What We Love About the e-Classic Plus

  • It offers a very natural ride feel providing smooth and easy starts and stops with no jolting.
  • Seriously low maintenance. A grease-free belt replaces the chain (no grease, no chains falling off!), an internally geared hub for quick and easy shifting (no finicky derailleur), and tires with a puncture-proof layer to minimize risk of flats.
  • Bike places rider in a comfortable body position and is paired with a thickly padded saddle and comfortable grips.
  • Matte paint, color-matched front and rear fenders, and tan colored saddle, grips and tires come together to create a fun retro aesthetic vibe.
  • Included dual-footed kickstand keeps bike securely upright and is easy to use.
  • Digital screen with physical buttons makes it easy to view and change power assist levels as well as turn on and off the bike’s headlight and taillight.
  • Battery is lockable and removable and can be charged either on or off the bike

What You Should Know About the e-Classic Plus before Buying

  • The bike is designed to subtly enhance your ride, not take it to the next level! If you’re looking for an e-bike that offers quick acceleration, faster speeds, and pedal-free riding with a throttle, you will be disappointed with the e-Classic Plus. (Check out our list of favorite e-bikes for other options that we’ve personally tested.)
  • As a Class 1 e-bike, the e-Classic has no throttle and the pedal assist maxes out at 20mph. Using the bike’s digital display, the bike can be changed to a Class III e-bike with a max pedal-assist of 28mph, but we don’t recommend that – it tends to quickly drain the battery without a really noticeable change in ride quality.
  • As a 3-speed bike, the gearing is great for casual rides, but not for steep or extended hills or for setting land speed records on flat straightaways.
  • The 250W motor is relatively low powered compared to most e-bikes, BUT the low power helps to create the natural ride feel. If you want a fast bike, this is not the bike for you!

Priority e-Classic Plus Review – Results of our Test Rides

We put the Priority e-Classic Plus to the test around our neighborhood and along our local paved bike trails. Designed for cruising or light commuting, we tested all gears and power assist levels on long straightaways as well as on steep hills.

From our first ride, the e-Classic Plus’ natural and comfortable ride experience quickly became apparent and is unmatched by the many other e-bikes we’ve tested. If you’re looking for an e-bike that will mimic the ride feel of an analog bike, while allowing you to ride farther in less time (or keep up with more fit riders on regular bikes), the e-Classic Plus offers a more “subtle” e-bike experience.

riding the eclassic plus bike along a bike path

However, if you’re someone who is looking for an e-bike that will provide you an enhanced riding experience compared to a regular analog bike (i.e., you want to ride faster speeds with increased acceleration), the e-Classic Plus will leave you disappointed.

Unlike many other e-bikes, from start to stop, the e-Classic Plus feels very much like a regular bike. No quick burst of speed, no jolting, no throttle – just the ability to get where you want faster or with considerably less effort than a regular bike.

How fast is the e-Classic Plus?

As a Class I e-bike, the e-Classic Plus’s motor will assist you when pedaling, but will stop assisting when you reach 20mph. For casually cruising, trust us when we say anything close to 20mph on a cruiser bike feels very fast! While the digital display of the bike does allow you to raise the max pedal assist speed up to 28mph, we wouldn’t recommend it as we found that the higher speed settings drained the battery significantly faster without seeing much benefit in overall speed.

Without a throttle, the e-Classic Plus does require you to pedal in order to engage the motor. As a 3-speed bike, there are three different gears you can pedal with. The three gears have a 3.13 to 5.84 gain ratio range, which is pretty average for a cruiser bike. When riding casually around our neighborhood with several mild hills, we almost always rode the bike in second gear with a 4.30 gain ratio.

women riding the eclassic plus up a hill

With only three gears, however, the e-Classic Plus did struggle on steep hills and felt a little too much like an analog bike as we had to really push down on the pedals! So if you live in a very hilly neighborhood with steep, punchy climbs, the bike’s gearing isn’t quiet low enough, even with assistance from the motor. For longer, gradual climbs, however, the bike performed like a champ and got our testers to the top with significantly less effort required than a regular analog bike.

Carbon Belt Drive and Smooth-Shifting Internally-Geared Hub

Whether we were climbing up a hill or cruising along our bike path, the smooth shifting of Priority’s belt drive system was an easily noticeable and appreciated feature. Composed of two parts, a carbon belt drive and an internally-geared hub, both play a role in the bike’s smooth and quiet performance.

The e-Classic Plus’ carbon belt drive is more than just a pretty face. Built with carbon fibers, the belt replaces the chain on the bike; but unlike a chain, it won’t stretch or fall off and doesn’t need any grease. The belt also rolls quietly and smoothly over the rear hub, and is essentially maintenance-free.

If you have ever dealt with your bike chain coming off or trying to wash a grease stain off your legs or pants, you’ll quickly learn to appreciate the beauty of a belt drive on a bike.

arrow pointing at the Gates carbon belt drive

As an added bonus, the belt drive allows the ebike to be used with an internally-geared hub. The three gears of the Priority are all carefully tucked away within the bike’s rear hub, so there no finicky derailleur to ever have to tune up!

How does the Priority e-Classic Plus ride compared to similar e-bikes?

To get a feel for the difference in power and feel of the e-Classic Plus (e-bikes all ride very differently!), we performed test rides along with the similarly-priced Aventon Pace e-bike. Also designed for casual rides, the Aventon Pace we rode had a throttle as well as a larger 350W rear hub motor compared to the e-Classic Plus’ 250W front hub motor (and no throttle).

riding the Aventon Pace electric bike on a bike path

In our back-to-back comparison rides, the Aventon Pace’s larger 350W motor was quite noticeable as the bike was able to accelerate faster, and just felt faster in general. The ability to use the throttle and not have to pedal was also noticeable.

As a result, most of our younger testers, who valued speed and acceleration, preferred the Aventon Pace over the the e-Classic Plus. Side note: The Aventon Pace is now only available with an even more powerful 500W versus the 350W motor on the model we tested out.

Our “older” testers (ages 40+), who valued ride quality and feel, preferred the natural ride feel of the e-Classic Plus. While the more powerful Aventon was indeed faster and peppier, it also took some time to get used to and felt more like riding an electric scooter that took you for a ride, versus a bike that you take for a ride.

Our testers also commented on how the Aventon quickly slowed down when they stopped pedaling (the drag on the motor prevented it from coasting), while the e-Classic Plus did a much better job at maintaining speed while coasting.

What does riding the E-Classic Plus feel like?

So what do we mean when we say the e-Classic Plus has a natural ride feel? While it’s hard to put the feeling of any bike into words, riding the e-Classic Plus feels very similar to riding a regular cruiser bike. The bike only accelerates when you pedal, and when it does accelerate, you aren’t surprised at how fast it accelerates. There are no speed jolts or quick changes of speed that catch you off guard.

In fact, when getting testers on other e-bikes, I usually spend about 10 minutes or so walking them through how to use the bike and what to expect when pedaling or using the throttle. With the e-Classic Plus, I make sure to show them how to adjust the pedal assist and gears, but there isn’t a need to prep them on how the bike will feel or react, it just feels like a regular bike!

Why does the e-Classic Plus feel different from other ebikes?

While there are many factors at play, the bike’s lower 250W hub motor, as well as its position in the front wheel’s hub versus the rear wheel’s hub, both play roles in the bike more natural ride feel.

E-Classic Plus’s 250W Hub Motor

In the world of e-bikes, a 250W hub motor (versus a mid-drive motor – big difference!), is about as small as motors come; the vast majority of e-bikes with rear hub motors have 500W (like the Priority e-Coast) or 750W motors.

Having the smaller motor, however, doesn’t mean the e-Classic Plus isn’t fun to ride! The e-Classic Plus provides the perfect mix of nostalgic bike riding fun with modern e-bike convenience. With the natural feel and performance of the bike, you can just hop on and start pedaling away without worrying about how to ride a new breed of bike.

Riding the eclassic plus bike down a path

The smaller motor leads to the natural feel as it has less power to give and therefore is less likely to overpower the rider. Like getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari versus an Fiat, you’re much less likely to experience a surge of acceleration in the Fiat!

So why did Priority put such a small motor in the e-Classic Plus? First, a bike made for casual or light commuting simply doesn’t need a huge motor. While immediate, off-the-line speed is absolutely necessary on bike made for fast commuting in the city, it’s just not needed for casual riding. Many people prefer the feel and performance of lower-watt motors.

Secondly, smaller motors don’t require as much battery power, so the bike can be equipped with a smaller and lighter battery (the e-Classic Plus comes with a 374Wh battery capable of 20-60 miles depending on terrain and power assist level).

Front Hub Motor vs. Rear Hub

The bike’s front wheel hub motor also affects the bike’s ride quality. Because the internal gearing of the bike is inside the bike’s rear hub, Priority needed to place the hub motor in the front hub. They didn’t want to lose the internally geared hub in the rear as it allows for smooth shifting as well as the use of a quiet and grease-free belt drive.

When pedaling with the power assist on, we did notice a difference in ride feel between the Priority’s 250W front hub motor versus the more powerful 350W rear hub motor on the Aventon Pace.

With the Pace, when starting to pedal or when engaging the throttle, the rider would experience a “push” from a rear hub motor as the bike accelerated, which took away from the natural ride feel of the Aventon. On the Priority, when engaging the motor, there wasn’t a strong “pull” from the front hub motor, which greatly aided in its natural ride feel.

What size rider fits on the E-Classic Plus?

The Priority e-Classic Plus is available in two different frame designs – a step-through model (as shown in this review) with a slanted top tube, and the step-over (Diamond) model that has a straight top tube. The step-over frame comes in two sizes and the step-through frame only comes in one.

For a size reference, the tester shown throughout this review is 5’6″ on the step-through model.

E-Classic Plus Frame Size Guide

FrameRider Height
Step-Through (one size)5’2″ – 5’10”
Step-Over (Small-Medium)5’6″ – 5’10”
Step-Over (Medium-Large)5’11” – 6’3″

E-Classic Plus Touch Points (Fit and Feel)

Body Position and Comfort Level

The Priority e-Classic Plus places the rider in a comfortable, upright to a semi-upright position. If you are on the shorter end of the bike’s suggest height (given above), your shorter arms will likely place you in a more semi-upright position as you will have to lean in a bit to reach the grips. If you are on the taller end of the suggested height ranges, your longer arms will allow you to sit farther away from the handlebars, positioning you in a more upright position.

As a reference point, the rider below is 5’6″ and the bike positions her in a more semi-upright position. The same bike, however, offered a very upright body position for our 5’10” rider.

upright geometry of the eclassic plus bike

For casual riders or light commuters, for whom this bike is designed, we found the positioning of the bike to be very comfortable. The bike’s wide and thickly padded saddle also adds to the comfort of the bike.

soft, plush saddle on the eclassic plus

Lastly, the grips are soft with some give for a bit of cushioning. As an added pop of fun color contrast, the grips are tan to match the saddle and tires.

soft, sable colored grips on the eclassic plus ebike

For easy reference when shifting, the grip shifter has a large window that clearly shows whether you are in 1, 2, or 3rd gear. To shift the bike, you simply wrap your hands around the large black dial to the right of the viewing window and twist.

Unlike a traditional bike with a derailleur, the internally-geared hub of the e-Classic Plus allows you to shift the bike even when you’re not riding! As a result, you can shift the bike into the lowest gear before you start pedaling.

Digital, Clickable Display

To keep things easy, the digital display on the e-Classic is straightforward to use and operate. Its large screen on the left side of the handlebars clearly displays your current speed, what lever power assist you are in (1, 2 or 3), how much battery power is left, as well as how many miles you have ridden during your ride.

the clickable digital display of the priority eclassic plus bike

On the left side of the display, there are three easy-to-use buttons. The middle button turns the bike on, while clicking the top and bottom buttons allow you to adjust the level of pedal assist (1 being the least assist and 3 being the most).

By clicking and holding the top button, the front light and tail light are turned on. Clicking and holding the bottom button will put the bike in walk mode (more about this later).

Hydraulic Disc Brakes

While the e-Classic Plus is by no means the fastest e-bike, it’s still an e-bike and therefore needs plenty of stopping power! Equipped with hydraulic disc brakes, you will always have plenty of braking power at your fingertips for stopping on a dime.

Standout Features of the E-Classic Plus

Double-Footed Kickstand

Although the e-Classic Plus is lightweight for an e-bike, it still weighs 49 lbs. As a result, you certainty don’t want it to fall over! To help keep the bike upright and steady when parked, it comes with a double-footed kickstand.

This kickstand is seriously the best! It is easy to use, is very stable, and it even allows you to get on the bike with the kickstand still engaged. Once you are on the bike, just push forward on the bike and the kickstand pops up on its own.

double footed kickstand on the Priority e-classic plus ebike

Classic, Thin Tubing with Matte Paint Finish

While some e-bikes looks more like science experiments, the e-Classic Plus looks like a true, classic bicycle. Built with thinner frame tubing (except for the downtube that holds the battery), and topped with matte paint, the e-Classic Plus is one good looking bike!

It is available in black, navy blue, light blue, pink, and white. Color-matched front and rear fenders come standard for all sizes and colors.

Front and Rear Lights

To keep you visible in traffic, the e-Classic Plus comes with a front headlight and a rear taillight that both operate off the bike’s battery. Both lights easily turn on via the buttons of the digital display. The taillight also works as a brake light and turns on whenever you engage the brakes (regardless of whether the lights are turned on).

front headlight and rear taillight of the eclassic plus

Locking Battery

Replacing an e-bike battery isn’t cheap, so if you ever lock up your bike in a public, you’ll want to make sure the battery is locked to the bike as well. The battery locks via an included physical key. The key is also needed to remove the battery from the bike if you want to charge the battery inside (the battery can also be charged while still attached to the bike).

locking battery and charging port of the eclassic plus

If you remove the battery, one thing we learned the hard way is to ensure you fully snap and lock the battery back into place. During our initial test ride, the battery actually dropped out of place! Luckily it just hit the front fender, so no damage was done, but we quickly learned to double check the battery and make sure it’s properly snapped into place and locked (for good measure).

Walk Assist

One feature we loved about the e-Classic Plus was the walk assist and how easy it is to activate. By simply pressing down and holding the bottom button on the display, the bike will slowly self-propel itself at a walking pace.

This allows you to walk the bike without having to push 49 pounds of bike as you go. While other e-bikes have this feature, this was the first e-bike we tested in which the walk assist feature was very easy to find and activate.

walking mode of the eclassic plus

Priority E-Classic Plus Bottom Line

If you’re looking for the fun and convenience of an e-bike, but don’t want to sacrifice the simple joys of riding a regular bike, the Priority e-Classic Plus was made for you! Built intentionally with a lower watt motor, the e-Classic Plus provides the perfect amount of extra pep in your step to help you comfortably ride a bit farther or faster. An exceptional option for casual and comfortable rides around the neighborhood or for short commutes, the e-Classic Plus offers a very natural ride feel, requires very limited maintenance, and looks as good as it rides!

FTC Disclosure: Affiliate links are included in this review.  No monetary compensation was provided for this review, however, the reviewed product was supplied by the manufacturer or distributor to help facilitate this review. All opinions and images are that of Two Wheeling Tots LLC.  All content and images are copyrighted and should not be used or replicated in any way. View our Terms of Use.

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