The Priority e-Coast is the beach cruiser of your dreams. While we can’t all be California Girls (or Guys!), you can feel like one with the e-Coast’s classic beach styling paired with a powerful motor that will keep the wind propelling your sails (and whipping your hair).
With rust-resistant components, the e-Coast is particularly beneficial for coastal riders who don’t want to deal with rusty chains and frames. But even if you live in the driest desert, the Priority’s carbon belt drive is a low-maintenance, extra durable bike-life upgrade.
Is the Priority e-Coast worth its $1,999 price tag? We certainly think so. Read our full review below for all the details of our test rides.
Priority e-Coast Overview
FRAME SIZE: Step-thru (fits 5’0″ – 5’11”), Diamond (fits 5’5″ – 6’5″)
WEIGHT: 56 lb, including battery
MOTOR 500W rear hub motor
PAS MODES: 5
BATTERY: 576Wh, 20 – 60 miles
TOP SPEED/CLASS: 28mph/Class III, but ships as a 20mph/Class II
TORQUE SENSOR: No
TIRES: 26″ x 3″ CST Big Boat
GEARS: Single Speed
BRAKES: Hydraulic Disc Brakes
- Powerful motor/battery combo accelerate quickly and power up hills
- LED screen allows you to set the maximum speed to any MPH 28 and below (hugely beneficial for timid riders or setting your speed based on the purpose of your ride)
- Low maintenance and grease-free belt drives replace traditional bike chains which are also notorious for quickly rusting in salt air
- Many rust-proof and rust-resistant components make the e-Coast particularly suited for coastal areas
- 3″ fat tires provide extra cushioning and comfort
- Upright body positioning for a relaxed ride
- Front and rear lights increase visibility
- Removable battery can be locked
- Dual-leg kickstand for extra stability
- Kids bike trailer attaches to rear axle (only use with high-quality trailers that have 15 mph max safety standards)
- If the battery runs out, single speed makes it more difficult to ride home without power
Priority e-Coast Review – Results of our Test Rides
We’ve been testing and reviewing bikes for over ten years. We ride cruiser bikes, city bikes, road bikes, mountain bikes, cargo bikes, kids bikes, and of course, ebikes. (Click here for a look at our short list of favorite ebikes we’ve tested.)
For this review, we tested the step-thru e-Coast with five different riders ranging in height from 5’0″ to 5’10”.
Getting Started – Customize Your Fit and Speed
From our experiences testing this bike, we highly recommend taking the time to customize the (1) fit and (2) speed of the e-Coast before you “settle in” to riding. We’ll go into much more detail below, but as a quick summary:
(1) FIT: While the e-Coast is offered in two sizes, both sizes cover a wide height range. There are several ways to dial in the best fit to maximize your comfort on the e-Coast. Go on a few test rides and tweak the fit until you get it right.
(2) SPEED: The e-Coast comes set with a maximum speed assist of 20 mph. It can be changed to any speed 28 mph and below. We recommend starting your first ride at 15 mph and then testing higher speeds to feel how the motor’s speed setting affects your ride experience.
What Type of Riders is the Priority e-Coast best for?
For being a beach cruiser, the e-Coast is actually a pretty versatile ebike. Through our testing, we believe it to be especially ideal for:
- Casual and timid riders
- Coastal riders
- People who want minimal required maintenance
- Riding with young kids in a trailer (Be careful about max speed! See below.)
- Casual or shorter distance commuters
Casual and Timid Riders
The e-Coast is a dream beach cruiser. With a frame design and swooped back handlebars to allow riders to sit upright, the e-Coast offers a relaxed and carefree ride that most casual riders prefer.
The 3″ wide fat tires provide a bit more cushioning than a standard beach cruiser. And with 5 PAS modes and a throttle, you really never have to break a sweat as you watch the scenery pass by.
Depending on how much power you’re using (assistance from the motor), along with elevation changes, wind factor, your weight, the weight of your cargo, and other factors, the e-Coast has a range of 20 to 60 miles.
We found the 500W motor of the e-Coast to offer more than enough aid to very easily climb the mid-grade, extended hills in our neighborhood.
The e-Coast is especially suited for timid riders because you can set the maximum speed assistance to any speed 28mph or lower, which helps to reign in its powerful motor as you are getting started on the bike. As you get more comfortable on the bike, you can raise the max assist. This is pretty unique as the vast majority of bikes require that you stick to the standard max mph assist of 20 or 28 mph.
Coastal Riding – Rust-Preventative Features Ideal
While the e-Coast is a fantastic bike for anyone looking for a casual cruiser, this beach cruiser was meticulously designed to withstand the corrosive elements of living near the ocean.
Rusty chains, frames, and components are a constant battle for coastal bike riders, so Priority designed the e-Coast as the ultimate machine to fight that battle.
Carbon Belt Drive: The Carbon Gates belt drive replaces a traditional steel bike chain with a belt made out of carbon fiber cords. Not only can carbon never rust, but it’s stronger and more durable to last a longer haul. Additionally, it won’t fall off as chains often do, and doesn’t require grease and regular maintenance for optimal performance.
Sea salt air is a bike chain’s worst nightmare, and while daily breezes are a huge benefit of living near the beach, they are not your bike chain’s friend. In a nutshell, salt accelerates the rusting process. With a belt drive, you will never have to worry about this!
Aluminum Frame and Fork: Many bikes (especially less expensive bikes) are made primarily from steel because steel is a cheaper metal. While aluminum alloys are more expensive, they won’t rust. The e-Coast’s frame and fork are aluminum alloy. (For reference, Priority’s other cruiser bike, the Classic Plus, has an aluminum frame but a steel fork.)
Steel forks are also common because they absorb road vibrations better than aluminum. However, the wide, cushioning tires of the e-Coast certainly counteract that.
Aluminum Components: While not every metal component is aluminum, many of them are, including wheel rims, kickstand, handlebars, stem, and seatpost.
Minimal Maintenance Required
If you’re not really into bikes, maintaining one to always be in good working condition can be a pain (especially if you live near rust-causing sea air). With just a single speed on the e-Coast, you never have to worry about your gearing mechanisms getting damaged or just out of tune over time.
Additionally, with a carbon belt drive, you don’t ever need to lube or grease a bike chain. Bike chains are also prone to falling off, which a belt drive will never do. (And of course it won’t ever rust, which is sooo helpful!)
Casual or Shorter Distance Commuting
While the e-Coast wasn’t designed as a commuter, you certainly could use it for one if you’re looking for a multi-use ebike. With a throttle and the ability to assist you up to 28 mph, it’s plenty fast. Although it doesn’t have a suspension fork, its fat tires offer some extra cushioning. And with a rear rack that can hold up to 50 pounds, you can attach panniers or a surfboard!
To top it off, the included front and rear lights (and rear brake light) increase safety and visibility in traffic. However, it does not have turn signals like some true commuter e-bikes.
What does riding the e-Coast feel like?
Some ebikes feel a lot like riding a traditional bike, while other ebikes feel more like riding a moped. The “feel” of an ebike is determined by many complicated factors, but to keep it simple, primarily by:
(1) Is the motor a mid-drive or hub?
(2) How powerful is the motor?
(3) Does the bike have a torque sensor?
(4) How many PAS modes does the bike have?
(5) Does the bike have a throttle?
(6) What is the motor’s top speed?
The Priority e-Coast has a 500W rear hub motor and no torque sensor. It has 5 PAS modes and a throttle, with adjustable motor assist 28 mph or lower.
So what does all of this mean for you? In a nutshell, the e-Coast is a fast and smooth ride, but your pedaling speed may have little to no effect on the speed of the bike – depending on which PAS mode you’re in and what speed your maximum MPH assistance is set to. But let’s break it down a little more.
Powerful 500W Rear Hub Motor
A mid-drive motor applies power directly into the drivetrain, which the pedals are connected to. This style of motor results in the smoothest and most “bike like” riding experience.
Rear hub motors, like on the Priority e-Coast, “push” the bike forward from the rear wheel. As a result, there is usually a small lag in the power supply when you first start pedaling. Rear hub motors are more affordable than mid-drive motors, and for your average rider they won’t be an issue.
The motor of the e-Coast is 500W, which allows for quick acceleration and also makes climbing hills quite effortless. (Cheaper bikes often have 250W motors, while more expensive commuter and cargo bikes are often 750W.)
You should also be aware that with a rear hub motor, if you stop pedaling or start back pedaling, the power to the motor is immediately cut and you start slowing down. This is an important safety precaution, so when you stop pedaling or as you’re braking, you’re not fighting against a motor that’s trying to keep moving forward.
However, if you’re used to a standard bike where you reach your desired speed and then “coast” for a bit, this will take some getting used to. Mid drive motors also shut off when coasting, but they don’t resist movement like hub motors, so it doesn’t slow you down as much.
Cadence Sensor and 5 PAS Levels (No Torque Sensor)
The e-Coast has a cadence sensor, but does not have a torque sensor. This is a very common set-up for e-bikes with rear hub motors.
With a torque sensor, an e-bike feels more like a traditional bike. It will speed up as you pedal faster and slow down as you pedal slower. (However, your motor will only help you so much based on the selected PAS level, so you will need to increase your PAS level to utilize the full assistance of the motor.)
Without a torque sensor, an e-bike only has a cadence sensor. (Like the e-Coast.) Cadence sensors recognize the presence of pedaling, but don’t take into account the pressure or speed at which you’re pedaling.
To speed up or slow down the e-Coast, it is much more effective to push buttons rather than adjust the speed of your pedaling. (You can also slow down by stopping pedaling entirely, or using the brakes.) The speed of the e-Coast is controlled through an LED control panel by choosing the PAS (Pedal Assist System) level, 1 to 5. (This is the case for all e-bikes without a torque sensor.)
With the e-Coast’s 5 PAS levels, you will go faster more quickly at higher PAS levels. Once you hit PAS 3, but especially PAS 4 and PAS 5, you must simply pedal along slowly, while the motor takes over and accelerates the bike until you hit the pre-determined maximum speed assistance. As a result, it feels a bit more like you’re riding a moped than riding a bike.
For the e-Coast, the link between your pedaling and the speed of the bike feels more natural for the lowest PAS 1 and PAS 2 levels. Because the assistance from the motor is lower, your pedaling feels more connected to the speed of the bike.
This is especially true if you lower the maximum speed assist to about 10-15 mph, which restricts the power provided by the motor even more. If you want to feel like you’re riding a real bike, you could stick to lower PAS levels and lower maximum speed assistance levels. (More on max speeds below.)
Throttle for Absolutely Effortless Riding
For those times when you just aren’t interested in pedaling and want to get from point A to point B as soon as possible, the e-Coast’s twist grip throttle will keep you riding without any effort on your part, up to the max speed assist MPH. (Remember, you set that max on the LED screen before you start riding.) When going up hills, you may not always max out the MPH setting.
In some areas, riding with a throttle is illegal, so you’ll need to check and know your local laws. The throttle can be physically disconnected and/or removed if needed to comply with your local laws.
Also remember that using the throttle eats up the battery! So if you need to go longer distances on a single battery charge, be conservative with using that throttle (or the higher PAS levels)!
How Fast Can You Go?
One of our very favorite (and uncommon!) features of the Priority e-Coast is that its maximum speed assistance can be anything you want it to be, 28 mph or under. This is hugely beneficial to allow it to be used as a fast commuter bike at 28 mph, a zippy adventure ride at 20 mph, or casually taking in the scenery at 15 mph.
The max speed assistance can be changed in just a few seconds using the bike’s LED screen. We highly recommend you take some time to play with changing the maximum speed assistance to find what’s right for your riding style and your comfort level.
You may even want to change that speed each time you go for a ride, depending on what kind of experience you’re looking for that day. 28 mph is actually really fast on a bike. I felt much more comfortable with the max speed assistance set to 20 mph when I wanted to get somewhere quickly.
For rides when I wanted to more casually cruise to be able to enjoy the scenery around me, I would set the max to 15 mph. And for days when I wanted to feel like I was actually getting a bit of exercise, 10 mph and sticking to PAS 1 and PAS 2 was a better bet.
The beauty is that the e-Coast’s speed is completely customizable for every ride and every rider.
Speed and the Law
From a technical and legal perspective, e-bikes are classified into three different types, based on maximum speed assistance and the presence of a throttle. The e-Coast ships as a Class II e-bike, which means that it has a throttle, and the motor will assist you up to 20 mph.
The e-Coast can be converted to a Class III ebike, which has a throttle and a max speed assistance of 28 mph. Some states have laws preventing teenagers from riding a Class III e-bike, so if you plan on having your teen share the bike with you, you can easily set the maximum speed to the 20 mph or lower and make it a Class II bike at any time. (You could also convert it to Class I by removing the throttle.)
Taking Young Kids Along for the Ride
If you need to haul older kids via ebike, you should go for a cargo ebike, like the Xtracycle Swoop, instead. The rear rack of the e-Coast is not suitable for carry kids, so you should not attach a child bike seat.
But if you want to use a bike trailer for kids aged 1 to 5 (depending on their weight and height), a trailer hitch can be attached to the e-Coast’s rear axle.
Be Cautious of Top Speed
It is very important to note that there are no kids trailers that are safety rated for speeds above 15 mph. As a result, you should never ride your e-bike faster than 15 mph with a trailer attached. The e-Coast is particularly suited to this task because you can set the bike’s maximum speed assistance to 15 mph (or even lower if preferred.)
Even with the speed assistance set to 15 mph, you could still ride your bike faster than that – the motor just won’t help you past that point. This would most likely only happen if you’re going down a hill, so be sure to keep an eye on the LED screen which indicates your current speed.
Additionally, cheaper bike trailers with smaller wheels are only safety rated to 10 mph. We would caution against using any trailer in this category, as riding an e-bike under 10 mph would be unrealistic in most circumstances.
Will Any Bike Trailer Brand Work with the E-Coast?
Every brand of kids bike trailer has a different style of hitch coupler. One brand’s hitch coupler cannot be used with another brand’s.
Having tested over 40 kids bike trailers, we own every major brand of kids bike trailer and their corresponding hitch couplers. We tested each one to see if it would work with the e-Coast.
The e-Coast has a wider diameter rear axle than a traditional bike, and most of the couplers were made to fit better with more narrow axles. That said, we were able to get the Burley and Qeridoo hitch couplers to work.
On the left below, you can see how the axle nut is threaded entirely over the axle with the Qeridoo coupler attached, with some of the axle poking through the end. On the right you can see the Schwinn coupler, which does not work because the axle nut cannot be threaded through all the way. (You can’t see the axle poking through the end of the nut.)
Of those we tested, we could not get the Schwinn or Thule couplers to work at all. The Allen and Hamax hitch coupler is borderline, so it’s probably better to go with a Burley or Qeridoo trailer.
What size rider fits on the Priority e-Coast?
The Priority e-Coast comes in two sizes. The step-thru frame is for riders 5’0″ to 5’11”, while the diamond frame is for riders 5’5″- 6’5″. We tested the step-thru e-Coast with riders ranging in height from 5’0″ to 5’10”.
It is pretty common for beach cruiser style bikes to have wide sizing ranges like this. There are three main adjustments that can be made to set up the bike for your specific height and body proportions.
(1) The saddle can be raised or lowered, and features a quick-release lever to make on-the-go adjustments super easy.
(2) The saddle sits on a set of rails and can be moved towards or away from the handlebars.
Be sure to take time to adjust the saddle correctly. For our tall 5’10” rider, the e-Coast was initially a bit uncomfortable. However, once we moved the saddle as far back as possible on the rails (seen above), that tiny adjustment made a huge impact on overall rider relaxation and comfort.
(3) The stem rotates to raise or lower the handlebars. The handlebars can also be rotated within the stem to fine-tune the fit.
Here you can see how two riders fit on the bike at opposite ends of the fit range. On the left, our rider is 5’2″. On the right, our rider is 5’10” (with a very long torso).
On the right, you can see how the stem of the bike has been rotated almost completely vertical to raise the handlebars for our taller rider. Realistically, the larger diamond frame bike would be a better fit for her, but was still a very comfortable ride.
Priority e-Coast Features
Like every Priority bike, the Priority e-Coast features a carbon fiber belt drive instead of a traditional bike chain. As mentioned above, belt drives are stronger, more durable, grease-free, won’t rust, require very little (if any) maintenance, and won’t fall off like bike chains tend to do.
The LED screen on the e-Coast provides very useful information in a tiny snap shot. Current speed, battery life, PAS level, and distance of your current ride are all indicated on the primary screen.
Through additional screens that you can scroll through, you can change a variety of settings, including the maximum pedal assist speed and whether you want your screen set to miles or kilometers.
Hydraulic Disc Brakes and Stopping
Disc brakes are found on almost all e-bikes because they offer superior and more consistent, all-weather stopping power compared to more standard v-brakes. By engaging the handbrakes, brake pads close in on the wheel’s disc rotor, slowing down the wheel.
In addition, the motor of the e-Coast is connected to the brakes. When you engage the brakes, the power to the motor is cut off. The power won’t be restored to the motor until you begin pedaling again. Power to the motor is also cut off whenever you stop pedaling, and will resume when you resume pedaling. (This is a safety feature of all e-bikes.)
Padded and Railed Saddle
The e-Coast’s saddle is nicely padded and also has springs underneath to act as a bit of suspension. The saddle sits on a set of rails so you can move it forward or backward to optimize the fit to your body proportions. The seat post has a quick release adjustment that allows you to raise and lower the saddle at the spur of the moment, without the need for tools.
The 3″ brown fat tires certainly add a lot of visual flair to the e-Coast, but they add some extra cushioning as well. And while we weren’t able to test this ourselves, these wider tires should allow you to ride on packed sand.
Priority E-Coast Fat Tires vs. Standard Width Priority Coast
The tires comes fully inflated, so if you want that extra bit of cushioning from the fat tires, you’ll need to remove some of the air out of the tires to lower the PSI a bit.
A lower PSI means more rolling resistance though (slower on the pavement, which could make the battery run down a little faster), so you’ll need to determine if you really want that extra cushioning or not.
Front and Rear Lights
The front and rear lights are turned on by the push of a button on the LED screen. The rear light is attached to the brakes and will get brighter when the brakes are engaged.
The incorporated rear rack has a weight limit of 50 pounds for cargo. The rack specifically states that it is NOT for passengers.
A dual-foot kickstand provides the extra stability needed to keep a heavy e-bike upright. That said, we did have it fall over once in strong winds, so be aware of windy conditions.
Because e-bike batteries are expensive, they are an easy target for theft, even while you have your bike securely locked to a bike rack. The e-Coast’s battery can be locked to its dock to make theft much more difficult.
Transporting the e-Coast
Because e-bikes are so heavy, transporting them is more difficult than a traditional bike. To keep weight down, you should always remove the battery before you put it on a bike rack.
Every bike rack has very specific weight limitations, so pay close attention to that. At 56 lbs. with the battery (the battery is 7.2 lbs.), the e-Coast is heavy, but certainly not the heaviest ebike around. It could be lifted onto a bike rack if you have solid upper body strength.
A few newer bike racks, like the Thule EasyFold XT, are designed to be e-bike friendly and have removable ramps to help you get the bike on the rack.
Additionally, many bike racks cannot carry bikes with fenders. Our bike rack hangs bikes by the front tire and cannot accommodate fenders. For this reason, we did not put the front fender on our e-Coast.
Priority e-Coast Bottom Line
If you’re ready to live the easy breezy e-bike life, the Priority e-Coast is a beachy dream. As the only belt-drive, beach cruiser, electric bike on the market, the e-Coast offers a coveted combination of simplicity, style, and speed.
Minimal maintenance? Check. Chic design? Check. Rust-resistance? Check. Gets you where you need to go quickly, comfortably, and effortlessly? Check, check, check.
Still not sold on the idea of an e-bike? Check out our review of the non e-bike Priority Coast.