With just three gears, an internal hub, and a belt drive, the Priority Start 24 inch bike makes shifting gears simple for kids, and is easy to maintain for parents. Read the review below for more reasons we love it!
Priority Start 24 Overview
RATING: Highly Recommended
BEST FOR: Timid and adventurous neighborhood riders who want the flexibility of gears without the complexity of 7 or 8 gears.
SEAT HEIGHT: 27″ – 34.5″
WEIGHT: 23.3 lb.
GEARS: 3/Internally-geared Shimano Nexus Hub
FRAME: Aluminum Alloy
TIRE SIZE: 24″
GAIN RATIO: 3.1 – 5.9
- 3-speed internally geared hub keeps shifting simple and is very low maintenance
- Grease-free, rust-free, essentially maintenance-free belt drive
- Multi-terrain tires for a wide variety of uses
- Soft and cushioned saddle
- Dual v-pull hand brakes
- Soft, cushioning grips
- Gorgeous paint job – comes in 3 color options
- 3 gears is limiting for riders who may advance to more aggressive riding
Priority Start 24 Review – Results of Our Test Rides
With just three gears to shift between, the Priority Start 24 makes kids’ biking adventures simpler and easier. And with a grease-free, rust-free belt drive, it makes parental maintenance cleaner, and much less frequent! The Priority Start 24 is a gorgeous, top-quality bike that takes the complexity out of riding and lets kids and parents just enjoy the ride.
The Priority Start 24 was designed to be a neighborhood or city bike. But don’t let those labels (or that sleek paint job!) fool you. That certainly does not mean that it’s only capable of casual rides around the block.
Our suburban neighborhood is full of long, strenuous inclines, flat paved trails, rough and rugged greenbelt hills, and all-terrain grassy fields. Whether all these areas were meant for biking or not (probably not!), my kids tackle them anyways. That’s our definition of a neighborhood, and the Priority Start rocked it.
If your child is timid or just more casual, the Priority Start’s upright design allows them to cruise in comfort. But if your child is adventurous or aggressive, the Priority’s multi-terrain tires let them confidently explore whatever neighborhood terrain they desire.
From neighborhood bike rodeos and Pokemon Go! by bike to family bike rides and racing down all-terrain hills, our testers loved the Priority Start in every situation. Clearly the Start is not a mountain or road bike, but we love its easy versatility for mostly everything your average kid is going to throw at it.
Priority Bicycles High-end Belt Drive
Priority Bikes sets themselves apart from the rest of the bike market with their grease-free, rust-free, mostly maintenance-free belt drives. If you’ve never had the pleasure of using a bike with a belt drive, let us enlighten you!
After many combined years of bike testing and riding with our families, we’ve had lots of opportunities to get our hands greasy fixing chains that have fallen off a chain drive. It’s kind of shocking how kids manage to knock the chain off so frequently, but really, who can explain why kids do what they do??
In all of our years of riding bikes with belt drives, we’ve never had a belt come out of alignment or had to perform any sort of maintenance on it. This may sound like more of a parent perk, and it kind of is! But it also prevents potential problems if a child is riding the neighborhood without you. Additionally, our testers consistently rave about how quiet the belt drive is.
Our 12-year-old tester explained that he loved how the Priority Start doesn’t tick and drive him crazy like his usual bike. Well, kid, I didn’t know your other bike was driving you crazy, but good to know! We’ve had other testers call these quiet belt drives “stealth ninja mode”! 🙂 Gear 1 tends to be completely silent, while gears 2 and 3 do make some noise. So if you’re on a ninja mission, you know what gear you should use!
Along with a belt drive, comes an internally geared hub instead of a traditional derailleur that shifts a chain up and down chain rings. (In general, belts can’t be made narrow enough for use with a derailleur system.)
With an internally geared hub, all the gear changes happen… you guessed it, internally! The science is a bit complicated, so we’re not going to explain it here, but with all of the shifting enclosed in that rear hub, this too contributes to a much more maintenance-free bike.
Derailleurs are the most finicky and prone-to-break components on a bike, especially with kids who just tend to throw their bikes on the ground when they’re finished. Derailleurs on kids bikes easily get out of tune, become bent or even broken, rendering most of the gears on a bike pretty useless. Repairs of this type are complicated and generally need to be taken to a bike shop. Internally-geared hubs are much less delicate and need very little (if any) maintenance. This is why we particularly love them on kids’ bikes.
You’ll notice in the image above that there are only three gears, vs. the six to eight you’ll usually find on kids’ bikes. Three gears are common on internally-geared hubs, as raising that number to six or seven drastically increases the price.
Gear 1 (gain ratio 3.1) is for going up hills. Gear 2 (gain ratio 4.3) is for general flat roads, while gear 3 (gain ratio 5.9) is for downhill. The Start 24 is geared a bit higher than the Priority Start 20 to allow older, stronger riders to achieve higher speeds.
We’ve found fewer gears on a kids’ bike to have no impact on performance for the average neighborhood rider. In fact limiting the number of gears can be hugely helpful. In all of our years of testing, we’ve found that most kids don’t really use the full range of gears anyways. Knowing when and how to properly shift if often too much for kids to handle.
I literally have to yell at my kids while we’re on family bike rides to shift gears as they are struggling to get up a hill. Although they are very capable on their bikes, shifting is not intuitive.
When testing out the Priority, my kids expressed a preference for fewer gears. “I don’t have to switch through so many gears to get where I want. And I’m more likely to use the gears on this bike because you don’t have to use them all the time. I didn’t use them as often because I didn’t need to, which I prefer!”
I’m the first to admit that while my kids are great little bikers, they are not mountain bikers or serious cyclists by any means. Those styles of riding definitely need more than three gears. But for your average to aggressive neighborhood rider, the 3-geared Priority Start system is a blessing!
What size/age child fits on the Priority Start 24?
Seat Height: With a 7.5″ seat height range of 27″ – 34.5″, the Priority Start 24 is one of the larger 24″ bikes we recommend and was a great fit for our 8, 10, and 12-year-olds. In our testing, our 12-year-old (57.5″ tall) was really on the edge of maxing out the “best fit” with the seat was set at about 32.5″.
We recommend that the “best fit” seat height range is 27″ – 32.5″. This still gives 5.5″ of really great fit (which is a lot!!), and also allows you some wiggle room on the tail end as your child grows out of their bike. If you’re unsure how to find a bike that’s the perfect fit for your child, our Kids Bike Sizes Guide is a great resource.
The Priority also has an additional 2″ of seat post beyond the “best fit” zone, which can help buy you sometime before you move them up to a 26″ bike (the Priority Classic is a great choice). In the image on the right below, you can see our 12-year-old (57.5″ tall, seat set at 32.5″) who fits comfortably on the bike and loooooves riding it. You wouldn’t buy the bike for him at this size, but it’s nice to know your younger child can comfortably ride it for years.
For kids smaller than the 8-year-old shown below, the Start is also available in a 20-inch size.
8 yo (Seat Height 27.5″) vs. 12 yo (Seat Height 32.5″)
Weight: Weighing in at 23.3 lbs, the Priority Start is lightweight and easy to maneuver. While it’s on the higher end of weight for high-end bikes, it’s drastically lighter than many bike-shop and all big-box-store bikes. Our 12-year-old tester, who has lately been riding a pretty heavy bike, explained that the Priority Start is much easier to ride, control, and especially to go up hills.
Design & Geometry of the Priority Start 24
Like all of the best kids’ bikes, the Priority Start 24 is designed and built for the specific proportions of a child’s body. The Start places kids in a mostly-upright body position for comfortable, casual riding. That said, our kids that wanted to tackle more aggressive neighborhood greenbelt hills and off-roading were able to sufficiently lean in to maintain control and stability. The lightweight aluminum frame easily moved with their bodies no matter what riding conditions they attempted.
The low-step through frame provides more crotch clearance for a potential fall, and also makes it easier for kids to get on and off the bike.
With a slightly longer stem than most other 24″ kids’ bikes (including the neighborhood bike Guardian as shown below), the Start’s handlebars are a bit higher set. These higher-set handlebars keep kids’ bodies and arms in a more casual riding position as they grow, which is ideal for the neighborhood riding the Start is designed for.
Saddle and Wheels
The Priority Start’s saddle is well-proportioned for a child’s bum and is also soft and cushioning. The seat post has a quick-release lever to allow for super easy seat height changes.
The Start’s Kenda K-Shield 24 x 1.5 tires are multi-terrain tread that excels on both paved trails and mild terrain. Knobby enough to grip and provide traction on dirt, they’re also low profile enough to roll smooth and easy on pavement. Our testers safely and excitedly tackled everything from paved neighborhood trails to grassy hills and dirt ditches!
These dual v-pull handbrakes are adjustable, easy to engage and provide all the stopping power your neighborhood rider needs.
Lightweight Aluminum Frame
The lightweight aluminum frame comes with smooth welds and an impressively gorgeous paint job. While the Start 24 is available in three colors, all of our testers loved the almost iridescent sky blue paint with green accents. After years of bike testing, we still find it comical how kids don’t really care much about components (that’s for us parents to care about!), but a bike’s color and design can put them over the moon!
Ease of Assembly
Priority bikes are pretty simple to assemble and also have easy-to-follow videos for those of us that prefer to see what we’re supposed to be doing. Your average non-biking parent can easily follow the instructions. (I’m terrible at following instructions, so trust me on this one. :-)) The most complicated part is attaching the belt guard, which is a completely optional component anyways. Unless your child is going to be riding with baggy pants, you don’t need it. It comes standard with the bike, but we chose not to install it.
All of our favorite 24 inch kids bikes can be seen on our 10 Best List. But as a neighborhood bike, the Priority Start 24 is comparable to the woom 5 and the Guardian 24. We love all of these bikes and each has specific strengths, but the Priority Start is our favorite pick for easy mastery and low-maintenance.
Priority Start 24: With just three gears and an internally geared hub, the Start is easy to use for both kids and parents! If your child is still struggling with shifting or is new to the idea, the Start is the perfect place to start.
woom 5‘s combination of an upright position, a wider gearing range, a super lightweight frame, and grippy, small-block tires make it ideal for beginning to intermediate riders on various surfaces.
Guardian 24 features the proprietary SureStop braking system that allows kids to sequentially brake the front and rear wheel with just one brake lever. This system is especially awesome for timid or less-coordinated kids that might be intimidated by dual-hand brakes. The Guardian, however, does have a steel frame versus an aluminum frame like the others.
Priority Start 24 Comparison
|Priority Start||woom 5||Guardian|
|Seat Height||27″ – 34.5″||26.4″ – 32.3″||25″ – 33″|
|Weight||23.3 lb.||18.1 lb.||25.5 lb.|
|Gain Ratio||3.1 – 5.9||2.4 – 6.8||2.3 – 5.6|
|Gears/Shifter||3, Grip||8, Grip||7, Grip|
Priority Bicycles Start 24 Review Bottom Line
The Priority Start 24 is a great combo of brains, beauty, and brawn. Intelligently designed with just three simple gears and a grease-free belt drive; beautiful lines and an impressive paint job; tough, multi-terrain tires that can accommodate everyone from timid to aggressive riders. The Priority Start is the full package for your “neighborhood” rider.