Priority Bicycles is a new commuter-focused brand that has found rapid success by rethinking how bikes are conceived, designed and brought to market. “Our success has been driven by a combination of technology, design, and understanding essential customer needs to deliver hassle free, high quality bicycles at a fraction of traditional prices,” says Dave Weiner, founder and CEO of Priority, based in New York City. Its bikes use no chains or derailleurs and are optimized for simple, low-maintenance urban riding. Priority launched in 2014 on Kickstarter with a goal of raising $30,000 and instead raised more than half-a-million dollars.
Priority has just launched a new premium model, the Eight, featuring Gates Carbon Drive. Impressively, the Eight is selling for a special launch price of $799, making it the most affordable commuter bike with Gates Carbon Drive in the United States. Consumers can sign up for Priority’s pre-sale price here.
The Eight has an alloy frame and a component package that includes an eight-speed Shimano Nexus internally geared hub, hydraulic disc brakes, fenders and Gates Carbon Drive’s CDN belt system. CDN, which is designed for urban riding, features Gates’ patented CenterTrack design and an engineered polymer belt embedded with carbon fiber cords. The front sprocket is made from reinforced composite embedded with glass fibers, and it comes integrated with a Gates branded crank for industry leading concentricity and easy installation. The rear sprocket is wear-resistant steel.
Weiner says customers were clamoring for a model with Gates Carbon Drive, the global leader in bicycle belt drives. “The endless requests that we received for this bike had been overwhelming. We couldn’t ignore the call,” he says. “Riders wanted what we stand for – hassle free, great quality, unmatched value – in a package that could support performance, more mileage, and increased agility.”
“Gates is very pleased to be working with Priority and to have Carbon Drive featured on the Eight,” says Todd Sellden, global director of Gates Carbon Drive. “Priority is a smart and ambitious young company that has found a way to offer affordable and fun city bikes that simplify bicycling and allow people to enjoy the ride and spend less time maintaining their bikes.” prioritybicycles.com
Montague is a Boston-area bike company launched in 1987 as a university project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, one of America’s most prestigious and brainy schools. Montague makes full-size folding bikes–no small wheels or downsized frames. The company’s motto is “real bikes that fold.” The frames are strong and rigid, Montague says, because the top tubes are not cut. Instead, the frames fold at the intersection of the top tubes and seat tube. The patented DirectConnect system automatically locks when unfolded. Another nice innovation is Montague’s RackStand, a rear luggage rack that doubles as a bike stand.
These features are included on Montague’s newest model, the Allston, which includes a Gates Carbon Drive belt, disc brakes, wide 38c tires and a Shimano Alfine 11-speed hub. “The Allston is great for ripping around Cambridge and Boston,” says Jonathan Vandenberg, Montague sales manager.
Montague has won multiple awards and honors over the years. In 1997, Montague received a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARPA) to create a tactical mountain bike for the U.S. Marine Corps. The bike was called the Paratrooper, because soldiers could jump from planes with it strapped to their chest.
Today, Montague, which is based in the university hub of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is working to get people out of cars and onto bikes. “The bike commuting scene is growing in Crambridge and Boston,” Vandenberg says. Montague has partnered with the state to create Park & Pedal, a network of free parking spaces that allow commuters to park their cars and ride the final miles to work, avoiding inner-city rush-hour traffic and congestion. It’s one more brainy idea that is advancing the bicycle revolution. montaguebikes.com
Another foggy and overcast day in Seattle, the perfect occasion for a ride on the Burke. Named for the popular Burke-Gilman bike path in Seattle, the Burke is an eight-speed Gates belt drive city bike from MiiR, a Seattle brand that supports social and environmental causes internationally and in the United States. MiiR donates a portion of the proceeds from the sale of every bike to World Bicycle Relief, the Boise Bicycle Project, Seattle Bike Works and Free Bikes 4 Kidz.
MiiR’s motto is “Designed to Empower,” and founder Bryan Papé says his goal is to promote giving that provides a hand up rather than a handout. MiiR also sells water bottles, hydration flasks and insulated cups to support clean water projects and drinking water wells in Central America, Africa and Asia. So far it has funded 44 water projects in Honduras, Ethiopia, Liberia, Laos and many more countries. See information on MiiR’s bicycle and water projects here.
MiiR’s next project will support education projects through the sale of bike bags. Proceeds will benefit the group One Day’s Wages. Watch the video below to learn more.
Live in Seattle? Visit the MiiR Flagship, a cafe, tap room and retail store where you can buy the Burke and order a cup of Fair Trade coffee or a pint of microbrew. You can also buy the Burke through REI. Don’t let a little fog and rain stop you.
Basel is a northern Swiss city of 175,000 people located on the Rhine River near the borders of Germany and France. It is a cultural and artistic hub of Switzerland known for its museums, theaters and symphony orchestra. It is also a cycling city extraordinaire. Biagio Colletto founded HiLite Bikes here in 2010 following a long career in chemical engineering. “I was involved in research and development for my entire career and I wanted to create a project for myself,” Colletto says. “I enjoy being my own boss, helping customers fulfill their desires and pushing technical innovation.”
HiLite offers a line of customize-able aluminum frames and recently launched a carbon frame line, but the brand is best known for its gorgeous titanium builds featuring Gates Carbon Drive belts incorporated with Pinion Gearboxes and internally geared hubs. Colletto recently sent us a link to his titanium photo gallery, which is worth visiting if you appreciate fine bike photography.
“Our goal is to build pure, raw, honest and sustainable titanium bikes,” Colletto says. “Sometimes we don’t take customers if their desires don’t match our philosophy.” Colletto is an avid rider who started racing at age 15. At least once per year he embarks on a three-week lightweight bike tour. In 2014 he cycled from Bangkok, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 15 days. “We managed to keep the luggage weight below five kilograms (11 pounds) and maintained a good average speed.” Colletto compares Basel to Amsterdam or Copenhagen for its bike friendly infrastructure, and he enjoys riding in the nearby Black Forest in Germany, as well as in the French Alsace region famous for its Tour de France hills including Ballon d’Alsace, Grand Ballon and the Planche des Belles Filles.
Colletto has several personal bikes with the Gates Carbon Drive system, including the dropbar randonneur rig below. It has mudguards and a titanium rack, hydraulic disc brakes, an Alfine 11 hub with electronic Di2 shifting, a Gates belt drive and Schmidt SON SL dynamo hub that powers an Edelux II light. Lovely. Colletto says HiLite has many more dazzling belt drive bikes to come. “Hopefully we will have soon an ultralight carbon bike with Gates,” he says. If you’re in Basel, visit the HiLite Concept Store. It’s on our bucket list of bike shops. And make sure to check their photo gallery if you want to see more Basel style bikes. hilite-bikes.com
Stevens Bikes is a German brand based in Hamburg, a cosmopolitan port town where all of the company’s bikes are designed and engineered. Stevens is best known for its high-performance race bikes and its close connection to competitive cycling. The Belted Blog previously featured an experimental Stevens race bike project in the post “Future Shift.” But Stevens is also a lifestyle brand that offers a large range of innovative and stylish transportation bikes. Pictured above is an experimental eBike created with Pinion that features the Stevens P-Carpo equipped with a rear hub drive. That one is not for sale, but the P-Carpo below is. With its sporty frame, fat slicks and low-maintenance belt paired with the Pinion gearbox, the P-Carpo is one of our favorite new 2016 urban bikes–and one of the many models in Stevens’ “AllRound” line equipped with the Gates Carbon Drive system.
The 2016 Stevens line also includes the new E-Carpo electric bike, below, a souped-up urban commuter with a Bosch electric drive, plus a rack, fenders and lights for year-round commuting.
Also new for 2016 is the Courier Luxe Gent, below, and the Courier Luxe Lady, second down. These lightweight city bikes have an anthracite finish, disc brakes, a Nexus eight-speed hub and all the essentials for fast urban commuting.
Below is the Sovereign SX R14, a premium trekking bike that pairs the Gates belt drive with a Rohloff hub and a suspension fork–ideal for crossing town, or touring across the country.
Above is the P18 Lite. Like the P-Carpo, this premium transportation bike also pairs the Pinion gearbox with the Gates belt drive. Thanks to its low-maintenance, grease-free drivetrain, this bike leaves you with plenty of time to stop, enjoy the day and relax on a bench, like the dude below. Life is good. Thanks to Stevens Bikes/Marc Autenrieth for the photographs. stevensbikes.de