- Integrate lights, fenders, and kickstand
- Dynamo Hub
- Smooth, maintenance free, drivetrain
Price as reviewed:
Some bikes would look completely out of place without matching spandex. Other bikes look their best covered in dirt and careening down the steepest pitches. If you want a bike that feels at home in the urban jungle instead the Priority Continuum Onyx might be the perfect solution.
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The Priority Continuum Onyx is the kind of bike that feels comfortable heading through town. If you want to drive less or get some gentle exercise while cruising, it’s a perfect companion. It’s not just a cruiser though. The Continuum Onyx is a well-rounded bike. It would be perfect for a daily commute and if you feel like pushing yourself a bit on the ride home it’s a faithful companion. It does a pretty good job cutting through traffic and It won’t be out of place paired with a good bike lock.
Talking about the build of this bike it’s best to start with the familiar. Both the frame and the fork use 6061 T6 Aluminum. Aluminum is a familiar material common at this price point. It’s light but stiff and from a manufacturing standpoint it’s easy to work with. The welds on the Priority bike aren’t quite the works of art you might find on a Cannondale CAAD frame but there’s no obvious corners cut here.
Starting with the frame makes sense because it’s the only common feature on the Priority Continuum Onyx. The rest of the spec sheet reads like more of a wish list than an actual bike.
Jumping to the opposite end of the spectrum the most unique aspect of this bike is the NuVinci N380 CVT drivetrain. The NuVinci drivetrain is one of those topics that will open a serious rabbit hole and gobble up hours of time if you let it. It’s not necessary to understand every nuance though. What you get is roughly the same gear range as a common 7-speed chain driven bike but without distinct gears.
Shifting happens with a grip shift and there is a smooth progression from easy to difficult. Stop anywhere it feels comfortable. Along for the ride is a carbon belt instead of chain and all the shifting components live in the rear hub. The system is silent and requires no real maintenance, which is why it suits a commuting bike so well.
The drivetrain might grab the headlines but it’s not the only well thought out feature. A Tektro hydraulic disc system with 160mm rotors front and rear takes care of braking and fenders come as standard. The standard configuration includes WTB 32mm wide slick tires with reflective sidewalls. Keep an eye out in the winter and you might also see the option to choose studded snow tires.
Another big headline feature is the integrated bike lights. You’ll find a red rear light and a 400-lumen front light integrated into the bike. The integration means less likelihood of theft and a dynamo front hub means never having to remember to charge the lights.
In nature there are certain things that happen as a result of the complex dance between adaptation and the environment. It turns out the same kind of dance exists when riding a bike.
Bikes have chains and gears with distinct steps. The way we ride a bike has a lot to do with how that system operates. No one pays much attention though until you take it away. The belt drive and CVT gearing Priority uses on the Continuum Onyx will change the way you ride a bike.
A typical chain driven bike with gears doesn’t respond well if you change gears at a stop then try to ride up a hill when you start pedaling. The NuVinci system is different and doesn’t need to be moving to change gearing. Coast to a stop at a light and if you want easier pedaling to get going again twist the grip while stopped. Start riding and the gearing will change with only a small delay and no complaining.
Along the same lines, the way I handle changing gears for hills has a lot to do with the steps between gears. If I’m in the middle of a short, steep, hill I will often pedal a bit harder and not bother shifting when the end of the hill is close, to avoid the unavoidable ‘clunk’. When you’ve got a system without steps the equation is a bit different. There’s no need to consider if it’s worth changing gears when a small adjustment dials in easier, or harder, pedaling.
On the Priority Continuum Onyx you never have to pre-plan gearing for a stop light. It also makes sense to be constantly adjusting how difficult the gearing is. Everything is quiet and smooth and you start to wish every bike rode like this. The constant lights are a nice safety feature too. It’s exactly the kind of bike that invites leaving the car at home.
Pricing considerations are a matter of comparison. With the Priority Continuum Onyx there is no real point of comparison on the market. It’s possible to get other hybrid bikes in the same price range with a focus on different features. It’s also possible to find cheaper bikes but if you want something with this unique mix of features this is it. There’s simply nothing else out there that’s quite the same.
The built-in lights, included fenders, and unique drivetrain make a perfect commuter or city bike. Everything is well made and backed by a great company. If you were to ever have an issue Priority will be there to help. Given what’s on offer the price is downright reasonable.
The Priority Continuum Onyx focuses on city riding and if that's what you need it's one of the best options on the market. Included lights never need charging and the included fenders will keep you dry in the winter. There's tons of reflective spots and racks aren't included but they are available. Priority seems to have thought of everything and put together an impressive package.
Frame and Fork: 60601 T6 Aluminum
Drivetrain: Gates Carbon belt drive with NuVinci CVT gearing
Brakes: Tektro dual piston hydraulic disc with 160mm rotors
Tires: WTB Slick 700x32 Puncture Resistant w/Reflective Sidewall
Weight: 31lbs/14kg (with fenders and pedals)