Priority Bicycles (opens in a new tab) is a New York City-based independent bicycle brand dedicated to making simple, high-quality bikes that are low-maintenance performance for the everyday rider – adults and kids, racers and commuters riders, road riders and off-road riders.
Relying on a Gates carbon drive system and rust-resistant components, these bikes are engineered to withstand everyday use without requiring any mechanical knowledge.
The company’s latest iteration is a thoroughbred racer and a traditional chain-drive racer with a belt drive.
Released today in a very limited run of just 100 bikes, the Joker aims to “break the mold of what racing should look like,” the company said.
The 16-pound kit includes a double-butted 6061 alloy frame with a carbon fiber fork, wheels, stem, compact handlebar and seatpost. There’s a Gates carbon fiber drivetrain with a massive 70T front gear, and the bike rolls on 60mm-deep carbon fiber rims wrapped in Goodyear’s Eagle F1 performance tires and a fixed-gear hub.
The Joker is made exclusively for the newly formed Priority Racing Team, a group of New York City-based fixed-gear crit racers. In addition to winning bike races, the team aims to demonstrate that belt-drive equipped bikes are fun, innovative and, of course, fast. Not to mention low maintenance costs: with an occasional wash, the belt can last up to 50,000 km before needing to be replaced.
The Joker is an updated version of the brand’s ACE singlespeed bike that was inspired by, but not race-ready for. After much research, development and real-world testing, the Joker is said to be a high-speed machine with aggressive geometry that can withstand the torque and speed of racing conditions.
For track and criterium, the bike’s geometry and chainstays are designed to change gear ratios easily. Rear sprocket Use a Gates strap wrench and bottom bracket tool to remove the lock ring to replace the cogs. As a rule of thumb, it takes about 3 to 5 minutes to change a rear gear. Rear gearing ranges from 19T to 22T, with 19T for expected track speeds, 21T for critical racing, and 22T for training or general riding. The front ring is replaced in the same way as a stock chainring: remove and reinstall five bolts.
With the Joker, Priority Bicycles may be venturing into the world of competitive cycling, but that’s not their goal per se.
“Priority has no road performance plans outside of Joker,” a brand spokesperson told Cycling Weekly.
“The Apollo model [with an internally geared belt drive] has been used in gravel races like south-central [Oklahoma] where sheer gearing efficiency is not the number one priority for success.”
Priority Bicycles does see a huge opportunity to pair a belt drive with internal gears in the mixed use space and will continue to work closely with Gates Carbon Drive on further development.