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Priority Continuum Onyx for rainy hilly urban commute?

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Priority Continuum Onyx for rainy hilly urban commute?

Old 10-12-23, 09:33 AM
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Priority Continuum Onyx for rainy hilly urban commute?

I live in Seattle, where each workday begins with a check of the rain forecast. My 4.5-mile year-round urban commute involves two hills (400 feet elevation) - each way. I like to do as much of my maintenance and repairs as I can. Bike weight is not that big an issue for me - what with fenders, rack, panniers, lights, spare tube, multi-tool, lock, lunch, rain gear, clothes, etc. (Glass in the roadway is my biggest issue!!) I really want Priority to succeed long-term as a company.


My questions for commuters in hilly, possibly wet, places:
  1. How has the Enviolo CVT hub worked for you? On the uphills, I am on 24t in the front and 34t in the rear, for a ratio of 0.70 (on 700x32 wheels). The Enviolo/Nuvinci seems like it would be fine for that. I don't need an enormous gear range as I am anyway coasting or braking on the downhills.
  2. Does the Onyx use a bunch of proprietary parts? Much as I want Priority to succeed, I don't want to be in the same boat as Van Moof riders if the company goes under. I would like to be able to buy replacement parts from regular sources. Granted, the Onyx claims to be a very low-maintenance bike. So the most I would have to do, hopefully, is service the hydraulic brakes under normal wear and tear, and tend to the wheel axles and bottom bracket (did I tell you it rains a lot in Seattle!)

Thank you for sharing your perspective.
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Old 10-12-23, 09:55 AM
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I haven't used a CVT hub extensively, just once on a bike share bike. I would rather have a traditional IGH hub with higher efficiency though. I can't tell the exact specifications (which front hub and light) but if those are adequate, it looks like it's a pretty nice bike, it just needs a rear rack.

It doesn't look like they use a bunch of proprietary parts to me.
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Old 10-12-23, 10:17 AM
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I'm in Seattle, have an Onyx, and am a relatively strong rider. I don't ride it much at all because I find that CVT's low gear inadequate (edit: mine is an older model with Nuvinci N330 hub, don't know how that compares with the n380).

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Old 10-12-23, 11:02 AM
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The low gear (in car terminology 1st gear) is the same on all Nuvinci = 0.5. The variation seems to be in the high (top) gear.
N330: 0.5 to 1.65 = 330% range

N360: 0.5 to 1.8 = 360% range
N380: 0.5 to 1.9 = 380% range
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Old 10-12-23, 11:26 AM
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Digging a little into it, the chainring that Priority puts on the Continuum Onyx is too large, and by all accounts on a different forum website that gets censored here on BF (that site sounds like read it dot com) the low gear is especially inefficient, which is why it's considered a terrible climber unless you mod the rear cog and chainring or get a longer Gates belt.
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Old 10-12-23, 06:45 PM
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Even though I’ve been commuting on a Continuum Onyx for two years now, I don’t have much to add because my commute is fairly flat and short.

I’ve been surprised to find that I like the Enviolo hub, and the CVT, as much as I do. Perhaps it’s silly, but at the end of each day, I like the simplicity. I have a lot of faith in the hub itself, and I tend to believe that it will indeed require little, if any, maintenance. I did have some trouble with the shifter cables, though (it uses two): after a rear-wheel replacement, one of the cables frayed, and a strand got into the housing and caused a “catastrophic” propagation of the fraying. I ended up replacing both cables, and it took me several hours (I could do it again in much less time, but it took me a while to understand how to do it).

As mentioned, my commute is fairly flat, with the only real hill being short and right at the end (when coming home). I’ve been impressed by the gear range, but consistent with what others have said, it does seem to be inefficient at the low end. Personally, my enjoyment of the CVT shifting exceeds my efficiency concerns. That said, my opinion could shift were I riding further and with longer hills.

My only major disappointment with the bike has been with the hydraulic disc brakes, as I’ve complained repeatedly. However, I don’t think my experience with the brakes is specific to the Onyx or its brakes, specifically.

Also as others have said, I don’t think there are many (or any) custom parts on this bike — I think everything is pretty standard. (That said, I do feel quite locked into the hydraulic yet wish that I could simply swap them out for some cantilevers!…but, again, that’s not due to Onyx, specifically.)
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Old 10-12-23, 07:04 PM
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I heard back from Priority Bicycles - their customer support is very responsive.

Whereas my preferred lowest gearing ratio is 24t/34t = 0.70, at a cadence of 80-90,
The Priority 600 (not CVT) goes from (lowest) 1.3 to 7.8 (highest)
And the Onyx Continuum goes from 2.1 to 8.0.

So the question for me is whether I would be comfortable on hills at a substantially lower cadence. My guess is no, I would not, because I have been going in the opposite direction with my current chain rings and cassette.
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Old 10-12-23, 10:37 PM
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I read on cyclingabout dot com that "The Enviolo hubs require a minimum front-to-rear sprocket ratio of 2:1." I have not found an explanation behind the constraint.
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Old 10-13-23, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by szachariah
I read on cyclingabout dot com that "The Enviolo hubs require a minimum front-to-rear sprocket ratio of 2:1." I have not found an explanation behind the constraint.
IGH manufacturers require a minimum gear ratio in order to limit the input torque to the hub. Enviolo requires a minimum ratio of 2. This is listed in their manual, page 11.
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Old 10-13-23, 12:29 PM
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Here's that articlehttps://www.cyclingabout.com/enviolo...r-bicycle-hub/
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Old 10-13-23, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by szachariah
Yes, as I said before, all IGH manufacturers specify a minimum input gear ratio. Enviolo happens to specify 2. A minimum gear ratio is required in order to limit the torque input to the hub.
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Old 10-14-23, 09:21 AM
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A minimum ratio of 2:1 is fairly common, and was also the specification for the 7-speed Shimano Nexus that came on a Finnish city bike that I owned for some time, and that bike came with a 2:1 gear ratio. It would've been easier and cheaper for me to change on that bike, though, because it used a chain, if I felt my weak human legs wouldn't overtorque it. Ultimately, I used it as-is for 5 years before moving back to the USA, mostly because I moved farther from work and took the train, mostly using it for shopping/hauling in flatter places.

Someone's been locking an Onyx across from my apartment recently, and I like it! My only worries would be the belt-drive gearing, which can be expensive to replace, and the CVT hub which shouldn't be too much trouble to replace with a more conventional IGH if you have a problem down the road. In a financial pinch, you could probably convert to chain drive, where you just size the chain accordingly. I wouldn't worry about it suddenly becoming obsolete. Even 1/8" chain drive isn't too expensive in terms of cost/distance to maintain long-term.
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