Tom's Guide Verdict
The Priority E-Coast is a great-looking electric beach cruiser that can keep up with any boardwalk adventure thanks to a rust-resistant belt and powerful motor. It’s not the most versatile ebike, though.
Retro, beachy design
Comfortable seat cushion
Rust-resistant Gates drive
Struggles without assist
Jolts on big bumps and cracks
Why you can trust Tom's Guide
Weight: 56 pounds
Range: 20 to 60 miles, depending on assist setting
Motor: 500W rear hub motor
Top assist speed: 28mph
If you ask me, there’s nothing quite like ocean-scented air whipping through my hair during the summer. But after testing out the Priority E-Coast, I found zipping down a beachside boardwalk on a teal electric bike (with my locks tamed by a helmet) comes pretty close.
The Priority E-Coast is the first ebike made specifically for sandy escapades, complete with beefy 3-inch tires and fuss-free, rust-resistant drive. I spent a few weeks cycling around my small beach town on the E-Coast, from my condo to the coffee shop and from the library to the bike rack outside the beach gazebo. I even took it for an early-morning spin beside the ocean with the help of its 500W motor.
With a subjective range and clumsy ride when pedaling without assistance, it’s not a commuter bike — unless your commute is to the beach and back, that is. And while it can soar across smooth sand, it rides awkwardly over some bumps and cracks. But if you live near the coast and want a retro-looking set of wheels that can withstand salty air and sediment, this Priority E-Coast review covers why it might be the best electric bike for you.
Priority E-Coast review: Design
The Priority E-Coast is one of the few ebikes that embraces a retro aesthetic. Minus the obvious motor, the bike doesn’t necessarily look like a high-tech device. The mint-hued unit I tested, paired with a cushy light brown seat and matching handlebar grips, made me feel incredibly cool and comfortable while riding.
Priority offers the E-Coast in both diamond (recommended rider height: 5’5” to 6’5”) and step-through (recommended rider height: 5’0” to 5’11”) style frames. Neither would support a second passenger on the rack, which conveniently house’s the bike’s 500W motor. It comes with built-in bike lights, but no bell, so I took the liberty to accessorize with my own.
The Priority E-Coast is set up as a class 2 ebike out of the box (which gives you an assist up to 20 MPH), but you can configure it for class 3 use (which boosts it to 28 MPH) on the included control panel attached to the left-hand handlebar. The black and white LED control panel is simple enough to navigate, letting you switch between gears, monitor your mileage and more. Meanwhile, the right handle houses the throttle.
When I wasn’t actively riding, the included center-mount kickstand kept the bike sturdy. Both at the beach bike rack and in my garage, the Priority E-Coast could handle being bumping against without falling over.
Priority E-Coast review: Performance
Though I picked up the E-Coast fully assembled, Priority otherwise ships it directly in a box, and recommends having a professional put it together. Unless you have some experience building bikes, I would take it to a bike shop.
Powered up and peddling, navigating the E-Coast is pretty intuitive. If the assist is turned on, it automatically kicks in when you start moving your legs, switching gears is very smooth. There are 5 gears total, each tacking on a 2mph boost. The motor kept up even riding higher gears for a few minutes up some inclines.
The throttle made for some fun rides down straightaways. The faster I rode, the less I felt the road’s imperfections, too. But at slow-to-moderate speeds, the lack of suspension fork wasn’t very forgiving. Big bumps and cracks rattled the bike more than I would have expected.
Yet out on the beach, the E-Coast rode well on dense sand closer to the shoreline. Between the salty air, clear sky and scenic waves, I thoroughly enjoyed zipping so near the water. With the tires it comes with, it’s not made for dunes or other imperfections you’ll find at many beaches. But if you know your local beach is rather flat and well-compacted, the E-Coast should ride fine. Plus, the Gates carbon drive belt means that moist sand kicking up won’t cause rust and ruin the bike. Still, you’ll want to make sure you wash any sand and saltwater off the bike on a regular basis.
Priority E-Coast review: Battery life and range
I don’t recommend riding the E-Coast with a lifeless 576mAh battery for more than a few miles. It felt like I was dragging the 56-pound bike home when it died on one of my rides. I was just grateful I didn’t have beach gear with me at the time.
The bike’s range is between 20 and 60 miles depending on the rider weight, assistance level, and road conditions. I found I averaged about 40 miles with varied gear use. Since the beach is a 5-mile ride from my condo round trip, I needed to charge the Priority E-Coast less than once a week.
Priority E-Coast review: The competition
Priced at $1,999, the Priority E-Coast costs the same as our favorite ebike overall, Rad Power RadCity 5 Plus. But the RadCity 5 offers a lot more versatility with 7 gears and larger 750W motor. It can be used for shorter joy rides and daily commutes alike, whereas the E-Coast is more niche.
While the E-Coast is great for coastal living, I wouldn’t call it rugged. If you’re looking for a true off-road ebike, the Aventon Aventure.2 is our top pick. It offers stability in all sorts of terrains and weather conditions. Yet it’s significantly heavier than the E-Coast, weighing 77 pounds.
Priority E-Coast review: Verdict
The Priority E-Coast is a speciality ebike designed for looking good on the way to the beach, and arriving there without breaking a sweat. Sure, I rode it for some exercise, but it performs best as a leisurely transport to the ocean. After over a dozen rides, the bike showed no signs of wear.
The Priority E-Coast’s retro vibe and effortless summer cruising successfully romanticize riding an electric bike. If you want to feel like an extra in a laid-back beach movie, it’s the right set of wheels for you.
Kate Kozuch is the managing editor of social and video at Tom’s Guide. She covers smartwatches, TVs and audio devices, too. Kate appears on Fox News to talk tech trends and runs the Tom's Guide TikTok account, which you should be following. When she’s not filming tech videos, you can find her taking up a new sport, mastering the NYT Crossword or channeling her inner celebrity chef.