Priority Bicycles builds a kids bike that is all fun, less hassle

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The Priority Start is designed as a simple, hassle-free kid's bike

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New York's Priority Bicycles is determined to bring more fun to bicycling while taking away some of the work and frustration. Last year, it launched its debut product, an affordable, streamlined adult bicycle that promised a low-maintenance cycling experience. It's now launching a children's version that requires even less work. The new bicycle has airless tires, a belt drive and an easy-adjust training wheel system.

For many, the bicycle is a fun piece of recreational equipment, purchased to open up a world of exercise, travel, adventure and fun. With all its exposed, precisely positioned moving parts, the bicycle brings some maintenance and repair headaches and hard work. Some cyclists relish this work; some look at as a necessary evil; and others prefer to spend little to no time on it. After all, the time you spend wrenching and greasing in the garage is time you don't spend pedaling outside.

Priority Bicycles founder Dave Weiner set out on a journey to create a simpler, more user-friendly bicycle. The New York transplant left his job as a software company CEO to pursue his passion for bicycles. Having worked in the bicycle industry prior to his stint as CEO, he returned to create a bicycle using seven principles that were common requests among friends seeking bike advice. The bicycle had to be lightweight, comfortable, easy to ride, easy to maintain, difficult to steal, not overly technical and, of course, affordable.

In July 2014, Priority put its adult-sized bicycle on Kickstarter. The bike is a straightforward commuter design with a lightweight, rustproof aluminum frame, three speeds, a chain-free, greaseless belt drive and puncture-resistant tires. The bike is designed to be easy to ride and maintain, and it comes packaged with necessary accessories – floor pump, assembly tools, water bottle cage and kickstand. Priority started Kickstarter prices at US$349 and sold more than 1,500 bicycles, raising over $550,000, close to 20 times its $30,000 goal.

Priority is back on Kickstarter with a similar design aimed at the street's youngest riders. The Priority Start bicycle is designed for children ages two to eight years old and meant to be the "most simple to ride, simple to maintain, simple to adjust children’s bicycle available." It's built to make learning to ride easier and fun for the child while making teaching and bike maintenance easier for parents.

Like the adult-sized Priority Classic, the Priority Start uses a belt drive, which the company identifies as quieter, more durable, less messy and more weather-resistant than traditional chains. The bike also shares its older brother's rust-free aluminum frame construction.

The Priority Start strays from the Priority Classic design in a couple of key areas, offering even simpler, child-friendly construction. In place of pneumatic tires, the design uses an air-free "Easy Go" tire made from rubber. The tires have air holes punched throughout, which Priority says provide integrated shock absorption. The child enjoys a ride similar to that provided by air-filled rubber but without the need to deal with flats or adjust tire pressure.

The other feature that separates the Priority Start from the adult Classic is the tool-free training wheel system. It has three settings for progressive learning. The first setting keeps the training wheels just off the ground for the best balance and most stable ride. From there, the next setting raises the training wheels higher to promote the development of balance, and the last setting takes them higher yet, offering the opportunity to practice riding on two wheels with the safety net of training wheels. Adjustment is handled via a simple twist knob, and the training wheels can be removed all together when the child no longer needs them.

The Priority Start includes a rear saddle handle so that the adult can easily hold on during lessons and training. It includes both a foot brake and hand brake to get the child comfortable using both types of brakes.

Priority is offering the Priority Start in 12- and 16-in wheel sizes and traditional diamond frame and step-through frame designs. Pledge levels start at $199, which Priority lists as a $50 savings off retail. While the Priority Start hasn't been quite as popular as the adult Priority bicycle, it is narrowing in on its target, having raised $29,000 of $30,000 with 12 days to go.

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