top of page

Priority 600X Adventure Review, by Ryan Van Duzer

A review and the history behind the Priority 600X Adventure mountain bike.

As the happy owner of the Priority 600X – the mountain bike that incorporates the Pinion 12-speed internal drive system – I look forward to many ride reports from my bikepacking adventures. But, in addition to my comments and photos, I thought it would be helpful to provide some context. With that in mind, I have included an edited transcript of the video review of the Priority 600X by Ryan Van Duzer.

If you haven’t watched his Priority 600X review video, please see the link below:

Who is “Duzer”? He is the bikepacker behind the successful YouTube channel where he documents many thousands of bikepacking adventure miles.

Over the past few years, Ryan's bikepacking adventures (including the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route, the Baja Divide, Colorado Trail, and many more) have all featured the Priority 600X Adventure mountain bike. Ryan has been responsible for inspiring many people to embark on multiday bikepacking adventures. As of this article, his YouTube channel includes a remarkable 999 videos, with cumulative views in the millions!

Ryan’s experience was wisely tapped by the folks at Priority Bicycles when they entered the adventure bikepacking space. Prior to the introduction of the Priority 600X, the brand (which is based in New York City) was best known for innovative - but not “adventurous” – urban, commuter bikes. To garner attention from the bikepacking crowd, Priority Bicycles needed validation of the mountain bike design elements. Then the new MTB needed the real-world credibility that could only be earned through thousands of hard miles.

And this led to the collaboration with Ryan Van Duzer. This was a genius marketing move and has resulted in creating a whole new division within Priority Bicycles (which now also includes the newest 600HXT hardtail trail mountain bike.) Per the Priority website:

R & D normally means Research and Development. Sure, we did that - crafting the 600X features with our internal team who have spent thousands of miles on trails and our friends at Pinion and Gates. But we also have some secret weapon R & D's. Try Ryan Van Duzer, whose feedback and direction gave us unique insight into what he has encountered riding across the country, up Baja, or bikepacking in his home state of Colorado.

Please enjoy the following transcript of the review video (edited for grammar and brevity.)

I called up my good friends at Priority Bicycles and said, “Let's create the best bike ever.” And they said, “Who is this? Stop bothering us.” No, that's not what they said. Actually, they said, “Let's do it!”

Wait a second - where's the derailleur? There's no derailleur on the Priority 600X because of the Pinion drive gearbox. Yes, this is the famous Pinion internal-geared transmission, designed by former Porsche automotive transmission engineers who said. “Bikes should be like cars where all of the delicate gearing can be enclosed inside a protective box so that rain and snow and mud don't affect the gears.”

That's what they've done! I've been riding a Pinion drive bike since 2018 and it just always works.

The internal transmission also has a 600% gear ratio tucked in there. Now most people might think, "I have no idea what that means." In comparison to the widest range of derailleur drives, the SRAM Eagle derailleur setup has a 525% gear ratio. In other words, you can essentially ride the 600X up a wall.

Next, you couple the wide-range, evenly spaced, 12-speed Pinion transmission with the Gates belt drive. Yes, it is not a chain - it's better! This carbon fiber-reinforced belt is three times stronger than a bike chain and never needs to be lubed. If it does get a little dirty you just hose it off with water.

No derailleur. No bike chain. No multi-sprocket freewheel. Wider gear ratio. No maintenance. No expensive lubes. No mess or wasted time. Longer life. WOW!

Up front, we have the Wren inverted suspension fork. This is the same type of fork you might see on an offroad motorcycle. The fork has 110 millimeters of travel, which is a little over four inches, so it can smooth out any type of terrain. This fork is air-adjustable and can be maintained with just household tools.

Sometimes (on smooth roads) you might think, “I don't need my front suspension right now." Then, you simply turn the fork lockout switch, and it is hard as a rigid fork.

The Priority 600X rolls super-fast with 29-inch wheels. When designing this bike, I made sure that we left room so you could fit very wide tires on this bike. The Priority 600X is supplied with WTB Ranger 29 x 2.25” tubeless-ready tires. These are 2.6-inch tires, and you can see that there is plenty of room for up to 3-inch wide tires.

Since the Priority 600X is designed for bikepacking, there are tons of mounting points for water bottles or a custom frame bag. You can even mount water bottles on the rear stays of the bike. There are also braze-ons for a rear pannier rack.

Additional Priority 600X features for bikepacking performance:

  • The Priority 600X is fitted with four-piston hydraulic disc brakes with a huge 180-millimeter rotor up front, and a 160-millimeter rotor on the rear wheel.

  • The bike is also ready to add a dropper seat post and includes the holes for internal cable routing.

  • The 600X is equipped with WTB Tough rims, and I’ve been beating on these – fully loaded on demanding trails - and haven't even broken a spoke.

  • The handlebars are designed to be comfortable with a little bit of rise and a bit of back sweep so that you can sit on your bike for hours and hours. And I love these handlebar grips. They are nice and wide and create a nice pad for your hands.

  • The Priority 600X frame is aluminum. And there's a logo right here - the “Get Out There” logo (tucked behind my frame bag.) The logo has the Flat Irons Mountains of Boulder, Colorado - my hometown.

The absolute most important thing to know about the Priority 600X is that it is a bomb-proof, low maintenance adventure machine.

As a bikepacker who is often in the middle of nowhere, I want a bike that's reliable. This is that bike. It's tough, it's sexy, and it's my dream bike. I've spent the last couple of years riding the 600X thousands of miles and I’m here today to talk about how it handles some of the roughest of the rough. I’ve ridden this bike a lot in the last year, but I’m going to focus this report card on two adventures - the 700-mile portion of the Great Divide Mountain Bike Route (GDMBR) in New Mexico, and the 550-mile Colorado Trail.

In my videos on the GDMBR in New Mexico, you saw me pushing through some serious snow and mud, up and down mountains, battling severe winds, and riding through a bit of sand. It was definitely some of the toughest riding on the entire Great Divide.

Even though it was rough, I really enjoyed the wildness of those New Mexico roads. That 110 millimeters of travel on the Wren suspension fork took the edge off the rough stuff. Having the capability to completely lock the shock out on the paved sections was another plus.

Drinking water is scarcer on the New Mexico sections than up in the northern states. I carried two heavy, 64-ounce water bottles on the rear rack and another bottle up front. Even with the extra weight, the bike handled great on the technical terrain. I also really like the upright seating position. It's really nice on my back during those eight-hour days in the saddle.

Now I learned a very important lesson on this ride. Due to the insane, muddy conditions I faced, the drive belt popped off a few times. In a panic, I rolled the belt back onto the sprockets. I forced it on over the sprocket teeth. I want you to hear this from me: DON’T roll the belt on! Loosen the rear wheel and properly reinstall the drive belt.

Here is Ryan's video of the mud on the New Mexico sections of the GDMBR:

While I didn't know it at the time, by incorrectly reinstalling the belt I was severely weakening the carbon tensile cords inside the Gates drive belt. These belts are super-strong but are not meant to bend side-to-side. As a result, seven days after the mud apocalypse, I was riding a steep single-track section and my belt snapped in half.

Now, you're thinking, “But you said this carbon belt is three times stronger than standard bike chains.” Yes, they are and breaking a belt is almost unheard of. But because I strained and damaged the internal cords of the belt, it broke.

Am I worried about this happening again in the future? No, not really. This was a once in a lifetime mishap. Dave (the president of Priority Bicycles) has said that out of the thousands of bikes he's sold, he has only had a handful of people break their belts. BUT - just in case - always bring an extra on extended bikepacking trips. The replacement belts are super lightweight.

Next, just a few months after the Great Divide tour, I rode the Priority 600X on the Colorado Trail, a 550-mile monster of a route with 70,000 feet of climbing over some of the most beautiful mountains in my beloved home state. Whereas the GDMBR is mostly dirt roads, this beast of an MTB trail is almost entirely technical single-track.

The 600X was made for an adventure like this. The main goal when designing this bike was to create a very capable mountain bike, like the ones I grew up on, but with the latest engineering and requiring much less maintenance. I spent 11 days riding up and down steep mountain passes. Although it was really hard, the 600X handled everything with flying colors.

I want to talk about a few of the components on the Priority 600X that really shined on this demanding ride.

  • Number one is the brakes. Those four-piston hydraulic brakes came in really handy because some of the descents are insanely steep, yet I always felt in control.

  • The WTB Tough wheels definitely lived up to their name. I didn't break one spoke the entire ride, even though I was slamming this bike from one rock into the next rock every single day.

  • There is a lot of climbing on the Colorado Trail and the riding position on the bike was really comfortable. This bike climbs really well up the steep stuff. (Thanks also to the super-wide gear ratios.)

So, here's the big question: Who is the Priority 600X Adventure bike designed for?

Answer: It is for anyone who wants an all-around, low-maintenance adventure bike that can get you through just about anything. I’ve taken it through every possible condition, and I plan on riding this bike for many, many more years and thousands of miles of new adventures. (P.S. Though I always carry a spare belt on my rides, in thousands of hard miles, I've never broken another belt!)

Learn more and order your own 600X Adventure by visiting the Priority Bicycles website: CLICK Here.

Priority 600X


bottom of page