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Civia Cycles due out in March

by Commute by Bike

We are here at QBP’s (Quality Bicycle Products) annual tradeshow, Frostbike. One of QBP’s newest brands is Civia Cycles which we posted about when the bikes were first shown at Interbike last September.

Civia Cycles is making big waves with their release of commuter bikes priced between $1900 and $3100 dollars. You get a lot of bike for that money… but it’s quite a bit of money. A full $1000 more than my first car to be exact!

Be sure to check out this post for more information on specs and pricing on the Civia bikes.

An update from today says the bikes will become available in early March and Civia is pretty stoaked with early sales. Bike shops from California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin have pre-ordered the bikes to carry.

They’ve made some improvements over the prototypes seen at Interbike so here’s some updated pictures.

Civia Cycles

Civia Cycles

Civia Cycles

Civia Cycles

Civia Cycles

Civia Cycles

As after market buys you can get the frameset, fork, rack or fenders.

 
Burley nomad 229

31 Responses to “Civia Cycles due out in March”

  1. Ghost Rider says:

    A unicrown fork on a $1900 bike? Ugh. That thing better be made of gold-laced unobtanium!

  2. Fritz says:

    I paid something like $100 for my first car :-)

    Are you sure about that release date, Tim? I’m already seeing Civia in the bike shops in the Bay Area. Here’s a photo of the Hylander that I shot last week at Palo Alto Bicycles.

    Civia at Palo Alto Bicycles

  3. Justin says:

    I think all of these companies need to take some time and learn how to draw a curve before designing forks. That thing is fugly.

  4. Mike Myers says:

    I understand the market for an ultra high-end commuter bike, but doesn’t QBP have enough clout to get the frame made out of something a little more exciting than aluminum? It would seem to me that a titanium frame would add to the cache of their lineup. Easy sell, too.

  5. Fritz says:

    There are some very well thought out details on that frame — the funky rear triangle, for example, allows for easy rack installation without interfering the rear brake which is something I personally appreciate. Alfine (Shimano’s top of the line hub group) adds to the expense, certainly, but the bare frame is available if you want to build up your own bike using Nexus or something. Carbon fork adds to the cost also.

  6. Quinn says:

    looks like another high priced Road Anchor to me.

  7. Mike says:

    I understand the initial shock of such an expensive limited duty type bike. But the more I think about it, the more I believe that what QBP has done with Civia is probably 2 years ahead of the market in the US. In 2 years, we’ll see a lot more of these expensive bikes. Think about this: If you are a serious recreational rider and you’ve spent $4000 on a carbon machine that you only use on the weekends, what’s so wrong about spending less than half that on a bike you may use every day commuting? Something to think about.

    As to some of the other comments:

    Ti: If $1900 is expensive going to Ti would add another $900-$1000 to the price. And would likely be, darn near, impossible with all the details that are in the frame.

    Carbon forks: Basic carbon forks are only marginally more expensive than a nice aluminum or steel fork. Carbon forks are commodity items in Asia.

    There are a lot of brands in Europe that are selling similar bikes. It really is only a matter of time before this is “it” in bikes. It’s kind of like the Honda Element when it first came out. Initially, I thought “Ugh, what is that.” Now seeing it so often, it’s become “just another car.”

    The QBP folks are smart. And look how much that front fender covers the tire. Someone’s paying attention.

  8. Fritz says:

    I talked to the general manager of Palo Alto Bicycles (where I saw the Civia) — he told me that it’s a demo model that’s being shipped around to different bike shops. He only has his through Tuesday. He also said interest is tremendous in this bike. He’ll hae a Fisher Sijmple City in about 3 weeks also.

    I’m on my way (by bus right now) to Sausalito for the Tour of California. I’ll write about my commute across the Golden Gate Bridge later on.

  9. Tim Grahl says:

    Right on Fritz… I spoke to Scott of Civia about this and he confirmed that it is a demo. There are currently only four of these in existence… three at Frostbike and that one you saw in Palo Alto. It’s being shipped up to Portland this week.

  10. Guitar Ted says:

    It is also important to note that Civia is marketing these bikes as car replacements, not just a bike to park in the garage to be ridden on weekends. I think taken in that light, it is easy to see how a “Car replacement”, even if it is $3000.00 plus dollars, is going to save major coin in a short period of time. Besides the obvious gas savings, there is far cheaper maintenance and insurance to consider with the bicycle.

    Obviously not everybody is ready to make such a heady commitment, but I applaud Civia for making this bold move and for their vision.

    As for the aluminum argument, I overheard some staff talking about that very thing at Frostbike. Sure, it may seem “cheap” and not the right choice for comfort, but from a performance standpoint, it ranks rather highly. Also worth noting is the corrosion resistance that aluminum enjoys over steel. Considering that the Civia is a long term investment/commitment, I think it is a wise choice to use aluminum. Steel is “cool” and rides nicely, but it is also wrong to assume all aluminum bikes ride harshly. That just is not the case anymore.

  11. Quinn says:

    Ted-

    I agree that Al ranks pretty high, performance-wise, how ever how much performance can you get from a dutch style bike with-
    hydro disc (weight)
    fenders
    rack((s) w/pannier)
    chaingaurd

    ??

  12. doug says:

    are these bicycles really car replacements? long-tails and cargo bikes with some sort of motor-assist would work far better as a car replacement, since folks use cars for way more than just moving around. with a civia you would need to purchase a trailer to haul around more than a couple grocery bags worth of stuff.

  13. rick says:

    Add a matching front rack just big enough to hold a six pack and they would be spot on.

  14. Guitar Ted says:

    Quinn: Well, yes “dutch” bikes need to perform too. Take for instance steering geometry. The Civia is a much more nimble handler. A good thing if you are doing battle on the city streets with automobiles. The frame itself needs to be reasonably lightweight, which I’m sure it is compared to most heavy steel “dutch” type bikes. A performance advantage, yes? I could go on, but I think you see my point by now.

    doug: I see your point, but I would submit that 90% of the cars you see every morning and evening are not being used for those purposes. Smaller errands are very common uses for cars, trucks, and SUV’s as well. The Civia would deal with these tasks easily. Yes, your full on grocery run, or load from the local mega-lumber yard might be too much of a challenge, but that is not a car/truck/SUV the Civia looks to replace.

    Now if I had said, “car free”, I would add that you would need the Civia “and” a longtail bike. :) However; for most of what we use cars for, yes: the Civia can replace that car.

  15. Quinn says:

    Ted- I see ur point, how ever, speaking of performance, I don’t hear of many messengers using “dutch” bikes, and the majority of the messenger I see are steel,
    plus the majority of people riding dutch bike, are looking fork comfort ride of steel, that is why I think there is such a “beef” about the Simple city being Aluminium.

  16. Guitar Ted says:

    Quinn: Messenger crowd? They ride steel because track bikes were traditionally steel in the “old days” Check out track bikes now that are used professionally. ;)

    Again, don’t assume aluminum can’t be made into a comfortable ride. I have not ridden a civia, but I reserve judgement until I or someone I know has.

  17. Quinn says:

    I know all the new bikes are aluminium, but I think part of the Civia selling strategy is to appeal to the people from “the old days”, and by making the bike aluminium, the strategy is going to back fire.

  18. Guitar Ted says:

    Quinn: Appeal to folks who are from “the old days”? Interesting. I do not see that at all. I see a company that has graphics and a message that is thoroughly modern and up to date.

    I’d be interested to read just why you see that in Civia.

  19. Quinn says:

    Ted- when I see the Civia my mental picture goes to – 1955, a a 10 y/o boy pedalling his heart out, racing down the streets of suburbia.

  20. Fritz says:

    Quinn, there’s a world of difference between the double butted CroMoly steel used in “messenger” style bikes and the straight high tensile gas pipe tubing used in ye olde Dutch bikes, although higher quality Dutch bikes are becoming available in the Netherlands because of American design influences.

    Regarding hauling capability — a part of “car culture” is this induced demand for more consumer “stuff.” Warehouse stores came about mostly after the introduction of the SUV and McMansions.

    I grew up in Japan, where little old ladies go shopping on their mamachari bikes (“mama’s chariot”). They can fit what they need in the collapsible wire baskets mounted on the rear rack of their bikes, or they put them in the monstrous front basket with the child seat in the back. Delivery bikes are also common in Tokyo.

  21. Mike says:

    I too don’t see the marketing to the “old folks.” I see it as appealing to folks who think the Prius is a “cool” car – and not just because it gets good mileage.

    FWIW, here’s my take on the aluminum aspect.
    The frame is made in Asia. The resources to produce frames in Asia are heavily skewed to aluminum production. In the style that the Civia is made, aluminum really is the best choice. There are some cleverly designed aspects of the frame (the way the down tube is created to integrate and hide the derailleur/brake lines especially) that can only be made with aluminum – or made without severe weight penalties compared to steel.

    Dutch style? I just can’t see any Dutch style in the Civia. Dutch style bikes are so much more upright than the Civia and the steering geometry of the Civia is definitely way more sporty than the slow, straight-line Dutch style.

    If there is one fault with the Civia, it is that I’ve yet to see one with a Brooks saddle and a set of swept-back bars ;-)

  22. Quinn says:

    changes the orenge flag to white and rides away.

  23. Steve says:

    Mike hit it on the head. Civia is way ahead of the market here. I hope they take these next two or so years to establish the brand and succeed. Great job all the way around. I did a 650b conversion (Ed Braley, thank you!) on my Al/C bike and it’s great for around town. I see no problem with the materials or design.

  24. Cte says:

    I don’t get it, at the same price (~$1,900) you could get an A.N.T. Boston Roadster with a dynamo hub and lights, Brooks saddle, kick stand, chain guard equipped bicycle, made in the US by a craftsman.

    Instead of an off-shore built, corporate branded, corner cutting bike that frankly looks like a bit of a rip-off.

  25. burnsey says:

    My two cents worth.
    Yes it is a good looking bike.I
    It is what the new Volkswagon Beetle is to the old Bug, you immediately recognize it, but appreciate the updated styling.
    My fear of high prices commuters, is leaving them unattended for long periods of time, thus my penchant for riding a bike I put together from pieces. Sort of like the old car that no one wants to steal.
    It may incite more people to commute, and may be just in time for an economic crunch where a family gives up one car and buys one bike.
    Overall, I think there will be a shift in thinking, albeit it slowly, concerning commuting. It will become more respectable as more and more people ride.

  26. Steve says:

    1900 for an ANT? I didn’t know they were that inexpensive. He was one of the few this year that I really enjoyed at the NAHBS.

  27. Coyote, Thank you for mentioning my Boston Roadster. http://www.antbikemike.com/bostonroadster.html

    the ANT BR does cost $1,995 complete with a rear rack and is very nice [nice details and comes in about 23 sizes]; however my delivery time is pretty bad at 9 to 12 months etc..

    I am hoping that the Civia and others like it will drive people towards cycling for transportation in general. Having more people on bikes will help with the cycling image, getting funding for better cycle paths, roads etc…and maybe buying a bike from me too:)

    At first I was bummed with the Civia’s aluminum frame and carbon fork, but now after giving it some thought this may work for their intended market…new people to cycling. the internal gear hubs, lights, fenders etc…really add a lot of weight and shaving a few lbs with the Al and Carbon will help with selling these bikes. The styling [while it does not appeal to me] I think will appeal to the new commuter, moving back into the city [from the burbs], likes stainless steel appliances kind of person.

    The people that do not like the Civia have many choices that look nice…Kogswell, Surly…ANT

    Sincerely Mike Flanigan/ANT

  28. Mike Myers says:

    I was pretty anti-Civia at first. I’ve had some time to reconsider it, and I’ve changed my opinion to “meh”. I don’t think it’s going to do well at all, BUT—at least somebody is gambling and trying. I just don’t think the way to get people on commuter bikes is by aiming at the mass-produced super high end. High tech isn’t the answer—-or at least not this kind of high tech.

    If we’re going to design a commuter bike that truly is single purpose, then let’s go for broke. How about monocoque carbon, hidden cables, hidden dynohub wiring, mag wheels(pothole proof), hard luggage, electric assist, etc?

    It’s not a bad bike, the Civia. I just don’t think they’re going to hit the market they’re aiming for. It’s just not COOL. The guy who rides a Madone is going to want a little more flash in his commuter, and the guy who rides a Waterford is going to want a lot more organic feel in his commuter.

    I wish them luck, but I really doubt that stores are doing lots of preorders on this thing. Any Trek dealer that took a bath on the L200(or whatever the fully specced commuter that bombed was) will think twice about investing in this thing.

    But the Simple City is going to do VERY WELL, and the SC8 w.basket isn’t exactly cheap. Why? Style, friends, style. It’s distinctive and unique. The cream color, especially, looks expensive and rich and delicious. The Civia looks bland and stark.

  29. Quinn says:

    I agree with Mike Myers, I too took another look at Civia today, and they don’t seem as bad as they used to.

    However, for those prices, I think people expect- 1. a race ready road rocket Or 2. A Bruce Gordon type bike.

  30. wannaCmore says:

    This one being marketed as a “car replacement”, eh? I’m not buying it. I would rather get something more versatile like the Xtracycle or Kona Ute and save some $$.

  31. rick says:

    I really like the design of the Civia. It has a very industrial urban look that appeals to me. Of course they say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I think if it had a matching front rack it would be more useful as a car replacement bike, I see bikes like the Ute and Extracycle as truck replacements. As useful as Utes and Extracycles are they are not the most fun bikes to ride I see them more as work bikes. Bikes such as the Civia are like station wagons, bikes such as an Ute I liken to pick up trucks.

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