First Look: Civilian Bicycles Vive Le Roi Cyclocross Bike

Small builder buys back his own brand and starts back up in Portland, OR

Cross Interbike

Civilian Vive Le Roi

I got my first look at Civilian bicycles this past Spring at the Sea Otter Classic and I also checked out their latest bike at Interbike. I met with Civilian’s founder, designer and creator Tyson Hart who was showing his new cyclocross bike called the “Vive Le Roi” (pronounced “vee-va la wah” which means long live the king in French). The Vive Le Roi model name has been around for a few years, but there are several new and exciting changes (like OX Platinum vs. 4130), so read on.

Hart is from Portland, Oregon and started out in the bike business building custom frames for a well known bike trailer company. He decided to go into business for himself and thus, the Civilian brand was born. After about 5 years, a big name online retailer bought the Civilian brand in order to make it a “house” brand and moved production overseas. However, economic conditions were not favorable and the brand struggled. About two years ago, Hart decided to buy the brand back and move production back to the states, albeit on a smaller scale.

Hart tells us more, “I’m not against asian built bikes, obviously some phenomenal bikes come out of there. Bringing production back to the states allows me to control the inventory, quality and the costs. It is cheaper to build overseas, but with my sourcing and product development background combined with my bike design background, I am producing what I think is a very well equipped bike for a very good price.”

Civilian  Vive Le Roi Dropouts

Hart goes on to explain that he is shooting for a price point that is slightly higher than similarly equipped steel bikes from Taiwan, but also less then similarly equipped bikes from other small builders or boutique US brands.

When production was overseas, Civilian had expanded to 2 models of cyclocross bikes, 2 models of mountain bikes and 3 models of urban/commuter bikes. For his U.S. made production line, Hart is starting back-up with what he knows best, which is cross. Civilian has a local Portland-based race team and Hart races nearly every weekend himself.

The Vive Le Roi cross bike will come in a geared version, a singlespeed version (with options for a Gates carbon belt drive) and also a frame-only option. As it is shown here, the Vive Le Roi comes with a 1×11 drivetrain, SRAM’s Force/Rival combo, FSA cockpit and cranks, WTB tubelss rims, Novatec sealed bearing hubs and TRP Spyre SLC disc brakes all for $3400. The frameset itself is True Temper OX Platinum steel.

Civilian Custom Dropouts

Hart also makes the custom dropouts which are geared, singlespeed and belt-ready.

As business picks up, Hart said that future plans include making a 29er hardtail mountain bike as well as cross bikes. The first run of Portland built Vive Le Rois will be available in Spring of 2015.

For more information visit

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Portolla Valley roads. Besides being an avid cyclist, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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  • Matt says:

    Handsome bikes, fan of the man and his brand. It seems like the ones coming out from ‘overseas’ were sub-par quality and had a reputation for being delicate. Glad to see these are back home.

  • Rob says:

    I own a 2012 Civilian Luditte, I must say that it is a great bike. It is far from delicate as mentioned above. Started out as a single speed rigid, currently running it with a Reba 100mm dual air fork and 1×10. Tyson has his geometry dialed. I own 3 other mountain bikes and this is the work horse of my fleet that sees the majority of miles ridden which is 80 to 100 a week. Excellent quality!

  • Will says:

    $3400? Are you effing smoking megaweed? That is so incredibly overpriced. I like how everything is stamped, that paint job looks super clean, etc, but you would have to be a major fool to shell that much dough out to get a bike just for commuting. That or Mark Zuckerberg tech-rainman rich.

  • barb hutchinson says:

    I can’t find Civilian anywhere and am interested. Any clue? I am in Portland Oregon

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