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.”
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.
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 www.ridecvln.com.