I’ve got a few things on the docket for you this week—-including a review of a killer bike, the Civilian Luddite—and the further you scroll down, the more interesting this post gets.
First, let’s start with my new title as NTAC.
For those of you who aren’t in the know, NTAC is a designation we’ve all had at one time or another in our riding careers:
I became the no-talent ass clown this past Friday on the tall boy ride, or TBR, as it’s known in these parts. The NTAC is the rider who falls hard enough to draw blood or leave his or her bike during the ride. I did it in grand fashion, going over the bars off a foot-and-a-half drop I’ve done a hundred times before. I football-tackled the ground and laid there for a moment, wondering just how hurt I actually was. This worried the folks I was riding with, as they thought I’d knocked myself out. I’m told the worst part of it was the sound I made: a dull thud. Just call me Michael Bolton.
Thank god for unbroken collar bones.
As it is, I am currently sore all over my body and hopped up on some hydrocodone, which is just about doin’ the trick. Feelin’ good. A perk of being the NTAC? Perhaps.
Have you been an NTAC lately? Hit the comments section and tell D2 your story. Best story will score a FREE DRUNKCYCLIST.COM POSTER!
The folks over at Civilian bikes, however, are anything but NTACS. Let me introduce you to the Civilian Luddite, the next bike in the Drunkcyclist.com bike review queue. Mr. 40 Hands and I will be tag-teaming this three-part review, and I’ve got the honors of writing up part one, so here we go.
When Dirty Biker sent the bike my way, he told me it would not ride at all like the NINER. Boy, was he right. His words were, in fact, that it would ride like a dirt jumper. It does indeed. I even went and did some dirt jumps with it, and it handled itself well.
This is a very simple bike, which I count in its favor. It is 4130 Cro-Moly, which I must admit is not my favorite material. The Luddite is well built, though, and I never felt like I was being jostled around too badly. Still, I was pining for Reynolds 531 steel a few times on the rougher trails.
If you’re looking for a high performance race bike, this ain’t it. The bike is pretty heavy for a rigid singlespeed, and fuck, who races on a rigid singlespeed anyway? (Actually, I can think of quite a few people who are more man than I…) The Luddite is a fun bike for sure, but I wouldn’t want it to be my only bike in the stable. Long dirt climbs? Hell yes. A long day of technical descents? Ummm….
The top tube felt a bit short to me, which lent itself to the snappy handling. I never felt uncomfortable on the bike, though it did take some getting used to coming from the Niner. I might have even bumped up to a large in this bike, even though I almost always ride medium bikes. There were a few occasions on the trail when I felt compelled to stop and raise up that seatpost a bit more, and I did find myself scooting to the rear of the seat more than once on longer flat sections.
Now, let’s pause this review for a gratuitous shot of a hot girl in a DC jersey.
There. Now moving on…the WTB wheels seem stout, though I’ve had problems with their hubs and rims in the past. So far I’ve beat on them pretty good (mostly because I have no finesse on the bike) and they have stayed true. The hubs spin nicely with no play. We’ll just have to wait and see how they hold up in the long run.
This is the second 29er I’ve ridden recently, which is a marked transition from my past rigs. Further, it’s the first rigid singlespeed I’ve ridden in about ten years. I’ve never been a big singlespeed guy, but this has essentially been my summer of the singlespeed, and I gotta say, I’m diggin’ it. Simplicity is key in all aspects of my life right now, and I think THOREAU would be a fan of the Luddite for exactly this reason.
I give Civilian props for their eye-catching and wrist-saving carbon fork. It felt a bit squirrely on consistently rough stuff, but so far, I’ve got nothing but good things to say about a front end that sucks up vibration before it baby-shakes my wrists.
I did adjust the sliding drops once to accommodate some chain slack. Has been perfect since. The BB7 brakes are an always-reliable choice, and they aren’t expensive. I give the bike high marks for wise component choices.
Let’s talk briefly about the rear end…
I think just about every cyclist has battled with saddle choice. I found my perfect saddle in the Selle Italia C2, but I gotta tell ya, the saddle on the Luddite was damn comfy, despite its name that would indicate the opposite. I like to think they were being funny when they called the saddle the Cutter…if so, props to them.
Overall, this bike is, so far, a worthy addition to any bike stable, especially if you’re looking for a super-affordable, reliable rig. I’d definitely keep it in my garage for just the right occasion. It would make a great first singlespeed, too, so if you’ve got friends looking to get into it, recommend the Luddite.
That’s all for now. Stay tuned for 40 Hands’s take on the same bike in the near future. He’s currently shredding it up in the Front Range north of here, and he’s got more experience with the rigid singlespeed than I do.by