Civilian Luddite Review, Part 2

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Despite all the recent happenings in the cycling word over the past few weeks, bikes still get ridden here at DC, and for me that has involved “testing” the Civilian Luddite.  D2 passed the Civilian Luddite off to me about a couple months ago under two conditions, 1.) I drive my ass down to C-Sprangs to pick the bike up, and 2.) I suck down a Tecate on his deck before leaving town.  24 hours later I’m pulling this orange beast out of the back of my car getting ready to rally trail.  First things first, lets get the specs of this rig out of the way.  If you want the full listing of all the parts, head on over here to figure to get the skinny.   If you want details about angles, and lengths, then clicky clicky right here to get those details.  The main things that jumped out at me included: tapered head tube (first time riding that), and the price ($1049).  Before even spinning the cranks I figured I’d be getting a burly bike that could take a beating, but would be much heavier that what I am used to riding.

Civilian Luddite in its desired habitat, amongst the rocks

Let’s start with the likes.  First and foremost this is a bike that you can beat the ever living shit out of.  Granted I’m not talking about putting on the knee pads and hucking the gnar.  Instead ride this over around and through all sorts of terrain with reckless abandon, and everything will hold up just fine.  When you are ready for the next ride, simply make sure there is enough air in the tires and go out and ride again.  In my opinion that is a quality I really like in a bike.  In addition, the tapered head tube was great, the wheels kept true, and the wide bars gave me a relaxed feeling on the bike.

Riding high in the Colorado mountains

Onto the bad, where on the top of that list I will say I hated the fact that the stock bike didnt come setup as tubeless.  I lasted a little over a month before I threw up my hands and went out and bought a Stans conversion kit.  Additionally I am not a huge fane of the stock SS gearing.  For a bike this heavy I think the 32×18 gear is a just a bit to tall, especially for climbing (*note the fact that the gear felt “too tall” could also be attributed to the fact that this bike was much heavier than my usual MTB bike, or me being a weak pussy).  Similar to either loving or hating fake tits, SS gearing is all about personal preferene, and mine would be for a 32×20 on this rig.

Onto the “other”, I wouldn’t call this a problem, but you can only mount one water bottle on the frame.  Getting by with one water bottle mount isnt necessarily the worst thing in the world, but having two water bottles would definitly be appreciated.  Finally, this bike forces you to sit back and relax on a climb.  I had been used to more of race SS rig, and every time that I tried to climb like a wannabe badass I felt as if the bike’s geometry/setup was fightingmy body.  The solution to this problem was simple, I eased off on the climbs, enjoyed the view, and let the bike be my guide.  If you are someone who can’t adapt to a bike, and wants the bike to adapt to you, look elsewhere.   In the end, for the price of this bike, you will get a nice long lasting bike to ride around with minimum maintenance.  In the time I have tested this bike I have used it for rides ranging from quick after work jaunts to long backcountry excursions without finding any major drawbacks.

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About 40 Hands

A fan of riding bikes with one gear, malt liquor, riding without knowing how many miles I’ve covered, and strip clubs that let you bring your own keg. I typically have a stupid grin on my face, it is because deep down I know that no matter what, my mom thinks I’m cool. Denver, Colorado, USA

13 Replies to “Civilian Luddite Review, Part 2”

  1. There’s a lot that’s right with that rig. Me, I need at least a few gears, like a 1×9, ’cause I’m a busted-up old never-was, but that’s a lot of fun for eight hundred bucks.

  2. I had the same climbing issue, 40. But damn, that’s a fun bike. End of story. And if it is indeed at $840 right now, grab one!

  3. Hey, where did you get that water bottle? Is that a Cliff Bar one? I lost one not too long ago.

  4. Lance Drugstrong got stripped of 7 tours des frances and i have to look at this lame mountain bike post for a week? chop, chop.

  5. The Zurich is a nice frameset.

    I rode a Buenos Aires for a few seasons, but it was so flexy I’d skip gears whenever I sprinted on it. Sold it to an old dude. (Even older than me, I mean.)

    My current “rain bike” is a Poprad, which is pretty heavy, but I wanted disc brakes and there were damn few choices at the time. The only annoyance is the non-standard 130mm rear dropout— the market may have changed, but I found there were damned few disc-compatible hubs, they were all 135mm like MTB.

    Lemond used to sell really well up here in the Pacific Northwest, you still see lots of them out on the road.