First Look: 2010 Civia Bryant

That’s a nice looking bike. I like the overall balance, gently sloping top tube, clean drivetrain, and tasteful color scheme. This particular bike is a 58cm. The frame and fork are chromoly steel (of course). There’s no need for a chainguard with a Gates Carbon Drive.

 

This cool “lug” at the base of the headtube serves as a cable stop. The rest of the frame is TIG welded.

 

Boy howdy! Yep, that’s a kickstand plate you see there. Thank you, Civia.

 

That is one complex dropout. Things to notice: replaceable dropout slot; integrated fender mount (just below the rack); notched disc brake mounts; and three holes that mimic the Civia logo.

 

This is the dropout that makes the Gates Carbon Drive possible. Notice the slit for inserting the belt at the upper right of the tensioner.

 

Love this seatpost clamp. It takes an M6x20 socket head capscrew and matching nut, so there’s no possibility of stripping the frame. A nice detail.

 

Post mounted Avid BB5 disc brake on a straight blade fork.

 

As is typical for Civia, tasteful, understated graphics.

 

Versa “brifter”; the control end of the Alfine IGH and rear Avid BB5 disc brake.

 

The Gates Carbon Drive. I’ve said it before: the Gates/Alfine combo is the smoothest multi-gear drivetrain I’ve encountered.

 

Nice curves. ;-)

 

Honjo-style alloy fenders.

 

The bike pictured here is a pre-production prototype. The production model will be available in April 2010. Please visit the Civia website for more information.

Civia

Disclosure: Civia is a sponsor of this site and provided the bike for this review.

59 Responses to “First Look: 2010 Civia Bryant”

  • JP Atkinson says:

    Beautiful. If I am not mistaken, this is *it* for those who want steel + Alfine + belt drive.

  • Jeff says:

    Wow! I don’t see anything I don’t like. LOVE the kickstand plate!

  • Alan says:

    Hi JP,

    There’s also the Raleigh Alley Way which we featured earlier this year:

    http://www.ecovelo.info/2009/11/29/road-test-raleigh-alley-way/

    Alan

  • Rick Steele says:

    One could also build up a “steel + Alfine + belt drive” Co-Motion Americano for much less than the Rohloff 14spd IGH version. Still quite a lot more than that pretty Civia Bryant.

    Rick

  • Gavin says:

    Wow, that is the ultimate dropbar commuter bike. I love it. I am beginning to understand the term “bike porn.”

  • Dolan Halbrook says:

    Looks fantastic. Love the “lug”. However, if I’m not mistaken that build doesn’t have a dynohub. And it was soooooo close to perfect. Perhaps they could offer it as an option?

  • John says:

    Second the disappointment on the missing dyno. They put in all the things missing from the Alley Way (fenders, rack, kickstand plate) and then left of the dyno! That’s an immediate extra cost to have to rebuild a brand new wheel just to get the dyno. Otherwise, this is one sexy bike.

  • sygyzy says:

    Wow that is a beautiful bike.

  • William says:

    I agree with many of the posters that this is a great bike, but there are a few annoyances. 1. It is two hundred dollars more than the Alley Way without the dynamo hub. 2. The Hyland’s paint job is understated, this paint job just seems anemic. 3. The Alley Way has a matching drivetrain guard.

    I suppose the Versa brifters add to the price. Maybe the J-Tek shifter would have been a better option. The Surly Tug Nut is a nice touch.

  • Alan says:

    “Perhaps they could offer it as an option?”

    The full production bikes won’t be available until April, so there’s a possibility some component details could change between now and then. I haven’t heard anything one way or the other, but I can imagine a dyno hub might be available as an option.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    “Maybe the J-Tek shifter would have been a better option.”

    The J-Tek shifter is out of production due to Jay Guthrie’s health issues:

    http://jtekengineering.com/index.html

    Alan

  • Elliott @ Violet Crown Cycles says:

    A little industrial looking for my taste, but looks like a fine well thought out bike.

  • Mark says:

    This is a beautiful bike, it has to be said.

    The biggest question about this bike in my mind is whether the gear range available with the Alfine makes sense for a drop-bar bike – a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that this will top out at about 91 gear-inches, compared to about 113 on a derailleur bike (50×12), so perhaps the riders legs will be more of a limitation than aerodynamics.

  • Sean says:

    My son needs a kickstand for his bike. It has a mounting bracket on it that is similar to the one on this bike. Does anyone have a favorite kickstand that they would be willing to recommend?

    Thanks

    Sean

  • Phil says:

    Alan,
    I think Jtek is back in business. It looks like Jay’s son has taken over things.

  • Alan says:

    @Phil

    Good to know. Thanks, Phil.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Sean

    The Pletscher is nice:

    http://www.rivbike.com/products/show/swiss-kickstand-pletscher/20-139

    Alan

  • JP Atkinson says:

    Thanks for pointing out the Alley Way, Alan! I have that one book-marked, but had marked it lower on my “might buy” list due to the EBB. Now, the most important question: will the Bryant gearing work in San Francisco with my 44 year old legs?! Thanks for the beautiful photos!

  • martian1 says:

    The Bryant looks very nice indeed. Targeting early summer to replace my Jamis commuter 3.0, hopefully by then I’ll be able to ride one, as the belt drive train is very enticing.
    A general question about the belt drive, this is not intended as a complaint, more of a hypothetical question that applies to any belt drive bike.
    With the needed split rear triangle to allow tire changes – does this cause the potential of a weakened rear, potential for the securing plate [or method] to come apart at a bad time or potential source of corrosion/wear ? How do bike makers engineer this detail into their frames ?
    Thanks,
    martian1

  • martian1 says:

    PS:
    Follow up to JP Atkinson’s comment about the gearing-
    I too live in a pretty hilly area and once in a while my knees remind me they have been
    49 for several years in a row. Looking at the Bryant drive train specs, appears there
    is a 50 belt wheel and 24 cog, with 32 mm tires that gives approximately a gear in range of
    30 to 91 with the Alfine hub. My Jamis has a 42 chain wheel and 20 cog, giving a similar gearing range of 30 to 91. Have to say I do pretty well getting around with this range, but admit however sometimes wanting one step lower. It is easy on the Jamis to pop in a larger cog, possibly a chain link or two to get a lower ratio. Not sure how that would work with the Bryant, especially as the 24 appears to be the largest belt cog, so one would have to change the belt wheel – not sure how easy that is with respect to belt lengths.
    The Bryant looks like a great bike, this is not intended to be a concern about it – just more of a general discussion about belt drive dynamics vs. the chain we are more familiar with.

  • Alan says:

    @JP

    A typical touring triple will get you down into the low 20’s or high teens. For comparison, the low end of the Alfine/Gates drivetrain is approximately equivalent to a 34T chain ring and a 30T rear cog (approximately 30 gear inches as martian1 indicated), lower than a racing bike, but not as low as a touring bike for hauling a full load. Hopefully you can use that information to gauge against the gearing you’re currently running. Personally, I think 30 gear inches is probably low enough unless you’re carrying a heavy load, but this is highly personal based upon individual fitness, riding style, injuries, etc.

    Regarding changing the sprockets, that isn’t a practical option on this bike. Gates only makes a 24 tooth sprocket for the Alfine hub, and the smallest 5-arm sprocket for the front is the 50 tooth which is already spec’d. I suppose one could replace the crank, but at that point I think you’d be wading into deep water.

    Alan

  • Bob says:

    What are your impressions of the rear rack, Alan? The most likely positions for a hook of the sort my Arkel panniers have would be (1) in the horizontal wave to the rear of the dropouts or (2) in the forward angle between the wave and the main vertical tube of the rack. Seems to me position 1 would place the weight well behind the axle, pulling back and down, and position 2 would have the bulk of the pannier pretty far forward.

  • Alan says:

    @Bob

    I’ve been using this same rack on the Hyland for about a year with the Arkel Bug. It works best with the lower hook placed in the “wave” portion of the lower strut. For the kinds of loads typically carried on a commute, the position is fine. It might be more of an issue if this was a touring bike designed for carrying heavily loaded twin panniers.

    Alan

  • Jeff says:

    Is the spoke count on the front wheel higher than the rear?

  • Alan says:

    @Jeff

    “Is the spoke count on the front wheel higher than the rear?”

    Yes. This is a prototype; the final production model will have a matched set of wheels and possibly some minor differences in component spec.

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    @Mark

    “The biggest question about this bike in my mind is whether the gear range available with the Alfine makes sense for a drop-bar bike…”

    The feedback I get from many people is that they like drop bars not necessarily for the aerodynamic advantage, but because of the comfort and control provided by multiple hand positions.

    Alan

  • Todd says:

    Martin1,

    In regards to your question about engineering a rear dropout split, there are several things to consider (having designed a few myself). First off, can the frame be easily opened to pass the belt through given its rectangular cross section. Secondly with the possible repeated opening/closing of this frame break is there potential damage to the frame. Thirdly the frame break should be designed such that it does not effect the strength or stiffness of the rear end. This can be achieved through various design directions. Ones I have designed use interlocking features between two plates to retain the strength of the frame break. In most designs I have seen in the market, there does not seem to be the possibility to have these frame breaks open up during riding.

    Hope that helps.
    Todd

    The Bryant looks very nice indeed. Targeting early summer to replace my Jamis commuter 3.0, hopefully by then I’ll be able to ride one, as the belt drive train is very enticing.
    A general question about the belt drive, this is not intended as a complaint, more of a hypothetical question that applies to any belt drive bike.
    With the needed split rear triangle to allow tire changes – does this cause the potential of a weakened rear, potential for the securing plate [or method] to come apart at a bad time or potential source of corrosion/wear ? How do bike makers engineer this detail into their frames ?
    Thanks,
    martian1

  • OmahaBikes says:

    Wouldn’t you still need a drivetrain guard to ride this bike with pants? Assuming you didn’t use a strap to hold your right pant cuff against your leg.

  • Alan says:

    @OmahaBikes

    I suppose it’s possible to get a pant leg caught under the belt, but I’ve been riding it with loose cut jeans and so far it doesn’t really seem to need a guard.

    Alan

  • Lovely Bicycle! says:

    In general this bike is not my style, but I must admit I like the lug/cable stops. The fluted fenders are also quite nice.

  • bongobike says:

    Alan,

    I was just going to comment on your statement, “There’s no need for a chainguard with a Gates Carbon Drive.” but Omaha beat me to it. It looks to me like there is a definite risk of getting your pants cuff caught in this drivetrain. Maybe your jeans haven’t been caught yet, but watch out. I would definitely put a nice chainguard on this kind of bike if I were to ride in street clothes much.

    Very, very nice bike!

  • OmahaBikes says:

    Agreed, most bikes with some sort of bash guard to the outside of the belt/chain rarely grab my jeans. I have to be more careful if I’m wearing dress pants that are softer/thinner as they more easily slip into the drivetrain and get caught.

    Maybe Civia would consider offering a guard as an optional item.

    Don’t get me wrong. THe Bryant is a very nice setup and looks to be well suited to utilitarian cycling. However the Raleigh Alley Way seems to be a slightly better year-round utilitarian option (but it doesn’t come stock with a rear or front rack).

    If it was me, I would give a nod to the Bryant for longer 10+ mile use, and a nod to the Alley Way for shorter trips.

    I’d also give the nod to the Alley Way for all around Urban Style. It just looks more stylish and utilitarian as apposed to sporty. But that’s just an opinion and personal observation.

    It’s nice to see so many bikes coming out in the US market that are giving more than just a passing thought to the utilitarian side of cycling.

  • Alan says:

    I’m going to keep riding the bike with jeans and khakis – I’ll let you guys know if I manage to catch a pant leg in the sprocket.

    Alan

  • Paul Rivers says:

    “I was just going to comment on your statement, “There’s no need for a chainguard with a Gates Carbon Drive.” but Omaha beat me to it. It looks to me like there is a definite risk of getting your pants cuff caught in this drivetrain.”

    As someone who is/was extremely insistent that I be able to ride my commuter bike in jeans without a strap or anything else, without there being a worry about my jeans getting caught in the chain – I have to disagree.

    If you look closely at the pictures, you’ll see there’s a “chainring guard” kind of thing between your pant leg and the chainring (is it called a “chain” ring on a belt drive bike? anyways). It’s not very big, but it’s just high enough to be taller than the height of the belt on the front cog.

    I have one of these (after great effort) on my road bike commuter bike. I did a bunch of research online beforehand, and everyone who had one said they never got their jeans caught in the chain with a chainring guard like this. I often bike in jeans on my commuter, and it’s never happened to me either. Haven’t even noticed getting any sort of grease or oil on my pant leg or anything.

    And if it’s effective with an oily chain and a tear-your-jeans chainring, I would imagine it couldn’t be any less effective with a no-oil belt and a relatively innocuous front chainring.

  • bongobike says:

    Paul,

    The edge of what you are calling a “chainring guard” looks to me in these pictures to be barely flush with the top of the belt. That’s why I think it wouldn’t help much. I think it’s purpose appears to be preventing the belt from slipping off. Now, if it were larger, like the one Alan has on his Surly Long Haul Trucker, then I would be more confident.

  • Paul Rivers says:

    “The edge of what you are calling a “chainring guard” looks to me in these pictures to be barely flush with the top of the belt”

    The purpose of a all chainring guards was originally just to keep the belt/chain from slipping off. I can’t say I’ve personally ever seen one that much taller than that.

    It’s worked for me on my bike with a chain completely. I don’t know if mine is another few millimeters taller or not, but it’s been surprisingly 100% effective so far.

  • martian1 says:

    Todd says:
    Martin1,

    In regards to your question about engineering a rear dropout split, there are several things to consider (having designed a few myself). First off, can the frame be easily opened to pass the belt through given its rectangular cross section. Secondly with the possible repeated opening/closing of this frame break is there potential damage to the frame. Thirdly the frame break should be designed such that it does not effect the strength or stiffness of the rear end. This can be achieved through various design directions. Ones I have designed use interlocking features between two plates to retain the strength of the frame break. In most designs I have seen in the market, there does not seem to be the possibility to have these frame breaks open up during riding.

    Hope that helps.
    Todd

    Todd, whom ever you are-
    I like the bike, just trying to understand how this ‘newer bike technology” works.
    Thanks for the follow up.
    martian1

  • David says:

    Any idea how much this beauty weighs? I’m not a weight weenie, but it is a consideration.

  • Alastair says:

    Excellent review and a very nice looking bike, they really do seem to be starting to tick the commuting/utility cycling boxes. I already have a Surly Crosscheck built up with the SRAM I-9 hub gear but would love to convert it to belt drive. I’ve looked at the Gates site, and others, but can’t find any details of how much the belts/cogs/rings will cost, or when the SRAM version will be available. I’d also be interested if anyone has any knowledge around feasability of splitting an existing frame? I’d assume it would be akin to the idea of adding an S&S coupling.

  • Alan says:

    @Alastair

    For pricing, contact CD Enterprises:

    CD Enterprises
    801 Brickyard Circle
    Golden CO 80403
    303-278-3955
    email: frank@carbondrivesystems.com

    A SRAM compatible sprocket is in the works for 2010, though I haven’t seen a release date.

    One of our readers built a belt drive frame with an S&S coupler in the seat stay:

    Morgan Patton’s Belt Drive Commuter

    You can locate dealers/mfrs who install couplers here:

    http://www.sandsmachine.com/fbplist.htm

    Let us know how you do!

    Alan

  • Brian C says:

    Sigh, making my next bike even more of a challenge. I love the alfine belt drive and disc brakes – I think it would be ideal in our wet winter weather here in the Pacific Northwest (Victoria), but not sure that the smallest frame will work for me – the joys of being vertically challenged. I guess I see another visit to Seattle in the New Year to Elliot Bay Bicycles to see if it will work.

    I guess the alternative is the S&S couplers on a bike of my choice…

    And my wife needs a new mixte frame bike (Rivendell Betty Foy or Soma look like my best options at the moment).

  • Alastair says:

    Alan, thanks for those links, I’m now much better informed and the idea certainly seems to be catching on. I see Van Nicholas are now offering the titanium Amazon as a Rohloff/Gates belt drive option. For any weight weenies out there try the VN bike builder. I just specced an Amazon with Rohloff, Son Dynamo, 32mm tyres, full guards, rack, Brooks saddle, front light at a total weight of 22-23lbs once you add on pedals. This is the v-brake option I’d imagine you’d need to add a bit for discs, but still be 25lbs or less. This would use an EBB for tension so wheel would still be QR and vertical dropouts. Add in the easy clickbox wheel removal for the Rohloff and it’s a very tempting prospect. Possibly even a weekend bike for those not competing.

  • Wei says:

    Thanks for all the nice shots of the bike Alan, I’m eyeing up this bike or a Hyland. Civia has one importer in NZ, and I’ve never seen a Civia bike before. Anyway, one thing I’d like to contribute is a post I saw PJ Ramstack make on BikeForums regarding a chainguard for the Bryant, he wrote in Oct 09:

    “Just letting folks know that the Civia Bryant will have a belt guard that comes with this bike.
    Nothing is pictured here but they will be ready for our first production round.”
    and the link to the post http://www.bikeforums.net/archive/index.php/t-571832.html

    Hopefully for those of you with concerns this will still bear true when they come out in April.
    Happy New Year to all of you from New Zealand!

    Wei

  • Alan says:

    @Wei

    It’s good to know a belt guard is going to be available for those who have concerns. As I mentioned earlier, even though it appears as if a pant leg can get caught in the belt, I’ve yet to have it happen. If this was a conventional chain/chainring drivetrain I would have caught my pants many times by now, so though it’s possible, it appears you’re much less likely to get a pant leg caught in a belt drive sprocket than in a conventional chain/chainring.

    Alan

  • Barbara Kilts says:

    What is the purpose of the “flames” on that belt tensioner plate? It looks like you could use it to open a bottle of you favorite beverage – although somewhat awkward!

    Barbara

  • Alan says:

    @Barbara

    “It looks like you could use it to open a bottle of you favorite beverage”

    Good eye – you called it!

    http://surlybikes.com/parts/tuggnut/

    Alan

  • Wild Bill says:

    More pictures please! This is the top contender for my new city bike, along with the Raleigh Alley Way and the Trek SOHO.

  • Alan says:

    @Wild Bill

    I hope to have more photos soon, but the weather has been uncooperative. Can you order in a little sunshine? :-)

    Alan

  • Alan says:

    I wanted to follow-up on the question of whether a belt guard is necessary on this bike. I’ve been riding around with loose fitting pants, deliberately trying to catch my pants in the front sprocket and no matter how hard I tried, I was unable to do so. I’d say at this point if someone wants a belt guard on this bike for peace of mind there’s no reason not to have one, but as far as I can tell it’s just not necessary.

    Alan

    PS – My wife made the astute observation that even if I was able to catch my pants in the sprocket, it wouldn’t damage my pants because there’s no grease and no sharp edges.

  • Wei says:

    @Alan

    Thanks for the real time rider feedback. I currently ride a Trek Soho S with a chainguard which no doubt stops my jeans and other pants from getting sucked into the chainring/chain, but if anything my pants have got caught on the front lip of the belt guard during the pedal stroke. If Civia does include a chain guard on the Bryant Belt SS or IGH they’ll no doubt have a nicely designed one like the Loring or Hyland.

    One thing I have been thinking about is how much grime and road debris the belt will accumulate after extended use on dirty city streets. Seeing as there is no chain lube for this muck to stick to, it will no doubt get a coating of grime just like the frame etc. The belt guard would protect your pants from this grime, although the belt guard would no doubt attract the same mess (although it would be easier to clean that than the belt). Pays to still clean your bike if you’re wearing nice light coloured pants I say :-)

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » Short-Term Road Test: Civia Bryant says:

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  • Wayne says:

    That is a nice looking bike.
    Wei who is bring them in to NZ? I’m keen for a Civia and am in NZ as well.

  • Wei says:

    @Wayne
    Good to know someone else here in NZ is oggling the Civia bikes. I contacted Civia in August last year to see if they had a distributor. PJ Ramstack mentioned Cyclesupplies in Christchurch and contacted them for me, although I haven’t heard back from CS (probably because it was Interbike time then). Anyway, I’ve found out their email address is: mail@cyclesupplies.co.nz
    I haven’t emailed cyclesupplies directly as yet, but would be interested to see how much the Bryant Alfine belt model is to get to NZ when it is available. Let me know how you get on.

  • Adrian says:

    @Wei
    I am also in NZ and have just bought a Civia Loring, brought in by Cycle Supplies but sold by my local bikeshop, Rode (www.justride.co.nz) in Pt Chevalier, Auckland. So far I think the importer has only brought in a few Lorings (and only the 3-speed ones at that), possibly nothing else from Civia. I wanted the 9-speed Loring but the importer apparently wasn’t interested in bringing one in- Tim at Rode converted a 3-speed for me using wheels from a Swobo Dixon. So I’m not sure how you’ll get on getting hold of a Bryant or Hyland- definitely worth a try though at least to let him know people are interested.

  • Wei says:

    @Adrian

    Thanks for sharing your experience getting a Civia in NZ. Hopefully I get some positive feedback from the importer regarding the Bryant or Hyland. PJ at Civia told me to get back to him once I had heard back from Cycle Supplies so there might be hope (although it might be spendy) even if I have no luck getting it sourced in NZ. Your Loring riding well? Must get a lot of comments about if, especially if you got the green one.

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  • David says:

    Hey Alan. What size tires can you fit on the Bryant with full fenders? I guess I want to know if you can fit 32’s…possibly 35’s?

    Thanks,
    David

  • Alan says:

    Hi David,

    32’s for sure. Probably 35’s, though I didn’t have the bike long enough to find out for sure.

    Alan

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