Civilian Bikes: custom touches for the masses

Custom builder meets mass production…

Yes, Captain!

Yes, Captain!

Nearly a decade ago, Tyson Hart founded Civilian, hand-building steel frames for riders looking for something different.  After five years building custom bikes for those who could afford it, Hart was approached by online retailer Backcountry, who was looking for a house brand that would be more than just a stickering exercise, bringing some of Civilian’s custom touches to more accessible price points.  The agreement lasted several years and yielded some appealing bikes – but ultimately wasn’t as successful as either party had hoped.

Singlespeed and belt-compatible dropouts

Singlespeed and belt-compatible dropouts

With Backcountry no longer using the Civilian name or his services, Hart was able to re-acquire the brand and is now looking to continue to deliver on his goals: well thought-out, nicely-detailed bikes and frames at reasonable prices.  The Captain Ludd is the brand’s current mountain offering.  A steel frame built of Founder Land 4130 tubing, the Captain Ludd is intended to be a snappy d0-anything frame.  The 44mm head tube is compatible with most any current or legacy steerer while the 2-stroke dropouts are compatible with geared, singlespeed, and belt drivetrains.  A PF30 bottom bracket keeps the frame stiff while allowing the use of any crankset the buyer can lay their hands on.

Are you hard enough?

Are you hard enough?

The Captain Ludd frame is available as a alone for $700 (£415) or with a rigid carbon fork for $900 (£535).  Complete bikes include the belt-driven rigid singlespeed shown above ($2,000/£1,185), as a belt-driven singlespeed with a Reba suspension fork ($2,300/£1,365), and with an XT 1×10 drivetrain and Reba as shown bleow (2,400/£1,425).

Gears and suspension can be nice too.

Gears and suspension can be nice too.

As have so many brands looking to get off the ground, Civilian is currently running a crowdfunding campaign to pull together the funds needed to tool up the custom dropouts and place its first order of Captain Ludd frames (cyclocross and urban models are already available).  Prices through Crowdsupply are slightly lower than the suggested retail prices above, with frames shipping this August.  More at ridecvln.com.