Civia Loring I-Motion Review : Initial Thoughts

Having ridden the Civia Loring for a little over two weeks as my daily commuter I’m ready to give all of you my initial thoughts about this little green machine.   For background on parts or build questions, check out our Introduction article from last week.

side view

This bike has a true city riding feel to it.   Getting out the saddle with the front end loaded takes some practice and I still haven’t mastered track standing with a load up front.   When riding you utilize your gears and spin instead of mashing.   Due to the geometry I don’t believe the bike was meant to be a very quick ride.   Saying that, after 2 weeks of constant use I have relearned my pedaling technique and I’m getting to work much faster than the first few days I was commuting with the Loring.

The basket is very different for me as I’ve never had a true front load bicycle.   I’ve put front baskets or handlebars on the bike, but never something this large, nor something that is designed for the bike.   I really enjoy having my belongs and laptop in front of me during the commute.   The ability to quickly stash my scarf or gloves in my bag up front instead of my pockets is help ful as well.

Since installing the front basket I haven’t been utilizing the rear rack for panniers or any type of bag.   The few times I used my Minnehaha basic pannier it clipped my heels and I couldn’t push the bag back far enough due to the tabs on the pannier.

One last thing to mention is the Brooks saddle that came with the bike.   I still haven’t narrowed down how the saddle will suit me, or the exact placement it should be at.   Part of that is the fact I am a female and the front of a Brooks can be very painful if hitting the wrong spot..   It is said to take months to break in a Brooks saddle, as this is a review bike I don’t have that ability.

Overall Look and Personality of the Civia Loring

When you go look at the Civia website, you are wow’d by the look and function that the website offers and that translates into their bikes as well.   As you can see on each of their pages of bike description and prices, these bikes aren’t going to be on the low end.   Every detail and function has been thought through, with some extra “flair” and personality added to the bike.

Some of the functional pieces of the bike include :

The front light mount under the rack.   I really like this feature as it shines the light across the road compared to how it shines down at the road when on your handlebars.

A U-Lock holder built into the front basket. This weekend I plan on trying this out when I ride down to a neighboring town for coffee on Sunday.

Bamboo Fenders and Rack Inlays are very eye catching.   But I think they also add a decent $ to the cost of the bike.

A Few Final Thoughts on the Civia Loring

The cost of this bike is daunting to many, $1400 is a large chunk of change, but I think this bike could easily replace a car if you are living in the right area.   I wouldn’t want to commute on the bike 20+ miles a day due to the positioning, but I think the bike is very comfortable and steady to zip around town and run errands.   Soon, I will ride it greater distances to test out what is doable.   Many people are caught by this bike and its features as they should be.   This bike is a looker and a small piece of artwork.

Right now I’m giving this:
3.5 out of 5 points

There is still a few more weeks of riding this bike before I decide one way or another on my final thoughts, but for now I do enjoy riding the bike back and forth.   I’m not sure I would want to encounter strong traffic or heavy hills with the ride.

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0 thoughts on “Civia Loring I-Motion Review : Initial Thoughts”

  1. Bob says:

    Thanks for the thoughts on this interesting bike. I’ve been looking at it for an in-town commuter and errand bike, but I’m put off by the pretty (and expensive?) bamboo. I don’t ride very far every day, but I ride in some pretty nasty winter weather. Does it look to you like swapping the fancy fenders in winter for something one doesn’t mind crapping up would be feasible? Obviously it would add some cost to the bike, though.

    I suppose it’s better to ask, is this bike just too pretty overall for the 365-day rider?

  2. Bob –

    The Bamboo fenders see to be holding up fine to my daily riding in the rain. I wouldn’t want to lock it up on the side of the street in downtown Washington D.C, but the closest town to me is a quaint college town so it would be safe there during the day.

    If you don’t need the 9 speed, maybe go for the three speed, and then build it up from there for your needs (fenders/racks/basket)

    Does that help?

  3. Peter says:

    nice write up, I like the way the civia looks, but they are pretty spendy.
    there are a few other brands of good transportation bikes available, they aren’t quite so fancy, but they get the job done for less $$.
    As far as the brooks goes, try moving it forward a bit on the rails. I am a huge brooks fan, but they need to be in exactly the right spot to be comfortable. if you are getting pressure on your “Soft Tissue” it could mean that your sit bones aren’t being supported by the widest part of the saddle.
    Have fun

  4. MarvinK says:

    It’s nice to see people using the iMotion over the Nexus–finally! It’s got a wider range in case you have some hills on your commute.

  5. PJ Ramstack says:

    As part of Civia I thought I would chime in and add our experience to the questions and comments that are posted.
    The gearing for this can be changed if you are in a hilly area by going down to a 38 tooth chainring from the 42 that comes stock and still staying maintaining the ratio that SRAM recommends for torque ratios.
    The bamboo that we use for both racks and fenders comes with 3 layers of marine grade finish. We have been testing them year round in Minneapolis where we get all kinds of weather and they have held up well. If you were to get a big scratch that went down to the bamboo you would want to touch it up to prevent water from getting in.
    Thanks for reading!
    PJ Ramstack
    Civia Cycles

  6. Groceries says:

    I have had one for a week and I find it hard to control, which takes the fun (and safety) out of riding. It is ridable but try looking back before you change lanes.

  7. Groceries says:

    turns out the wheel nuts were loose. I’m quite at home on it now, I can look back before a lane change with only a minor shimmy.

  8. John says:

    I’ve got a question about difference between the black bike and green bike on the civia website. Is one a girls bike or has it to do with size? The reason I ask is that I have a small bike exactly like the black one.
    I think the green one (as above in this article) would have more resistance to sideways flex?

  9. Gayle Edmondson says:

    I have a Civia in 3 speed. I absolutely love it. Speed is relative. I run it easily 15 mph pulling a weehoo trailer behind with my grandson. I agree with one review that I read about getting up speed and keeping a high cadence. The handlebars do take about a week to get used to. First day definitely thought I would change them, but now they look and feel perfect for the bike. Bike is deceptively fast, my grandson and I pass a lot of people on paths and trails. Kickstand is cool, but not as stable as I thought it would be, kind of weird, but that be my only minor knock on the bike. I haven’t used rear rack much, but it looks cool. Nice to get a top notch Brooks seat included. Not talked about much are the nice grips that come with it. I ended up installing two origin 8’s on the fork where the porteur rack attaches with 2 new M5 screws that are about 1/4 inch longer. Really is a nice spot for my lights. I put a Portland Radbot on back and a Portland birdcage for water bottle. Can’t imagine a nicer bike. Only negative would be the little bracket that goes 90 degrees downward for the kickstand prevents making what would be the perfect xtracycle.

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