2020 Civante Review, Initial 100 mile Impressions

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
A little early in the game, but here’s the one week/105 mile report on my new Civante.

For context, my history is Cannondale T400 for many, many years, other various mountain bikes, five years out of the game, then an eJoe Koda for 1400 miles in a year, a Trek xm700+ for 6000 miles in two years, a Giant ToughRoad currently at just over 3400 miles in a year and a half - still owned, active and well loved - and now the Civante as a road based alternate to the Giant. Recreational riding only.

I am the world’s biggest Yamaha motor fan, for the way the power is delivered, so when I started looking at second bikes to go along with my Giant, it was Yamaha power all the way. Here came the Civante, just as I was getting serious about it. Last week I tracked down what appears to have been the last size Large in New England in a lovely shop in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut, and after a stunned phone call where I realized they actually had one, I jumped in the car last Sunday, zoomed an hour and a half down there in a charming rain storm and bought the thing as soon as I laid eyes on it.


Excellent bike, amazing price at $3400. Where other shops are bumping the price a hundred and fifty dollars - on mediums, by the way - these guys sold it at the number it is supposed to be, and threw in a bottle cage and a good quality kickstand as well. Big ups to Covered Bridge Electric Bikes! The shop owner is a real gentleman as well.

Class 3. I very much doubt I will get much use out of the higher speeds since I tend to ride at low assist or with the system off on level ground as much as I can stand, and it does that very well. That said, I did wind it up to Standard (+Eco, Eco, Standard and High) this afternoon crossing a corn field along the river and was effortlessly carrying about 24 mph... nice, but I’ve already had a Class 3 and I still prefer to do most of the work myself. It is nice to have that oomph in your back pocket, though.

My Giant, a 2018, has three assist levels - Eco, Normal and Power. This thing has a very light assist +Eco added at the bottom end which I would say evens out the weight of the bike. I love riding in that first level. Any normal hill - and I mean hill, not just a bump or small rise - I can deal with by going to Eco. There is a 13% hill on today’s ride, a regular route, and for that I went to Standard and third gear up in the rear, smaller ring in the front... no problem at all. I don’t know what I would use High for, but we shall see once I get this up into the Adirondacks a bit.

While we’re on that subject, this has a 2 X 10 setup, unlike the 1 X drivetrains of my other ebikes. 50/34 in the front, 11/32 in the back. I do prefer a 1 X for overall ease and not having to think about where on the rear sprocket we are when going down to the small ring in the front, but I expect I’ll get used to it. In the pre ebike days, all my bikes had 3 X setups. That said, this has a nice wide range and good low hill or mountain climbing gearing, given the power that is coming from the motor. No problem there at all.

So this is very complementary to my ToughRoad. TR is my Land Rover Discovery, while this is the sports car... maybe a Mazda Miata? Very fast, very quick, comfortable ride and just a blast. It encounters road seams more abruptly by far than the ToughRoad, but that has 50 mm tires! That bike rides really smoothly, for something with no suspension. I absolutely love it on gravel and dirt, and liked it just fine on pavement, but the Civante will be taking over paved duties.

The Civante is sporting somewhat larger than road normal 700 X 35 tires. A good choice. Strangely, larger than the 700 X 33s of their very popular Wabash gravel ebike.

So tag me as a big fan of this bike. Very excellent performance, terrific looks, even with the battery placement - it sort of lays along the downtube very reasonably, and is a flatter and more swoopy design than the Bosch Powerpack of my former Trek bike. OK, it isn’t hidden in the downtube, but it costs what, less than half of what some of these other new road bikes cost, and it has that outstanding Yamaha power delivery and what appears to be a very good 3 year warranty.

Sadly, the Giant Road e was a non starter, being almost a thousand dollars more with a far smaller battery now... what the hell are they thinking? A 375Wh battery on a road bike? Sure, you can throw many more hundreds on the pile for the range extender, but this one has a 500Wh battery and weighs 43 pounds. Case closed.

Time will tell, and I will update this when I get some decent miles on it, but out of the gate I am very happy with the purchase. Having a little bike redundancy was also a big part of this, since you can’t just go buy a new one anywhere these days if something goes wrong. If one of them craps out for a while, the other is there ready to go. Dave Berry can speak to that!


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Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
This is great. Nice review . Many brands should pay attention to what you wrote. I've been saying the same thing very bluntly: Small battery and a small motor has no place on an ebike.

Bravo Yamaha ! You did it again recently with the eMtb- the YDX Moro and YDX Moro Pro.

Dave, How do you feel about accessing/removing the battery, how is that area built ? Is it really secured , good finish and connectors ? If you could post some close up photos of the Civante it would help.

Another q: Have you had any exp. riding A Shimano Steps motor and how would you compare Shimano vs Yamaha motors ?

Thanks, enjoy the white stallion 😉 , it has a great motorcycling pedigree.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
Appreciate the review, I've been considering a road ebike in the next year or two, and the Civante definitely is interesting. Good spot on the price/performance curve. The Giant would probably be the main other consideration, because I already have a Revolt-E and like my local Giant dealer.

Between the two, the Giant is pricier, but also has much nicer componentry (the Ultegra group on the Giant is up a few levels from the Tiagra on the Civante, and I'd bet the house brand stuff (stems, bars, etc) is nicer on the Giant as well. You also get a carbon fork on the Giant vs alu on the Yamaha. So you do get something for your money. Agreed on the battery (I've discussed at length in other threads). I'd have to figure out how consumption would be on a road bike vs my revolt to decide how much it really matters. If I can't get 50 miles on the std battery at basic assist then I need an extender/2nd battery anyway. Any idea what Yamaha charges for a spare?

Super sharp bike! Definitely let us know how it is as you get more miles on it. I'm super curious about the range you see.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
A couple of battery pics for Ebiker. It clicks in solidly, but I expect you want to be sure you hear that click since it is a side exit. My Giant is a top exit setup, so even if it didn't lock in completely, it is unlikely it would fall out. Obviously in either case you're gonna figure out pretty quick that it's not seated.

I remain a huge Giant fan. Definitely the Ultegra stuff is better. The Civante does not have one of these fancy apps that lets you play with the assist levels either, and that's fine with me. I think for the price it is a great deal. I remain hung up on the battery on the new Road e and the Revolt, which I love in all other respects. Just my preferences. My rides tend to be in the 30 - 40 mile range with the occasional 50 or so thrown in, so road range is important to me. That range data is based on my ToughRoad rides as well... I am certain that this bike is going to find itself on longer and longer rides. The whole time I owned my Trek xm700 (400Wh) I had one eye on the range remaining.

Jabberwocky, those batteries would be interchangeable between the Revolt and the Road e, right? Hard to beat that if you can figure out how to carry the extra someplace.

Which brings us to a negative... Yamaha really wants you to buy their own fender/rack kit. I have tried three racks, one of which was a Topeak, and none of them fit. You can't just buy a rack from Yamaha... you have to get the fenders too, and I absolutely do not want to put fenders on this beauty. I'm thinking about one of those Topeak beam racks with a decent trunk bag now. I am using a small top tube bag at the moment, and it doesn't hold much, and junks up the look of that nicely shaped top tube anyhow. Gotta get it off there. Yeah, I'm fussy about this stuff, I admit it.

Today was 35 miles, 2000 feet elevation with a four mile section of uninterrupted climbing at 6 - 8.2%. Rode that in Standard, everything else +Eco, the lowest setting. Came in with just over 50% left. I could have ridden at least ten miles with the power off, but it was over 90 degrees and just too damn hot!

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I just replaced those stock pedals too, after a quick stop at my favorite LBS. Got some very wide platform pedals, so now it will feel a lot better that way.
 
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Ebiker01

Well-Known Member
Thank you, that looks solid. I would get a cover in case of rising in the rain , i hope that they do make one for that battery. Also Ortlieb makes some really good seat bags.

Check out "tailfin" rack, it's pricey , great looks and lightweight. although i'm not sure yet if it works on this ebike.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I hadn‘t thought of the tailfin! I’ve seen it on Ride On Cycling’s YouTube channel plenty of times, looks very cool. Would be pretty snazzy on this thing if it would fit. I will look into it.
 

Deacon Blues

Well-Known Member
I looked at the Tailfin a while back when I was looking for a way to carry more stuff on my carbon road bike. You really are paying a heavy price for this very light carbon rack, which makes sense on something like my 17.5 pound road bike, but doesn't make as much sense on a 43 pound bike.

I ended up buying an Arkel seat bag, which, when folded out, carries a surprising amount of stuff.

 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
A couple of battery pics for Ebiker. It clicks in solidly, but I expect you want to be sure you hear that click since it is a side exit. My Giant is a top exit setup, so even if it didn't lock in completely, it is unlikely it would fall out. Obviously in either case you're gonna figure out pretty quick that it's not seated.

I remain a huge Giant fan. Definitely the Ultegra stuff is better. The Civante does not have one of these fancy apps that lets you play with the assist levels either, and that's fine with me. I think for the price it is a great deal. I remain hung up on the battery on the new Road e and the Revolt, which I love in all other respects. Just my preferences. My rides tend to be in the 30 - 40 mile range with the occasional 50 or so thrown in, so road range is important to me. That range data is based on my ToughRoad rides as well... I am certain that this bike is going to find itself on longer and longer rides. The whole time I owned my Trek xm700 (400Wh) I had one eye on the range remaining.

Jabberwocky, those batteries would be interchangeable between the Revolt and the Road e, right? Hard to beat that if you can figure out how to carry the extra someplace.

Which brings us to a negative... Yamaha really wants you to buy their own fender/rack kit. I have tried three racks, one of which was a Topeak, and none of them fit. You can't just buy a rack from Yamaha... you have to get the fenders too, and I absolutely do not want to put fenders on this beauty. I'm thinking about one of those Topeak beam racks with a decent trunk bag now. I am using a small top tube bag at the moment, and it doesn't hold much, and junks up the look of that nicely shaped top tube anyhow. Gotta get it off there. Yeah, I'm fussy about this stuff, I admit it.

Today was 35 miles, 2000 feet elevation with a four mile section of uninterrupted climbing at 6 - 8.2%. Rode that in Standard, everything else +Eco, the lowest setting. Came in with just over 50% left. I could have ridden at least ten miles with the power off, but it was over 90 degrees and just too damn hot!













I just replaced those stock pedals too, after a quick stop at my favorite LBS. Got some very wide platform pedals, so now it will feel a lot better that way.

My opinion is that those beam racks that attach to the seat post look quite janky and are not as solid as a regular rack that attaches to multiple points on the seat stays and/or brake bridge. I really love my Axiom DLX Streamliner rack. They're built a little narrower than other racks so that it doesn't interrupt the aesthetics of a slimmer bike but they'll still hold two panniers full of groceries and a box on top if you want it to.

I don't have a rear shot of it but here's a rear angle photo of it.
 

jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
I remain a huge Giant fan. Definitely the Ultegra stuff is better. The Civante does not have one of these fancy apps that lets you play with the assist levels either, and that's fine with me. I think for the price it is a great deal. I remain hung up on the battery on the new Road e and the Revolt, which I love in all other respects. Just my preferences. My rides tend to be in the 30 - 40 mile range with the occasional 50 or so thrown in, so road range is important to me. That range data is based on my ToughRoad rides as well... I am certain that this bike is going to find itself on longer and longer rides. The whole time I owned my Trek xm700 (400Wh) I had one eye on the range remaining.

Jabberwocky, those batteries would be interchangeable between the Revolt and the Road e, right? Hard to beat that if you can figure out how to carry the extra someplace.

Which brings us to a negative... Yamaha really wants you to buy their own fender/rack kit. I have tried three racks, one of which was a Topeak, and none of them fit. You can't just buy a rack from Yamaha... you have to get the fenders too, and I absolutely do not want to put fenders on this beauty. I'm thinking about one of those Topeak beam racks with a decent trunk bag now. I am using a small top tube bag at the moment, and it doesn't hold much, and junks up the look of that nicely shaped top tube anyhow. Gotta get it off there. Yeah, I'm fussy about this stuff, I admit it.

Yeah, if I got a current Road-E at least, batteries would be exchangeable with my Revolt (I have two for the Revolt). By the time I get around to the road ebike though they will probably be a year or two ahead and maybe will have changed the design. Who knows. Can't imagine they are gonna stay at 375whr for the batteries in the next version. I do like the proportion of the battery on the Civante, it looks a little squatter and wider. The Giant batteries are a pain to carry just because they are so long.

What doesn't fit about the rack? It appears to have rack mounts. Oddly positioned? I'll second WattsUpDUdes recommendation for the Axiom Streamliners, thats what I run on my Revolt. My favorite thing is the replaceable plate on the bottom; I milled different ones out of aluminum to change the positioning of the rack (lower and further back).
 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
Yeah, if I got a current Road-E at least, batteries would be exchangeable with my Revolt (I have two for the Revolt). By the time I get around to the road ebike though they will probably be a year or two ahead and maybe will have changed the design. Who knows. Can't imagine they are gonna stay at 375whr for the batteries in the next version. I do like the proportion of the battery on the Civante, it looks a little squatter and wider. The Giant batteries are a pain to carry just because they are so long.

What doesn't fit about the rack? It appears to have rack mounts. Oddly positioned? I'll second WattsUpDUdes recommendation for the Axiom Streamliners, thats what I run on my Revolt. My favorite thing is the replaceable plate on the bottom; I milled different ones out of aluminum to change the positioning of the rack (lower and further back).
Mine are inverted because I wanted the entire rack to be lower. It helped a little but I’ll have to do some custom mounted plates to get it sitting the way I really want. Are you in the SF Bay Area? I’d buy some from you if you’re willing to make some for me.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
Dave congratulations on the bike, it looks great. Please post updates to this thread as you get more miles on the bike. I'd be interested in 500 and 1,000 mile updates if you're willing to provide them.

Ebiker, as far as small motor and small battery. I'm not agreeing there. I understand why for some it doesn't work, but my Creo has a small motor and battery and it has worked fine for me. No range issues at all and it helps keep the bike lighter which comes through in the handling. Specialized seems to be selling a lot of Creos and Vado SL's so I think there is a market there.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I’ll be back with a 500 mile report. It won’t be long, I’ve had it eight days now and we’re just at 200. Tomorrow is dirt and gravel on the ToughRoad... It is feeling ignored and we can’t have that.
 
I was watching the promo video for the Civante on Yamaha's website and the guys mentioned there's an internal power meter already on the bike?! This is the video:
I don't use a power meter currently and don't really need one or know how much use one would be on an ebike. Still, that's a cool feature that Yamaha apparently just threw in for free and almost don't mention in any of their press material. Have you accessed that, or have any experience with it? Any idea if it comes on other Yamaha bikes, or just the Civante? Or, am I just misunderstanding what he's saying?
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
You got me. I’ve got no idea how to access it. For the record, I just went over 300 miles after two weeks with the bike, it now has the Topeak V beam rack and topeak trunk bag on it, and the bike is terrific. It’s so hard to resist hitting the Standard assist and just taking off across the flats and the shallow hills! That whole higher speed thing is pretty seductive, especially on a long, 6% - 8% or so hill.

Loving this bike. Right now it’s two days on the Civante, then back into the trails and back roads on the ToughRoad, rinse and repeat. First world problems!
 

WattsUpDude

Active Member
I was watching the promo video for the Civante on Yamaha's website and the guys mentioned there's an internal power meter already on the bike?! This is the video:
I don't use a power meter currently and don't really need one or know how much use one would be on an ebike. Still, that's a cool feature that Yamaha apparently just threw in for free and almost don't mention in any of their press material. Have you accessed that, or have any experience with it? Any idea if it comes on other Yamaha bikes, or just the Civante? Or, am I just misunderstanding what he's saying?

I don't know how much has changed on the Civante vs the older bikes but...the bluetooth communication seemed lacking and it was not clear what apps could be used to read the cadence and power data. I've only played around with it very minimally and out of the 10 or so that I tried, only the Wahoo app seemed to read it. But I've not played with it on an actual ride. 🤓

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Huh, good to know. As I said, I don't rock a power meter currently, or even a bike computer. I just use my Garmin 945. But theoretically, they should communicate and I'm of the opinion that more data is always better, or at least more fun! Other than commuting, I'm interested in an ebike for exploring 100+ mile rides along the Front Range and in that scenario knowing how much power I'm using might be more useful. Under my own power, I'm pretty much limited to travelling from the Denver area to Golden and Morrison, which are 20-25 miles out, 40-50 miles total. But if I could make it to Boulder or even Lyons or Estes Park and back on a Civante, that sounds like an incredible way to spend a day.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
A little early in the game, but here’s the one week/105 mile report on my new Civante.

For context, my history is Cannondale T400 for many, many years, other various mountain bikes, five years out of the game, then an eJoe Koda for 1400 miles in a year, a Trek xm700+ for 6000 miles in two years, a Giant ToughRoad currently at just over 3400 miles in a year and a half - still owned, active and well loved - and now the Civante as a road based alternate to the Giant. Recreational riding only.

I am the world’s biggest Yamaha motor fan, for the way the power is delivered, so when I started looking at second bikes to go along with my Giant, it was Yamaha power all the way. Here came the Civante, just as I was getting serious about it. Last week I tracked down what appears to have been the last size Large in New England in a lovely shop in Cornwall Bridge, Connecticut, and after a stunned phone call where I realized they actually had one, I jumped in the car last Sunday, zoomed an hour and a half down there in a charming rain storm and bought the thing as soon as I laid eyes on it.


Excellent bike, amazing price at $3400. Where other shops are bumping the price a hundred and fifty dollars - on mediums, by the way - these guys sold it at the number it is supposed to be, and threw in a bottle cage and a good quality kickstand as well. Big ups to Covered Bridge Electric Bikes! The shop owner is a real gentleman as well.

Class 3. I very much doubt I will get much use out of the higher speeds since I tend to ride at low assist or with the system off on level ground as much as I can stand, and it does that very well. That said, I did wind it up to Standard (+Eco, Eco, Standard and High) this afternoon crossing a corn field along the river and was effortlessly carrying about 24 mph... nice, but I’ve already had a Class 3 and I still prefer to do most of the work myself. It is nice to have that oomph in your back pocket, though.

My Giant, a 2018, has three assist levels - Eco, Normal and Power. This thing has a very light assist +Eco added at the bottom end which I would say evens out the weight of the bike. I love riding in that first level. Any normal hill - and I mean hill, not just a bump or small rise - I can deal with by going to Eco. There is a 13% hill on today’s ride, a regular route, and for that I went to Standard and third gear up in the rear, smaller ring in the front... no problem at all. I don’t know what I would use High for, but we shall see once I get this up into the Adirondacks a bit.

While we’re on that subject, this has a 2 X 10 setup, unlike the 1 X drivetrains of my other ebikes. 50/34 in the front, 11/32 in the back. I do prefer a 1 X for overall ease and not having to think about where on the rear sprocket we are when going down to the small ring in the front, but I expect I’ll get used to it. In the pre ebike days, all my bikes had 3 X setups. That said, this has a nice wide range and good low hill or mountain climbing gearing, given the power that is coming from the motor. No problem there at all.

So this is very complementary to my ToughRoad. TR is my Land Rover Discovery, while this is the sports car... maybe a Mazda Miata? Very fast, very quick, comfortable ride and just a blast. It encounters road seams more abruptly by far than the ToughRoad, but that has 50 mm tires! That bike rides really smoothly, for something with no suspension. I absolutely love it on gravel and dirt, and liked it just fine on pavement, but the Civante will be taking over paved duties.

The Civante is sporting somewhat larger than road normal 700 X 35 tires. A good choice. Strangely, larger than the 700 X 33s of their very popular Wabash gravel ebike.

So tag me as a big fan of this bike. Very excellent performance, terrific looks, even with the battery placement - it sort of lays along the downtube very reasonably, and is a flatter and more swoopy design than the Bosch Powerpack of my former Trek bike. OK, it isn’t hidden in the downtube, but it costs what, less than half of what some of these other new road bikes cost, and it has that outstanding Yamaha power delivery and what appears to be a very good 3 year warranty.

Sadly, the Giant Road e was a non starter, being almost a thousand dollars more with a far smaller battery now... what the hell are they thinking? A 375Wh battery on a road bike? Sure, you can throw many more hundreds on the pile for the range extender, but this one has a 500Wh battery and weighs 43 pounds. Case closed.

Time will tell, and I will update this when I get some decent miles on it, but out of the gate I am very happy with the purchase. Having a little bike redundancy was also a big part of this, since you can’t just go buy a new one anywhere these days if something goes wrong. If one of them craps out for a while, the other is there ready to go. Dave Berry can speak to that!


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Congratulations on your new Civante... I am also a big fan of Yamaha motorsports products and EBikes. ;)
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
This is great. Nice review. Many brands should pay attention to what you wrote. I've been saying the same thing very bluntly: Small battery and a small motor has no place on an ebike.

Bravo Yamaha! You did it again recently with the eMtb- the YDX Moro and YDX Moro Pro.

Dave, How do you feel about accessing/removing the battery, how is that area built? Is it really secured, good finish, and connectors? If you could post some close-up photos of the Civante it would help.

Another q: Have you had any exp. riding A Shimano Steps motor and how would you compare Shimano vs Yamaha motors?

Thanks, enjoy the white stallion 😉 , it has a great motorcycling pedigree.

A few comments... ;)

First, there is a growing market for Athelitc riders who want lightweight handling road bikes that are used for assistance when climbing.
It may not be your use case or well represented on EBR which trends to more senior riders, but it is a large demographic for the OEMs.

Second, on the comparison between Shimano and Yamaha mid-drive motors... both have a full range including urban, trekking, road, and mountain.
I own 2 Shimano and 2 Yamaha and I would say Shimano is more biased toward range and efficiency while Yamaha is more focused on power and torque. YMMV.
 
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