2020 Civante Review, Initial 100 mile Impressions

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I never had a power meter on any of my bike and the Creo has one. Apparently it's not as accurate as a typical power meter one would buy. But given that it was a bonus I use the data. It's a bit novel, but given I'm not hardcore training for performance I find the data more of a curiousity than anything.

This bike does seem really cool. I hope Yamaha starts selling their bikes in Canada.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
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.
I fit that demographic. I don't like big, heavy ebikes unless it's something like a cargo bike.

I like my Creo's power and weight, though admittedly, I like it to be even lighter than it is. I thought the small battery might be an issue, but it hasn't been. I easily get over 100 km's on my battery on every ride. Typically a 70-80 km ride uses half of my battery at most.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I fit that demographic. I don't like big, heavy ebikes unless it's something like a cargo bike.

I like my Creo's power and weight, though admittedly, I like it to be even lighter than it is.

I thought the small battery might be an issue, but it hasn't been. I easily get over 100 km's on my battery on every ride. Typically a 70-80 km ride uses half of my battery at most.

I agree that a lightweight EBike is great for handling and performance.

Which model Creo do you have... the Comp Carbon is light at 31.6 lbs and the SL Expert is crazy light at 28.8 lbs. ;)

 
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.

I also lean towards the athletic rider demographic, though I don't think I'd want an ebike that gives "just enough" assistance for climbing and tougher sections. I'm more inclined toward one extreme or the other: maximum suffering or maximum assist. Which is why I like Yamaha's approach and hope to see them come out with more class 3 bikes.

I also understand there must be a market for the lightest, high-end ebikes the big companies make just because they make so many variants. But I'm in Denver, a place with a relatively healthy cycling community, and I don't see them. When I see ebikes on my commute, I see Rad bikes, Lectric XPs, maybe a Juiced or Super73 scooter, other random cheap and heavy ebikes, and maybe one of the Trek or Specialized commuters. When I'm riding the paths/trails on my road bike for exercise I don't ever recall seeing something like a Creo Comp Carbon. Not knocking it, and I definitely think there's a place for it. I'm glad those bikes exist for innovation and R&D purposes so that hopefully in the future there will be cheaper and lighter versions available to those of us that can't afford the priciest models.
 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
I also lean towards the athletic rider demographic, though I don't think I'd want an ebike that gives "just enough" assistance for climbing and tougher sections. I'm more inclined toward one extreme or the other: maximum suffering or maximum assist. Which is why I like Yamaha's approach and hope to see them come out with more class 3 bikes.

I also understand there must be a market for the lightest, high-end ebikes the big companies make just because they make so many variants. But I'm in Denver, a place with a relatively healthy cycling community, and I don't see them. When I see ebikes on my commute, I see Rad bikes, Lectric XPs, maybe a Juiced or Super73 scooter, other random cheap and heavy ebikes, and maybe one of the Trek or Specialized commuters. When I'm riding the paths/trails on my road bike for exercise I don't ever recall seeing something like a Creo Comp Carbon. Not knocking it, and I definitely think there's a place for it. I'm glad those bikes exist for innovation and R&D purposes so that hopefully in the future there will be cheaper and lighter versions available to those of us that can't afford the priciest models.

I hear you on the sufferfest/boosted dichotomy ... just come visit the Bay Area for a weekend.

The roads are filled with light, fast and expensive EBikes... it must be the SV tech demographic. ;)
 
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Deleted member 4210

Guest
Nice write up about the Civante. I have a couple in my shop, available for someone as ebike savvy as you. 1 medium, and 1 Large. And no I don't mark them up above MSRP, and do include Yamaha's kickstand at no charge.
 
I think he's saying he'll throw it in at no extra charge. But as far as I could tell, all of Yamaha's road/fitness ebike frames are identical, save for the dropper post routing on the Wabash. Therefore, they all have the same mounting points, tire clearance, geometry, etc. It's likely a big reason why they're able to keep prices so low.
 

Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
I have the Creo Comp E5, which is the aluminum model. I do enjoy the Creo for solo rides when I have more limited time and want to cover a certain area. It allows me to ride about 5 km/hr. faster.

But in an ironic twist, I find that it hasn't been that useful for group rides for me. One group I ride with is very social. Rides are more like getting together for a beer and we just talk while we ride but no one is in a hurry and speeds are slow. Evident in that everyone riding solo has a faster average speed than when we ride together. So the Creo helping me go faster isn't really useful for these rides.

For my friends who used to be racers, the speed limit of 32 km/hr. is a pain. Anytime someone decides to hammer the group takes off and we end up above 32 km/hr. and then I'm just riding a heavier bike than everyone else and I also don't have the spread of gears I'd like. It would be a different story if I lived in the US and had a 45 km/hr. speed limit, but then I wonder how long my battery would last.

Below 32 km/hr. the motor is efficient and it doesn't have to produce too much power so consumption is limited. But I think if you're up around 38-45 km/hr. that you're using a lot more battery. Whenever I hit 33 km/hr+ I'm not using any battery. I wonder if I'd even get 100 km on a ride if I was riding with a fast group and the higher speed limit.
 

EMGX

Active Member
Lightweight ebike is an oxymoron. I have a BH Rebel Gravel X with the Yamaha PW-SE, it weighs about the same as the Civante, maybe a pound or two less but a 40 pound bike is still a tank. If I didn't absolutely need the boost for hills around here (I live near the top of a small mountain and just about every route from home is very hilly) I'd much prefer a non electric bike. Relatively inexpensive gravel bikes can weigh 20-22 pounds, half the weight of the Gravel X or Civante and a good 10+# less than the Creo. I'd love to ride a bike that is 20# lighter than what I have and can't imagine why riders who describe themselves as fit athletic types that can squeeze 100km from a low power bike with a low capacity battery would bother with the ebike weight penalty. To each his own.

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jabberwocky

Well-Known Member
I don't think its an oxymoron. I can remember when a high end MTB weighed 30ish pounds. Now they are low 20s. There was a time when road bikes were in the 20s, now they are in the teens. Its all relative. I don't want a Creo, but totally get the appeal.

My Revolt is twice the weight of my normal gravel rig, and I certainly notice the weight moving it around the shop, loading it on the bike rack, etc. But actually riding it, not really. You usually feel the bike weight accelerating and climbing, but since the Revolt has effective assist it totally negates the penalty. I notice bike weight more on my EMTB, since I have to toss the bike around a lot more. Still, its manageable. I used to race DH, and my Decoy is only a few pounds heavier than my old DH bike, so maybe I'm just used to it.

Its good that theres a spectrum out there, from heavier, high assist ebikes to ebikes that are trying to close the gap with normal bikes.
 
My main use for an ebike is transportation, but I'd like to think something like a Civante would also enable me to go farther than I'm capable of myself on my 20ish pound road bike, just like yours enables you to conquer those mountains. One of the constants in the evolution of cycling is that heavy things get lighter; ebikes will be no different.
 

bikelifelite

New Member
Lightweight ebike is an oxymoron. I have a BH Rebel Gravel X with the Yamaha PW-SE, it weighs about the same as the Civante, maybe a pound or two less but a 40 pound bike is still a tank. If I didn't absolutely need the boost for hills around here (I live near the top of a small mountain and just about every route from home is very hilly) I'd much prefer a non electric bike. Relatively inexpensive gravel bikes can weigh 20-22 pounds, half the weight of the Gravel X or Civante and a good 10+# less than the Creo. I'd love to ride a bike that is 20# lighter than what I have and can't imagine why riders who describe themselves as fit athletic types that can squeeze 100km from a low power bike with a low capacity battery would bother with the ebike weight penalty. To each his own.

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Perhaps it's for people who don't want to sweat or do their exercise off the bike.
 
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Captain Slow

Well-Known Member
While I have found the Creo isn't as useful as I had hoped when I bought it, I do find it useful at times. On Sunday we did a hillier ride than usual. I was on my Cervelo and it was a good ride but I was exhausted when I got home. Yesterday (Tuesday) wanted to get out for a nice ride, but my legs were still sore. The Creo helped make the day a nice recovery day that was only a moderate effort.

Do I need the Creo? No, I could do without it, but since I have it I do find it is useful.
 

JoshPDX

New Member
I'm totally waffling between the Civante and Wabash. I test rode both this week and am struggling to choose.
I much prefer the gearing setup and wider bars of the Wabash. The shifting felt much smoother and intuitive. It's also less things to go wrong with only being a 1x. I also like that it's a bit more trail worthy between tires, bars, and gearing making it a more flexible bike. I'm not a heavy guy, but I'm wide in the shoulders and hips and it just felt more comfortable.

My struggle is that my wife has a class 3 bike and even without assist she can hit over 20+ easily. With assist she can get up to 28MPH. I've got a class 2 right now and it wheezes at 18 and I can't keep up with her. I am a "long hauler" with Covid and my lungs got shredded from it. I need assist to keep up with her. I can do 30 miles with a light battery use so it's my way of keeping in shape.

The Civante Class 3 speed is desirable, but the shifting on it just felt terrible. I only did a short run with it and the front derailer was awful to use. The rear was better, but it's still an un-intuitive system. I know the frame is the same, but it felt a lot more snug between the bars and what I assume was the pedals? (Fixable I understand).

The Civante is also cheaper and available in the next few days. They couldn't even give me a month estimate on the Wabash.

Differences aside, coming from my only e-bike experience being rear hub bikes, the mid drive Yamaha was like moving up from a Ford Escort to a Lexus. So much smoother and intelligent. It also has a lot of grunt on hills that cadence sensors struggle with. Both bikes are featherweights compared to the inexpensive class 2's that we've been used to.

My brain says just take the Civante. My heart wants to wait for the Wabash while telling itself to not look at the Creo SL :)
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
I know what you mean about the 1X... in a general sense I agree. In my version of a perfect world, the Civante would have a SRAM 1X setup!

That said, clunky though the front derailleur is, I don’t use it much other than to change the general range for faster cruising. The smaller front ring covers everything up to near 20mph for me. I keep the chain well lubed and the shifting is what we can call good enough. Of course, I could have spent over twice the money on the Domane HP, but it would have the less desirable (to me) Bosch motor.

Civante tires are actually bigger than the Wabash for whatever reason. And at the end of a 35 or 40 mile ride, I can cover those last few miles in a hell of a hurry effortlessly. Love the bike as it nears 500 miles. I did put some Origin 8 larger flat pedals on it pretty quickly.
 
I'm totally waffling between the Civante and Wabash. I test rode both this week and am struggling to choose.
I much prefer the gearing setup and wider bars of the Wabash. The shifting felt much smoother and intuitive. It's also less things to go wrong with only being a 1x. I also like that it's a bit more trail worthy between tires, bars, and gearing making it a more flexible bike. I'm not a heavy guy, but I'm wide in the shoulders and hips and it just felt more comfortable.

My struggle is that my wife has a class 3 bike and even without assist she can hit over 20+ easily. With assist she can get up to 28MPH. I've got a class 2 right now and it wheezes at 18 and I can't keep up with her. I am a "long hauler" with Covid and my lungs got shredded from it. I need assist to keep up with her. I can do 30 miles with a light battery use so it's my way of keeping in shape.

The Civante Class 3 speed is desirable, but the shifting on it just felt terrible. I only did a short run with it and the front derailer was awful to use. The rear was better, but it's still an un-intuitive system. I know the frame is the same, but it felt a lot more snug between the bars and what I assume was the pedals? (Fixable I understand).

The Civante is also cheaper and available in the next few days. They couldn't even give me a month estimate on the Wabash.

Differences aside, coming from my only e-bike experience being rear hub bikes, the mid drive Yamaha was like moving up from a Ford Escort to a Lexus. So much smoother and intelligent. It also has a lot of grunt on hills that cadence sensors struggle with. Both bikes are featherweights compared to the inexpensive class 2's that we've been used to.

My brain says just take the Civante. My heart wants to wait for the Wabash while telling itself to not look at the Creo SL :)

You like Sram better than Shimano, totally understandable. I also find Sram more intuitive and like the more mechanical feel of shifting. But I also have Shimano and it works well once you get used to it. The cheapest option for the Civante is to stay in one chainring in the front for almost all of your riding and make full use of that cassette. 10 speeds is a lot unless you're really pushing the thing (which Dave seems to be doing).

You do have a couple options if you'd like to upgrade some of the Civante's parts to 105 (compatible with Tiagra, so you could just swap the front deraileur and shifters) or Ultegra (not compatible, but nicer). You could even convert the Civante over to Sram Apex 1, put a wider bar on it, and be most of the way to a Wabash (and still cheaper than a Creo SL!). But upgrading the Wabash to 28mph isn't really an option.

I know what you mean about the 1X... in a general sense I agree. In my version of a perfect world, the Civante would have a SRAM 1X setup!

That said, clunky though the front derailleur is, I don’t use it much other than to change the general range for faster cruising. The smaller front ring covers everything up to near 20mph for me. I keep the chain well lubed and the shifting is what we can call good enough. Of course, I could have spent over twice the money on the Domane HP, but it would have the less desirable (to me) Bosch motor.

Civante tires are actually bigger than the Wabash for whatever reason. And at the end of a 35 or 40 mile ride, I can cover those last few miles in a hell of a hurry effortlessly. Love the bike as it nears 500 miles. I did put some Origin 8 larger flat pedals on it pretty quickly.

Yamaha seems to only sort-of understand current bike trends, so the Wabash has dropper-post routing like a gravel bike but 'cross tires. Up front, it's got those wide swept-out bars but an aluminum fork with no mounting points that's going to be really rough to actually ride on gravel. For me, Civante is the less confused bike and it also happens to go faster.
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
Going to 105, for the front derailleur at least, is an interesting idea. I may run the year out and get around 2000 miles on this and go 105 all around for next year. I just did a very quick 20 mile run to wind up the month and the shifting is certainly capable, but 105 would be smoother.

1X and SRAM fan that I am, the whole Class 3 thing with higher speeds makes the 1X less workable for me. As Iride says, you can work the 10 speed cog in the smaller front ring and cover most of a day’s ride, but once you are on a flat or a soft incline and want to go over that 20 mph bar and stay there awhile, I want the larger ring and straighter chain line. The gear ranges on the bike, a standard Compact setup, are well suited for it in my opinion.

I just did three consecutive days out on my gravel ebike and loved it, but sure enough I climbed on the Civante this morning and that thing just wants to take off and go! It is a blast to ride.
 

JoshPDX

New Member
Thanks for the replies, fellas. I haven't had drop bars in about 30 years, so this is quite uncharted territory for me. I've been flat bars (or swept back on my Rad Wagon) for decades. I'm just really used to the more mechanical/clicks and clunks of thumb shifting. The Apex felt more like I'm used to. The Civante felt...mushy. So it's probably just a "you'll get used to it" thing.

Sleeping on it more, the speed of the Civante is something you can't add to the Wabash, outside of a controller flash so that's probably the way to go.

I will say though, I just found out about the Giant Revolt. It's basically everything I loved in both bikes, at a bit more cost. But not Specialized costs. Dangit. :D
 

Saratoga Dave

Well-Known Member
A cautionary tale for the team. After several years of 1X drivetrains on my various ebikes, I got a little lesson in chain suck and crosschaining this morning. Came up a long, shallow incline hill and onto a very shallow descent and without thinking about it, went up to the smallest rear cog while leaving the front derailleur on the small cog. Pedaling along very lightly, and BANG! Very low tension on the chain, small ring in front and small in back (not supposed to do that), everything loose and apparently flopping around. Chain caught the edge of a tooth on the large ring, pulled it up, twisted it into a pretzel and the ride ended.

It took all my tugging strength to pull the chain out from between the frame and small ring. I went to my bag of tricks where I realized that the spare link I have is for a SRAM 11 speed chain (my Giant ToughRoad) and not the Shimano 10 speed on the Civante. At that it was a call to my wife to fire up the rescue vehicle.

Off to our favorite LBS where Ken the mechanic refamiliarized me with the whole crosschain thing. I remember from my old touring days never to go large ring to large ring, but hadn’t thought about it since.

New ebike chain, some extra links for the tool bag, and a new multi tool with a chain break tool (the one I had doesn’t have that). In case I do something this stupid again I’ll be able to get myself out of it.

Meanwhile, the Civante at almost 700 miles continues to perform terrifically overall. It just loves to run! An absolute gas to ride, and FAST when you want it to be.


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