Schieffelin used to work at Vespa New York and, when electric bikes began popping up on the market and they included some in their offer, he noticed that people would ask for an ideal product that combined features from various vehicles: they wanted a bicycle but one they didn’t have to pedal all that much; they wanted to ride with someone else, but not on a motorcycle; they wanted cargo space, but didn’t care to invest in a car and scooters were deemed too much of a hassle.
He came up with an idea for what would, years later, become Model 1: an electric bike that was suitable both for passengers and cargo, that was sleek and elegant for the city, and powerful enough to fly over inclines. In 2016, he founded Civilized Cycles, and Model 1 is now taking pre-orders, with a delivery date estimated for August 2020.
Model 1 brings a series of features no other e-bike maker has implemented so far. The most obvious one is the pair of integrated panniers made of carbon shells. They serve to carry cargo or personal belongings (with a 20-liter capacity when closed and 80 liters when expanded, so more than suitable for grocery runs), and they also serve as protection for the passenger in the back.
Indeed, Model 1 is made to be enjoyed with company. There is a plush, sizable extra seat in the back, which allows this e-bike to carry two adults or one adult and two kids, with a total payload of 400 pounds (180 kg). Footpegs are available for maximum comfort and, as noted above, the panniers serve as mudguard.
Unlike in other electric bikes, you can’t see the battery on this one. This too, has been done on purpose: Schieffelin wanted a sleek, elegant step-through, and the only way he could achieve that, considering he’d already added volume to the rear wheel, was to hide the battery. It’s in one of the panniers, and you have the possibility to add another for double the range.
It’s true, the battery takes up space in the pannier, but not much. Civilized Cycles says only 4 liters of those 80 of volume are occupied by the battery. On the plus side, you also get two charging ports, so you can power up your other gadgets on the go, while they’re tucked away neatly inside.
With a frame of hydroformed aluminum, Model 1 weighs 75 pounds (34 kg), which is not light – but it’s definitely not the heaviest e-bike out there, either. Range is estimated at 25 miles (40 km) and can be doubled with an extra battery, and there are two modes available: throttle-only and pedal-assist.
Civilized Cycles offers a 10-year warranty on Model 1 for orders going outside NYC, and 3 years of routine service, 2 years of hardware and software upgrades, 1 year of NYC area roadside assistance. Expected to ship in August, Model 1 is priced $4,999 with a refundable $100 deposit, or $3,999 if you pay in full upfront.