Here is a mid to high end commuter bicycle from Civia in the United States. It comes in three different versions all built around Civia’s frame and Shimano’s Alfine componentry. The base model has a SRAM i-Motion 3-speed hub, the standard build uses a complete Alfine drive train (8-speed hub) and brakes and the top of the range incorporates a Rholoff 14-speed hub. The Hyland web page has full specifications and prices.
Needless to say I’m dreaming about the high end version with the Rholoff hub. Having had a bike with one of these I can attest to the wonderful simplicity of riding with 14 perfectly spaced gears. Other nice features on this bike are the hydro-formed frame components that enable cables to be routed very cleanly (check their web site to see what I mean) and good quality components all over. You can even get Civia branded panniers to go on the nice sturdy rack.
The good news from Civia is that they are in the process of establishing an Australian distributor. I don’t know who that will be yet but I will update this when I find out. PJ from Civia told me they are expecting the first bikes to arrive in Australia in June 2009. If you are at all interested in these bikes I suggest you look around their web site. You’ll find lots of interesting information about Civia and their bikes, some video footage showing you how to do things like remove the rear wheel or adjust the chain and plenty of nice pictures.
The Civia mission sums it up for me:
To spread our passion for bicycles as fun and responsible transportation through our products and actions.