The 29er platform may seem omnipresent now, but it wasn't a smooth ride getting there. One reason for the resistance was that hardtail 29ers not only overshadowed 26-inch hardtails, they also outperformed large manufacturers' bread-and-butter, 26in-wheeled, full-suspension cross-country bikes — on the trail and bang for the buck. The dinosaurs weren't going to risk harming ROI by offering a direct competitor to the cash cows, nor were they willing to invest in the new tooling and R&D required to enter the 29er market. If it hadn't been for niche builders like Civilian, we wouldn't have 29ers like the Young Turk … we'd still be pushing smaller-wheeled mountain bikes around.
The superior technology is clear now; just attend any XC race and you'll see the 29er hardtail is the preferred platform. Or, check out one of those large manufacturer's 2012 lineup. You'll see the 26in XC bike still exists, but in most cases it'll be outnumbered four to one. Because the smaller wheels are better suited for smaller/medium framed riders, they're quickly becoming the 'adolescent ride'. For that reason, you'll find them filling the sub-1200-dollar price point as a transitional size for growing riders — leaving 29ers for the higher-end, established rider.
Manufacturers may have caught up with the market, but unlike their offerings, the Civilian Young Turk has a history dating back to the days when the only way you could get a 29er was through a custom frame builder. One of those builders was Tyson Hart, Civilian's founder. Unsatisfied with the offerings available from 'the dinosaurs' and passionate about the bicycle, he attended UBI, a respected frame building school in Ashland, Oregon.
In 2005, Hart set out building frames under the Civilian brand. Seeing the undeniable advantages of the big wheels, his first bicycle under the Civilian brand was a 29er. And, at six-foot-six, Hart understood the attraction of 29ers to taller riders. He made one for himself, and after the maiden voyage, he was convinced of the big wheel's viability. These early 29ers sparked a wave of interest, and soon orders were pouring in for more. These distinctive bicycles quickly gained a cult following for their seamless balance of unique design with a fun-to-ride attitude.
Fast forward to today, and Civilian is now located in Park City, UT. It is there that Hart continues to hone his 29er designs on trails like the Mid-Mountain and Wasatch Crest. Applying his knowledge and skills, he molded the Young Turk into a willing climber and confident descender, with a long-distance-friendly smooth ride. Instead of reserving this design for individual and patient clients (custom builders often have a yearlong or more waiting list), the Young Turk retains all the attention to detail and ride quality Hart values in a package for everyone.
The Young Turk uses a double-butted 4130 Cro-Moly tube set which offers a ride and weight that rivals frames costing twice as much. What gives the Young Turk its distinctive ride quality is the shaped chainstays that offer explosive acceleration and kinked seat stays that dampen choppy trails. This keeps you fresh for the final sprint back to camp or the trailhead. The shapely stays are joined with Tange Design sliding drop outs — all you'll need to convert the Young Turk to a single speed is a rear cog and spacer kit.
The Young Turk's front end uses the Chubby head tube; a stout, oversized unit that ensures precise steering and strength. Keeping that theme alive is a Rock Shox Reba RL with a tapered steerer. The fork has 100mm of plush travel with preload and rebound adjustment, and a lockout for efficient climbing.
Hydraulic Avid Elixir 3s with a 180mm rotor in front and 160mm in the rear offer cool, smooth operation for long and steep descents. For long and steep ascents, a Truvativ FireX crankset offers flex-free performance and a low weight for a smooth cadence. It's equipped with a 33T chainring that spins a SRAM 1030 11-36T 10-speed cassette. This combination leaves ratio overlap, poor ground clearance, and heft to multi-speed front cranks. A SRAM X9 rear derailleur and X7 shifter ensure fast gear changes and long-term durability.
The Young Turk rides on WTB Speed Disc rims laced to Quando hubs with traditional J-bend spokes. Wide, 29x2.3in Kenda Nevegal tires are high volume for a smooth ride and offer the traction to keep the Young Turk from spinning out on loose, steep climbs. The handlebar, stem, and seatpost are constructed of 2014 aluminum and feature gradients to make fine tuning fit simple. Velo lock-on grips and a Cutter saddle complete the Young Turk's build.
The Civilian Young Turk comes in Small, Medium, Large, X-large, and XX-Large sizes, and it's available in two colors: Asphalt and Big Sky.
TruVativ FireX 1.1
Crank Arm Length:
[large] 175 mm
Avid Elixir 3
Avid Elixir 3
[large] 100 mm
29 in x 2.5 in
Measured Effective Top-Tube Length:
cross country, trail
3 years on frame
Young Turk / Luddite
Civilian Young Turk / Luddite
Top Tube (actual)
How to Measure:
For best results, take measurements over your underwear.
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Hey Jasp, This only recently went out of stock, but we only had a few remaining in inventory in the XL-T sizes. We ran out of the bulk of our inventory earlier this year during the spring months. I'm sorry about this!
Yeah I emailed Civilian directly and they expressed to me they wouldn't be building any new rigs until sometime next year. Pretty dub considering the popularity and simplicity of this bike. I think the "Shut up and take my money" meme perfectly applies to this situation. Whatta bummer.
I got this bike because the price point allowed me to to experience mountain bike riding. I hate the idea of thrashing someone else's things. This has been great for me, and it didn't take me long to realise I really enjoy off-road riding. It is a bullet-proof MTB, and I have thrashed this thing as hard as I could. I would highly recommend this bike to anyone thinking about trying mountain biking. It weighs a ton, but with that weight comes durability; perfect for entry-level. It looks great, and the price is impossible to beat. X7 and X9 combo, with no front derailleur to worry about, and nice brakes and fork. I have raced it too, no worries.
I got it as a mixed use bike, ride it a little around town, to the bar and back but it would see a far amount of trail time. On the street it was ok, nothing fancy and the 1x10 was very nice, kept things simple. However on the trail it was a like ridding a dump truck. The bike was very very slow to get up to speed and even slower to maneuver. This was my first steel mountain bike and I had high hopes for its ability to absorb some of the small trail chatter and smooth out the ride but it was quite the opposites. This frame had an odd spring effect that made the ride jarring at times and offered an almost dead feel to the rear end in cornering. I'm sure some of the sluggishness from the bike could have been improved by a new set of lighter, faster rolling tires and maybe a lighter wheelset but part of the appeal to the bike was its low price point and that's gone if you replace those items.
Again I really wanted to like this bike, its looks great, the drive train setup was simple and worked like a champ, the fork is perfect for this bike and the price is crazy! But at the end of the day it just wasn't the bike for me.
P.S. After returning the Young Turk I got the BMC TE29 SLX and I freaking love it!
I've used it once or twice and have initial impressions
I was attracted to the Young Turk because of the minimalist setup (10-speed) and the cool design. The more I played with it, the more I appreciated the geometry and design. I bought this mostly to cruise around town because I already have a full-suspension trail bike. However, I had to know how it handled off-road. This bike really climbs beautifully. It's not ultra-light, but the geometry and wheel size just want to climb hills. I was also really impressed with the descending. It was a bit chattery in the really bumpy areas at high speed but still better than expected. It actually at the bumps well and held control perfectly. It was just a bit chattery which is tough to endure for an extended period. However, in the fast, smooth single-track descents, this bike is really at home. It tracks really nice. The big wheels/tires and the steel frame really subtle the vibration. The tires were also a real plus off-road. I'm likely to change tires for my primary urban purpose but I'll always feel a little guilty knowing how capable this bike is off-road.
Pros: Good looks Spec'd well The feel of steel Eats single track 10-speed setup
Cons: Tight turns aren't ideal
I'm looking forward to updating my review in a few months.
Just bought the Young Turk last week. I'm new to mountain biking and the mountains in general and the two rides I have been on so far have been extremely difficult and awesome. This bike is great and I would recommend it to anyone. I'm a little under 5'5" and I got the small size. It's perfect. The tires are huge, but they feel really sturdy.
I bought this bike when it first came out. It has been a blast. The bike rides like a dream. It is spec'd with quality components. I have made a few modifications that make this bike stand toe to toe with bikes costing much more. The first modification was to go to a lighter tire and convert to tubeless. I went with the GEAX Saguaro's. I also flipped the stem and dropped it down. This helped put my weight a bit further forward that helped the bike be more agile. I also added some ESI Chunky Grips(super comfortable). I am 6 feet tall and went with the size large. It is a great fit. The 1X10 gearing is ideal for most of the riding I have done. On long climbs I am sometime wanting for easier gears but being locked into the 1X10 just forces me to go faster and become a better rider quicker. I had shopped 29er bikes for awhile before making this purchase. There simply is not a better deal out there. Great components, Great Shock, Good Wheels, and a nice double butted frame. Besides the bike and colors look awesome.
After 100 miles of muddy single track, the sun has finally dried things out and the biking has gotten pretty good. No issues to report on the Civilian Young Turk. Had to re-tighten and adjust the rear brackets holding the rear tire in place and also tightened some of the spokes on the front wheel to keep it from pulling toward the brake side of the wheel. The bike climbs like a monster and handles really well on some windy tree filled routes. Absolutely no complaints.
I'm 6'4", with 34" inseam. The XL frame size Civilian Young Turk works great for me. I like the "Big Sky" color on this bike. It's a little more teal than I expected from the pics, but a more appealing color to me than the asphalt. The Kenda tires that come standard with this bike are great for packed trails or asphalt. Might look for something more knobby if riding more sloppy terrain.
This bike is an absolute pleasure to ride compared to other 29er hardtails I've ridden. The geometry feels great with a slightly slacker less hunched over feeling. The steel really helps absorb a lot of trail chatter that you would typically feel on an aluminum hardtail. This bike is a great value for the price. For anyone looking to try a 29er or 1x10 I highly recommend trying the Young Turk.
The Young Turk straight up rocks. I am not an elite mountain biker, but I can leave other riders of my same ability level in the dust with the Turk. It flat out rips. Climbing ability is awesome, and just the way it soaks up roots, rocks, and mud holes is awesome. Front clearance is great with the single front ring. For the price I am very impressed with what you get. Totally a great deal for anyone who wants to get a great all around 29'er mt bike.
I love this thing already. I haven't been an avid mountain biker before this, but I might just convert. The bike has been solid on everything I have thrown at it, which admittedly isn't a whole lot yet, but I am happy with it so far. And the 29 inch tires make up for my lack of skill. Killer bike.
Handling and the feel of geometry is spot on in my opinion.
Generally I ride a 6.5in bike all mountain setup, but after two rides on this bike I was sold (one here in Park City on loose, rocky terrain and one in Fruita, Colorado on smooth, rolling singletrack). Rolls fast and feels rock solid.
I'm by no means an avid cyclist. I've owned a few other hard tails and borrowed a few full suspension bikes from friends. I ride exclusively around Utah with equal time between Salt Lake City and Park City. For the riding I do (mainly longer cross country rides) this bike has been great. I'm 5'5" and went with the small. For my height, I don't need a 29'er, but it doesn't feel awkward at all. At first it felt enormous, like I was really high up. After a couple rides I began to like the height, and really notice the extra cushion the big wheels provide. I'll update this later if necessary, but so far it's done what I expect it to do and the price is great.