Price: $399 (1-speed), $469 (7-speed, as tested)
Weight: 25.8 lb. (M)
Style: City bike, step-through
The right bike for: A city dweller who has friends to impress, hills (and steps) to climb, and an entry-level paycheck.

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Lately, it’s not unusual to find at least one of these features listed on a city bike’s spec sheet: disc brakes, fat tires, internal gearing, belt drive. The Civia Lowry is a reminder that, though these things have legit benefits, not every bike benefits from these things. The Lowry Step-Thru is a city bike through and through. Its lightweight, aluminum frame and narrow tires make hauling it up flights of steps more manageable. A 14-34t cassette and Shimano Acera 7-speed rear derailleur make hilly commutes a little less daunting. Slickish Kenda Kwest tires are speedy and stable in corners and have grooves on the outer edges to divert water on rainy days. A Civia stitched saddle and matching grips are soft to the touch, and the rubber-topped pedals are kind to bare feet (because, well, you never know). The bike’s classic good looks and pretty paint let you roll up to the barbecue in style, and mounts for a rear rack let you roll up to that same barbecue with something to donate to the buffet table. The Lowry is an upright-riding, super-approachable, smooth-sailing city bike that won’t drain your bank account.

Narrow Kenda Kwest tires, round alloy tubing, and caliper brakes all add up to a lightweight, easy-to-manage bike.
Trevor Raab

The Lowry Family

Civia calls its Lowry line of bikes the Neighborhood series. It includes the Step-Thru frame you see here and the Step-Over. Both are available as a singlespeed for $399 and a 7-speed model for $469. The 7-speed Step-Thru comes in gray/light blue (shown here) and red/gray; the singlespeed is available in only light blue/gray. (For reference, frame color is the one before the slash, with the second color saved for logos and small details. Just check out the bike shown here.) The 7-speed Step-Over comes in gray/red and light blue/gray, the singlespeed in gray/light blue. Step-Thru models come in XS, S, M, and L sizes; Step-Over models come in S, M, L, and XL sizes. The XS and S get 26x1.5-inch tires (with clearance for up to 1.75 in.), a 570mm-wide handlebar, and 165mm cranks. The M, L, and XL bikes get 700x38mm tires (with clearance for up to 45mm), a 595mm-wide bar, and 170mm cranks. In this mix of frame types and sizes, there really is something for everyone—these bikes fit riders from 5 feet to 6-foot-4.

Simply Pretty

There’s not much to this lightweight, aluminum city bike. Its bells and whistles aren’t in the form of high-end parts, tech, and wider this and that; instead they come thanks to reliable parts, simplicity, and classic good looks. The Civia Lowry Step-Thru has creamy paint, AL-6061 round alloy tubing, traditional-size tires, Tektro long-reach caliper brakes, a quill stem, a kickstand, and a swept-back handlebar. The head-tube badge, at a glance, looks like something you might see on a custom, handmade frame. It’s actually an alloy badge affixed with a strong adhesive, but your friends would never know unless you told them (so don’t). Your seven speeds are courtesy of a Shimano Acera rear derailleur that you control with your thumb using the Shimano index shifter. And you have the option to add a bottle cage, fenders, and a rear rack, should you so desire.

Ride Impressions

There’s a place I ride with my son that requires sharp turns and tight maneuvering. We call it our obstacle course, and we often work it into our evening rides. We weave back and forth between the brick pillars in front of his elementary school, then balance on the long curb that lines the parking lot to see who can stay on the longest without falling off. From there we ride the narrow path around the school—some sections of it have 90-degree turns, and one section that we call “the roller coaster loop” begins with a slight incline then flies downhill with a smooth left turn at the bottom. It’s fun. On the Lowry, it’s also easy—easy to keep the bike upright at slow speeds, easy to guide it into tight turns, easy to steady it in a balance situation, easy to change gears with the flick of your thumb, easy to stop without the added weight of disc brakes. The best part: All of these “easys” come in handy when you add traffic to your ride.

An alloy head-tube badge gives the low-priced Lowry a high-priced appearance.
Trevor Raab

It’s hard sometimes to find different things to say about different bikes. There are so many good ones out there. And so many that are similar in the way they look and ride. But I’ll say this about the Civia. It has a certain flair that some bikes lack. It’s reliable, timeless, pretty, and as ideal for the city girl as it is for the neighborhood mom. And at less than $500, it’s also a helluva deal.