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Could this be the most practical e-bike ever?

Civilized Cycles Model One
(Image credit: Civilized Cycles)

Civilized Cycles has launched a new premium electric bike designed for carrying some serious cargo, or even a second person. The Model One is an unusually sleek-looking e-bike, and lets you cruise along with a passenger, or a full week's worth of groceries.

An electric bike can be a good replacement for a second car for light errands, but if you want something to handle tougher tasks, you're going to need something more substantial than the stylish Ribble Hybrid AL e, or the commuter-friendly MiRider One.

That's the niche the Model One is designed to fill – but it's not alone. The Rad Power RadWagon, Tern GSD and Riese & Muller Load 60 are all tough, dependable cargo bikes that can haul serious loads.

What sets the Model One apart from these other powerful workhorses is its design, which is far less utilitarian than a typical cargo e-bike. Civilized Cycles was founded by Zachary Schieffelin, who also founded the largest Vespa dealer in the US, Vespa Soho. Schieffelin took inspiration from his favorite moped for the Model One, which has cleaner lines than the typical electric workhorse, with as many components as possible integrated into the frame.

Civilized Cycles Model One

(Image credit: Civilized Cycles)

It's practical too, and one of its smartest features is self-leveling air suspension, which helps deal with the issue of rapidly changing weight loads (when your passenger hops off, for example). Just hit a button and the onboard computer, compressor and air spring will reset the suspension for a smooth, comfortable ride.

The step-through frame is something we're seeing more and more in recent months, with brands like Specialized, Ribble and Juiced Bikes all creating new designs for better accessibility. The Model One is another commuter-friendly bike that's easy to mount in regular clothing or if you have limited mobility, and is made even easier to ride by a booster throttle that gives you a little extra oomph to get moving again after stopping at intersections.

What price convenience?

Of course, none of this comes cheap. The Model One is available to pre-order now direct from Civilized Cycles, with early bird pricing starting at $4,499 (about £3,200, AU$5,800). Shipping is expected to start towards the end of 2021, with an expected retail price of $5,499 (about £4,000 AU$7,000).

That's a serious investment – for reference our current pick for the best electric bike, the Ribble Hybrid AL e, costs roughly half as much – but it's far from the most expensive e-bike around. That would probably be the Porsche eBike Sport, which will set you back £9,600 (about $13,000 / AU$17,000).

Civilized Cycles Model One

(Image credit: Civilized Cycles)

It'll certainly work out less than a second car in the long run, particularly when you take fuel and servicing into account, so it's well worth considering if you're looking for a way to cut down your carbon footprint for short journeys.

Cat Ellis

Cat is the fitness and wellbeing editor at TechRadar. She's a trained run leader, and enjoys nothing more than lacing up and hitting the pavement. If you have a story about fitness trackers, treadmills, running shoes, e-bikes, or any other fitness tech, drop her a line!