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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 07-09-07, 10:13 AM   #1
buffaloboro
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swift over a Dahon Speed Pro or Speed TR

Hi, I am new to this forum & would be greatful for a little advice . As my title states , I am looking to buy a folding bike. When I lived in London I had a Brompton which was great for my needs at the time.
I now live in Long Island , NY. I am looking for a folder ( I live in a flat/apartment ) that I can use to help me regain my fitness after knee surgery. I wld like something with a bit of speed , reliable & one that wld allow me to happily do a few evening rides as well as the odd 'day/ 2 day' tour around the Hamptons etc.

I was actually about to buy a Dahon today but on reading some of the posts on here , I noticed that a few people raved about the Swift & others weren't too impressed with the Speed Pro. I have test ridden one & found it okay , but I didn't 'fall in love 'with it , hence I have been holding off.

My concerns about the Speed TR are it's abililty to go at a reasonable pace compaired to the Pro ( although I do like the touring set up , in reality I prob won't need racks etc that often & a saddle bag wld suffice ).

What is the Swift like ? I am 6' 1"" & about 210 lbs with a 33/34" leg. Also, I will have to fold/unfold it every time it is used so any thoughts on that would be great.

I intend to go to NYC this week to have a look at one but any thoughts wld be greatfully received.

Thank you.

Last edited by buffaloboro; 07-09-07 at 10:19 AM.
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Old 07-09-07, 10:36 AM   #2
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I test rode a Speed Pro at one point. I recall that it is a decent bike for $900. I liked it because of its wide gear range and relatively quick fold.

I am 6', 190# with a 32" inseam. I thought that the ergonomics were acceptable. However, in the end, I purchased a different bike.

You should take a look at the Swift and the lower end Bike Fridays. If you are willing to wait to have one built, you can have either either with the Dual Drive at a higher but comparable cost.
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Old 07-09-07, 11:13 AM   #3
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Thanks. I do intend to look at the Swifts. I have just spent the past few hours reading the Swift posts & it gets more confusing at there appear to be 2 purchase options - the PA company & the one in OR. Where possible I do try to buy European ( Brompton ) or US made goods even if they are a bit more - is there a huge difference between the steel & AL frames ?

Once again, I realise a lot of this has been covered before , but many thanks
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Old 07-09-07, 11:41 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffaloboro
Thanks. I do intend to look at the Swifts. I have just spent the past few hours reading the Swift posts & it gets more confusing at there appear to be 2 purchase options - the PA company & the one in OR. Where possible I do try to buy European ( Brompton ) or US made goods even if they are a bit more - is there a huge difference between the steel & AL frames ?

Once again, I realise a lot of this has been covered before , but many thanks
Hah! I believe that there are three purchase options:

Xootr
Peter Reich for custom jobs (new steel & aluminum)
Jan VanderTuin for custom jobs (old steel)

And I believe that there is a new steel version; although I don't recall whether it is actually being sold as opposed to being developed.

http://www.swiftfolder.com/contact.html

Regarding the old steel version and aluminum version, the aluminum version is about one to two pounds lighter. There are a few other small details--for instance, diameter of the seat tube--which are different across the models. But both appear to have an excellent reputation. Oh there is a relatively large price difference too ... the steel being a few hundred dollars more expensive.

I am not particularly up to date on the Swift. So more informative posts will sure follow. But the more I think about it, the greater the price difference between the custom Swift and the Dahon comes to mind.

Given that you are close to NYC, there are several shops where you can see the folders in action. So unless you are in a rush, I would suggest spending a day in Manhattan test riding as many folders as possible.
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Old 07-09-07, 11:42 AM   #5
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Look at this thread for some links to NYC folding bike shops ...

Folding Bike for College Student in Boston
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Old 07-09-07, 12:41 PM   #6
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The ride is the greatest difference in Swift vs. Dahon. Squirreliness, dancing on the pedals, stability at speed, etc., the Swift is better hands down. To get the ride of a Swift in a Dahon, you have to buy a Dahon with 26" wheels. If ride is not that important, and you want mud guards and rear rack on the bike when you open the box... Dahon has an SKU for that package, Swift doesn't. But if you or your LBS is decent with tools, you put the aftermarket bits on a Swift.
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Old 07-09-07, 02:29 PM   #7
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My Speed Pro was pretty stable at 50mph last weekend. And the 48 gears are handy.

I'd love to have a Swift too though.
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Old 07-09-07, 02:51 PM   #8
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I'd definitely take a Swift over a Speed Pro. In fact, I did.

Xootr Swift has a good price ($700), very solid and stiff frame, lots of standard parts, easy to upgrade. It does not fold small or conveniently but it does fold quickly.

A wide gearing range is nice, but is kind of unnecessary for a road bike. Plus I'm sure that the DualDrive sucks up some of your efficiency.

Performance-wise, the Swift and Speed Pro will be about the same. The Speed TR will suck, as it's a touring bike, has suspension, fat tires, i.e. it's made for touring not speed.

The only reason I'd go with the Speed Pro over a Swift is if the need for a compact fold was paramount.

By the way, check with BFold on 13th Street, the guy carries Swifts and Bike Fridays so you can get a test-ride there.
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Old 07-09-07, 03:23 PM   #9
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Thanks. I am going to NYC this week. My other question is the difference between the steel & Al version. I am happy to pay extra for a bike made in the US/Europe - is the ride that much different & can both versions be 'specced' out to the same level ?

Thank you
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Old 07-09-07, 03:49 PM   #10
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One thing not mentioned here yet is that the Dahons have a better (more compact) fold than the Swifts do. So if you're going to use the bike with public transit, you're probably better with a Dahon, despite any differences above 20 mph. Look at Xootr's website, linked above. The Swift still looks pretty clunky when collapsed compared to the Dahon. But if you want a folder that rides like a full size bike and don't mind that it's not as compact when folded, it seems the Swift is preferred. (maybe becaus they're more popular here than the high-end Dahons?) Stable enough at 50 mph seems stable enough for me. I'll never go more than about 25 on a folder.
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Old 07-09-07, 04:35 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffaloboro
Thanks. I am going to NYC this week. My other question is the difference between the steel & Al version. I am happy to pay extra for a bike made in the US/Europe - is the ride that much different & can both versions be 'specced' out to the same level ?

Thank you
If you check through the Swift thread, you will notice that the number of aluminum Swift folders vastly outnumber the steel versions. So you will probably get a poor estimate of the differences between the two. However, I don't recall a negative review of either. Perhaps Peter Reich can give you more information.

Both bikes accept standard bike components and can be similarly spec'ed.
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Old 07-09-07, 11:54 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Loch
My Speed Pro was pretty stable at 50mph last weekend. And the 48 gears are handy.

I'd love to have a Swift too though.
If you liked the Speed Pro at 50 mph, you're going to love a Swift at 50 mph.

BTW, 48 gears ... on a Speed Pro. Got any pix?
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Old 07-10-07, 01:07 AM   #13
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Might i question your intentions of getting a folder as a "rehab bike"? I have the Speed Pro and I will not go near it if I have the opportunity to ride my full carbon road bike. Comfort, efficiency, and handling all come to mind as a good reason not to get a folder as your exercise bike. Might I suggest an aluminum road bike for about the same price which is WAY better for the intended purpose?
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Old 07-10-07, 10:19 AM   #14
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HI , thanks for all the advice. I agree about the 'rehab' section. The problem is - living in LI isn't cheap & at the moment I am paying $1500 per month for a one bed flat/apartment. The wife won't entertain a full sized bike in our current living space. Thus , a decent folder seems to be a happy compromise. I think that she wld be comfortable with the folding size of the Swift & thanks to the advice / reviews on here that looks to be the way I am heading. I am going to NYC on Wednesday to test ride it.
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Old 07-10-07, 11:27 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maunakea
If you liked the Speed Pro at 50 mph, you're going to love a Swift at 50 mph.

BTW, 48 gears ... on a Speed Pro. Got any pix?
I just replaced my front crankset with a 53/39 double. It was a little lighter than the original, so I left the 39 on. With an 11-28 8speed rear cassette, that gives me 20.3-131.1 gear inch range. Overkill on the low end maybe.

Don't get me thinking about the swift again. I few months back I figured I'd get a cheap folder so I bought a downtube NS. Well I spent $700 trying to get the weight down. I should have just got a swift. Not to happy how that worked out. My wife loves the NS though, so not a total loss. Really if the swift folded smaller I'd have one right now (or if I could see on in person).

I just love folders in general, wish I could have one of each.

Good luck with your choice buffaloboro.

Last edited by Loch; 07-10-07 at 11:37 AM.
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Old 07-11-07, 11:15 AM   #16
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re: avoiding using living spaces. . . . i put my dahon in my trunk. . . . .
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Old 07-11-07, 01:27 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donoman
Might i question your intentions of getting a folder as a "rehab bike"? I have the Speed Pro and I will not go near it if I have the opportunity to ride my full carbon road bike. Comfort, efficiency, and handling all come to mind as a good reason not to get a folder as your exercise bike. Might I suggest an aluminum road bike for about the same price which is WAY better for the intended purpose?
It's not a question of whether it's a folder or not, it's how a bike rides. When I had a Mu, I preferred the feel of a road bike. But the difference is not huge. I prefer my current folder to the big bikes I've tried. I would love to test ride a Moulton NS.
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Old 07-12-07, 08:14 AM   #18
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Loch,

So you added a front derailleur, or you just move the chain over manually?

cheers
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Old 07-12-07, 07:57 PM   #19
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Hi, I had a quick test ride of the Swift ( a few rides around the block in NYC , no more than 5 mins ) . I was impressed by it & it had, as many said , a big bike feel. Of course, it is hard to tell how a bike is unless one has spent several hours on a bike.

My one question is that I felt a little 'hunched' , as though I needed more 'length' on the handlebars to feel comfortable,.I also felt as though it wouldn't be that comfortable if I used toe clips etc due to the riding postion.

I hope that makes sense ( I am 6'1"-2" & approx 215lbs ) - the owner of the shop said that that was not unusual & that in time , I would get used to it. He also stated that the bar ends sometimes help & that another option may be a longer stem . Any thoughts on this ?

Also, are there any thoughts on which pedals to use ? I wld like the option of some type of toe clip ( even one that would allow me to wear normal shoes whilst pedalling ) .

I wld like to fit a wireless computer ( I find it helps to make me ride more ) - are there any models that are better than others? ( I don't want to spend too much on one , so looking at the $50 range ).

Finally, I asked about a suspension seat post & was told that you can't readily get one for the bike. Wouldn't the thudbuster work ? If not , what are the other options ? I would like to fit a Brook saddle as well.

Thanks.

Thanks & it it weren't for this forum , I wldn't be considering this bike.

Last edited by buffaloboro; 07-12-07 at 08:07 PM.
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Old 07-13-07, 10:27 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by buffaloboro
Hi, I had a quick test ride of the Swift ( a few rides around the block in NYC , no more than 5 mins ) . I was impressed by it & it had, as many said , a big bike feel. Of course, it is hard to tell how a bike is unless one has spent several hours on a bike.

My one question is that I felt a little 'hunched' , as though I needed more 'length' on the handlebars to feel comfortable,.I also felt as though it wouldn't be that comfortable if I used toe clips etc due to the riding postion.

I hope that makes sense ( I am 6'1"-2" & approx 215lbs ) - the owner of the shop said that that was not unusual & that in time , I would get used to it. He also stated that the bar ends sometimes help & that another option may be a longer stem . Any thoughts on this ?

Also, are there any thoughts on which pedals to use ? I wld like the option of some type of toe clip ( even one that would allow me to wear normal shoes whilst pedalling ) .

I wld like to fit a wireless computer ( I find it helps to make me ride more ) - are there any models that are better than others? ( I don't want to spend too much on one , so looking at the $50 range ).

Finally, I asked about a suspension seat post & was told that you can't readily get one for the bike. Wouldn't the thudbuster work ? If not , what are the other options ? I would like to fit a Brook saddle as well.

Thanks.

Thanks & it it weren't for this forum , I wldn't be considering this bike.
Changing the stem seems like the easiest solution. Although don't be afraid to experiment with the fore/aft saddle position and handlebar height as well.

Try MKS pedals. Some track/messenger buddies like them. They make removable and standard pedals.

I believe that the seatpost plays a integral part of the support structure in the Swift. So swapping it is not recommended. Try Sidetrak Butt Buddy for a little suspension or a spring saddle.

-G
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