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  1. #1
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    Is a Swift $150 better than a Downtube 8N?

    [Edit: I meant 8H.] Like someone else said elsewhere, apparently my expectations for the DT were too high. I'm looking for experienced rider input to comment on how much better the Swift is, if any.

    I know it's somewhat apples/oranges due to the different componetry and folding differences, although both fold OK for me, and I don't mind a derailer set up.

    The price difference of $150 isn't a big concern in the long run: $429 (plus maybe another $100 for lbs to check for grease everywhere and swap chainrings) compared to $679 . The Swift site says it comes tuned, ready-to-ride. DT says take to lbs. The Swift doesn't come with a rack or fender or kickstand or front fork. However, the DT equipment isn't high quality and the fender's too short. I ran it thru a puddle to check. I guess the fork is a good thing but I could live without it.

    I found a post where Yan said he spec'd lower gears for the 8H but couldn't get them. I take that to mean he's selling bikes he knows aren't geared correctly. I have some trouble with that concept.

    I'm not a high-mileage rider but I don't consider grease in the BB optional and correct gearing an optional "upgrade". For some of you these two items are minor operations but I don't have the tools or know-how to tackle the BB.

    So is the Swift appreciably better or are the Swift people just making more money per bike?
    Last edited by tgzzzz; 08-30-07 at 09:01 AM. Reason: I goofed up.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    [Edit: I meant 8H.]

    I found a post where Yan said he spec'd lower gears for the 8H but couldn't get them. I take that to mean he's selling bikes he knows aren't geared correctly. I have some trouble with that concept.

    I'm not a high-mileage rider but I don't consider grease in the BB optional and correct gearing an optional "upgrade". For some of you these two items are minor operations but I don't have the tools or know-how to tackle the BB.
    My 06 VIIIH came with a 23 tooth rear sprocket that I replaced with a 25 tooth one that the LBS ordered for me. Less than 10 dollar for the sprocket and no special tools needed for the installation. I am not sure how they are geared now but a phone call to Yan might be in order.

    Some of the early BB were improperly greased. Both of our 06 VIIIs were properly greased. Most of the posts complaining about bottom brackets not properly greased were made by one person who seems to post the same problem about the same bicycles ad nauseam.

  3. #3
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    [Edit: I meant 8H.] the DT equipment isn't high quality and the fender's too short. I ran it thru a puddle to check. I guess the fork is a good thing but I could live without it.

    I found a post where Yan said he spec'd lower gears for the 8H but couldn't get them. I take that to mean he's selling bikes he knows aren't geared correctly. I have some trouble with that concept.

    I'm not a high-mileage rider but I don't consider grease in the BB optional and correct gearing an optional "upgrade". For some of you these two items are minor operations but I don't have the tools or know-how to tackle the BB.

    So is the Swift appreciably better or are the Swift people just making more money per bike?
    I cannot really comment on the Swift. However having recently purchased a Downtube VIIIH with 8 speed hub gears I'd have to disagree that it isn't high quality. To the contrary I find it comparable to more expensive Dahons. Perhaps it is a subjective thing that you didn't like the bike? Regarding your point that you DT bikes are incorrectly geared, I think you are misinterpreting Yan. It's a matter of preference if you think the bike tends towards high or low gearing. I find mine perfectly fine. If one doesn't like it, then the chain set can be changed if necessary.

    For me the DT is an excellent commuting bike and I find the front suspension a real benefit compared to my Specialized Crossroads Elite which is a full sized $800+ bike but with no suspension. The FS also kicks in on trail riding but also useful for absorbing vibrations on the road.

  4. #4
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    Sorry, the ref to low quality was directed at the kickstand (lightweight but butt-ugly), the too short fender, and the steel rack, none of which is on the Swift. Too many others noted the gearing for me to be mistaken about that.

    Nickbtoo: I get your point regarding the very negative poster. I read em all too. Still my factory instructions say go spend $ at lbs. This troubles me.

  5. #5
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    Personally I find nothing wrong with the stand, that's a subjective opinion. I don't find it ugly at all and the steel carrier is perfectly adequate. Lots of others find the gearing fine too so it's down to settings and personal preferences. If you want lightweight then you have to pay the price for it such as the Dahon Mu SL at over $900 in the US. I've managed to get a Sturmey Archer 8 speed geared bike from DT with a perfectly good stand ,carrier and front suspension for just over $400 including delivery. I can't expect everything to be lightweight components for that. Besides it I'm not a road racer I'm a commuter and occasional tourer. If you want performance again you pay dearly for it such as the Birdie. Pound for pound or $, the DT is an excellent bike.
    Last edited by mulleady; 09-01-07 at 09:43 AM.

  6. #6
    Part-time epistemologist invisiblehand's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    Still my factory instructions say go spend $ at lbs. This troubles me.
    I think that the overall value of Downtube bikes are good. But several of forum members have experienced issues regarding their assembly. In my case, I have a 2007 Mini and the BB, quill stem base, certain threads of the headset, and pedals had zero grease on them.

    That written, now that I have worked out a few kinks in my modified Mini, it performs quite well. Several people at work gave it a spin and gave it a big thumbs up.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    So is the Swift appreciably better or are the Swift people just making more money per bike?
    I don't have either a Swift or a Downtube, but as someone with 17 years experience in retail I do want to speak up for the Swift folks here.

    The DT and the Swift are not the same bike. They have a very different design, and the manufacturing is done by different companies -- in entirely different countries, I believe.

    No one on these boards knows the actual cost of manufacturing both of these bikes. (Yan obviously knows his costs on the DT.)

    It's entirely possible that the Swift costs more to manufacture than the DT, and that Xootr's profits per bike are equal to, or even lower than DT's profits, even though the Swift is priced higher.

    On top of all that, the Swift's performance is generally agreed to be very near the top of the line for folders. It is meant to be a performance bike, whereas the Downtube is meant to be a good bike at a very reasonable price. Yes, there is a quality premium, on bikes just like everything else.

    To suggest, on no evidence at all, that the Swift folks are ripping people off by overcharging simply because a completely different folder is cheaper is unfair. Especially so since the bikes in the same performance class as the Swift frequently cost much more than the Swift.

  8. #8
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    To suggest, on no evidence at all, that the Swift folks are ripping people off by overcharging simply because a completely different folder is cheaper is unfair. Especially so since the bikes in the same performance class as the Swift frequently cost much more than the Swift.
    Hi DgirlLA. I'm not sure who you were referring to when you said people were suggesting the Swift were ripping people off. Was it the post from the initial poster who was questioning if Swift make more $'s per bike? I think anyone who would research Swift would see they are similar to brands like Brompton and Mezzo in that they are designed by engineers and mostly part custom made. I totally agree with you that the Swift is a high end folder and appears to be a very highly regarded one at that. No arguments there, you are absolutely right. Only a fool would think the Swift is a rip-off. It has excellent write-ups and a unique folding design.

    Mind you my experience of the DT, I think it is a bike with pretty good performance in its own right.

  9. #9
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    tgzzzz, honey, my reading comprehension is just fine, thanks.

    I quoted you exactly: "So is the Swift appreciably better or are the Swift people just making more money per bike?" The tone and implications of that question are fairly snide, and quite a bit different from your restatement: "I'm asking bikers to state whether they think the Swift is better than the DT 8H. And I tried to quantify it with a # we all might understand: $150."

    I responded to what you actually wrote, not what you now claim you meant. If you are going to get this upset by responses to your posts, perhaps you should be more concise in the future.

    I'm not quite sure how anyone can answer your question to your satisfaction, since you want them to tell you whether it would be worth it, for you, to pay 150.00 more for the Swift. That's a completely subjective question, that will vary from person to person.

    To me, the differences in frame geometry tell the tale: the Swift has the virtually the same frame geometry as a full-size hybrid bike. It's wheelbase, according to the Zootr site, is identical to a full-size Trek hybrid. That's going to make a big difference in ride, one that, to me, is worth $150.00.

    However, your problems with the Downtube seem to have little to do with the how the bike rides, and much more to do with your justifiable disappointment and anger with DT's quality control, and that you feel the gearing is too high. In that case, the Swift may well NOT be worth an extra 150.00 to you. I know a lot of riders have tinkered with their gearing on the Swift. Perhaps the factory Swift set-up would also be too high for you. Zootr offers a 30 day, no questions asked warranty. Why don't you try it out? If you don't like it, you'll only be out the cost of shipping it back to Zootr.

  10. #10
    Senior Member DVC45's Avatar
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    I've never owned a Swift, but would love to. With that out of the way... I find my DT VIIIH Is plenty good enough for my purpose...Commuting to and from work. It came with almost everything that suited for my purpose. So, for me, the extra $$ I saved by going with the DT is worthwhile.

  11. #11
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    M: I give ... the fact that Yan also thought the gearing was too high made the issue less subjective, in my mind at least. Let me know if you want a spare kickstand.

    DGirlLA: I retract my suggestion re your reading skills. People can certainly differ in interpretations. See above. You got it with "justifiable dissapointment". That's what I'm feeling. As you surmised, I like riding my new little red bike which feels very similar to my Trek and Giant bikes, only more agile. I'm stuggling with whether to return it, wasting $70 in bothways shipping.

    DVC45: thanks, I get your point. For me, I've got a couple of high bridges in the way. I gotta do something.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nickbtoo View Post
    complaining about bottom brackets not properly greased were made by one person who seems to post the same problem about the same bicycles ad nauseam.
    My ad nauseam posts weren't about that, they were about the BB not being properly tapped on 2 of the bikes. They were also torqued to several times above rated specs. The frame halves were also not correctly aligned. These are serious QC issues that were not caught. That's the point of the posts. And those BB issues essentially ruin the frame. Imagine having bought 2 bikes for which you wanted to replace the BB outside of the short warranty period. Now you can't. Sound like such a winer now? It highlights many of the issues with risking money on a new product without a warranty. And when questions come up about the value of this bike, I'll bring up these points. They should be taken into consideration and will continue to be relevant contributions. Just as you or others that have had positive experiences with your purchases: they continue to post this ad nauseam.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    To everyone else, is the blue color really faster?
    Hey, you're probably not serious, but to people with a certain recessive genetic trait that's really not that uncommon at all, yes, the blue of the Swift is faster than anything. When I see that color, I think, woah, I could really book on that thing! In contrast the "green" color of my DT Mini is a non-color, i.e. the color of dirt. Which explains why the girl on the Colnago passed me yesterday. Sheesh, I was going 23 on a mild incline, and she goes cruising past me, nothin' I could do about it. I gotta paint my bike a faster color.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jasong View Post
    My ad nauseam posts weren't about that, they were about the BB not being properly tapped on 2 of the bikes. They were also torqued to several times above rated specs. The frame halves were also not correctly aligned. These are serious QC issues that were not caught. That's the point of the posts. And those BB issues essentially ruin the frame. Imagine having bought 2 bikes for which you wanted to replace the BB outside of the short warranty period. Now you can't. Sound like such a winer now? It highlights many of the issues with risking money on a new product without a warranty. And when questions come up about the value of this bike, I'll bring up these points. They should be taken into consideration and will continue to be relevant contributions. Just as you or others that have had positive experiences with your purchases: they continue to post this ad nauseam.

    If the bottom brackets were installed in a frame that was improperly tapped they would have to be forced which would explain the overtorque. Did you return the frames and bottom brackets to Yan for inspection?

    Were they purchased on ebay or direct from Downtube?

    Nick
    Last edited by nickbtoo; 08-31-07 at 11:47 AM.

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    Yeah, I was kidding. Someone else used that line in a thread. I just thought it was funny. I was trying to lighten this discussion up a little. I got my butt kicked up there.

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    Senior Member JosephLMonti's Avatar
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    tgzzzz - I'm just curious, why did you go with the SA hub model instead of the derailleur model?

  17. #17
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    tgzzz why not get hold of a 42T chainwheel off eBay? That will lower your gearing and its an easy and cheap modification. I guess you are in a hilly area compared to me. I commute around central London with mostly flat and mild inclines.

    JosephL i can only comment for myself but the hub is brilliant when commuting in an urban area especially when changing from high to low gears when stationery at a red light. Lower maintenance also, I find them very smooth,

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by nickbtoo View Post
    Were they purchased on ebay or direct from Downtube?
    Nick, you may want to look in the other posts/threads for those details.
    Last edited by jasong; 09-02-07 at 01:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tgzzzz View Post
    I like riding my new little red bike which feels very similar to my Trek and Giant bikes, only more agile. I'm stuggling with whether to return it, wasting $70 in bothways shipping.

    DVC45: thanks, I get your point. For me, I've got a couple of high bridges in the way. I gotta do something.
    Tgzzzz, I think a bike that you like to ride that much is a bike worth keeping. If the initial quality control problems you had have been fixed to your satisfaction, then it purely comes down to to the differences in gearing between the DT and Swift.

    Xootr's site has a wealth of information about the Swift's gearing here. Very short version: SRAM PG-850 11-28T cassette, 52T single-chainwheel, 1st gear = 36 gear inches, 8th gear = 92 gear inches.

    How does that compare to the DT? Especially if you went to a 42t or even a 39t chainring?

    One more thing, in looking at Downtube's site, I noticed that the specs for the 2008 8H do not specify that the chainring is replacable. The other 2008 DT listings for bikes with the S-A internal hub (8HN, 8F, and the Mini) all specify that the chainring is replaceable. Of course, this doesn't mean that your chainring isn't replacable -- they just might have missed mentioning it on the 8H specs. But I would definitely check it out.

  20. #20
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    Jasong do you have to try and take over every thread where DT is mentioned. It seems like a vindictive crusade to me, something better taken up between yourself and the original vendor off these forums. I've only been a member of this forum a few weeks but it didn't take me long to notice the repitition of your contributions. Thanks to this forum it helped me to decide on buying a DT and I don't regret it. Your efforts didn't deter me one iota because the qualitative opinion on user experiences of the DT were very positive overall. You claim that you offer constructive viewpoints. Well, once you make them keep them to the initial thread then fair enough. What you do is considered bad netiquette on any blog or forum online, you keep resurfacing with the same old points again and again and again. This of course means people who don't agree with you counter the same old points again and again to provide some balance. Isn't it time you stopped and moved on to other discussion. Like what do you think of hub gears or your opinions on the value of the Swift? No-one denies your right to freedom of speech but perhaps it is fair to question your rights to repitition of speech?

    To be honest I'm not going to reply to your postings anymore, because I think people will see them for that they are.

    On another note, have people come across the new Dahon Mu SL sub 9kg (20lbs) folder and how this compares to the Swift which is relatively lightweight as well? It's a cool 800 over here and couldn't find equivalent price in the US unless it's not available? See link below:

    See http://www.foldingbikes.co.uk/dahon_mu_sl.htm

  21. #21
    The Metropolis, UK
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    Morning DGirlLA Your views on the Dahon Mu SL from the spec? Do you think it's overpriced?

    You said you were a dealer unless I read it wrongly. Do you retail folders too in LA?
    Last edited by mulleady; 09-01-07 at 09:50 AM.

  22. #22
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    Found Dahon Mu SL here for $999.
    http://nycewheels.com/dahon-folding-bike-mu-sl.html

    That's still a premium priced bike but it's a cool $1610 in the UK. How can Dahon account for such price discrimination? Other comparisons

    Brompton M6R Plus $1495 in US - $1328 in UK At least slight price hike accounts for transport costs to US etc as it is made in UK.

    Swift $679 in US - $1004 in the UK Again can't account for such a difference. Puts a lovely bike like the Swift in the pricing bracket of a Brompton.

    Even accounting for sales tax differentials pretty horrific differences here. Why do British people put up with such price hiking? I know it happens on software but extending it to folding bikes is very sad indeed.
    Adding to that, it's commendable to see no price discrimination on Downtube bikes in the UK
    2007 FS 9 speed clearance bike: $351.50 incl delivery in US and in UK $451. In this case the differential is accounted for in higher duties & transport costs. I think the differential was consistent across the board of the 2007 bike range.

    I'm fascinated by the folding mechanism of the Swift centering the saddle stem. Anyone experienced this?


    The Swift seems well worth $679 US price but not 499 in the UK.
    Last edited by mulleady; 09-01-07 at 10:07 AM.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by JosephLMonti View Post
    tgzzzz - I'm just curious, why did you go with the SA hub model instead of the derailleur model?
    Actually, this all started with my "winning" a FS on ebay for $240 + 35 shipping. So, $275 v. $700 for the Swift was an easy choice. I only wish the story had ended there. During the auction week, however, I read the 61 p DT thread and was sorry I hadn't just ordered an improved '08 or a Swift. The more you know, the more you spend.

    Then, Yan emailed that he didn't have the black bike I bid on. He offered to sub or refund and when I accepted a refund, darn if he didn't find a black one after all. The handling of this bummed me out from the get-go. And by then of course, I'd read the many posts re Yan and private Ebay auctions.

    In the end I paid the difference for an '08, and the SA hub was only another $30. So many folks had complained about knocking the der. hanger out of line that I thought I might as well avoid that altogether. [Attention: This comment was directed at der. hangers in general, and NOT at the DT hanger in particular, degrees of bentness from true/shifting action being subjective and all.]

    Finally, I have edited out my most offensive remarks in above posts, while leaving my original post intact, and regret my participation in what has become an embarrasing thread in a public forum. I think it's important to believe in something. I believe in two things: I believe I can write clearly enough for most folks, and I believe I'll have a beer.

  24. #24
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    Then, Yan emailed that he didn't have the black bike I bid on. He offered to sub or refund and when I accepted a refund, darn if he didn't find a black one after all. The handling of this bummed me out from the get-go. And by then of course, I'd read the many posts re Yan and private Ebay auctions.
    In fairness tgzzz any business can make an error on stock, you were offered a refund. As for Yan's eBay feedback it's 99.3% which is pretty good for a complex product like a bike. He isn't selling sponges! Yes it's irritating when you can't get the stock item but when a mistake is made it's about putting things right.




    Finally, I have edited out my most offensive remarks in above posts, while leaving my original post intact, and regret my participation in what has become an embarrasing thread in a public forum. I think it's important to believe in something. I believe in two things: I believe I can write clearly enough for most folks, and I believe I'll have a beer.
    That's big of you tgzzz. A rare quality these days. I'll toast you a beer all the way from London UK!

    You write more than clearly enough in my opinion. I think you did the right thing getting a SA 8 speed hub, it's a great gear set. Have you thought of lowing your gears by doing a low cost mod such as below?:

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Alloy-Single-4...QQcmdZViewItem

    I'm sure you can get in US too, perhaps even cheaper? Everything except books seem to be cheaper over your side!
    Last edited by mulleady; 09-01-07 at 10:03 AM.

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