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Old 08-21-08, 01:40 AM   #1
bendembroski
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Making my Swift more swift

Hi all,

I'm facing a bit of a dilemma, and I'd appreciate some input.

Now, I know what I'm about to say is sacralidge, but I've got too many bikes. I'm preparing myself to have a clearout, and the Swift is on the endangered list.

Here's the problem. I don't commute anymore. I'm a stay at home dad so the cycling is now done purely for personal enjoyment / fitness. During the week, I'm stuck churning away on the turbo trainer mounted to my trusty Giant SCR. On the weekend I do an early morning ride bombing about the Scottish countryside on the same bike. The Swift is just sitting. Why ? Mostly because I've kitted out the Giant with 105 10speed and some lovely wheels with Hope mono hubs shod with 25mm Vredestein Tricomps. The thing just glides down hills, and seems to coast forever...

The Swift is pretty much stock except for I've mounted Schwalbe Kojaks, a lighter saddle, and bullhorn bars with bar-end shifters.

I'm not sure if it's the wheel spec or the difference in tyre width, but the Swift feels more sluggish than the Giant. The overall weight between the bikes is pretty similar. As is my comfort on both bikes.

Still, I'm looking for a reason to keep the Swift over the Giant. I do like the versatility of the fold, clearance for wider tyres, ability to go fixed if I want, etc. The upcoming front derailleur mount helps too. I'm wondering if I invest in some nicer wheels if the Swift will achieve similar efficiency as my Giant. Just how low-end are the stock Swift wheels? If I can get this bit sorted, and If a front derailleur mount is actually shows up, I'd move the 105 stuff over to the swift, and lose the Giant instead.
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Old 08-21-08, 02:39 AM   #2
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Re feeling sluggish:

This is apparently a fairly universal feeling, but also very untrustworthy. Gurus speculate the sluggish feeling arises from softer tyres rolling more smoothly over road irregularities, while extreme hardness creates the feeling of rolling easier. But tests universally show that this is a feeling only, figures don't match it.
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Old 08-21-08, 03:47 AM   #3
bendembroski
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Yeah, I'm aware this can be a factor.

This weekend, I'll do some roll-down tests and see what the difference actually is.

Nonetheless, even if the feeling is untrustworthy, it still has a direct effect on how much I enjoy the bike. Which is the only reason I ride the things in the first place. I'm not racing, but I do like to move along at a good clip. I like it even better when it feels like the bike is encouraging me to ride that little bit faster... With the Swift, it feels more like the bike isn't helping me. Funny thing is, I only get this feeling out in the rolling roads on my weekend jaunts. In the city, it feels just as nippy as the Giant. Probably down to the stop-start nature of urban riding. I know it's subjective. Just curious if anyone has noticed a significant improvement in feel with a wheel upgrade on their 20" folder is all. For instance, I see you've got some pretty trick wheels on your Swift. How much of an improvement did you feel with the change ?
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Old 08-21-08, 06:44 AM   #4
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Hey ben. I felt the same thing with my Swift when I first got it. With the exception of the 8th gear giving me some extra Go I had this feeling like it was just a bit harder to get moving than my Giant "Halfway." However, I switched out the stock tires with some Schwalbe 20 x 1 1/8 "Stelvios" and now it's cruise central. That along with cutting about 1 1/2 inches off each end of the handlebars and adding some light bar ends have made the Swift, well... very swift. The handlebar mod might be a bit much for some (I've been reading some threads with people wanting even WIDER bars than the stock) but these few mods have really helped. My Swift is now my only ride. LOVE it.
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Old 08-21-08, 07:25 AM   #5
bendembroski
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Indeed.

Adding the bullhorns completely changed the feeling of the bike for me. The cockpit was a little on the cramped side for me otherwise.
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Old 08-21-08, 02:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
Just curious if anyone has noticed a significant improvement in feel with a wheel upgrade on their 20" folder is all. For instance, I see you've got some pretty trick wheels on your Swift. How much of an improvement did you feel with the change ?
I built mine like that from scratch so can't comment for sure; however there's not likely to be much difference.
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Old 08-21-08, 05:16 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
Indeed.

Adding the bullhorns completely changed the feeling of the bike for me. The cockpit was a little on the cramped side for me otherwise.
I'm no Long Lankyn, by any means, but having ridden a Motobecane touring bike for a couple of decades, I find the Xootr Swift cockpit a little cramped too. With the stock handlebar and stem, it's between a cruiser and a road-bike, and this hybrid position happens to send every jolt into my wrists and shoulders. My arms are almost in parallel with the steerer tube. I am exploring a subset of options, since I don't want to ride with my torso parallel to the top-tube:
  • longer (140-150mm) stem with an angle that supports a more upright "cruiser" position
  • suspension fork
  • suspension stem
  • bar-ends that will let my biceps soak up the jolts, turning the dorsal side of the wrists outward
  • fat low-psi tire on the front wheel
Regards
T

Last edited by timo888; 08-21-08 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 08-21-08, 09:55 PM   #8
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I got an IRO Mark V...matched gear inches with my fixed Swift as close as possible...even matched the fit of both bikes as closely as possible...both bikes have 165mm cranks, drop bars, and even have the same clipless pedals. Swift: 19.2lb IRO: 19.3lb

My Swift definitely pulls away from stop lights quicker than my IRO, while the IRO requires less effort to maintain speed (and is thus harder to stop with back pedal pressure than my Swift). The IRO feels much heavier going up hills than the Swift (way heavier than the .1 lb difference would lead me to believe).

The 700C wheels have ben an improvement in top speed and ride comfort. Acceleration and climbing has been disappointing.
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Old 08-21-08, 10:31 PM   #9
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I don''t want to insult to mechanical skills of the OP, but have you've checked your hubs? I checked mine when I received my Swift. They must have been assembled by gorillas. While the front hub was only too tight, the rear was damn near locked. And for some reason they'd used enough grease for 3 bikes. On the rear they'd even greased the OUTSIDE of the dust covers. Sheesh. So I disassembled, degreased, regreased and reassembled both hubs and...guess what? I had a bad bearing in the rear that dragged every few revolutions. A new set of bearings and the rear was smooth as butter. So if you haven't already, make sure the hubs are in good working order.
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Old 08-21-08, 11:48 PM   #10
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I had to mess with my new Swift hubs a bit, too.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:02 AM   #11
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Thanks for the suggestion. They seemed fine when I first got the bike, and assumed they would still be so. I did have some problems with the headset not being adjusted properly when I first got the bike, so hub issues wouldn't surprise me.

Not insulted, itsmoot. While I'm not a mechanical simpleton, I'm still relatively new to working on bike bits. Lack of skills isn't the issue so much as a stronger desire to ride than to tinker. I've got the road bike pretty dialed in, so that's the one I grab when I get a chance to go for a ride. The poor swift just sits in the corner.

I'm going to devote some time this weekend to tweaking the Swift a bit. If I can get closer to how I like it without spending a mint on wheels, it will be spared the indignity of Ebay. Like I said, I'd like to find a way to keep the Swift over the Giant, but something is going to have to go soon. I've got three bikes and I only ride one.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:06 AM   #12
bendembroski
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Quote:
Originally Posted by james_swift View Post
I got an IRO Mark V...matched gear inches with my fixed Swift as close as possible...even matched the fit of both bikes as closely as possible...both bikes have 165mm cranks, drop bars, and even have the same clipless pedals. Swift: 19.2lb IRO: 19.3lb

My Swift definitely pulls away from stop lights quicker than my IRO, while the IRO requires less effort to maintain speed (and is thus harder to stop with back pedal pressure than my Swift). The IRO feels much heavier going up hills than the Swift (way heavier than the .1 lb difference would lead me to believe).

The 700C wheels have ben an improvement in top speed and ride comfort. Acceleration and climbing has been disappointing.
Interesting. Are the gear inches the same for both bikes?
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Old 08-22-08, 02:17 AM   #13
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Checked the tension of the spokes? A soft wheel can feel sluggish.
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Old 08-22-08, 02:54 AM   #14
bendembroski
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Checked the tension of the spokes? A soft wheel can feel sluggish.
On the to-do list. Never worked on a 20 inch wheel before. I'm assuming the spokes should feel a bit tighter than the 700c ?
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Old 08-22-08, 12:32 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bendembroski View Post
Interesting. Are the gear inches the same for both bikes?
IRO: 66 gear inches
Swift: 67 gear inches
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