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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 09-27-08, 03:09 PM   #1
faffer
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Where to demo a Xootr Swift in the SF Bay area?

I was all set to go to Skates on Haight in San Francisco to test ride a Swift when I called ahead and they said "we have one here but it's chained to a desk and we lost the key." Anyone know of other options in the area that are accessible by public transit + bicycle?

What about the wider world of folders?
Here is what I know, can you add to it?

Warm Planet Bikes at the Caltrain station in SF looks like a great place (through the window) but I've never been there on a weekday. I saw lots of Dahon including a Smoothhound, Pacific Reach, and I think Bike Friday. Their website also says they sell Birdy and Strida. There is also a Brompton & Birdy dealer in Palo Alto, but I rode past there one day and it looks like a residence. Haven't asked him about test rides yet because I won't be in that price range unless I eliminate the Swift. The Off Ramp in Mountain View has the Giant Halfway and many Dahon models including the usual Speed and Mu series as well as a Glide and a few of the 26" wheel bikes.

PS. I think "Where can I ride X folder in Y city?" would make a good sticky topic.

Last edited by faffer; 09-27-08 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 09-29-08, 12:18 PM   #2
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According to the Xootr website's list of authorized retailers, there is a place in Berkely (it's a car repair shop first and foremost, strangely).
Oceanworks
2703 Tenth Street
Berkeley, CA 94710
(510) 849-1383
www.askangus.com
I don't know if they have any in stock or just order them for people, but you could call. I live in SF and ordered mine direct from Xootr on faith. I've been very happy.

-John

Quote:
Originally Posted by faffer View Post
I was all set to go to Skates on Haight in San Francisco to test ride a Swift when I called ahead and they said "we have one here but it's chained to a desk and we lost the key." Anyone know of other options in the area that are accessible by public transit + bicycle?

What about the wider world of folders?
Here is what I know, can you add to it?

Warm Planet Bikes at the Caltrain station in SF looks like a great place (through the window) but I've never been there on a weekday. I saw lots of Dahon including a Smoothhound, Pacific Reach, and I think Bike Friday. Their website also says they sell Birdy and Strida. There is also a Brompton & Birdy dealer in Palo Alto, but I rode past there one day and it looks like a residence. Haven't asked him about test rides yet because I won't be in that price range unless I eliminate the Swift. The Off Ramp in Mountain View has the Giant Halfway and many Dahon models including the usual Speed and Mu series as well as a Glide and a few of the 26" wheel bikes.

PS. I think "Where can I ride X folder in Y city?" would make a good sticky topic.
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Old 09-29-08, 07:49 PM   #3
faffer
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Update 10-10-08: Called up Oceanworks and they do have Swifts in the store.
========
Unfortunately if you click on the link there, you get this message saying they can't sell them due to their insurance company. Maybe things have changed though. I will try and call at some point.
==================

Last edited by faffer; 10-10-08 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 10-05-08, 10:50 PM   #4
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I am currently researching folding bikes and the swift looks very attractive to me. However I am tall (6'3", 34" inseam) and very reluctant to order a bike online without having tested if it will fit! For instance I checked out the Dahon Speed D7 which supposedly fits people up to 6'4" and I found the seatpost too short even when fully extended.

Also I haven't found any good specs on how small the swift folds down to which is another thing I'd like to know before I drop a few hundred dollars.

Anyway, I am hoping to find someone local who will let me check out their swift in exchange for lunch, coffee, beer, etc. Please PM me if interested and thanks in advance!
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Old 10-06-08, 05:12 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentben View Post
I am currently researching folding bikes and the swift looks very attractive to me. However I am tall (6'3", 34" inseam) and very reluctant to order a bike online without having tested if it will fit! ...

Also I haven't found any good specs on how small the swift folds down to which is another thing I'd like to know before I drop a few hundred dollars.
Good to try out the bike, but I'm fairly confident that with one of the extra-long Thudbuster 609mm suspension seatposts (aftermarket), the 12" stem-riser from Xootr, and a long stem (aftermarket), a Swift could be made to work for you. You may also need to get an adjustable stem that lets you bring the bars up or down, or handlebars like the ones shown here on LittlePixel's Raleigh Twenty. But the cockpit can be adjusted.

The Swift's fold makes it easy to pop into a trunk, but it is not optimized to be a "transit folder" [i.e. Swift main tube has no hinge; stem riser does not fold but can be removed yet when removed is free-floating; nothing to keep the front wheel in place when folded.] However, on California trains with bike cars, Swift sightings are said to be fairly common.

Regards
T

Last edited by timo888; 10-06-08 at 05:29 AM.
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Old 10-06-08, 05:30 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentben View Post
I am currently researching folding bikes and the swift looks very attractive to me. However I am tall (6'3", 34" inseam) and very reluctant to order a bike online without having tested if it will fit! ...

Also I haven't found any good specs on how small the swift folds down to which is another thing I'd like to know before I drop a few hundred dollars.
Good to try out the bike, but I'm fairly confident that with one of the extra-long Thudbuster 609mm posts (aftermarket), the 12" stem-riser from Xootr, and a long stem (aftermarket), a Swift could be made to work for you. You may need to get an adjustable stem so the bars can be moved up or down as well as forward.

The Swift's fold makes it easy to pop into a trunk, but it is not optimized to be a "transit folder" [main tube has no hinge; nothing to keep the front wheel in place when folded; stem-riser does not fold though can be removed yet when removed is free-floating.] However, on California trains with bike cars, Swift sightings are said to be fairly common.

Regards
T

Last edited by timo888; 10-06-08 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 10-06-08, 03:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by timo888 View Post
Good to try out the bike, but I'm fairly confident that with one of the extra-long Thudbuster 609mm suspension seatposts (aftermarket), the 12" stem-riser from Xootr, and a long stem (aftermarket), a Swift could be made to work for you. You may also need to get an adjustable stem that lets you bring the bars up or down, or handlebars like the ones shown here on LittlePixel's Raleigh Twenty. But the cockpit can be adjusted.

The Swift's fold makes it easy to pop into a trunk, but it is not optimized to be a "transit folder" [i.e. Swift main tube has no hinge; stem riser does not fold but can be removed yet when removed is free-floating; nothing to keep the front wheel in place when folded.] However, on California trains with bike cars, Swift sightings are said to be fairly common.

Regards
T
Hey Timo,

Thanks for the info about the sizing options for tall folks. With the Dahon it really felt like I was maxing out the limits of the bike in terms of sizing so good to know the Swift is more flexible here.

And I had read the threads about Swifts on Caltrain which is one of the reasons I was drawn to it since I'll be doing the same!

So other than the train, It's also important that I can easily take the bike in a small 4 seat airplane like a Cessna 172. Ideally I would be able to load it directly in the baggage compartment. The baggage door is about 15x22" though and so I think only a Brompton would fit. The Dahon Curve D3 might squeeze in diagonally but I'm not considering that because it's not enough bike for me.

So since the Swift almost certainly wouldn't fit in the baggage door I'd have to load it through the main door and up and over the seatbacks. Depending on how bulky it is I may be able to maneuver it into the baggage are or if not then it would have to ride on the back seats.

I've put a full sized road bike in the back of a Cessna before but it requires removing both wheels and the seat and it takes up the entire back seats plus half of the baggage area. Just about any folding bike would win here in terms of speed and ease of packing but if the Swift would need to sit on the back seats then it's only incrementally better than taking my road bike.

Ideally my girlfriend would get a folder too so we could fly into airports and then ride the usual 3-5 miles into town to explore. She'd probably be fine with one of the ultra small folders.

All that aside, I'd still like to see and touch a Swift before buying regardless of the 30 day money back guarantee. Maybe it's because the Dahon Speed D7 struck me as more cheaply constructed than I'd expected and I'd like to evaluate the Swift's fit and finish. If I didn't get the Swift then I'd be looking at the Bike Friday tikit but the Swift's price is so much more attractive if the quality feels right.
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Old 10-06-08, 03:58 PM   #8
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My sense, silentben, is that with the Swift you'd be spluttering expletives like a bad engine before very long.

The Swift's folded package is kept together by the seatpost: you withdraw the seatpost and the rear triangle pivots beneath the main tube and then you reinsert the seatpost, so that its tip presses against the rear tire, preventing the rear triangle from pivoting backwards.

With seat installed, the height of my folded Swift, with Thudbuster ST, is 42" at the seat. The length is 34" from front tire to rear of seat; to get the width narrower than 18" (stock bars slanted athwart the main tube) you'd have to remove the stem-riser (it quick-releases) and put it and the bars against the main tube.

With the Cessna, you'd be happier with a different bike.

Regards
T

Last edited by timo888; 10-06-08 at 04:10 PM.
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Old 10-07-08, 12:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silentben View Post
So since the Swift almost certainly wouldn't fit in the baggage door I'd have to load it through the main door and up and over the seatbacks. Depending on how bulky it is I may be able to maneuver it into the baggage are or if not then it would have to ride on the back seats.
Does this help?
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Old 10-10-08, 05:48 PM   #10
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Oceanworks does have Swifts in-store

Called them up and they said they have two Swifts available to in-store, sometimes more.
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Old 10-11-08, 06:27 PM   #11
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I was able to check out bikeforums member defixated's swift that he is about to sell. Thanks for letting me take it for a spin and kick the tires so to speak. Compared to the other folders I've seen so far, the Swift feels by far the most like a "real" bike.

Anyway I also measured the dimensions of a Cessna 172 baggage compartment and here's what I came up with:

Width: 29-31 inches depending on where you measure. 29" towards the rear, 31" towards the front but with a narrow section of 29" near the front where there is some extra plastic that protrudes inward.
Height: 31" in the rear, 38" at the front.
Depth: 23" at the bottom. 17" at the top with the rear seats fully upright. With the rear seats leaned forward, there would be 32" of clearance at the top.

Sadly, I must conclude that while I could probably shoehorn the Swift back there, it ultimately isn't the bike for me. This is too bad because I really do like the bike and it's reasonably priced. I guess I only get to pick two out of: folds small, good quality, low price.

Thanks all for the the input, I appreciate it.
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Old 05-19-12, 06:27 PM   #12
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I am selling my Xootr Swift: http://sfbay.craigslist.org/eby/bik/3025378452.html

It's a great bike, but unfortunately i've got to sell
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