Swift Folder/Xootr by Peter Reich
I currently own a Brompton, but decided to do a full on search for another bike so my wife could take over my Brompton. I narrowed it down to 1) another Brompton; 2) Bike Friday; and 3) a Xootr which was converted by Peter Reich to an 8 speed internal hub. I ruled out the Brompton because while I ride it everyday to work, it still did not have that big bike, smooth feel of a full size bike. I ruled out the Bike Friday (although I was very tempted by the tikit) because of the price, the not very good fold, and the fact that I couldn't find a good place to test ride it. I am sure it is a great bike, but couldn't find a place to test ride it.
I did test ride the xootr folder on the upper east side - although not the internal hub version, and immediately loved the ride. Firm and smooth. Still I wasn't crazy about having a big derailler system - having loved the simplicity of the Brompton 3 speed internal hub.
I read a lot about Peter Reich and his willingness to take the stock Xootr folder and modify it with the Shimano 8 speed internal hub. After e-mailing and discussing with Peter, I decided to go with it. It took him about a month to source the parts and to put it all together. I picked it up at Recycle a bicycle in Brooklyn and rode it home over the Brooklyn bridge to the upper west side.
It's now been about a year since I've had the bike and I just love it. Trust me, there is nobody that can say that it doesn't ride better than the Brompton. It rides a great deal smoother and is much more solid than the Brompton. There is no comparison. However, it does not fold nearly as nicely as the Brompton, so I continue to ride the Brompton to work for short rides.
But for taking a nice medium to long ride, I love the Xootr. The internal hub works like a charm and is simple as pie to use. I know that some say that it is heavy. I don't know if that is true, but it doesn't matter much to me. Peter did a great job putting it together and he is a joy to work with.
Now, the Xootr folds very simply, but not into the small package like the Brompton. So, if you plan to ride it to work, you will need a place to store it (rather than under your desk, like the Brompton), but if you have a space for it, the Xootr is a superior bike.
Since I never had the chance to demo the Tikit, I really can't say much about it. I was very close to getting one, and probably would have if I had gotten the various e-mails about discounts I now get. I am sure it is a great bike, and maybe it will be my next one. But, I'm so happy with the Peter Reich modified Xootr.
It's been a year since I got if and this review is well over due, but hope you appreciate it.