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  1. #1
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    Help me decide between Swift and Pocket Crusoe!

    New to folders but been doing a lot of research and think I have narrowed it down to two candidates: the Swift and Bike Friday Pocket Crusoe. Both would be configured as fixed gear to make as light and simple a bike as possible.

    (Feel free to skip to Clifs version below for the brass tacks summary) OK some background first. I need a bike I can easily store in the trunk of my small coupe/hatchback as its permanent home, to be ready anytime I feel the need to do some pedaling. It doesn’t have to fold super small or super fast since I won’t be doing multimodal commute with it, but at the same time it needs to leave some space in my trunk for groceries and the like. I’m thinking 30+” by 20+” by 10+” would be reasonable.

    Most of all I want a bike that is lightweight (<20lbs) and stiff (no stem flex when pounding uphill) and that can handle some light duty off-roading. I’m 6’2” and about 160lbs.

    Initially I was dead-set on a One-way Tikit (http://community.bikefriday.com/node/11263?styleId=0) which seemed to fulfill all my requirements. But then I talked to a BF rep who said that on rough gravelly roads he was slower and had to put in more concentration and effort when riding a Tikit vs a Pocket bike (with its larger 20” wheels). He also said that the folding volumes of the Tikit vs Pocket are roughly the same, just a different shape. Then he recommended the Crusoe as a bike that would fulfill all my criteria—lightweight, stiff stem, and still rugged enough for off-road. The downside is that the Pocket bikes don’t work well for fixed gear since the hub to BB distance changes on folding; the BF rep told me there are workarounds which I think I could live with (manual derailing, chain tensioners, etc.).

    So then I got to thinking that as long as I’m considering 20” wheels now, why not take a look at the Swift? It should be as lightweight as the Crusoe (more so due to the Al frame), has a great reputation for stiffness, ride quality and ruggedness—and all that at a really great price (relative to the Crusoe). Downside is that it doesn’t quickfold nearly as small; however, by taking off the front wheel, stem and seatpost, it can get down to roughly the same size and shape as the Crusoe. It’s definitely a pile of parts at that point but I’ll be bagging it up anyway.

    *Clifs notes summary*
    -----------------------------
    BF Pocket Crusoe:
    Pros: folds more conveniently (esp. with the new hinged stem option); ride quality; highly customizable, lightweight steel frame
    Cons: price (>1500USD); will need a chain tensioner or something similar for fixed gear setup or else the chain needs to be derailed during folding

    Swift:
    Pros: half the price of the Crusoe; folds flatter ultimately by a few inches; ride quality; customizable; unified rear triangle very fixed gear friendly
    Cons: huge quickfolded size (approaches Crusoe size with front wheel, stem and seatpost off, ie a less convenient fold); Al frame may not be as rugged as steel and with a less forgiving ride
    ------------------------------

    I live in a pretty flat city, but would like to take it on some rougher terrain sometimes (think light cross-country or cyclocross type riding) and no plans for touring…yet! I’m really going back and forth on this one and would appreciate opinions, insight, or suggestions about other folders I should look into.

    Thanks! -Robert

  2. #2
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    For what it is worth the Swift is coming out in a SS version. Bike Friday builds there bikes, cant they build you a Crusoe Fixed gear with track dropouts?

  3. #3
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    Yeah I just found out about the SS version, which is a big reason I started considering it. Not sure if BF can make the Crusoe with track dropouts (but probably). Would that help with folding the bike without the need to derail the chain or use a tensioner?

  4. #4
    Professional Fuss-Budget Bacciagalupe's Avatar
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    The Swift is a pretty good bike. Very solid ride, very stiff, affordable. I'd upgrade some of the parts though, specifically the shifters (grip shifters, bleah) and the rear derailleur. I'd also add bar-ends, most likely with Ergon grips.

    Let's face it though, the Swift fold kind of sucks, and the BF is better but not stellar. Either one is fine if you just want to throw it in the back of the car, BF is better for a suitcase.

    The Crusoe is the better if you want to specify the components and don't want to do it yourself, or prefer drops to flat bars.

    These days, I seriously doubt frame material has any real effect on ride feel. More likely is that the design of the Swift will make it feel more solid (mostly due to the shorter handle post and seat post) and a little rougher. Lower the tire pressure by like 5-10 psi, or use balloon tires, and Bob's yer uncle.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Foldable Two's Avatar
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    Wife has a Dual Dive Crusoe with folding seat post and stem riser - nice set-up and yes, it's stiff. Based upon our experience, 1.75" tires work best on mild off-road or gravel paths - far better than the 1.35" on our custom Fridays.

    Doubt you'll get the Crusoe under 20lbs even as a SS.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    The Swift is a pretty good bike. Very solid ride, very stiff, affordable. I'd upgrade some of the parts though, specifically the shifters (grip shifters, bleah) and the rear derailleur. I'd also add bar-ends, most likely with Ergon grips.
    I'll be ordering the SS version so I won't have to worry about the bleahness of the stock shifters and deraillers

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    Let's face it though, the Swift fold kind of sucks, and the BF is better but not stellar. Either one is fine if you just want to throw it in the back of the car, BF is better for a suitcase.
    Yes I thought long and hard about the fold. Bottom line is that I only need the smallest folded size if I was doing multimodal commute--in which case I'd get a Brompton and call it a day. The reality is that I don't really need it currently; I'd much rather have a great bike first and foremost--that happens to fold well enough to store in a trunk.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    The Crusoe is the better if you want to specify the components and don't want to do it yourself, or prefer drops to flat bars.
    The problem with the built to order Bike Friday's is that I don't actually know what I'll want or need on that bike yet. I'd much rather start with a blank slate and customize it myself bit by bit. But since I'm configuring it as a SS, it'll be somewhat stripped down anyway. The other issue with the Crusoe is that I'll need to get a custom fit at a bike shop. The frames come in different sizes so I need to know what will work best for me to take full advantage of the BTO. And then the bike will take 6-8 weeks to build...in other words, no instant gratification with the Crusoe

    Quote Originally Posted by Bacciagalupe View Post
    These days, I seriously doubt frame material has any real effect on ride feel. More likely is that the design of the Swift will make it feel more solid (mostly due to the shorter handle post and seat post) and a little rougher. Lower the tire pressure by like 5-10 psi, or use balloon tires, and Bob's yer uncle.
    I don't think I'd mind a rougher ride (coming from a cyclocross background), but then again I've never owned an Al frame bike so I don't really know what to expect.

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  8. #8
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    What part of the country are you located?

  9. #9
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    I would get one of these regardless of which one you get.
    http://aebike.com/product/sturmey-ar...u2219-qc30.htm

  10. #10
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    Funny you should mention this model. When I first started looking into folders, coming across the Mu Uno was my "aha" moment when I realized how awesome a lightweight simple SS(FG) folder could be. Then I started reading some more and thought that the center hinge might not make for a stiff (or rugged) enough frame; also some taller riders complained about the cockpit being a bit cramped. Then I saw Vik's one-way Tikit and I started to think more about Bike Friday's...until I realized the Swift might be a good middle ground.

    Edit: I'm in the SF bay Area, South Bay. Yes I've read through the Swift thread so I know there's quite a few owners here Maybe I can meet up with them.

  11. #11
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    Bruce Metras has a Uno with the 2 speed hub.

  12. #12
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Foldable Two View Post
    Wife has a Dual Dive Crusoe with folding seat post and stem riser - nice set-up and yes, it's stiff. Based upon our experience, 1.75" tires work best on mild off-road or gravel paths - far better than the 1.35" on our custom Fridays.

    Doubt you'll get the Crusoe under 20lbs even as a SS.
    The BF rep was also a little doubtful as to the accuracy of the weights listed on the BF website. Apparently, the weight values are not verified by actual weighing of the entire setup, but rather summed up from the weights of each individual part (as listed on the spec page). Thus the actual bike ultimately might weigh more. This jibes with some of the comments I've come across in the forums.

  14. #14
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    i put my swift on the back of my car (on a rack) every night for a drive + ride. i multimodal commute by day. i could fit it in the trunk but much quicker to strap on rack then fold and unfold, configure.

    as you said, i used to use a brompton, but i don't use a subway regularly, so it was overkill in terms of small folding

    i don't see taking off a front tire for a small trunk as a realistic frequent task. it will get annoying after a while. handlebars are quick and easy to do. i'll also say it gets annoying having to readjust your seat height every time you unfold.

    also, the folded shape of the swift, wihout tire removed, is very awkard in terms of trunks. it takes up my whole civics trunk, with some limited space above it.

    but overall, i love the swift's ride. i have an 8 speed internal hub.

  15. #15
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  16. #16
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Bike Friday Has a different way of chain tensioning , seems a reasonable design..
    2 bolts , one in a slot, and a couple small screws to pull the drop out back.

    You can see the parts in action in the thread Vic started. Tikit shares those parts.

  17. #17
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Bikesalot View Post
    Funny you should mention this model. When I first started looking into folders, coming across the Mu Uno was my "aha" moment when I realized how awesome a lightweight simple SS(FG) folder could be. Then I started reading some more and thought that the center hinge might not make for a stiff (or rugged) enough frame; also some taller riders complained about the cockpit being a bit cramped. .
    I don't think you need to worry about flex or ruggedness of the center hinge of the Uno. I've ridden Bruce's modified Uno and the cockpit is just fine for this 6 footer. There's one on Craigslist in the Bay Area for $475 or something right now. Worth taking a look at.

    I don't think you'll get a bad bike with any of these choices. It comes down to what the most important criteria is: price, fold size, stiffness, weight.

  18. #18
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    I have a swift. It rides great and is plent small to fit in a trunk. I don't know about the Crusoe...probably good as well.

  19. #19
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    Swift owner here--I love how the bike rides and I even use it multimodally on the subway in the morning without incident. It's very customizable and affordable and delivers you a lot of bike for the price.

    I've been able to fit it into a friend's Prius trunk without too much hassle. I'd recommend getting folding pedals to help make the fold more manageable. Removing the seatpost and popping off the headset is also no big deal. I second Nish's comments that removing the front wheel would be a hassle on regular basis, especially now that I've got an anti-theft skewer installed on it. It is also slightly annoying to readjust the saddle height everytime you unfold, but that's part and parcel of just about every folding bike design.

  20. #20
    Senior Member mtalinm's Avatar
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    I like the Swift fold a lot because it is fairly flat. this is great for the commuter rail, where they just really want it up against a wall of the train and out of the way. quick-release pedals make this a snap, and quick!

    I don't think the saddle height is such a problem; I just magic-markered a line at my fave height. if it really bothers you, buy a larger seatpost and cut it so that full insertion is your default (it happens to be so for my kid).

    I can't believe how light the Swift is! without a derailleur, and with lighter tires and seat it might be <20#
    Trek Domane 4.5 (commute/distance), Specialized Roubaix (climber), Xootr Swift (winter/travel), Trek Soho (around town)

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by nish2575 View Post
    i don't see taking off a front tire for a small trunk as a realistic frequent task. it will get annoying after a while. handlebars are quick and easy to do. i'll also say it gets annoying having to readjust your seat height every time you unfold.

    also, the folded shape of the swift, wihout tire removed, is very awkard in terms of trunks. it takes up my whole civics trunk, with some limited space above it.

    I was planning to pack the bike directly into a duffel sitting inside the trunk. Xootr carries a duffel in the right size on their website (with instructions about how to pack it).
    http://www.xootr.com/swift-carrybag-...tructions.html

    I'm sure the Crusoe would also fit into a similarly sized bag--the only difference being that I wouldn't have to remove the seatpost or wheel with the Crusoe. I'm fairly certain I could live with having to remove the extra parts on the Swift though; I'd only have to do it twice per trip and I won't usually be pressed for time when doing it.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynocoaster View Post
    Bruce Metras has a Uno with the 2 speed hub.
    Really digging the automatic gear change on that hub! I probably will also go with a hub when I decide to add gears--most likely a simple 2 or 3 speed (like the SA one you mentioned).

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
    I don't think you need to worry about flex or ruggedness of the center hinge of the Uno. I've ridden Bruce's modified Uno and the cockpit is just fine for this 6 footer. There's one on Craigslist in the Bay Area for $475 or something right now. Worth taking a look at.

    I don't think you'll get a bad bike with any of these choices. It comes down to what the most important criteria is: price, fold size, stiffness, weight.
    Thanks for the craigllist heads up. I might give him a call; Fairfax is a bit of a drive though.

    I would prioritize thusly:
    1a) weight
    1b) stiffness, ride quality, ruggedness, handling, etc.
    2a) price
    2b) fold size

  24. #24
    Eschew Obfuscation SesameCrunch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Bikesalot View Post
    Thanks for the craigllist heads up. I might give him a call; Fairfax is a bit of a drive though.

    I would prioritize thusly:
    1a) weight
    1b) stiffness, ride quality, ruggedness, handling, etc.
    2a) price
    2b) fold size

    This list of priorities says "Swift" to me.

    You should start a Poll. List these priorities, list the bike choices and have folks here take a vote. I bet the Swift would win...

  25. #25
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    I noticed they only have the black hub for sale now, http://aebike.com/product/sturmey-ar...u2219-qc30.htm

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