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Purr 11-11-05 07:39 PM

3 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by jyossarian
Post pics Purr!

Yes, yes, I know I've delayed for too long, but finally...PHOTOS!

The sliver beauty is my new 2005 Swift. Though she isn't as glamorous as James', she does have a few nifty details that make her mine:

- Sensas Head- and Tail-lights (powered by AAA's so they're recharger-friendly)
- IncrediBell (possibly to be replaced or supplemented by an air-horn)
- CyclePro Toe Clips (hand-me-downs from the BF)
- Performance Seat Pack (found lying around the BF's bike stuff...must be over 15 yrs old. Just bought a Topeak wedge today.)

While we're at it, I've included a shot of the BF's ride (which I've borrowed on occasion). It's the gray ghost over there. She's a 1987 Cannondale SR500 (though the frame paint scheme looks more to be SR400, the running gear's all SR500). The head-light's an LED flashlight with a homemade mount (which he's since improved). Other aftermarket mods include:

- Foam Handlebar Squishies
- CyclePro(?) Pedals with SureGrips
- Polar Insulated water bottle
- Falcon jet-ski air horn

When he's not using the headlight, he's got a mount for an old Handspring PDA running bike computer software.

Oh yeah...

...that white bike over there is the one that I used since my high-school days and ultimately turned me off to cycling for 15 years (read my sig). [Actually, that's not the butt-eating saddle of years gone by...I believe that one's in a land-fill somewhere.] How I came to own her is a post for another time. I had been considering upgrading her Johnny Cash style ("one-piece-at-a-time") but it would have ended up costing me more than a dime...probably close to the price of a new bike. So I decided to cut to the chase and just get a new bike. :D

May your hills and winds be of the "down" type,

Purr

jyossarian 11-11-05 11:01 PM

Nice pic of the Swift Purr. Somehow, it looks sleeker than the two road bikes next to it.

Purr 11-13-05 09:13 AM

Oh I don't know about that Jyossarian...much as I love my Swift, I still think the grey Candy on the right is kinda cool.

james_swift 11-13-05 09:38 AM

2 Attachment(s)
500-mile report...

After 3 months and over 500 miles on my Xootr Swift, I think now is about perfect time to check-in.

Background:

I bought my Swift originally as a commuter. I live in an apartment in SF where space is at a premium, and I take the commuter train to work where space aboard the bike cars is also scarce. My commute has been a daily 10-mile ride from home-->train-->work and back. My Swift takes me from the city to the suburbs over varrying terrain and traffic conditions, in rain and darkness of the short Winter days.

Performance:

The bike has been outstanding. I've been able to cover the 5-mile leg of my commute from the train to work in usually 10-12 minutes with an average speed of 17-18mph, depending on the wind, traffic signals (yeah, I stop at traffic lights) and cargo (lunch, change of clothes, tools, and occasionally a 6lb notebook computer). I'm definitely not in the best shape at 170lbs (give or take a couple of pizzas), but so long as I'm not late for the train or for work, then that's saying a lot about the Swift's performance abilities. By contrast, when I was commuting on my Dahon Vitesse, I needed to allot a minimum of 20 minutes for commute time just to catch my train.

Durability:

So far, nothing has fallen/broken off of the Swift. No creaks, clicks, or stange noises...except for one, which you will see below.

Here is my maintenance record after 500 miles (excluding routine stuff like chain cleaning and derailleur and brake adjustments):

a.) Headset - just your normal adjustment to tighten-up the front-end. The guys with custom-built Swifts with quality Ultegra headsets are probably laughing right now. ;)

b.) Derailleur hanger - mine was bent pretty bad after dropping the bike on it's side. The hanger is really soft material, and bends quite easily, I guess so as not to trash the derailleur itself or the dropout. I fixed this by removing the derailleur, then using a pair of channel-locks (with electrical tape covering the teeth so as not to chew anything) to grasp and bend the derailleur hanger back into alignment with the dropout.

c.) Brakes - I replaced my worn front pads with some Aztec 2's. After only 3 weeks of using them, they developed a really bad squeal/chatter. I re-surfaced the rims, removed the glaze from and toed-in the pads, but the squeal/chatter just wouldn't go away.

I just recently dumped the Aztecs for some dual-compound Kool-Stop Thinlines, and that took care of it. Aztecs brakes are crap...avoid them.

yes!
http://koolstop.com/brakes/V-BrakeHolder,jpg

no!
http://images.rei.com/media/686848Prd.jpg

I recommend re-surfacing your rims after 500 miles or so by removing the wheel, scrubbing-down the rim (brake-contact area only) with a ScotchBrite steel wool pad, let dry, then polish with a fine-grade sandpaper followed by a wipe-down with alcohol.

Update on the 20" Apex fenders I purchased - these things are useless...total crap. They provide very little coverage. I was drenched in grime and mud after my first major rain storm ride. Gonna break-down and get the PlanetBike fenders before the rainy season.

Update on Primo Comet Kevlar tires - No problems at all...no punctures, excellent performance, excellent ride/handling, even in wet weather...light, fast and durable. Get these tires. :)

So in recap, no major mechanical failures, stay away from Aztec brakes and Apex 20" fenders.

yangmusa 11-14-05 03:50 AM

Thanks for the update James! It makes me rethink the need for more gears in SF.. (yay, the move is just 2 months away now!)

Just one question though - it looks like you've covered/painted the rear triangle and forks black? And on the top tube just ahead of the seat there's a small black square - have you covered the bike in tape?? Anti-theft measure?

cheers, Magnus

james_swift 11-14-05 02:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yangmusa
Thanks for the update James! It makes me rethink the need for more gears in SF.. (yay, the move is just 2 months away now!)

Just one question though - it looks like you've covered/painted the rear triangle and forks black? And on the top tube just ahead of the seat there's a small black square - have you covered the bike in tape?? Anti-theft measure?

cheers, Magnus

You're moving to SF? The gearing on the Swift has been fine for me around here.

That's black electrical tape placed in strategic areas of the frame that have become chipped/scratched from contact with other bikes on the commuter train. :(

yangmusa 11-14-05 03:58 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by james_swift
You're moving to SF?

Yup! Will be leaving London in February, then floating around visiting friends & family until the end of Feb when I'll fly out to SF.


Quote:

Originally Posted by james_swift
The gearing on the Swift has been fine for me around here.

I think it would probably be ok for me too, for most things I want to do. I'm just wondering what it would be like on those hills with a full load of groceries? What about if I go touring (it's been known to happen..) and have a full load? So I've been talking to Peter about getting him to build a Swift with a DualDrive rear hub. As part of the deal various other bits are upgraded too, and the weight penalty for the rear hub wouldn't be that much. So I guess I'm hoping the bike will cover many uses outside of the "everyday around town".

Magnus

james_swift 11-14-05 04:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yangmusa
Yup! Will be leaving London in February, then floating around visiting friends & family until the end of Feb when I'll fly out to SF.

I think it would probably be ok for me too, for most things I want to do. I'm just wondering what it would be like on those hills with a full load of groceries? What about if I go touring (it's been known to happen..) and have a full load? So I've been talking to Peter about getting him to build a Swift with a DualDrive rear hub. As part of the deal various other bits are upgraded too, and the weight penalty for the rear hub wouldn't be that much. So I guess I'm hoping the bike will cover many uses outside of the "everyday around town".

Magnus

Wow, that's cool...any idea yet where in SF you'll be living? Certain districts in SF are notoriously hilly, while the area I live in is (SOMA) is relatively flat. A DualDrive rear hub wouldn't be a bad idea at all...it would allow you to ride out across the Bridge to Sausalito, then hammer back up the long climb loaded with groceries. ;)

MOKO 11-14-05 06:39 PM

2 Attachment(s)
GREAT REPORT JAMES...great intel

I just got back from NYC , walked all the way down to Broome St. from Central Park hoping to score a swift at the Bike Hub. When I finally arrived at the address......Nothing...they must have moved or went out of Biz. The local postman have no glue of thier locale. Had a NYC Kryptonite Bike Chain and lock with me so I could blast around the city. :( SAD ..Sites were great and had a blast anyway.Temp in the 60's.
Here's a pic of the Empire State Bldg and the Christmas Tree at the Rock...

yangmusa 11-15-05 12:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by james_swift
any idea yet where in SF you'll be living?

Not yet. We're aiming to get a sublet for a couple of months to start with, then start looking for something more permanent after we've settled in and know the city better. I think we'd like the inner Sunset, inner Richmond or Haight areas, but we'll just have to see :)

jyossarian 11-15-05 11:05 AM

SFO's nice. Lots of nice places to ride and not too far from nice country rides in Napa. Too bad there's no more beatniks hanging around get drunk and listen to jazz with.

yangmusa 11-15-05 12:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by jyossarian
SFO's nice. Lots of nice places to ride and not too far from nice country rides in Napa. Too bad there's no more beatniks hanging around get drunk and listen to jazz with.

He he, I plan to get drunk listening to jazz when I get there :) (umm, wait that would be just the same as over here!) I'm not a beatnik poet though, and I don't own a car so I'm afraid roadtrips are out ;) On my visits I didn't get a chance to explore much of the nightlife, but there must surely be some good music venues?

jyossarian 11-15-05 05:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by yangmusa
He he, I plan to get drunk listening to jazz when I get there :) (umm, wait that would be just the same as over here!) I'm not a beatnik poet though, and I don't own a car so I'm afraid roadtrips are out ;) On my visits I didn't get a chance to explore much of the nightlife, but there must surely be some good music venues?

Try posting in the SS/FG section. I'm sure those guys'll know some good spots in SFO.

cam-man 11-16-05 08:35 PM

After weeks of lurking I have joined your ranks and taken delivery on a Swift Folder. I was planning on getting a frame and building up a single speed or fixed gear for commuting, but when I emailed a place in New York that carries them I found out that the Cromoly frames were no longer being produced, just the aluminum ones from Taiwan. I guess I'm old school. My other bikes are steel Trek road bikes from the eighties. I really wanted a steel Swift. Then they told me they had a used Swift Folder with a Cromoly frame in excellent condition for not much more than the frame set. It came with a Nexus 7 speed hub which I read so many bad things about I wasn't sure I wanted it. Peter Reich offered to build the bike up as a single speed for the same price. I asked him what he thought, and he encouraged me to keep the Nexus. Am I glad I decided to leave it! I love the way that hub works! It's got a speed trigger, and it is so easy to use the gears. They are nicely spaced. I know it adds a couple of pounds, and I still plan on getting a one speed or fixed gear wheel set up, but for most uses I think the hub is the way to go. I'm extremely impressed with the bike. Stiff, responsive. It has Primo comet tires and an upgraded shimano headset and deore brakes. I have to be careful stopping. It wants to stop before I do. I'm 6'2" and the front stem is to short, so I have a longer one coming. With that and some bar ends I think it will be dialed in quite nicely. Thanks for all the good information. I love my new bike

jyossarian 11-17-05 09:42 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam-man
After weeks of lurking I have joined your ranks and taken delivery on a Swift Folder. I was planning on getting a frame and building up a single speed or fixed gear for commuting, but when I emailed a place in New York that carries them I found out that the Cromoly frames were no longer being produced, just the aluminum ones from Taiwan. I guess I'm old school. My other bikes are steel Trek road bikes from the eighties. I really wanted a steel Swift. Then they told me they had a used Swift Folder with a Cromoly frame in excellent condition for not much more than the frame set. It came with a Nexus 7 speed hub which I read so many bad things about I wasn't sure I wanted it. Peter Reich offered to build the bike up as a single speed for the same price. I asked him what he thought, and he encouraged me to keep the Nexus. Am I glad I decided to leave it! I love the way that hub works! It's got a speed trigger, and it is so easy to use the gears. They are nicely spaced. I know it adds a couple of pounds, and I still plan on getting a one speed or fixed gear wheel set up, but for most uses I think the hub is the way to go. I'm extremely impressed with the bike. Stiff, responsive. It has Primo comet tires and an upgraded shimano headset and deore brakes. I have to be careful stopping. It wants to stop before I do. I'm 6'2" and the front stem is to short, so I have a longer one coming. With that and some bar ends I think it will be dialed in quite nicely. Thanks for all the good information. I love my new bike

Congratulations! I thought Peter could still get the steel frames made in Linden, NJ if people really wanted them. They're a bit heavier though, something like 6 lbs heavier than the Al frames.

BruceMetras 11-17-05 11:20 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam-man
Peter Reich offered to build the bike up as a single speed for the same price. I asked him what he thought, and he encouraged me to keep the Nexus. Am I glad I decided to leave it! I love the way that hub works! It's got a speed trigger, and it is so easy to use the gears. They are nicely spaced. I know it adds a couple of pounds, and I still plan on getting a one speed or fixed gear wheel set up, but for most uses I think the hub is the way to go. I'm extremely impressed with the bike. Stiff, responsive. It has Primo comet tires and an upgraded shimano headset and deore brakes. I have to be careful stopping. It wants to stop before I do. I'm 6'2" and the front stem is to short, so I have a longer one coming. With that and some bar ends I think it will be dialed in quite nicely. Thanks for all the good information. I love my new bike

cam-man!!....nice!!.. great choice of bikes!!... I love mine!...Great going with the Nexus hub too... Seems hub gears don't get enough credit.... just did a Nexus 8spd hub for a Downtube FS and really like the way it works....may even build up another hub gear wheel for something else, but with less gears...maybe a 5spd..
Bruce

spambait11 11-17-05 01:36 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam-man
... I found out that the Cromoly frames were no longer being produced...

Cromo frames are still being produced.

guydickinson 11-18-05 01:21 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam-man
... It came with a Nexus 7 speed... It has Primo comet tires and an upgraded shimano headset and deore brakes...

Hey Cam-man - congratulations - that configuration sounds just like my custom Swift - sounds like it's a Peter Reich favourite combo!

Purr 11-18-05 07:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cam-man
After weeks of lurking I have joined your ranks and taken delivery on a Swift Folder.

Welcome aboard, Cam! It's always good to have another Swift-owner on the team! :)

Jollydriver 11-30-05 10:56 PM

Hello All

I have been viewing this thread waiting anxiously for the new member freeze to lift.

I am waiting for my new Silver Swift to arrive any day now (UPS tracker says tomorrow). I already have a list of modifications to accomplish, to include drop bars, Diacompe V287 brake levers, a different saddle, a longer stem, and a barcon shifter for the rear (luckily I have all of these parts from an old cyclocross bike). I am under the impression I will also have to change the derailleur if I want the barcon to index, but I was wondering if anyone else had played with this mod.

I realize I give up some folding size with the drop bars, but I see the Swift as my compact do-it-all bike from street to groomed trail use (a mini 'cross bike if you would). Down the road, I may also make up a set of singlespeed wheels based on the Surly flip-flop hub, but I'll have to wait to see how nice Santa thinks I have been this year.

By the way, it was this forum and some quick/excellent replies from the Xootr staff that convinced me to take the plunge. Here is some info I recieved from Xootr to pass along. The front fork spacing is standard 100mm, and the rear is 132.5mm allowing the use of most new road or mountain hubs (Surly does the same thing). The stock bottom bracket is a square taper. The 11-32 8 speed SRAM cassette should be a drop in mod to give a little better climbing gear. The chain stays are just under 50mm wide, so they estimated the largest usable tire would be in the 1.9 range (48mm). I don't think I will personally push the tire size beyond a 1.75 as there are some excellent 1.5-1.75 BMX tires these days for light trail use. For the road it sounds like the Primo is the way to go.

Once I've got the machine modded and up and running, I'll post some pics.

Later

acohen5212 12-01-05 03:03 PM

Does the Swift really fit in the luggage rack on the Caltrain Baby Bullet? The luggage racks I've seen there are plenty long, but provide very little vertical space. I can't even get my bike bag in there. Or are there some more capacious racks that I've been missing?

Thanks for any help!

james_swift 12-01-05 05:23 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by acohen5212
Does the Swift really fit in the luggage rack on the Caltrain Baby Bullet? The luggage racks I've seen there are plenty long, but provide very little vertical space. I can't even get my bike bag in there. Or are there some more capacious racks that I've been missing?

Thanks for any help!

Not on the luggage cars, but on the bike cars there are luggage "spaces" at the end of each bike rack.

I posted a pic on page 3: http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...1&page=3&pp=25

james_swift 12-01-05 05:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jollydriver
Hello All

I have been viewing this thread waiting anxiously for the new member freeze to lift.

I am waiting for my new Silver Swift to arrive any day now (UPS tracker says tomorrow). I already have a list of modifications to accomplish, to include drop bars, Diacompe V287 brake levers, a different saddle, a longer stem, and a barcon shifter for the rear (luckily I have all of these parts from an old cyclocross bike). I am under the impression I will also have to change the derailleur if I want the barcon to index, but I was wondering if anyone else had played with this mod.

I realize I give up some folding size with the drop bars, but I see the Swift as my compact do-it-all bike from street to groomed trail use (a mini 'cross bike if you would). Down the road, I may also make up a set of singlespeed wheels based on the Surly flip-flop hub, but I'll have to wait to see how nice Santa thinks I have been this year.

By the way, it was this forum and some quick/excellent replies from the Xootr staff that convinced me to take the plunge. Here is some info I recieved from Xootr to pass along. The front fork spacing is standard 100mm, and the rear is 132.5mm allowing the use of most new road or mountain hubs (Surly does the same thing). The stock bottom bracket is a square taper. The 11-32 8 speed SRAM cassette should be a drop in mod to give a little better climbing gear. The chain stays are just under 50mm wide, so they estimated the largest usable tire would be in the 1.9 range (48mm). I don't think I will personally push the tire size beyond a 1.75 as there are some excellent 1.5-1.75 BMX tires these days for light trail use. For the road it sounds like the Primo is the way to go.

Once I've got the machine modded and up and running, I'll post some pics.

Later

Wow, a cyclo-cross-Swift. Please do post some pics when you have everything dialed-in.

Precisely why I bought my Swift: standard parts. No weird proprietary parts/fittings. I can get parts for my Swift from my LBS, Performance/Nashbar, and even Toys-R-Us ;). It's all standard.

I tried getting a replacement rear axle nut for my Dahon Vitesse D5, and could not find a matching part anywhere. I tried the LBS I bought the bike from, an online specialty fastener shop, another LBS, Home Depot, Orchard Supply Hardware, and yes, even Dahon themselves. Nobody could produce the size axle nut and thread pitch that was spec'ed with the bike. :mad: That is when I decided to cut my losses on the Dahon and invest in a Swift.

Edit: Dahon did eventually ship me a new rear axle nut...only with a whole new bike attached to it! :D That's how tough it is to get replacement parts for some Dahons.

So I've had this brand-spanking-new Dahon Vitesse D5 that has 0 miles on it. I can't seem to pry myself away from my Swift long enough to take the Dahon for a spin. Maybe one day if the Swift develops 2 flats and a broken chain all at the same time. :)

kwarterlb 12-01-05 10:52 PM

Oh hey cool, I can finally post here. James, I think it's you I have to thank for pushing me over the edge into buying a Xootr Swift. I'd been hemming and hawing for quite some time over the purchase, checking their website every week or so, but was hesitant to buy without getting a chance to try one out, or at least see it in person.

I think I ran into you once outside the train station, and you were quite a good sport about answering my stupid questions about your bike. Thanks very much for that!

I took too long to decide, though, and now that I've taken delivery of my blue Xootr Swift, it's too rainy for me to ride without fenders. Argh!

My reasons for buying the Swift are slightly different from what I've read in this thread, so I figure I'll share just to offer another datapoint for any other potential Swift owners:

I first learned about the Xootr Swift looking for information about folding bikes, especially comparisons among different brands; I'm pretty sure the first mention I found of it was this page, apparently from one of the founders of Xootr itself.

I'd become pretty familiar with Dahon watching people get on and off Caltrain every day, and a co-worker even let me ride several blocks on one. They fold into a good package, but the ride just didn't feel right. On top of that, none are rated for a rider as heavy as I am (I weigh about 250lbs, not counting the heavy loads I usually carry on my bike).

I'd found a Birdy and some other more esoteric folders at bike shops around San Francisco (as well as several Dahon models, and other brands based on the Dahon design). None suited my desire for a "real bike" ride and need for a stronger frame.

The Xootr Swift fit the bill perfectly--it's quite apparent that it's a well-built bike, built to last, and only my inability to test-ride one gave me pause. Thanks to the discussions here, along with seeing James zip off so agilely on his, I figured it was worth a try.

I timed my purchase badly, and instead of showing up the day before Thanksgiving, it arrived the Monday after. I assembled the bike quickly and took it for a spin in San Francisco; the bike rides great, and feels just like a "real" bike (at least, what I remember of a "real" bike--I had to get rid of mine when I moved to San Francisco last year and couldn't afford an apartment large enough for my girlfriend AND the bike, thus my desire to get a folder).

I've not had much opportunity to ride yet, but my impressions so far:

- I *love* that there are so few unique components.

- The tires are great--I keep thinking of how I let my peers talk me out of riding a BMX bike in college, and here I am back on a "kid's bike". Pumped up to 100psi, these tires ride juuuust fine.

- So light! I think this is the lightest bicycle I've ever owned.

- Though it doesn't fold as small as a Dahon, the frame feels *solid*, and it's small enough for my purposes.

- It doesn't feel like a clown bike like the Dahon I'd ridden.

Pretty much the only drawbacks I've encountered for the bike so far involve the packing of the bike--the box says I only would need a wrench to attach the pedals, but I also needed an allen wrench to install the handlebar, and also needed to tighten the headset. Fortunately, though I had to get rid of my old bike last year, I got to keep all the tools I'd collected over the years, so this wasn't much of a problem.

I also have some small paint chips around the headset, but I figure the frame is aluminum, so I'm not in any real danger of rust (especially considering how hesitant I am to take it out in the rain : ).

These are tiny little things compared to the joy of this bike, but I worry that they could seriously frustrate other less glee-filled Xootr customers. I hope my bike was a chance exception.

Anyway, thanks again to everyone for the thoughtful contributions to this thread! I'm really looking forward to possible sunshine this weekend. : )

james_swift 12-01-05 11:33 PM

kwarterlb:

That's awesome. Glad you think as highly of your Swift as I do mine.

Yeah, being a Dahon owner myself, I liken it to riding a clown-bike with a noodley pogo-stick for a handlebar. Not very solid, and not the kind of bike to sprint out-of-the-saddle up a SF hill. The Swift proves that a folding bike doesn't have to ride and feel like one.

I know what you mean by the rain. I definitely wouldn't want to take my shiny, new blue Swift out in this weather. My Swift is coated in mud and road grime from commuting in the stuff.

I'm happy to report that my Swift has proven to be an excellent wet-weather bike as well, with much credit going to the Primo Comet Kevlar tires. I've taken many wet-road punctures before on my old road bike, so if there were an ultimate test for the Comets, it would have to be the grimey, slippery, wind-blown road-debris laden wet roads. On this rainy week, the Comets have eaten potholes, sizeable puddles with who-knows-what-is-at-the-bottom-of-them, big shards of broken glass (left at accident scenes at intersections), gravel, rocks of assorted sizes, twigs and wet leaves (the worst) without puncturing. I actually lost the front-end for a moment into a corner on a wet manhole cover...the kind of front-end slide where I knew I was going down and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I felt the front-end slide-out from under me about a foot, then suddenly, as the tire glided over the manhole cover and caught pavement, the tire regained traction and I was once again upright and rolling straight ahead! Whew! Man, I was certain I was a goner there for a moment.:eek: Kudos to Primo for an excellent tire.

I'll definitely be on the lookout now for a blue Swift on Caltrain and around SF. :) See ya around!


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