Greetings, Swift owners! I have just joined your club.
I've been riding folders for the past two years and during that time my needs have evolved. Initially, a compact fold was my biggest concern but as time has progressed, I have found myself less and less concerned with compactness and more and more concerned with speed and performance. Part of this has been driven by a longish commute (10-12 miles each way) and part by the fact that I started riding a full-size touring bike a year ago for long road trips, so I've gotten used to (and appreciative of) how powerfully a big bike can perform. And at the end of the day, I want to ride my bike as much as possible, so I want a bike that's going to encourage me to do that--a bike that feels effortless and joyful to ride, not one whose inadequacies I have to struggle against.
To show you the evolution, I have ridden in succession over the past two years a Downtube 8H, Downtube Mini, vintage 80's Peugeot, Downtube Nova, and Dahon Speed P8. As nice as the Dahon is, I was still feeling dissatisfied with the ride, and the folding was complicated and fiddly. I had heard great things about the Swift's performance, but I kept resisting because it seemed like the fold wasn't particularly good. Then--flash of insight--it occurred to me that as long as the fold was "good enough" to fit in the trunk of a taxi or car, it didn't need to be super-compact. At this point, I started seriously fantasizing about the Swift. Finally, I broke down and yesterday I went straight after work to a folding bike specialist, took the Swift on a test ride and, well, you know the rest... the credit card got handed over and I had a fantastic, zippy ride all 12 miles home--and passed several folks on "big bikes" along the way!
I love the simplicity and elegance of this machine, the beauty of the frame, the lightness of the bike, the slenderness of the footprint, the quickness of the fold, the power of the ride. And I love the fact that it was created by a local designer. I think I may have just found folding bike nirvana. It makes me wonder, what took me so long?
Guess it's time to sell the Dahon...
Last edited by Urbanis; 07-24-10 at 06:28 AM.
So, on to modding... I don't have the mechanical ingenuity and skill of just about everyone else on BF, and I don't want to needlessly clutter up the elegant simplicity of the Swift frame, but there are a few things I am planning on changing on my Swift:
* Replace the stock Kenda Kwest tires with Schwalbe Marathon Racers
* Add a water bottle cage to the headset
* Add lights and a bell to the handlebar and a rear light to the seat post
* Kickstand (possibly--will wait and see if I really need it)
The shop had already replaced the stock pedals with a very elegant pair of folding pedals (not the cheap plastic kind), which makes the fold even nicer.
Question: I am thinking about cargo-carrying options and what kind of rack might work. While I love the classic horizontal rear rack, it seems that this solution would interfere with the fold. I've looked at the cross-rack, but I'm don't like the vertical orientation (harder to strap random things to it) and that its weight is supported by the seat post. At the moment, I am seriously considering the Dahon Front Traveller Rack, which seems like it would provide the benefits of a standard horizontal frame-mounted rack without interfering with the fold. (I also like its look and price.) Your thoughts?
Aargh! I managed to swap the front tire but I am having an impossible time removing the rear wheel from the horizontal dropouts. I set the shifter to 8, unhooked the brake, and removed the spindle per the instruction manual, but I can barely get the wheel to budge. I guess it's time to go to my LBS. I wonder if everything's snugged too tightly in there. Sigh.
Removing the rear wheel of the Swift is a bit of a tricky task. Take the chain off the chainwheel as this will give you more room to work with. Pull the rear mechanism back and the wheel should slide out backwards. You will need a degree in juggling and a broad vocabulary! Once you've done it one it gets easier.
Hi Paul, thanks for your advice. I will say that even though I am no bike mechanic, I have removed plenty of rear wheels and this was the first time I was unsuccessful. I am taking it to the folding bike shop where I brought it and will sit with the mechanic while they remove it so I can see how it's done. At this point, I'm too frustrated and I don't want to inadvertently damage my beautiful new bike.
Do you (or anyone else reading this) have any thoughts about a front rack for carrying stuff? To me it looks like a better solution than the cross-rack. Also, I am very pleased with the water bottle cage I installed on the stem. It makes a convenient hook by which to hang the handlebars off the top tube when the bike is folded.
I like my Crossrack. What don't you like about it?
Hey neighbor! Are you still hauling your kids up the hill at the GWB?
What I don't like about the cross-rack is that it (1) just out the back, adding to the folded profile, (2) is vertical, so would make it more difficult to strap random objects on, unlike a horizontal rack (there's gravity to contend with), (3) hangs off the seat post, which both limits the distance with which one can push in the post (an integral part of the locked fold, no?) and seems like it could stress the post?
But if you've had positive experiences, please let me know! Any and all cargo-carrying solutions are being considered right now. Thanks.
Carradice's SQR ("Seatpost Quick Release") series of seatpost-mounted bags; there's the Tour, Slim, and Trax, which are all 16 liter bags of varying dimensions, and the Glentress 5 liter waterproof bag (which is what I have), as well as the SQR System, which basically gets you mounting hardware and a frame to which you can attach most any bag (or what have you). Capacity is 10kg (22 pounds), nearly that of the CrossRack, and much more than any other seatpost mount I could find (and the mounting is very secure and hardware is very high quality).
Yes, these are all seatpost mount, like Xootr's CrossRack, but the SQR mount is pretty low profile, and can be mounted right under the seat, so the seatpost can still go down almost as far when you fold (end of standard length seatpost gets within about 2-1/2" of the rear wheel.
(BTW, if you or anyone else do end up going with Carradice SQR, be sure to select "Size: large", which gets you mounting rings that will fit around the Swift's 34mm seatpost -- the "Size: standard" rings are too small.)
I've got a Crossrack and I like it too. I tried lots of rack/bag combos for my Swift and this one has worked the best for me. I use it on the front and the back. The back has proved best for heavier loads - as Noteon would attest - but the front is more convenient and it doesn't get in the way on the seatpost for the fold. The front is also better for getting the carryout BBQ home in some sort of order.
Hi tblott3, where/how on the front do you mount the crossrack? Can you describe or include a picture?
Nope, not hauling them up that one anymore. Now we go from Dyckman up to 181st on that long hill on Broadway most mornings. And occasionally up to the Cloisters on the way, for no rational reason.
Urbanis, if you're thinking of something like a Carradice bag, would a Bagman do what you want? http://www.velofred.com/product_info.php?products_id=38
I have one. It's a little under-engineered, but a little blue Loctite has held it together over half a dozen brevets.
Have you seen a Crossrack in person? We could rendezvous...
CarraDry SQR Glentress", which is a comparatively small (5 liter) waterproof bag using the SQR mount; the bag is essentially built around a frame very similar to (mostly a bit smaller than) the one you're looking at.
The leather straps for attaching the top of a normal saddlebag would go on the crossbar at the top of the frame, near where that carrying strap is attached (okay some of this is educated guesswork, I haven't seen that frame close up).
All of the Carradice SQR bags share a common frame, made of 6-7mm steel(yes?) rod, bent and welded so there's a long thin triangle frame on either side, with two crossbars connecting the triangles at one end, forming a rectangle roughly 2 inches on a side; this rectangle attaches to the SQR block on the seatpost. The picture shows roughly how things attach. All the SQR bags have the frame built in; they also sell a "SQR System" (or "SQR Uplift") which is essentially the system minus any bag (bring your own).
oversized coat-hanger thing sticking out behind the seat all the time (though I'm just going from pictures, haven't seen one up close).
tblott3, thank you!
You're very welcome, Urbanis.
Hi Swifters, thanks for all your advice so far on cargo-carrying solutions. I am so sick already of hauling heavy things around on my back that I went ahead and bought a Dahon Traveller Front Rack from our beloved Thor and Ergon GR2 grips. Noteon and I will schedule a date for me to check out his crossrack soon.
I should be doing a bike photo session in a few days since I need to sell my Dahon, so pictures are coming...
Also, this was my first morning taking the Swift on the subway during rush hour. Even though the fold is less compact than my Dahon, it actually was easier to manage and took up less room in the car, due to the slender footprint. And it was refreshingly quick to fold and unfold it, and light enough to carry easily up and down stairs in the station.
I'm seriously in love with this bicycle. What an amazing design!
Just wanted to share that I hit 40mph downhill this past weekend in an organized ride with the Swift Folder. I felt secure on it and even passed some roadies on their high end bikes (must have been the steel frame, IGH, and all the other misc accessories )
Bumping up the thread with a question...
So I was riding home last night and about 4 miles from home bailed and took the subway--I was pooped! I was feeling both annoyed by carrying things on my back (can't wait for that rack to arrive!) and tired by leaning over so far to reach the handlebars. If I wanted to achieve a more upright position, should I consider getting the taller riser (12"/300mm) or shorter stem (60mm, 5 deg) or both? I'm 5'8" (173cm) tall with a sleeve length of about 32" (81cm).
Thanks for your input.
You should probably get both. But don't get rid of the other items - as you gain riding experience, you may want to resume the more forward reach position again.
My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/
Hm, looking at the stems again, the standard and short are both 60mm; the only difference is the angle (standard is 35 deg, short is 5 deg). Since the length is the same and the stem angles upwards, I'd actually have a shorter distance to the handlebars with the standard, rather than the short. Correct?
In any case, I'm going to do so more riding with the stock set-up to see if I was having a bad moment or whether I'd really prefer a taller riser.