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Thread: swift folders

  1. #2376
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    @Paul, at one point you had butterfly trekking bars which you seemed to like for the variety of hand positions, but then you gave those up and at some point installed drop bars (if I'm reading your Swift history correctly). Can you comment about what you liked/disliked about the trekking bars and what is working for you with the drop bars? Also, I noticed that at one point you had an arrangement similar to the one I'm contemplating--the stock bar with ski bar ends. (I would do same but with slightly longer bar--540 mm.) Can you comment on this arrangement? I have a nasty hill on my commute and I'm thinking the ski bar ends would help when I need to stand and mash my way to the top in granny gear.

  2. #2377
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    I have a nasty hill on my commute and I'm thinking the ski bar ends would help when I need to stand and mash my way to the top in granny gear.
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  3. #2378
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    You got it! You flashed through my mind as I was working my way up it this evening and I was wondering how on earth you managed to do it with two children in tow, who can only get larger and heavier as the months and years go by. You have my admiration.

  4. #2379
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    When your pride and joy will roll backwards down a 20% grade and crash into a concrete tunnel opening if you don't get up the hill...you get up the hill.

    Gearing is secondary.
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  5. #2380
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    I am now getting to the point in my Swift evolution that I am considering a drop bar style layout or "bull" bars. I know it will require some changes. I tried to go through all the posts but wow is that long. Wish we could have our own swift forum.

    What are the parts required? I am more than willing to spend some money to do this so if someone has made this mod and really like what they have or know of an upgrade please post.

    Thanks!

  6. #2381
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Maybe a dumb idea--but it seems like there are several people thinking of (or partway through) new projects, and at least a few more who have information and find the whole thing interesting.

    Would a scheduled "Swift chat" for an hour someplace be worthwhile?
    RIDE: Short fiction about bicycles • RUSA #5538
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  7. #2382
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    We could also 'breakaway' and start our own Yahoo user group or request our own section here as well.

    I ride up the Westside pretty frequently. I have a black swift with bar ends and wear an orange helmet. Usually go after traditional work hours.

  8. #2383
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    Knowspics, how do you like your bar ends? Do you find them useful for climbing hills out of the saddle? Any fold issues when taking the handlebars off for storage (like the bar ends sticking out too far)?

  9. #2384
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    I use the bar ends more for resting. I used to race road and mtn bike so from my road racing days I climbed mostly in my saddle. When mtn racing I always used my bar ends for short nasty hills but tended to stay in the saddle for the long uphills. I want my bike to be more road llike which is why I want to switch to drop bars or at a minimum time trial bars. I find many more places to rest my hands on drop bars than straight bars. I hope that makes sense and does not confuse.

    If I can find the parts to change to drop bars I am doing it. For me it is a no brainer. The hard part will be finding what will fit and what works.

    I was also a bicycle mechanic 25 years ago so I am comfy tweaking stuff.

  10. #2385
    Senior Member Paul Braithwait's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    @Paul, at one point you had butterfly trekking bars which you seemed to like for the variety of hand positions, but then you gave those up and at some point installed drop bars (if I'm reading your Swift history correctly). Can you comment about what you liked/disliked about the trekking bars and what is working for you with the drop bars? Also, I noticed that at one point you had an arrangement similar to the one I'm contemplating--the stock bar with ski bar ends. (I would do same but with slightly longer bar--540 mm.) Can you comment on this arrangement? I have a nasty hill on my commute and I'm thinking the ski bar ends would help when I need to stand and mash my way to the top in granny gear.
    I tried the butterfly bars after reading other riders' postings about them. They did provide plenty of hand positions but they were very wide - 56cm if I remember rightly. This made the Swift more bulky and defeated the object of having a compact folding bike. They would be very good on a long distance tourer but were out of place on the Swift. I also tried several types of 'bar ends from simple bolt on models, through Cane Creek grips and ends to Ergon touring styles. They all worked to a certain extent but I think I was so used to using drop bars on my other bikes that switching to flat bars was too much of a change.

    Fitting drops is not that difficult. I am using a set of 3T Morph bars that are 44 cms wide. (The small photo shows Ritchey drops which were too bulky and more suited to my racing bike - so I changed them). I like the shape of the 3T 'bars and being able to run the brake cables under the 'bar tape has made the front end of the bike tidier with less to get snagged when folding. All you need are a pair of brake levers that can work with V brakes (not expensive) and somewhere to house the twistgrip. I use a 'T' bar, made for the job, by St. John Street cycles in the UK. The drops have transformed the Swift. It feels more like my racing bike (not that I race) and I think I'm riding just a couple of miles an hour faster than I was - not that Lance Armstrong will lose sleep over me! I like the look of the Swift with drop 'bars it looks sportier and less cluttered. I no longer get the 'bar ends and cables caught on things when folding and stowing the bike in the back of my car. 'Bar ends will help you on climbs if you pull against them but be careful what shape of flat 'bars you use. I tried a pair of slightly upsept bars and found that when I pulled on them up hills the front wheel would come off the ground as too much of my weight was placed over the rear wheel. I also found that my more upright sitting position slowed me down with the wind hitting my chest.

    The Swift can be altered to suit your requirements very easily using stock parts from any good bike shop. I think I've found my perfect set-up........until next time!

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  11. #2386
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    Is there anyone here that ever bags their Swift? What's your solution?

    I don't usually bag my bike but I can think of a few occasions where it would be handy (for example, throwing in the carriage bin of an intercity bus or needing to disguise as luggage). I looked this morning at the Xootr Swift Carry Bag and the packing instructions are a somewhat of a PITA. On other bikes I've owned (e.g., Downtube 8H and Mini), it was sufficient to fold the bike and stuff it into the bag. This official Swift bag requires more disassembly and fiddling to make it all fit. Obviously, it's not a big deal to pop off the headset or remove the seatpost but having to remove the front wheel, while not difficult, gets into annoying territory for me--your fingers get greasy, you have to find a place to stash the skewer, caps, and springs, it's extra time to reassemble, etc. I would love a solution more along the lines of fold the bike, pop off the headset, and put a large drawstring cloak or bag on it.

    Thoughts? Suggestions?

  12. #2387
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    Second question: fenders. I read through the various posts about them. It seems some people are satisfied with the Xootr-designed Planet Bike fenders, others like Paul Braithwaite and Jur use clip-on models. I heard the concern expressed that with the PB fenders, the rear wheel can be challenging to remove. Is this true? And are clip-ons even up to the task?

    For now, I'm doing without on the premise that the Swift is my commuter, not my long-distance touring bike (which is fitted with full fenders) and I can always bail out on the subway if it starts pouring. I'm not a big fan of riding in a downpour, although it rained so much last spring and summer, I even completed a century in one (and was thoroughly soaked by the end--yuck!).

  13. #2388
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    Third discussion point: handlebars. On further examination of my bike folded and unfolded, I now think I will first try adding bar ends to the stock flat bar. Although I wish the stock bar were wider, I think Xootr settled on a 500 mm width so that the bar could fit along the top tube in the more compact folded position. And I can live with the current width. But I've been paying attention to how I climb steep hills out of the saddle and I think bar ends would help. (And they could also help with the occasional time when I'd want a more streamlined, stretched-out position). I have drop bars on my touring bike but I don't ride in the drops much, so I'm not sure they'd be all that useful on my Swift.

  14. #2389
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Urbanis View Post
    Second question: fenders. I read through the various posts about them. It seems some people are satisfied with the Xootr-designed Planet Bike fenders, others like Paul Braithwaite and Jur use clip-on models.
    I'm satisfied with the Planet Bike fenders when they're not rubbing anything or rattling. Which means pretty much, I've ditched them and I'm using a clip-on.

    As for handlebars, let's get together and you can try out my Dimension Trekking Bar. It's hard to find, but it might give you some thoughts about different approaches.
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  15. #2390
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    If you haven't tried barends before, then I can strongly recommend them, for extra hand positions and especially for climbing out of the saddle - they make a *huge* difference. One, you grip further forwards (very good for climbing), two, your hands are at a more natural angle (very good for climbing), three, your hands are at a wider position than on flatbar grips (very good for climbing).

    I have taught myself to rotate my hands around to the grip position and back to the barends while climbing out of the saddle, in order to shift gears when needed.
    My folding bike photo essays www.dekter.net/

  16. #2391
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    bagging - i expect to do this in a bus station soon, but from doing it at home:
    i use a bike friday bag, per bfold's suggestion
    i leave the tires on, only extra step is detach my crossrack
    i use two wide velcro straps for securing handlebars to frame, one skinny velcro strap for securing crossrack to frame

    i dread having to do this in public, as its awkward, and nowhere as easy as the old brompton, but its only once a month or so.

  17. #2392
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    fenders -

    from my 2 months, planet bike fenders are ok. haven't had to remove rear wheel yet (go marathon plus!).

    i would consider clip-ons, but i already have plenty of other things to remember to take when i go out on my bike, its nice not to have to think about the fenders.

  18. #2393
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    Quote Originally Posted by noteon View Post
    I'm satisfied with the Planet Bike fenders when they're not rubbing anything or rattling. Which means pretty much, I've ditched them and I'm using a clip-on.

    As for handlebars, let's get together and you can try out my Dimension Trekking Bar. It's hard to find, but it might give you some thoughts about different approaches.
    Dude, don't tease him w/ those Trekking Bars. Another will never be found...
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  19. #2394
    Drops small screws noteon's Avatar
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    Well, you never know.

    And he might find something with similar hand positions.

    You know what--I've also got a Titec H-bar I haven't gotten around to selling. You're welcome to drop by and check that out, too. It didn't work with my IGH shifter.
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  20. #2395
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    On Friday I went to bfold to check out their bar end options and since they don't carry the ski bar ends, I had them install mini bar ends. I like them--they struck me as very useful on my ride home. I will continue testing them this week but I think I may eventually want the full ski bar ends for more hand positions. The H-bar looks intriguing but I'm concerned it may cause problems in the compact fold department.

    Nish, did you get your Bike Friday bag from bfold or from the BF store? Did you get the BF Travel Bag, Standard 34"x 29"x 9" (Black) version?

  21. #2396
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    So I have some fun Swift gossip--I was biking around Governor's Island this weekend and happened to pass someone else on a Swift, but his was clearly the steel-frame version designed by Peter Reich. It turns out he lives near Peter and is a Swift tester. I asked him about the "Swift 2.0" model I had read about here and whether it had ever seen the light of day. He said Peter had completed the model but it had never gone to commercial release because the wheels were a non-standard size (22"?). Apparently, Peter felt the larger wheels created a better geometry, although the tester said he didn't really notice a difference.

    The tester also commented that the Swift was his fun bike for riding around and the Brompton was commuting bike because he could carry his things on it. I pointed out that I had a very nice rear rack installed on mine and that it didn't interfere with the folding mechanism, so his Swift could be more versatile than at present.

  22. #2397
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    Have some parts compatibility questions:

    I was considering using BikeNashbars microshift levers (someone here suggested this) and derailleurs but it does not state exactly which shimano parts they work with. Can I assume all within the speed range? Anyone have any experience with these?

    I want to keep my same distance stem wise when I go to drops. Anyone who has made the change to drops what is your experience when choosing a new stem? Is it higher angle and shorter length or just length? The distance most important to me would be using the hoods/levers as a point of departure compared to the straight bars I have now?

    I'm likely keeping the v brakes so will have to order the 'thing' that makes them work. Have to do this due to my heels already brushing the rear triangle.

  23. #2398
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    Quote Originally Posted by knowspics View Post
    Have some parts compatibility questions:

    I was considering using BikeNashbars microshift levers (someone here suggested this) and derailleurs but it does not state exactly which shimano parts they work with.
    Microshift levers are Shimano compatible. Any Shimano medium or long cage rear derailleur made for 8-speed or higher will work.

  24. #2399
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    bfold, per his recommendation. fits nice and snug. don't see much use for it beyond peter pan bus. don't need to bag for amtrak, don't need to bag for car. i'm not sure which one of bf bags, i'm sure david can tell you

  25. #2400
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    Nish, when you nice and snug, I wonder whether my bike would fit in the bag since I have a rear rack and have added mini bar-ends to the handlebars. Is there some room available around the rear wheel when you bag it?

    I would use the bag for the same purpose--long-distance buses and perhaps for getting into places where they wouldn't allow a bike.

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