Does anyone own a swift folder that is one brand of folding bicycle never mentioned here.They may be a good alternative for someone seeking the single ride albeit not cheap.
Does anyone own a swift folder that is one brand of folding bicycle never mentioned here.They may be a good alternative for someone seeking the single ride albeit not cheap.
Seriously, that walmart folder is quick. Bam, bam, bam.... it's folded and you're walking.
I saw the Birdy folder. I can't stand the people at that company, but it seemed to fold quickly, but certainly did look about as cheap as the Walmart folder. It was funny to see the guy brag about how fast the Birdy folded, then unfold it, and in the process of trying to show me how efficient it is, he had to stop after about 3 pedal strokes to re-unfold the bike more fully so it would ride normal.
A British auto magazine test folding bikes available in the UK and recomended these
The winner easily outshone its rivals. New to the market, the Vitesse was outstanding at folding and unfolding, and was good to ride, too. It was also light and small. The Giant was simple to set up and comfortable, while the Birdy Red had excellent suspension.
1 Dahon Vitesse
2 Giant Halfway
3 Birdy Red
I haven't ridden the swift folder, but had a good look at one in the flesh.
I looked very neat and well made. The top tube spacing seems like that of a normal bike. It seemed to have very standard components, 100mm front and 135 rear hub OLN. Some suspension would be nice. An alterative to bike friday? (especially outside the US)
I test rode the Swift folder in New York City. It's a nice bike and rode well. The frame is stiffer than my Dahon Speed 8 and it can make for a rougher ride. On the plus side, since the frame doesn't split in two like Dahon, it doesn't feel a flexy. It's actually better for the heavier rider. I think a suspension seat post or a Brooks saddle would be in order. I told Peter Reich that he should buy some of Dahon's technology in making the package fold smaller. It's not an attractive fold and the fast fold is just not good enough and could be made better.
Peter's a nice guy and if I had an additional $800.00 under the couch, I would buy his bike. However, at that price, I think the Dahon Speed Pro gives you more value. I think the lowest end Bike Friday would match Peter's bike and would probably look nicer. (Sorry Peter)
Yes, really liked my Swift folder becauseOriginally Posted by james Haury
1. when I drove into the city I could take it out of the car trunk and ride off quickly. Had only to tighten two clamps. Faster and easier to unfold than any other folder I have owned (quite a few).
2. the ride is comfortable, more like a regular bike than other folders. 20-inch wheels are good, and the tires can be upgraded with faster skinny Continentals. Highway riding was fine.
3. the 7-speed Shimano hub was a pleasure to shift, working much better than any derailleur system. Had bought the single speed version of the bike, but the improvement with the new hub was great.
4. got a custom color paint job new from the dealer
5. the dealer, Peter, in Brooklyn NY is remarkably helpful and patient.
6. the long steering tube allows you to hang a small backpack on the handlebars without touching the wheel. Very practical for carrying more than most bikes will allow, excepting panniers
Made one big improvement, to extend the reach of the handlebars (I have long arms and like to lean forward, do not like to sit upright), by fitting a tandem rear stem to hold the handlebars. The steering is still just a little twitchy, not quite like a full-sized bike.
I'm looking for a few Swift folder owners to answer the questions on the ' Hitchikers guide to the folding bicycle' thread on this board. I'm trying to get a well rounded set of various brand owners to give the reasoning behind the hows/whys of ending up at their current bike choice. I think this will make great critical reading for newbies planning on purchasing a folding bike purchase.
I have owned my Swift Folder almost two years now. It is in stock gloss black powdercoated steel with a 7-speed Shimano internal hub gearset. It has been trouble-free, and is a fun bike to ride. I use it mostly for recreational riding, but it is durable enough for commuting, provided you don't require a wider gear range (i.e. >244%). The bike is easy to collapse into its simplest fold, with the seat tube joint flexed. In that fold, the bike takes up little floorspace, and could easily be stored in a corner in a small residence or office between uses. Removing the stem and bar, removing the wheels and other reductions in the folding size require more time and are not convenient except perhaps for cased air transport as a checked bag. I have not travelled with my bike that way, but I definitely would check this, and for that matter any bike only in a rigid container. The soft nylon zip case designed for the bike would not be protective enough.
I bought mine out of the need to have a solid roadworthy bike I could quickly put in my car trunk, out of sight, and quickly unfold at my destination. The Swift does all that. As with any 20in. wheeled bike, the steering is twitchy compared to a full-size wheeled bike, but even a modestly skilled rider can master that difference quickly.
The Swift is a road and prepared trail bike. I have taken mine to the Capital Cresent Trail near Washington, which is mostly paved, and it is a joy to ride. I suppose a shock-absorbing suspended seatpost would make the bike better for unpaved riding. I have not modified mine for this purpose, though. Bike Friday does this for its Lazy-F framed folders and I suppose the same could also be done for a Swift.
In the steel version, which Peter Reich sells, the bike is a little heavy, maybe 29 pounds. Mine may be more so as it appears to have reinforcing plate at the weld to the headset tube, made to accommodate a heavier rider like myself. The Xootr Aluminum copy, that uses the same frame design and a derailleur geartrain is much lighter and also cheaper (It is made in Asia, unlike the steel version that is made in the USA).
The Swift is not the sort of bike that can collapse as small as a Brompton can, and may not be as convenient on mass transit, for that reason. As to whether it is a lesser value than a Dahon, I think that is debatable. The Dahon is straight stock production; the Swift is semi-customized, can be modified to accommodate heavier riders, to fit various geartrains, bar sets, even color choices (I like the black; it makes the bike look less like a toy, as a brightly-colored folder sometimes can). So the higher cost also comes with added value and as such, I think it compares well with the Dahons.
I have a new Swift (now made by Xootr) on it's way to me. Can't wait to get it.
I was originally going to buy a Bike Friday NWT, but took one look at the Swift and had to have it. It's actually going to replace a 4-month old Dahon Vitesse D5, which I use(d) for commuting on the train.
Here's a review of the original steel Swift: http://www.phred.org/~alex/bikes/bf-vs-swift.html
My swift was delivered yesterday. It came partially assembled in the box. All I had to do was install the handlebar and stem, the seat and seatpost, and pedals. The bike was already tuned-up and smooth-riding right out of the box.
My first impressions:
1.) Sweet lookin': the smooth, laid-back angles of the seat tube and rear triangle, in additional to the long wheel base (compared to a typical folder), make it look sleek and fast.
2.) Feel the lite-ness: after hefting-around my 24lb Dahon for 4 months, lifting this bike is cake. The Swift is 22lbs in stock dress. The first thing I did was swap-out the saddle for a Ti-railed racing model, the aluminum bar for a carbon bar + carbon bar-ends, and the platform pedals for my Crank Bro's Candy-C's.
3.) The ride: it definitely doesn't feel like a folder...more like a road-bike, but with quicker steering and response (way quicker due to the 20" wheels); not as squirelly as my Dahon (I can stay upright waiting at traffic lights much easier on the Swift than on my Dahon). The aluminum frame is stiff, yet doesn't ride as harsh as one would assume a 20" wheeld bike would ride. Out-of-saddle cranking is solid; the bike accelerates quickly, and tracks surpisingly well. I still need to get used to the handling with such a short stem, but once I get more stretch over the bike with a longer stem, I'll feel more confident in corners. Right now, it just feels as if most of the weight is distributed to the back, and not enough to the front.
1.) The 60mm stem is way too short. No problem, since the bike uses a standard 1 1/8" threadless steerer tube, I can just slap-on a 130mm stem (which I plan to do this weekend).
2.) The SRAM handlebar grips are tiny....they look like they were deisgned to fit the hands of a toddler. Again, nothing a parts-swap won't fix.
3.) Handlebar is narrower than my Dahon's: doesn't look like a stock handlebar width to me. That, combined with the short stem and short grips made for a bit of a twitchy first-ride. Again, nothing a parts-swap won't fix.
4.) The SRAM grip-shift looks like it made of cheap toy plastic. Although it shifts smooth and clean, it just looks like it could break quite easily.
The coolness factor is prime with this bike. On the train this morning, I was immediately asked by a couple of riders: "Hey, is that a folding bike?". Personally, I never knew about this bike until one day when I was googling some info on folding bikes and stumbled across NYCEWheels.
Riding around my area with this bike really gives me the feeling of owning a one-of-a-kind. It may not fold-up as compactly as a Dahon or Brompton, but for it's limited foldability, you get a much better ride and way more customization options.
Last edited by james_swift; 10-25-05 at 04:25 PM.
Yes and,your name is on it already.
@ James. Hmm really... would you say the Swift rides better than a Brompton? Do you reckon or know from experience? Also do you think a swift will ride better than a tricked out/modded Raleigh Twenty. I just finished one (see other thread & my page) and i am curious how my 20 would compare to a Swift. If it wasn't for the price i might have bought a Swift rather than modded a 20 (everything, including the purchase price and a almost new lock set me back E 370). Now that i have finished i am very glad i did the 20 though! Certain charm to building up your bike yourself (well with some help) to your own preferences. Plus i think (don't know for sure!) that some of the components (Chain, Headset) i have incorporated in the 20 are higher grade than the equipment that comes "standard" on a Swift. Even so the Swift seems a great/gorguous bike and a good deal for someone who rather than get into the whole building proces.
I haven't ridden a Brompton nor a Raleigh. All I know is that after passing a Brompton on the road (with my Dahon), the Brompton didn't look very efficient nor comfortable. What I can say with certainty, however, is the Swift is a far superior ride to my own personal Dahon.Originally Posted by v1nce
So how much of a better ride is my Xootr Swift compared to my Dahon Vitesse D5?
One-way commute distance: 4 miles
(Averages calculated from 3 rides on each bike.)
1.) Swift: 17.98 mph
2.) Dahon: 14.65 mph
I've noticed that on a long flat section of my commute I am easily able to maintain 21mph with my Swift, whereas on the Dahon, I was struggling to keep 17mph. The real proof-in-the-pudding, however, is being able to keep-up with and sometimes even pass the usual roadies on Treks and Specializeds who used to leave me behind on my Dahon.
I actually was a hard-core roadie for 7 years, until I got hit by a car. The leg that took the brunt of the impact just never performed the same after the accident for me to sustain the fast-riding and the weekend century rides. My return to biking was more out of commute necessity than anything else. Having that roadie instinct still in me, I was not content tooting along on my Dahon at 16mph. That is why the Swift is so perfect for me:
1.) 72 deg seat tube angle
This is the same seat-tube angle as on my old Centurion road bike (R.I.P.). I'm able to get the perfect fore-aft position on my Swift for my personal riding style. The Swift really does feel like a road bike with BMX wheels.
2.) Adjustable stem height and length
The Swift uses the standard threadless Ahead-style stem. Getting the amount of stretch on the bike that I wanted was as easy as going out and buying a longer stem. No funky Syntace VRO extension adapter needed. Stem height is fully adjustable and is only a matter of loosening the stem and sliding it down the stem tube. You can even cut-down the stem tube with a hacksaw if you don't like that extra length of tube protruding above the stem in the lower positions.
3.) At 22lbs, the Swift is 2.4 lbs lighter than my Dahon. Xoootr says that the tires and tubes were spec'ed on the heavy side to make them bulllet-proof. They claim that by replacing their "generous" saddle with a racing sadlle, and changing-out the heavy tires and tubes with lighter ones, the Swift can be a sub-20lb ride. The original steel-framed swift was a hefty 29 lbs.
The Swift folds-up slightly faster than my Dahon, due mostly to the actual folding action. With the Swift, you merely undo 2 quick-release levers along the seat tube, then just swing the rear wheel under the top tube. The stem tube is also quick-release, similar in design to what Bike Friday uses. My Swift fits neatly into the same storage area on the train that I used to store my Dahon.
I'm very pleased with my Swift and highly recommend it to anyone stuck between deciding whether to buy a Bike Friday or Dahon.
I'm not sure you're comparing like for like here.. But I still appreciate you thoughts as I'm looking at getting a folder soon. My short list is Dahon Speed Pro or Xootr Swift. I test rode the Speed Pro and it fit me well enough.Originally Posted by james_swift
Faster yes, but same size? I can't find the folded dimensions of the Swift on the Xootr website, and their sales support are evading the question.. But it does say it's 13.5 ft3. The Speed pro is 11"*22"*33" which as far as I can tell is 4.5 ft3... The Swift definitely doesn't look as neat. I guess I might be able to live with that, since it is still packable into a suitcase. And for the difference in price I could buy a BikeRev trailer & suitcase!Originally Posted by james_swift
High praise indeed!Originally Posted by james_swift
Another thing that I can't get an answer from Xootr is - does the Swift have braze-ons for fenders? Where I live an everyday bike has to have fenders, and Xootr claim it can be "your only bike". What braze-ons (if any) does you bike have?
My Swift folds-up roughly 12" x 35" x 37". The height and length of the bike when folded can be reduced by up to 5" in both directions simply by removing the seatpost. The width of 12" is with non-folding clipless pedals. The length in terms of the actual footprint on the ground when folded (tire-to-tire) is 31". It's not a very compact and uniform fold like the Dahon, but it still gets me on the train and fits nicely in my cube at work and in the trunk of my car.Originally Posted by yangmusa
As for braze-ons, there are eyelets on the front fork for fenders, but the rear dropouts where the eyelets would usually go are used for the replaceable derailleur hanger. By the way, did I mention that the Swift has a replaceable derailleur hanger? How's that for serviceability? For a rear fender, I'd imagine you'd need to go with one of those seat post clamp-on models.
Again, my only caution should you get a Swift is expect to replace the stem. The 65mm stem is way too cramped for my 5'6" frame, and anyone taller than me will feel like their pushing a shopping cart. Swift does fit the bike with a 100mm stem for taller riders. I've actually fitted my Swift with a whopping 130mm stem, and it feels nice and stretched-out, the way I like it.
Thanks for the info
That's still better than the official quote - 8.99 ft3 vs. 13.5 ft3! (But twice as big as Dahon's 4.5 ft3)Originally Posted by james_swift
Then we're down to 6.7 ft3...Originally Posted by james_swift
Yeah, I guess there is such as thing as "small enough", even though that isn't the smallest out there. And if the ride quality makes up for it, well then..Originally Posted by james_swift
Hmm, not convinced that would be ideal for an everyday bike in a rainy climate..Originally Posted by james_swift
I'm 6' 4", so I guess that'll be the case! For my leg extension, with the 100 mm optional stem, according to Xootr the reach would be 538 mm. The Dahon is adjustable 620 - 720 mm! My Moulton feels fairly upright to me, but even that is around 600 mm...Originally Posted by james_swift
How about some pics of the bike? (Is there enough material around the rear dropouts to drill & tap for fender mounts, do you think?)
Well, it took them a while to reply, but Xootr emailed me with folded dimensions and to confirm that the bike does have braze-ons. In fact, one of their engineers has Planet Bike fenders on his.Originally Posted by yangmusa
They will be updating the FAQ on their website to include this info
@ James. A few more question if you don't mind.
How much did it cost you?
What is up with the removable derallieur bit/eyelet at the back? Is this a non-standard 'made only by Xootr' part or not? I really like that the Swift has horizontal dropouts by the way and is mostly standardized but i was just wondering about this. Anything else that is (potentially) non-standard?
Also, i also really like that due to the Alu frame it is a light bike. However i have little (and not particularly good) experience with Alu frames. Does it seem like good quality and impact resistent Alu with good welds? Do you think you could ride it for a decade or even 2 without it failing? I know those are hard questions to answer but i were to buy a new bike (and i would def. consider a Swift if i were) it is something i would want to know. Durability is primefor me. It comes before weight. But i don't mean my questions as critisism at all, it seems a great bike. But i am also very curious to it's exact nature as i have never seen one. Hope you can inform me!
I bought it from the Xootr site for $675 + $17 shipping.
I'm not sure if the replaceable derailleur hanger on the Swift is non-standard, as I've never actually owned a bike that had one. Aside from that, the only non-standard parts are the seat post and the stem post. The horizontal dropouts are also one reason why I got the bike, seeing that it would make for a good single-speed conversion one day.
The frame feels rigid with no flex whatsoever, regardless of how hard I crank out of the saddle, yet the ride is not as harsh as I expected. The welds are generous and have that "stacked-coins" look, which is presumeably indicative of a good, correct aluminium weld. I've been thrashing this bike around some nasty potholes in downtown San Francisco, and I haven't noticed anything in the bike frame that would have me concerned. As for a decade of trouble-free riding, I couldn't say just yet. Maybe after I've put some major miles on the bike I can give you a definite answer.
I thought a replaceable hanger was fairly common on MTBs?Originally Posted by james_swift
San Francisco, ey? James, have you tried out the Swift on Muni, Bart, busses etc..? Are they ok with the folded size? (I'm moving there in a couple of months so I'm curious.. )
I commute with the Swift every day on the Caltrain from San Francisco to Silicon Valley (Sunnyvale), and have had no problems. On the bike cars that hold 24 bikes, I just rack my Swift unfolded since there's plenty of space. On the "baby-bullet train" bike cars, which are strictly limited to 16 bikes, I always fold my swift and stow it conveniently in the luggage rack, just out of courtesy to the non-folding riders (hey, that's one less rider left behind).Originally Posted by yangmusa
CalTrain is a "life in itself"...you get to see the same guys, day-in and day-out, 2hrs a day out of every week day. On days when the train is crowded and the bike car is to capacity, "tempers flare" (TDF buzzword) and riders sometimes argue over rack space. That's why a folding bike is essential if you plan on not getting passed-up by a full train (and to work on time). It's not so bad now that they've added more trains on the heavy commute hours, but I still occasionally see riders left behind at the station.
Taken from CalTrain's Bike FAQ:
Yeah, right...anyone who rides CalTrain knows that you can barely get a Timbuktu messenger bag under the "seat in front of you", let alone a folding bike. I've never been asked to jam my folder under the seat in front of me (it's possible, but I'd probably need a rubber mallet).Folding bikes must be able to be stored under the seat in front of you, or be placed in the luggage racks provided by Caltrain.
I haven't tried the bus, but then again, I wouldn't even bother taking a Muni bus to any place in San Francisco, since it would easier, faster, and so much more pleasant to just ride my Swift.
The original steel Swift is 7 lbs heavier than the Xootr aluminum. It's also $975 and made in the USA. The Xootr is $675 and made in Taiwan. I believe you can still get the steel Swift from here: http://www.swiftfolder.com/spec.htmlOriginally Posted by spambait11