Thread: Swift folders
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Old 07-07-05, 11:08 PM
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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.

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