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Swift folders

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Old 11-27-17, 09:09 PM
  #3776  
sdotkling
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Bikes: Tourer: Bilenky Midlands, ca. 2002. Road: Voodoo Bondeye (Scandium); Travel: Trek 950 steel, S&S coupled, 1" slicks; Folder: Swift Custom Aluminum, ca. 2004; generic Chinese Carbon; plus a few more

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Thanks for the compliments! The gray parts are indeed gray, and the yellow and gray are auto paints from a spray can. I cut a stencil by hand for the squiggle, and used it as a mask for the black color, also a spray can. (I'm a graphic designer, and a squiggle is standard shorthand for 'headline goes here.') Then I sprayed the whole thing with a 2-part highly toxic this-stuff-will-kill-you epoxy gloss called "Glamour." Up close, it ain't perfect, but it's pretty good for an amateur.
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Old 11-27-17, 09:37 PM
  #3777  
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Old 02-17-18, 04:11 PM
  #3778  
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Warning: this may sound like a commercial.

I'm surprised no one in this thread or anywhere in the FB forum has mentioned my favorite Xootr Swift upgrade - the Redshift ShockStop suspension stem. I've gone from a standard stem with Big Apples to the ShockStop with Primo Comets at 90psi and the improvement is dramatic - ride is smoother, bike feels quicker and more fun to ride. ShockStop is probably overpriced for a stem but is reasonable when considering other ways of adding a bit of suspension to the bike. Best thing is it doesn't compromise the rock solid feel of the Swift when climbing out of the saddle, which is the reason I prefer the Swift to most other folders. YMMV on this last point: I use the 30 degree stem with the stock (short) handlebars; if you used the 5 degree model with longer bars or drop bars you'd probably create more torque.

Anyway, as someone who goes back and forth trying to figure out the best compromise between comfort and performance, this has felt like the Holy Grail for a 20 incher. For me, it took the Swift from being a good folder to a great folder.
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Old 02-17-18, 06:13 PM
  #3779  
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Looks nice Trocadile.
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Old 02-19-18, 07:23 AM
  #3780  
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Originally Posted by Trocadile View Post
Warning: this may sound like a commercial.

I'm surprised no one in this thread or anywhere in the FB forum has mentioned my favorite Xootr Swift upgrade - the Redshift ShockStop suspension stem. I've gone from a standard stem with Big Apples to the ShockStop with Primo Comets at 90psi and the improvement is dramatic - ride is smoother, bike feels quicker and more fun to ride. ShockStop is probably overpriced for a stem but is reasonable when considering other ways of adding a bit of suspension to the bike. Best thing is it doesn't compromise the rock solid feel of the Swift when climbing out of the saddle, which is the reason I prefer the Swift to most other folders. YMMV on this last point: I use the 30 degree stem with the stock (short) handlebars; if you used the 5 degree model with longer bars or drop bars you'd probably create more torque.

Anyway, as someone who goes back and forth trying to figure out the best compromise between comfort and performance, this has felt like the Holy Grail for a 20 incher. For me, it took the Swift from being a good folder to a great folder.
I've just checked their website and was shocked at the price of the stems! They would be a risky investment if unable to 'try before you buy'. I use good quality, lightly padded 'bar tape (I have drop bars) with gel pads underneath and that stops the worst of the bad vibrations and shocks to the hands.
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Old 02-19-18, 08:01 AM
  #3781  
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Originally Posted by Paul Braithwait View Post
I've just checked their website and was shocked at the price of the stems! They would be a risky investment if unable to 'try before you buy'. I use good quality, lightly padded 'bar tape (I have drop bars) with gel pads underneath and that stops the worst of the bad vibrations and shocks to the hands.
I agree that the price is shocking for a stem and I only chanced it because I knew I could return it through Amazon. And, of course, anything related to comfort is very subjective anyway. But speaking as someone who always spends a few hundred miles fiddling with the front end of my bikes to get the hands and shoulders feeling right, and has tried every kind of bar, grip, tape, stem and tire out there - this has proved to be one of my best purchases. I will put it on any bike I build for myself without a suspension fork. Although I'm now so happy with the Swift I might not need another road bike.
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Old 02-24-18, 05:26 PM
  #3782  
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i dunno....wait until you try a nice handmade steel frame!

While I love my Swift, I hope to never part with my Miyata 1000.
The swift is very well built, fits perfectly behind a door, and is built well.
The Miyata seems to grip the road like a steel python, but flexes in just the right way.

I still love my swift...but if I lose enough weight, I'll reward myself with a Bike Friday Pakit someday.
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Old 02-25-18, 08:11 AM
  #3783  
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Originally Posted by mlau View Post
i dunno....wait until you try a nice handmade steel frame!

While I love my Swift, I hope to never part with my Miyata 1000.
The swift is very well built, fits perfectly behind a door, and is built well.
The Miyata seems to grip the road like a steel python, but flexes in just the right way.

I still love my swift...but if I lose enough weight, I'll reward myself with a Bike Friday Pakit someday.
Rode a Miyata Pro frame through much of the 80's - probably the least comfortable bike I ever owned. But not the fault of the frame material - more the fault of the rider who in his 20's was too ignorant to know how to make a bike comfortable and was only interested in going fast anyway. Now that same rider is in his 60's and has a very comfortable Reynolds 853-framed mountain bike and a very comfortable aluminum Swift - again, not because of the frame material, but because he knows more and comfort is now his priority.
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Old 02-26-18, 10:10 AM
  #3784  
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Originally Posted by Trocadile View Post
Rode a Miyata Pro frame through much of the 80's - probably the least comfortable bike I ever owned. But not the fault of the frame material - more the fault of the rider who in his 20's was too ignorant to know how to make a bike comfortable and was only interested in going fast anyway. Now that same rider is in his 60's and has a very comfortable Reynolds 853-framed mountain bike and a very comfortable aluminum Swift - again, not because of the frame material, but because he knows more and comfort is now his priority.
I think it's more the frame maker's intent instead of the brand.
The Miyata 1000 is a touring frame, and soaks up bumps really well...of course I have fairly weird body proportions and the weird anatomy works for me (stubby legs, longer torso).

The Swift is comfortable too (with big apples and a thudbuster), but my touring bike is a bit nicer (no need for any fancy add ons).
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Old 02-27-18, 09:54 AM
  #3785  
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Originally Posted by mlau View Post
I think it's more the frame maker's intent instead of the brand.
The Miyata 1000 is a touring frame, and soaks up bumps really well...of course I have fairly weird body proportions and the weird anatomy works for me (stubby legs, longer torso).

The Swift is comfortable too (with big apples and a thudbuster), but my touring bike is a bit nicer (no need for any fancy add ons).
Yup - geometry matters. But you wrote "try a nice handmade steel frame" - not "try a relaxed-geometry touring frame" - so that's what I responded to. And I agree that the Swift with Big Apples and a Thudbuster does not compare in ride quality to a good 700c touring bike. Both quality products - I've used them both (although I only tried the Thudbuster on another bike, not my Swift) - but, for me, I much prefer my current setup, which, as I suggested, does compare to a comfortable 700c bike - again, for me, maybe not for you.
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Old 02-27-18, 10:10 AM
  #3786  
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Originally Posted by Trocadile View Post
Yup - geometry matters. But you wrote "try a nice handmade steel frame" - not "try a relaxed-geometry touring frame" - so that's what I responded to. And I agree that the Swift with Big Apples and a Thudbuster does not compare in ride quality to a good 700c touring bike. Both quality products - I've used them both (although I only tried the Thudbuster on another bike, not my Swift) - but, for me, I much prefer my current setup, which, as I suggested, does compare to a comfortable 700c bike - again, for me, maybe not for you.
My understanding is that the Miyata 1000LT were handmade in Japan?

Anyways, we can agree that this love of bikes is a good thing, and that preferences are subjective.
Hell, regardless of what we're riding (and I'm a fellow Swift lover), it's a lot better for society, the environment, our health, and happiness than a....say Hummer.

Ride on!
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Old 02-27-18, 11:15 AM
  #3787  
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I'm not sure you can compare a 20" folder to a large wheel touring bike. The Xootr Swift was designed as a bike that was good to ride but just happened to fold for convenience. I have a Bianchi road bike with full Campagnolo group set and wheels and it is certainly faster on the road than the Swift. I use the Bianchi to keep fit and the Xootr for leisure rides. They both excel at their given duties but are very different and great to own.
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Old 02-27-18, 04:09 PM
  #3788  
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Originally Posted by Paul Braithwait View Post
I'm not sure you can compare a 20" folder to a large wheel touring bike. The Xootr Swift was designed as a bike that was good to ride but just happened to fold for convenience. I have a Bianchi road bike with full Campagnolo group set and wheels and it is certainly faster on the road than the Swift. I use the Bianchi to keep fit and the Xootr for leisure rides. They both excel at their given duties but are very different and great to own.
Sorry, if I wasn't clear. I was only comparing ride comfort of my Swift with an unsuspended road bike. It is now comparably comfortable over distance, whereas before it was definitely inferior. It will always be slower (except maybe going uphill), and it will always handle differently, as will any 406-wheeled-bike compared to a 622.
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Old 03-06-18, 10:59 PM
  #3789  
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I have a Swift and can't imagine getting a Big Apple on the rear, 1.75 yes but not 2.0. I would love to put a set of Big Ben's on.
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Old 03-07-18, 12:52 PM
  #3790  
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I had Schwalbe Big Apple 2.0's on my Swift,...fit perfectly.
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Old 03-09-18, 05:57 PM
  #3791  
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Originally Posted by Trocadile View Post
Yup - geometry matters. But you wrote "try a nice handmade steel frame" - not "try a relaxed-geometry touring frame" - so that's what I responded to. And I agree that the Swift with Big Apples and a Thudbuster does not compare in ride quality to a good 700c touring bike. Both quality products - I've used them both (although I only tried the Thudbuster on another bike, not my Swift) - but, for me, I much prefer my current setup, which, as I suggested, does compare to a comfortable 700c bike - again, for me, maybe not for you.
Btw, what's your current setup?

I might change my Swift's configuration.
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Old 03-10-18, 08:27 AM
  #3792  
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Originally Posted by mlau View Post
Btw, what's your current setup?

I might change my Swift's configuration.
Still mostly the stock Xootr other than what I mentioned. Swaps include saddle (old Brooks Imperial), grips (Ergon GP1), stem (Shockstop after trying several), tires (Primo Comet Kevlars after trying Big Apples), and brake pads (Avid 20Rs). I had different pedals for awhile but once I had a chance to overhaul the stock ones I went back to them with toe clips. I like flat bars, grip shifts and v-brakes so don't feel the need to upgrade those until I get some more use out of the ones it came with.
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Old 03-17-18, 08:37 AM
  #3793  
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chain-frame clash

I'm encountering difficulties with an Al alloy Swift in doing things that I've read others have managed.

I fitted a 56T chainring because the original one was extremely worn, and I often found the 11T cog was in use all the time on my other 406mm wheeled bikes, but the chain now rubs the chainstay on the 11T and 13T cog ( I read of someone using a 58T successfully).
To cure this, I split the axle spacer, and moved 2mm of spacer to the cassette side of the axle to give me a bit of clearance between the chain and the frame, but there is still only a clearance if I push the wheel fully forward in the dropouts.

The bike came with 50-406 Big Apples, but they rub the frame if I seat the wheel fully forward in the dropouts, but I read of others running with Big Apples. Is there a narrow version than the 50mm?

Is it really possible that the quality of frame build means that there is wide variation in frame clearance both with wheels, and with the chain?
I'm leaning towards getting some thinner tyres, but I'm not convinced 44 or 43mm won't be uncomfortably wide, too. I'm open to tyre recommendations.

Lastly, has anyone got a good colour match to the Swift blue so that I can order some touch up paint? Paint has worn off everywhere, from chain and tyre rubbing, and also from the bowden cable movement.
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Old 03-17-18, 09:09 AM
  #3794  
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If there is a NAPA store where you are I have found them are good in matching paint and will sell you a little bottle.
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Old 03-17-18, 11:43 AM
  #3795  
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Originally Posted by PebbledChin View Post
The bike came with 50-406 Big Apples, but they rub the frame if I seat the wheel fully forward in the dropouts, but I read of others running with Big Apples. Is there a narrow version than the 50mm?
For me and I think for others who've used Big Apples, the rear axle had to be moved back in the dropout to fit (one of the reasons I don't use Big Apples anymore).
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Old 03-18-18, 09:48 AM
  #3796  
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Have you checked with Xootr?

Originally Posted by 12boy View Post
If there is a NAPA store where you are I have found them are good in matching paint and will sell you a little bottle.
Maybe Xootr would still have some blue touch-up paint?
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Old 03-23-18, 02:53 PM
  #3797  
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Maiden Voyage with new-to-me Swift

Recent purchaser of a secondhand Swift here. Sharing my new setup, a few lingering issues to resolve, and a report from flying with her for the first time. Reading these reports in the forum helped me make the decision to buy my folder so hopefully this is useful to someone out there.

Frame is a stock Al Xootr swift ca. 2004. Modifications made include:

-drop bars, indexed 8-speed bar ends, cane creek v-brake drop levers
-threadless stem riser plus 100 mm straight stem
-standard road double chainrings (kept stock cranks)
-shimano 105 short cage RD, no-name top pull shimano FD
-20" x 1.5" schwalbe marathon tires (100 PSI)
-terry liberator x saddle, SPD pedals

Overall I'm really happy with the build and it's great for my kind of riding, which includes a lot of mid-distance recreational rides with ample hills and urban adventures. The ride is not too jarring in my opinion, though I think opting for the gel saddle was a good decision. I was able to dial the geometry to mirror my daily rider cross bike, and that along with some higher pressure tires made the ride feel pretty efficient - - efficient enough to beat my cycling partner on a 700c gravel bike on climbs as per our usual, anyhow I found that a longer stem, and bars a bit wider than my normal preference, were essential for reigning in the handling (how does anyone ride with that horrible shorty stock stem??)

There are still a few issues to work out though:

-the high BB height relative to the rear axle means the chain rubs the bottom of the front derailer cage on a combination of small chainring plus any of the 4 smallest cogs. just an annoyance but i'd like to modify the cage to avoid that
-after searching high and low I couldn't find any Swift front derailer clamps, so I kluged my own: made a clamp-on cable stop out of plumbing parts, cut off most of the integrated 31.8mm clamp on the derailer then slotted the remaining stub to thread the strap of a hose clamp through it. It actually works really well, but it's ugly and clunky so i'm still holding out hope that a Swift one materializes
-the clamp-on seatpost rack and bottle cage held on with zip ties I have now are kinda cheesy. I may spring for a crossrack and the newer model stem with the braze-ons.

I just came back from my first flying trip with the Swift. Scored a hardshell case at goodwill with the same dimensions as the f'lite. I opted to remove the rear triangle and fork completely to be able cram some other stuff in with the bike and also have some hope of the bag closing again if TSA decided to open and inspect it (both of which were accomplished easily this way). With the extra disassembly, I spent about an hour on the other end setting everything back up. On the way home I realized I could leave all the cables connected except the front brake so I expect the next reassembly to be a lot faster. Haven't decided if I'll always do a more thorough breakdown when I fly or give Swift's recommended packing method a try.

It was strange to be rolling around a giant almost-50-lb bag since I usually travel very light. But the convenience of having a bike ready to go and fitted to my preferences was worth the extra luggage. I figure I'm about $800 in between the bike/shipping and parts. I've already spent at least nearly that much on bike rental over the past year, so in the long run it's going to be a big money-saver.
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Old 03-23-18, 08:10 PM
  #3798  
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Nice bike!
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Old 03-23-18, 11:53 PM
  #3799  
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Originally Posted by factotum View Post
Recent purchaser of a secondhand Swift here. Sharing my new setup, a few lingering issues to resolve, and a report from flying with her for the first time. Reading these reports in the forum helped me make the decision to buy my folder so hopefully this is useful to someone out there.

Frame is a stock Al Xootr swift ca. 2004. Modifications made include:

-drop bars, indexed 8-speed bar ends, cane creek v-brake drop levers
-threadless stem riser plus 100 mm straight stem
-standard road double chainrings (kept stock cranks)
-shimano 105 short cage RD, no-name top pull shimano FD
-20" x 1.5" schwalbe marathon tires (100 PSI)
-terry liberator x saddle, SPD pedals

Overall I'm really happy with the build and it's great for my kind of riding, which includes a lot of mid-distance recreational rides with ample hills and urban adventures. The ride is not too jarring in my opinion, though I think opting for the gel saddle was a good decision. I was able to dial the geometry to mirror my daily rider cross bike, and that along with some higher pressure tires made the ride feel pretty efficient - - efficient enough to beat my cycling partner on a 700c gravel bike on climbs as per our usual, anyhow I found that a longer stem, and bars a bit wider than my normal preference, were essential for reigning in the handling (how does anyone ride with that horrible shorty stock stem??)

There are still a few issues to work out though:

-the high BB height relative to the rear axle means the chain rubs the bottom of the front derailer cage on a combination of small chainring plus any of the 4 smallest cogs. just an annoyance but i'd like to modify the cage to avoid that
-after searching high and low I couldn't find any Swift front derailer clamps, so I kluged my own: made a clamp-on cable stop out of plumbing parts, cut off most of the integrated 31.8mm clamp on the derailer then slotted the remaining stub to thread the strap of a hose clamp through it. It actually works really well, but it's ugly and clunky so i'm still holding out hope that a Swift one materializes
-the clamp-on seatpost rack and bottle cage held on with zip ties I have now are kinda cheesy. I may spring for a crossrack and the newer model stem with the braze-ons.

I just came back from my first flying trip with the Swift. Scored a hardshell case at goodwill with the same dimensions as the f'lite. I opted to remove the rear triangle and fork completely to be able cram some other stuff in with the bike and also have some hope of the bag closing again if TSA decided to open and inspect it (both of which were accomplished easily this way). With the extra disassembly, I spent about an hour on the other end setting everything back up. On the way home I realized I could leave all the cables connected except the front brake so I expect the next reassembly to be a lot faster. Haven't decided if I'll always do a more thorough breakdown when I fly or give Swift's recommended packing method a try.

It was strange to be rolling around a giant almost-50-lb bag since I usually travel very light. But the convenience of having a bike ready to go and fitted to my preferences was worth the extra luggage. I figure I'm about $800 in between the bike/shipping and parts. I've already spent at least nearly that much on bike rental over the past year, so in the long run it's going to be a big money-saver.
I have Marathons on my Swift and find them quite fast and durable but the stiff frame and small wheels make me want 2.0. I'm going to change the front to Schwalbe Big Bend and leave the rear with the Marathon 1.75. I wish I could get a 2.0 on the back. I changed out my derailuer to a mid cage Shimano 9 speed with trigger shifter and the front crank to 44. Works for me.
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Old 03-27-18, 04:36 PM
  #3800  
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Originally Posted by bent4me View Post
I have Marathons on my Swift and find them quite fast and durable but the stiff frame and small wheels make me want 2.0. I'm going to change the front to Schwalbe Big Bend and leave the rear with the Marathon 1.75. I wish I could get a 2.0 on the back. I changed out my derailuer to a mid cage Shimano 9 speed with trigger shifter and the front crank to 44. Works for me.
To be fair, I was riding in Hawaii where there were no potholes to speak of. I did commute on the swift for about a week here in Seattle before I left, where much of my route is a patchwork of potholes an uneven asphalt patches, though I suppose it's possible that my commuting brain is too occupied with not getting squashed by cars for the bumps to be memorable.
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