Review: Swift Carbon Ultravox TI road bike

Great riding bike that you may not have ever heard of

Road Bike
The ride was smooth and confidence inspiring.

The ride was smooth and confidence inspiring.

Lowdown: Swift Carbon Ultravox TI

Swift Carbon is one of those brands on the periphery. Cool looking, well designed and sponsoring notable teams (Australia’s Drapac UCI pro team in this case) but not that common. You won’t likely see one of these frames on your weekend ride. Out of the box, I was intrigued. The components and frame looked great. But how did it fare on the road. Read the full review below to find out.

Stat Box
Weight: 15.3 pounds sans pedals Wheelset weight: 1655 grams
Claimed frame weight: 900 grams Saddle: Fizik Aliante
Parts: SRAM Red with Force cassette (50/34 + 11-23 gearing) Tires: Michelin Lithium
Cockpit: Zipp Service Course MSRP: $2900 (frame)
Wheelset: Zipp 30 clincher Rating: 4.0 4 out of 5 stars

Pluses
Minuses
  • Velvety ride
  • Terrible tires
  • Great steering
  • Unusual sizing
  • Excellent descending
  • Sluggish climbing
  • Interesting component choice
  • Rear wheel braking
  • Looks great
  • Inner tubes valves too short

At 15.3 pounds, this bike is ready to climb.

At 15.3 pounds, this bike is ready to climb.

Review: Swift Carbon Ultravox TI

The label “Made in China” has definite negative connotation. But it’s a bit of unfounded. A lot of things are made in China. And a lot of things are being outsourced so why not embrace it? That is what Swift has done. They’ve relocated headquarters to China to oversee the manufacturing process of their carbon bike frames. This puts them closer to the factory where they can monitor quality control and make fine adjustments. Company founder Mark Blewett is a former South African pro. His aim is to produce a ride quality (from a carbon bike) similar to the Reynolds Chromo 853 and 753 frames of the 1980’s.

This beefy downtube helped maintain stiffness.

This beefy downtube helped maintain stiffness.

Sizing

Swift’s bike frame sizing was a little different than what I am used to. I focus less on the stack (distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the handlebar) but more on reach, which is the distance from the center of the bottom bracket to the center of the head tube. I am just under 6 feet tall and like reach to be around 387mm which is typical for a size 56cm bike. While the large Swift is called a 56.5, it has a reach of 394mm, which is substantially longer. The size 54, on the other hand, has a reach of 388mm. So I opted to downsize to the 54. In practice, I found that there was plenty of stack in this size (note in the photos that the seatpost isn’t that high), but the reach was actually a bit cramped. Unfortunately, the Zipp seatpost has a plate at the end that makes moving the seat to the rear on the rails a bit limited. I would have liked to stretch out a bit more.

Continue to page 2 for more of our Swift Ultravox TI review »
About the author: Twain Mein

Twain Mein is fascinated with the technology and gear aspect of cycling, and is a longtime product reviewer. Twain has been doing triathlons since 1987 and has been ranked in the Top 50 U.S. National Age Group on numerous occasions.



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