First Ride SWOOP 10.0 in MBUK 06/2019
"The RADON SWOOP 10.0 hast received its fair share of high praise in the past – even bagging the win in our 2017 Bike of the Year shootout. With a few subtle changes implemented – and now packing 29in wheels – does this 2019 version live up to its dominating ancestor‘s reputation?
There haven‘t been any massive changes to the SWOOP chassis. It‘s still all-aluminium, and uses the same four-bar linkage design to provide a trail-crushing 170mm of rear wheel travel. RADON have retained their three-position flip-chip, which lets you change the BB height and head/seat angles to suit your riding style, but have updated the geometry to suit the new 29in wheels.
The head angle now ranges from a more trail-friendly 65.8 degrees to an enduro-style 64.8-degrees, while the seat angle should keep you in a comfortable climbing position, at 75.8 degrees in its slackest setting. BB drop varies from 26mm to 39mm, and there are on-point reach measurements across the three frame sizes (17, 19 and 21in), from 462mm to 491mm.
You get an impressive selection of parts for the price. A Factory-level Fox fork and shock take care of suspension duties, and Fox‘s Transfer dropper post is another great asset. The SRAM GX-based drivetrain gives you 12 gears an a wide range, while the brands‘s top-flight Code RSC brakes provide plenty of power. Newmen wheels may be unknown to most, but this German brand are putting out some quality kit, and the Evolution SL A.30s on the SWOOP 10.0 are a prime example. Race Face and SDG finish things off nicely with some great cockpit kit, and the Schwalbe Magic Mary and Hans Dampf tyre pairing is a solid combination for most riding conditions.
RADON score top marks for versatility. We enjoyed the bike most with the flip-Chip in its lowest setting, because the lower BB height gave us the most confidence when swooping through the turns, without causing too many pedal strikes. Even with the seat tube at its slackest, it‘s steep enough to let you climb in comfort. The long-ish reach and slack-ish head angle mean the SWOOP‘s handling is balanced and stable at speed, but it‘s still able to negotiate tighter sections with ease. In terms of suspension, the RADON doesn‘t have the most sensitive or active back end we‘ve tried. While this means there‘s plenty of support when pedalling, the bike does feel a little harsh until it‘s sat deeper into its travel. A simple re-tune of the Fox Float X2 piggyback shock should remedy this though. The 29x2.35in Magic Mary tyre up front was also visibly narrower than the 650b version we compared it to on another test bike, with both mounted on 30mm (internal) rims. This made the front end just a touch more nervous than we‘d have expected of this popular tyre. Again, this is something that could be sorted easily and relatively cheply, with a quick tyre swap. These quirks aside, the SWOOP 10.0 is a confident do-it-all thrasher, and great value for money."
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