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Test reviews

RADON SWOOP 9.0 @ theloamwolf.com

27.05.2019

RADON BIKES may not be a familiar name in North America, but in Europe they have a strong presence, especially within the German biking scene. Owned by the German bike shop powerhouse Bike-Discount, RADON BIKES was founded in 1992, with the goal of supplying “top quality bikes at affordable prices.” RADON kindly supplied Rob, our EuroWolf, with their 170mm travel SWOOP 9.0 29er for a couple of month’s thrashing. With the bike touted as being capable of “daring freeride sessions at the bike park, enduro operations or elbowing your way through the Megavalanche”, we were excited to get this stealthy monster on to the dirt to see how it handled.

THE LAB

The SWOOP is the 170mm travel full suspension 29er offering by RADON, with the models offered ranging from the €2499 SWOOP 8.0 to the top tier 10.0 spec coming in at €3599. The 9.0 model reviewed comes it at a very competitive €2999, with Fox Performance Elite suspension front and rear and a 150mm Fox Transfer dropper; SRAM GX Eagle groupset with Code R brakes; DT Swiss E1700 wheelset; Schwalbe Magic Mary/Hans Dampf rubber; and a mix of SDG, E13 and Race Face finishing kit.

Certainly an aggressive and purposeful package that shouldn’t have any issues withstanding the rigors of enduro racing. The frame features a 3-position geometry flip chip, offering Tour (steepest and highest); Trail; and Park (slackest and lowest) settings. Each position gives a change of 0.5° for the head and seat angle, and 6mm for the BB height.

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THE DIRT

RADON were very kind in allowing a full two months of testing, meaning the SWOOP was ridden on a wide variety of UK trails, from steep tech to pedaly bike park trails. Hopping on the bike initially, there were a few points that stood out. The lines of the frame flow nicely, and the all black matt/gloss finish on the paint is different to anything I’ve seen, with a coarse texture that seems very tough – this stealthy bike looks built to shred. The front end of the bike is super high, with a large stack figure and riser bar. The engagement in the rear hub, at just 18 POE (a massive 20°), is very slow. The cable routing is all external, apart from the gear cable and last section of the dropper, which is welcome when it comes to working on the bike, and utilizes bolt on clamps, which perform adequately.

Seated climbing on the SWOOP is comfortable, with the relatively steep seat angle and high front end providing a neutral and relaxed riding position. It’s important to note that the actual seat tube angle is slacker than the effective, which starts to push the seat back towards a slacker overall number for taller riders. But even for my 34” inseam, the seat position is comfortable at max post extension. The relatively long rear end, combined with low BB, provide ample weight on the front wheel, which doesn’t wander until the going gets very steep. The flip side of this BB height is the pedals are very low to the ground, and the relatively low levels of Anti Squat present mean that chain forces don’t help ground clearance much, so it’s important to think about your pedal position when the terrain is rocky.

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THE WOLF'S LAST WORD

Overall, RADON have put together a very capable bike at a reasonable price. Aside from a couple of spec nuances, the bike provides a very good option for those looking for a hard-charging enduro machine. The rear suspension configuration requires challenging terrain before it comes into its own. Pedaling performance are certainly low on the list of priorities in its design so if you’re a climber or looking for a long distance ride, this may not be your ideal choice. If you live to shred the DH, then a burlier set of tires, and perhaps a stiffer rear wheel, the SWOOP will be a formidable machine for the gnarliest of trails. This is a bike made for getting rad-on!

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More information about the SWOOP 9.0

Categories

Test reviews , Swoop 170 Series , News

Author

Robert Johnston

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