A Personal Blog on Bicycle Transportation and DIY Projects

Swift Folder Single Speed Conversion

I converted my green Swift Folder folding bike to a single speed with a freewheel.  More than one bike in my collection was too much for me, let alone more than one folding bike!  I converted it for someone that would have wanted the option of having it as a fixed gear or freewheel (It has recently been sold).  You could easily do this by flipping the wheel.  Don’t get me wrong, this was a fantastic bike, it’s just that the Bike Friday tikit had a few more advantages over the Swift Folder, for my needs.  

Regarding my experiences with the Swift Folder, I have to say it is the fastest folder that I have ever ridden.  The goofy looking photo of me with the Turkey helmet is from my ride at the Cranksgiving Charity race.  It was a “loose cannons on the run” kind of race with grocery stops to pick up food for the Camilus House.  I came in at 21st place out of 110 and a lot of people had road bikes and fixies, so that was not too bad for being on a folding bike!    

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4 responses

  1. Pablo Escobar Mendez

    I may have missed this in the archives, but, if I may ask, what prompted you to get a Bike Friday and why is it more aligned with your needs than the Swiftfolder? I am very seriously considering getting a Season Tikit this month – it’s a crazy amount of money for me to part with, but, I believe it will allow me to squeeze in a lot more riding in the crazy places my travels take me via car, bus, train, and plane.

    February 5, 2010 at 11:18 pm

    • daus300b

      Hi Pablo,

      I’ll create a post in the near future detailing why someone would want to get a folding bicycle and what to look for based on my experiences so far. My needs for a folding bike require more versatility as I travel with it, go to the city, perform light touring and require being able to do this in all weather conditions. The Swift Folder, although slightly faster and lighter than the tikit, didn’t suit all my needs, thus the need for the transition. I would have kept both had I not needed the space! Here are some of my reasons for the tikit over the Swift Folder:

      – Fold with the fenders still on
      – Compact and quick fold without the need to disassemble parts
      – Ability to roll the bike after folding. I never like to leave a folded bike outside locked. Carrying a 25 pounds or so of bike and equipment is a hassle.
      – Integrated transit cover. You would be surprised how many people deny you going into a store if it is a “bicycle” of any shape or form.
      – Ability to keep racks on in the fold. The tikit allows you to keep a pannier on one side in the folded position
      – Faster fold into a Samsonite suitcase
      – Option for the Samsonite travel trailer suitcase

      Of course, the Swift does cost less. The tikit fit my requirements, thus it was worth paying more for the tikit. The service was outstanding too.

      With regards to the Season’s tikit, I would advise you find a bicycle shop that stocks both models of the tikit and give it a try. I tried both and decided to go with the derailleur model. My Swift Folder orginally had a Shimano Nexus 8 hub. It was a great shifter, but you could really feel the difference in efficiencies when compared to the derailleur. It weighed quite a bit too. I think the biggest gain is the zero maintenance aspect. But you are probably going to take care of your tikit, so I wouldn’t think this is a great advantage either. The stock derailleur and shifter are very good.

      I think the biggest concern between the two models whould be if the gearing of the tikit has enough range for you. It has plenty of the low end for climbing hills, it just needs more of a high gear range to rocket down the roads faster. This is because of the 349 sized tires. To put it in perspective, I leave it in gear 8 95% of the time as I am located in Florida. I also transitioned back from a fixed gear, so this probably has something to do with it as well.

      If I were to do it over again, I would have purchased a capreo upgrade. That is something I will be doing in the future. It gives you that extra in the gear range for going faster, yet it doesn’t add much, if any weight. There is the SRAM dual drive, but I think that added like 3 pounds and seemed complicated with the two shifters.

      February 7, 2010 at 6:50 pm

  2. Pablo Escobar Mendez

    Very good points, all – thanks for sharing. I noticed on the BTO Tikit page that there’s now a “Tikit ala Rohloff” SKU – I haven’t yet had the courage to price it, however 🙂

    After considering your comments, I believe I’ll more actively pursue a model with derailers.

    Thanks again!

    February 8, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    • daus300b

      Pablo,

      Do me a favor if you purchase your tikit to mention my referral number, #125422. If you purchased already, you can still leave them my referral number. This is a program that you get credit for the purchase of Bike Friday accessories when you refer a customer. I am looking to get a Capreo cassette for my tikit. 🙂 With your tikit purchase, you will be assigned your own number so that you can particiapte as well.

      February 23, 2010 at 3:09 pm

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