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Trail and Enduro Bikes

RADON SWOOP 170

Once in a while a bike rolls into the Dirt office that catches us off guard. The Radon Swoop is one of these bikes – a brand we were not really familiar with, and like YT and Canyon is a direct sales brand from Europe offering excellent value for money.

But it’s not all about the equipment level, this 170mm travel aluminium enduro bike instantly won us over with its modern and very thorough approach to geometry and sizing. The result – ride quality and handling that is class leading.

With 170mm travel front and rear and rolling on 27.5” wheels this bike is firmly in the ‘Enduro’ category sitting alongside benchmark bikes such as the YT Capra, Canyon Strive and Orange Alpine. The Swoop has some tough competition for sure. The lightest weight 170mm travel aluminium bike that has rolled through the Dirt office doors.

The bike comes in four sizes and five specifications starting at €2399 with the top of the range at €4899. Our large test bike sized up well, with a 473mm reach which is spot on. Radon have made one of the longest, slackest, lowest 170mm bikes we’ve tested, with a fit that is bang up to date.

One of the Swoop’s major strengths lies in its adjustable geometry, which makes it quite radical in comparison to many other bikes with this travel. With a head angle that adjusts between 64.8 – 65.8 degrees and a bottom bracket drop from -8 to -21 drop this bike is ripping up turns and charging challenging downhill sections. In short the Swoop is all about cutting loose in the woods. The multi-position geometry and killer component specification make it a coveted bike before you take into account the 170mm travel, ride characteristic and outrageous price.

‘The cornering quality is insane, the balance pristine and its ability in tough terrain is unsurpassed’

Radon spec the Fox 36 fork and Float X damper pairing on the 2016 vintage 10.0 model that we tested – a superb choice and hard to beat. With the well-finished aluminium frame (using a mix of traditional external and internal cable routing), the heart of this bike is very well sorted. The three position geometry is a two minute affair needing a couple of allen keys and a star head screwdriver, although we set it to the lowest setting and left it there. The lock out is firm, allowing for relatively easy pedalling on extended climbs and the gearing is low enough even for some seriously steep banks.

For 2017 this spec of the 10.0, pictured here, has changed and the price risen. The frame remains the same as the gem that was at the heart of the 2016 model and is a constant on all five Swoop models. All are worth considering and Radon offer a mix of Fox or RockShox when it come to suspension units.

The Swoop range kicks off with the 7.0 model, and at €2399 Radon have spent the money in the right places. RockShox 170mm Yari RC, Monarch Plus RC3, DT E1900 wheels, XT/SLX/RaceFace drivetrain are all proven and a great platform to build on. The finishing kit is quality stuff – with maybe a longer travel dropper post, a wider bar and a switch of tyres being possible considerations. The range topping 10.0, (in either standard or HD spec) starts at €3999 with SRAM XO1 Eagle, Factory spec Fox 36 forks and X2 damper with wheels from the increasingly popular e*thirteen. Go for the HD if you’re looking for carbon rims.

How does it ride? We were blown away on our first ride and this sensation stayed with us. The Swoop is so low, so slack, so balanced, and just a hooligan through and through. There simply can be no measured remarks about this bike when the delivery is simply so flat out in its nature. This is a long travel bike that has a light ride character, is reasonably quiet and has excellent balance between flex and stiffness. We’ve yet to find any real-world compromises.

The fact that it pushes the seemingly unsurpassable aluminium YT Capra close is testimony to how far Radon have come. The Swoop is without question a firm recommendation in this category of bike, an understated offering for those willing to step away from the more familiar brands seen on the trails here in the UK. Trust us on this one.

Radon Swoop 170

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Selected for Dirt 100 2017

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