Swift Carbon are a young brand that only arrived in the UK
this year. The Ultravox is the frontrunner of their range, and we got our hands on one early. It’s a bike that’s made for racing,
with ultra-high modulus Toray T800, T1000 and Mitsubishi MR40 carbon fibres in
a unidirectional matte finish.
Ride and handling: A rare mix of superb handling and supreme speed
The immediate and lasting impression from the Ultravox is
how settled it feels. Make no mistake, this is a fast bike, as some new Strava
KOMs and best route times attest. But it doesn’t make a fuss about it.
The wheels are deep enough to give an aero benefit yet weigh
just 1,349g (tested). That’s super-light for mid-depth clinchers, so they spin
up quickly. They also give outstanding braking power. They could be a bit
stiffer but so could most wheels, especially at this weight.
We also ran the Swift on some super-stiff Reynolds RZR
wheels, which really let the frame shine. The strength in the BB and head tube
is immense and it feels great when you attack a short hill at full gas. This
rigidity and the low weight of 6.86kg (with power meter, no pedals) means longer
hills are also a pleasure. The thin seatstays provide good comfort, too.
The real standout quality, though, is the handling. The
Ultravox has a poise and grace seldom found in a bike so rapid, tracking a
chosen line or pulling tighter at will. There’s nothing obviously special in
the geometry but there is in the ride.
Frame and equipment: Maximum size, maximum stiffness
Swift’s Glide Tech internal moulding process ensures the
highest possible compaction of the carbon layers. The head tube, down tube,
chainstays and shell around the press-fit 30 bottom bracket are all huge, for top stiffness – Swift claim very high ratings of 250N/mm at the BB and
130N/mm for the head tube.
The Ultravox comes with SRAM Red, Ritchey WCS
finishing kit and either Shimano RS20 wheels (for £4,400) or Swift’s own
Trillium R40 carbon clinchers, as on our bike. The frameset is also available
separately for £2,150. For us to get this test bike early it had to come without a
crankset or saddle, hence the Rotor 3D+/Power2Max/Q-Ring set-up and Fizik Arione.