GNOME Travel

CUSTOM PROJECT: Xootr Swift Rohloff Mini-Expedition


– Xootr Swift frame (Aluminum)
– Rohloff rear hub
– Schmidt SON28 dyno hub
– Supernova E3 Triple LED lamphead
– Velocity Aeroheat rims
– Schwalbe Marathon tires

Traveling with the Mikkelson bike, although a comfortable ride, was becoming quite cumbersome. For a quick fold with minimal disassembly, a Xootr Swift folding frame is chosen as the basis for a quick-fold travel bike.

Folded to it’s smallest size, with the wheels removed, gives an outer dimension of approximately 22″ x 24.25″ x 10.25″. This is sufficiently small to fit the inner dimension of the S&S travel case (25.5″ x 25.5″) for easy packing. No major disassembly is required other than removing the front and rear wheel.

The tear-down only takes about 5 min, thanks to the quick release levers on the seatpost and steerer tube. Once the seatpost comes out, the rear triangle folds underneath for a quick and easy fold.

The beauty of this custom Xootr folding bicycle is the Rohloff hub. With a 526% range spanning 17.2″ – 90.2″, the Xootr Swift has incredible climbing power – perfect for light touring with varied terrain. The drop out was milled on the lower end of the arm to accommodate the Rohloff torque arm. A quick release box is attached to the chain stay to hold the torque arm for easy removal of the rear wheel. This makes assembly/disassembly simple without the need for any tools. The external cable box has a thumb screw which also makes removal easy and fast.

Drop bars were chosen for this build as the Xootr Swift is deceptively fast on descent. Instead of using the Hubbub Adaptor that mounts on the drop bar end to mount the Rohloff shifter, a second stem and cut handlebar were used, allowing another hand position suitable for climbing.

The Schmidt SON28 dyno hub is laced to an Aeroheat rim, with the Supernova E3 Triple LED. This is by far the most practical solution for lighted road riding, especially when traveling. You never have to worry about carrying extra batteries, charging your light or running out of juice while on the road. The Schmidt is one of the sturdiest dyno hubs on the market (rated to 50k miles of use) and the E3 Triple is indestructible, housed in a sturdy aluminum body with lifetime LEDs. Here is an image of the E3 Triple before the wiring was tied down on the fork. The easiest connector is the standard spade connector, which can be found at any electronics store.

The standard V-brakes used with the Xootr Swift were changed out to Paul Touring Canti’s for improved heel clearance in the rear and ease of removal on packing. The rear cable hanger is attached to the seat stay bridge, conveniently making this an easy modification.

The front chainring is a 53T Shimano road ring on a RaceFace Cadence crank. Spacers were added to make a perfect chain line. A Wippermann stainless steel chain was chosen for longevity and for use in inclement weather. The rear cog is 16T and the bottom bracket is Chris King.

Originally, the Xootr Swift was assembled with the Selle An-Atomica saddle, a fantastic race saddle that flexes with your body to reduce fatigue and improve comfort. Here is a picture of the Xootr at Stanley Park in Vancouver.

The saddle was later switched out to the super comfortable Brooks B135 saddle. Here is the mule pictured at the Clear Creek ranger station on Angeles Crest, LA Basin at 3648 vertical feet.

Overall, the Xootr Swift is the most versatile and rigid folding bike on the market. It is also one of the strongest folding bikes on the market with a 260 pound rider weight limit. It can be readily converted to any available drivetrain with standard components. Because the rear triangle and front ‘triangle’ are conserved with the seat post holding the frame junction, the Xootr Swift is one of two stiffest folding bikes on the market (excluding the Moulton folding bikes, but the Mountons do not use quick release levers and as such are not classified as true quick folders). The other super stiff folder is the Montague Boston, which is great as a fixie (Montague Boston Fixie). The frame junction has no flex whatsoever as the rear triangle butts up against the top tube at the ‘seat tube’ junction. The oversized seat post with dual quick release levers keeps the frame tightly fixed in case you become airborne on a rapid descent.

The ride quality of the Xootr Swift is the best you could expect from a small wheel bike. With 20″ wheels, the ride is extremely responsive and lively. This is great at low speeds with sprints and rapid acceleration. This makes nipping in and out of traffic and avoiding pedestrians a breeze. On descent, one has to be vigilant to not oversteer the bike, as a small turn of the wheel creates a large and rapid change in direction. It is absolutely imperative to have both hands on the bars at speed. Interestingly, this is one of the fastest descending bikes I have tested. In a tucked position, I was able to pass fast racers downhill coasting. Only strong racers who were pedaling hard were able to catch up with me and usually only after several miles of descent.

For ride comfort, the wheels are bullet-proof and rock solid, but because of their size, they transmit every little bump and crack in the road. Hitting potholes or bumps is not so much an issue with damage to the bike, as the Xootr Swift is really a bullet-proof mule, as it is with rider comfort. This can be easily addressed with the Brooks B135 or B190 saddles. Several hours in the saddle will provide suitable comfort and reduce riding fatigue.

This Custom Xootr Swift was assembled by Neil and Stephan at Cycle Monkey in El Cerrito. They are the West Coast Service Center and Design Lab for Rohloff, Schlumpf and Belt Drive systems. (Cycle Monkey)

The Xootr Swift can be purchased direct from Xootr in Scranton, PA. Steve, Brian, Peter and Tom are great to work with and will provide you with a complete bike or a frame you can modify to your specification. (Xootr)

Sept 12, 2012

Running a regular ride across Grizzly Peak, this is a view from Skyline Boulevard in the Oakland hills…

Just below the South entrance to Tilden Park…

And, sunset on Grizzly Peak…

Sept 26, 2012

Traveling from the Presidio…

To the Golden Gate Bridge…

… crossing over…

The Norwegian Pearl…

… the Marin Headlands…

… crossing over to Sausalito through the tunnel…

View from the hill above Sausalito…


Oct 19, 2012
Berkeley Hills

Jan 1, 2013
Cypress Mountain, West Vancouver, BC


  1. geoff says:

    very nice use my xootr in hawaii for training i keep tweaking it

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