First look: Swobo's Baxter and Crosby bikes

More urban tech from San Francisco

Since introducing Swobo bikes in 2007, designer Sky Yaeger has applied her no-nonsense approach to product design and delivered unique bikes for the not-so-unique rider. For 2009, two new models – the Baxter and Crosby – will join the existing Swobo stable of urban machines.

BikeRadar got an exclusive first look at the Baxter and Crosby, and caught up with Yaeger to find out more. Look for a First Ride video soon.

According to Yaeger, the Baxter came about because she wanted to design a 700c internally-geared bike with a shaped aluminium frame, 'as the world opens up as far as frame, fork and dropout design, when you venture out of the steel arena'. 

"Steel really limits the tubing shapes and dropout design and I wanted the bikes to look more modern and give the impression that the downtubes were hydroformed," she said. "I like the look of curved downtubes and also the bigger tubing diameters. The top tubes go from round to square, towards the seat tube, which helps if you're shouldering the Crosby. All the sculptural tubing aspects, the fork shape and the versatile dropouts could not be achieved with steel." 

How does Yaeger determine what the customers want?

"I'm very close to all the feedback, hundreds of e-mails, etc., so it depends on the feedback," she added. "It's important for me to conceive of bikes that are unique and first in the market, which means looking forward. I want the technology and attention to detail to be invisible to the novice, but if you're a bike nerd you appreciate all the details and tech features."  

Swobo Baxter

  • Urban do-all bike with 700c wheels.
  • Hubs: Shimano Alfine eight-speed internal rear, Swobo front with locking quick-release.
  • Brakes: Shimano mechanical discs.
  • Fork: Swobo carbon, 1 1/8in with disc brake mounts. 
  • Clearance for fat tyres and mudguards.
  • Horizontal sliding dropouts with integrated adjusters.
  • Internal cable routing on top tube.

"In regards to the Crosby, I knew I wasn't the only one who commutes on a 'cross bike, and I've always wanted to design a frame and fork that could go in every which way as far as gearing and brakes," Yaeger told BikeRadar. "The frame and fork design is something I've been working on for months, and I was going to spec it with a flip-flop single-speed hub, but then SRAM introduced the Torpedo so that seemed like the prefect hub to use.  

"The dropouts were an integral part of the design, as I wanted to be able to remove the rear wheel out without dropping the chain, as well as the option to add a derailleur hanger, so the dropouts have a lot going on as well."

Swobo Crosby

  • Versatile cyclo-cross or road bike
  • Hubs: SRAM Torpedo fixed/free (with turn of internal nut) rear; Swobo front, nutted.
  • Brakes: Avid Shorty 6 cantilevers, Tektro forged levers.
  • Fork: Swobo carbon, 1 1/8in, disc and canti mounts. 
  • Clearance for fat tyres and mudguards. 
  • Horizontal sliding dropouts with integrated adjusters.
  • Disc brake and derailleur hanger optional.

"Swobo bikes offer people a real choice from all the cookie-cutter bikes out there; they're designed for a clear purpose, and not to hit an arbitrary price point," she explained. "It's key that they all look like they come from the same family and that they are 'friendly' to people who are just discovering or returning to cycling, which explains the internal hubs.

"Our industry is so focused on selling technology and widgets; forgetting that what is comes down to is the simple and wonderful joy of propelling yourself forward on two wheels," she added.

Watch our preview vid below:

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According to Yaeger, the Swobo Baxter will retail for US$1,099; the Crosby $1,049. Availability is sometime in May, so stay tuned to www.swobo.com.

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