Swift Carbon RS-1 Ultravox £5300

Racing delight

BikeRadar score4.5/5

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.

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