We have had the Swift Carbon Aeronaut for 6+ weeks and felt like it was time to cover this bike in typical TriBomb fashion. There is a lot to cover, so we will break this up into a multi-day review. In the first installment we will give you some history of the Swift Carbon company and some of the methods to their madness of working with carbon. Also, a brief intro on the Aeronaut bike.
Swift Carbon is a fairly new South African company that is the brainchild of ex-professional cyclist Mark Blewett (you might not recognize the name, but he did score some pretty impressive results in the 90s for a few European teams). Their goal is really pretty simple, produce cutting edge carbon fiber bikes and products at very reasonable prices. So, after doing their research, with 96% of all carbon bikes being manufactured in Asia, it only made sense to setup the Swift Carbon base in the heart of this manufacturing area. This gives them "next door" access to the latest and greatest carbon materials and molding techniques.
One cool item to note about the company is how involved the entire team is with the products. Mark is directly involved with the engineers and designers on a daily basis and everyone that we have dealt with on this bike has been super helpful.
So, in a nutshell, Swift feels that being in the "epicenter" of the carbon world in Asia combined with the leadership of an ex-pro cyclist who has been on many top of the line bikes will allow them to produce cutting edge, race ready bikes.
Now let's take a look at some of the technology that Swift Carbon is implementing. Warning, some of the graphics are directly from Swift for marketing mumbo jumbo purposes, but we felt they did a good job of explaining some of the processes.
Nope, not a technology, but an important piece of the carbon bike puzzle. Swift gets their carbon filament from Japanese companies Mitsubishi Rayon and Toray as do many carbon fiber bike companies. Swift bikes are stated to use a mix of T700 / T800 / T1000 and MR40 Ultra High Modulus blends. In other words, high level carbon filament.
Nanotech Epoxy Resins
Swift has apparently developed a process for modifying the epoxy resin that is impregnated into the carbon composite layers that actually toughens up the Carbon Nano Tech structures that are used within their products. You can see their graph below showing the fracture toughness of unmodified resin versus the carbon nanotube resin.
Glide Tech Moulding
Swift chose to forgo the common Air Bag moulding process that many bike manufacturers are using. If you have ever stripped down a shiny, smooth carbon fiber bike only to find it looks like a war zone on the inside of the frame with jagged carbon everywhere throughout the frame, then you know what Air Bag moulding looks like. Swift has a patented Glide Tech process that actually produces a frame that is as smooth on the inside as it is on the outside. They actually use a camera on each frame tube after it has been moulded to ensure that there is not any internal residue remaining.
Nu Wave Stays Technology
Swift has given a name to the process they use to design and layer the rear triangle of the bike. Their Nu Wave technology focuses on the critical angles at which the carbon is layered on the back seat stays which supposedly dampens the vibration in return saving you energy.
Finite Element Moulding
A process, or we are guessing, a computer program that allows Swift to analyze the structural strength and stress properties of each frame so they can make adjustments to the frame before the production process.
Now, onto the bike (Aeronaut)
The Aeronaut is Swift Carbon's answer to to ultimate UCI Legal Time Trial bike. As you can see from the information above, they take pride in the design and development of their bikes. Being such a new company, you will not have see too many Aeronauts on the racing scene, but Swift hopes that will soon change.
The Aeronaut comes as a module (Frame, Fork, Seatpost, and the pretty cool Swift cockpit) in sizes XS (46cm), S (48cm), M (50cm), L (52cm), XL (54cm) with the Medium weighing in at approximately 1300g.
Next Up. Part 2: A detailed look at the bike.
Come back tomorrow as we cover the Swift Aeronaut from front to back. While you are waiting, check out our first look photo gallery here.