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E’s Are Good: Sven Cycles Swift eBike

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

The word on everybody’s lips are that eBikes are The Next Big Thing, but a lot of us classically-trained cyclists are quick to pooh-pooh them as either cheating or ugly. Maybe they just haven’t been fortunate enough to ride Sven Cycles’ Swift eBike.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

Things around the Cycle EXIF campfire have been slow for the past couple of weeks because I’ve been in the UK, where things were moving… well, swiftly. For the second time, I was able to visit the guys at the Sven Cycles workshop in Dorset.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

Now, I’ll freely admit that I am one of those classically-trained cyclists quick to pooh-pooh an eBike, but Sven’s Swift somehow held me entranced. I do think eBikes are ugly, and they have a long way to go before they equal a traditional bicycle in aesthetic terms.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

That said, when Darron first started posting up photos of the Swift on his Instagram feed, I was impressed. Here was an eBike that perfectly matched the integrity of a handmade steel frame with the new technology.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

Sven Cycles aren’t afraid of taking on unusual custom requests. Take the Forager Bike, for example, a totally off-the-wall build. While I was at the workshop, they were working on a Rohloff-equipped tricycle for a disabled rider…

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

So while I was impressed by the Swift, I wasn’t surprised by their utilization of Shimano’s STEPS system. Not many builders are willing to incorporate it and, honestly, it still has a long to way go before it ceases to detract from The Beautiful Bicycle.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

It’s a clunky piece of kit, but geez, it’s fun. The bike is heavier for it, and this is another reason I can’t mentally approve of them, but when the assistance kicks in, it’s a rush — a bit like a strong helping hand.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

The battery is an unavoidable huge black box, but at least there aren’t any garish logos on it, so the Swift is the closest eBike you can get to a classy custom roadster. The frame is built from fillet brazed Reynolds 631.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

This was Darron’s personal Swift, which I took for a good ride with Sven’s frame designer, Andrew ‘Mog’ Mogford, from the workshop in Weymouth, into a strong headwind, along Portland Beach Road to The Cove House Inn for a couple of English ales.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

Mog was leaning sideways, struggling with the headwind on his ‘normal’ bike, while I was giggling like a schoolgirl and somewhat effortlessly cruising along, trying not to feel too sympathetic towards his plight.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

STEPS is limited to 25km/h and can be hacked for an output of about 50km/h — although you didn’t hear it here. Two battery options are available, with a 100km range as standard and up to 145km on the ECO mode with the more powerful battery.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

After Dorset, I spent a few days driving over the passes of The Lakes District wishing I had a bike with me, with one half of my brain thinking “hmmm… eBikes!” and the other half thinking “nah… Cheating!” It explains a lot about an eBikes appeal, I guess.

E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles

All said and done, the Swift convinced me: eBikes have their place — as a replacement of a car for the commuter or the casual tourer who could use the assistance. Although there are plenty of manufacturers’ options out there, I’ve still only eyes for the Swift.

The Swift is available as a roadster or step-through frame with a multitude of options, like racks, baskets, cockpits, USB chargers, child seats, grips, saddles, and carbon fenders. Head to the Sven Cycles website for the complete lowdown.

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E's Are Good: The Swift eBike By Sven Cycles