At a Glance
The Swoop is Radon’s 29 inch wheeled enduro bike, designed primarily for hitting big things, fast! There’s a range of 3 models with some rather tasty prices too – this entry-level (if we can even call it that!) Swoop 8.0 on test comes in at just 2499 Euros for the full bike, which is considerably cheaper than many manufacturers frame-only prices. So, just because it’s cheap, doesn’t that mean it’s not as good? Well in short, no. Far from it.Buy Enduro Bikes on
The Swoop 8.0 might be the entry-level Swoop in the range but it’s hard to find fault with the level of kit for this money. 170mm of RockShox suspension graces each end of the bike, with the dependable Lyrik RC2 fork on the front and a Monarch Plus RC3 Debonair handling damping duties outback. A Shimano 11 speed drivetrain gives the go and the Magura MT5 brakes handle the stopping too. DT Swiss E1900 wheels are complete with the current 30mm inner rim width providing ample support for larger tyres (Schwalbe’s Magic Mary and Hans Dampf come as standard) and with a mix of Race Face and SDG finishing kit to round everything off.
It’s one thing having the kit but making sure the numbers all stack up is just as important, and the Swoop gets it right. With a slack head angle varying between 64.8˚ and 65.8˚ mated to a reasonably steep seat angle of between 75.8˚ and 76.8˚, this offers up a stable, confidence-inspiring descender that belies its travel and intended use when pointing the bike uphill. The 19” model as tested came in with a 476mm reach which for me (being 5’11”) felt slap bang on the money when it came to sizing. I can rarely swing a leg over a bike and it feels ‘right’ straight away, the Swoop was one of those rare bikes!
On The Trail
Simply dialling in the sag on the suspension, setting up tyre pressures front and rear and then I was all set. First thing I noticed within 10m of pedalling this bike was exactly that – just how well it pedals! The bike defies its big-hitting numbers and out on the trail, the bike never felt like it wallowed around in the travel, although I did find on occasion that I would find myself reaching down and flipping the compression lever on the shock. With that in place, long, steady climbs were never a chore and when things got technical, the bike just seemed to motor up those gnarly climbs.
Pointing the Swoop downhill though and all becomes even clearer. That long reach, slack head angle and 170mm travel all coming in to play with a very confidence-inspiring position, but never becoming too unwieldy in the tight and twisty sections of trail. I’d almost go as far as describing it as ‘nimble’ on more mellower trails! Through my time with the bike I never felt like I was able to get close to its limits on the descents, every time I thought I was getting close, the bike just dealt with the situation effortlessly and left me coming out the other side with a surprised look on my face – the look of ‘Did I really just get away with that?!’
Aside from the riding, it’s always nice to see space for a very handy bottle cage, the only thing I personally struggled to get to grips with (ahem) were the SDG grips.
Overall, I’m yet to ride anything this good at this price point, the bike delivers a ride that easily rivals bikes costing twice the price, if not more.
Yes, in some places some of the detail is lacking, e.g. I found the Philips bolt on the adjustable geometry link a bit agricultural (what is wrong with using a regular hex key Radon?!) but that is being incredibly picky – the build quality, the parts list, the ride, it’s all hard to find fault with for the price.
If you’re after an excellent value for money enduro / big-hitting trail bike that’s light enough to pedal all day, burly enough to hold it together when the going gets rough, then I would highly recommend the Radon Swoop 8.0.
This review was in Issue 60 of IMB.For more information visit Radon
By Ewen TurnerEwen Turner is a self-confessed bike geek from Kendal in the Lake District of England. He runs a coaching and guiding business up there and has a plethora of knowledge about bikes with an analytical approach to testing. His passion for bicycles is infectious, and he’s a ripper on the trails who prefers to fit his working life around his time on the bike.