Xtracycle Swoop Review: Overview
The Xtracycle Swoop is a masterpiece of an e-bike designed with families and serious cargo haulers in mind. Think of it as the “Sport Family Truckster” of e-bikes. Crafted from the highest quality components and boasting a super-thoughtful design (not to mention its ability to carry up to 470 pounds), the Swoop dominates as a highly versatile and reliable choice if you’re seeking a capable electric cargo bike that will adapt and grow with your family.
The Xtracycle Swoop comes equipped with a versatile rear rack that’s designed to be used with a range of accessories. Whether you need to transport your child in a secure seat, provide extra comfort with padded seats, or attach safety rings for added security, the Swoop’s rear rack is up to the task. It also offers the flexibility to carry pannier bags (up to 4), so you can conveniently store and transport your belongings.
For the purposes of this review, we used a variety of accessories, including the Longtail Hooptie setup, MagicCarpet, Everyday BikePack, PorterRack, and PorterPack which seamlessly integrated with the Swoop and showcased the Xtracycle Swoop’s adaptability to many different cargo or passenger configurations.
Beyond all of the Swoop’s great features, Xtracycle has some pretty stellar customer service, and their dedication to customer satisfaction was crystal clear. They were proactively engaged and asked detailed questions about our specific needs, such as the rider’s height and the size of the child passenger (borrowed a friend’s kiddo for a ride-along). They even followed up with us a week after delivery to ask about our satisfaction.
Big-time kudos to the Xtracycle team, you guys rock!
The Components of the Swoop
There’s definitely some flexibility when it comes to assembling the Swoop. Of course, you can choose to assemble it yourself. But, to ensure that the bike is correctly put together, maximizing safety and performance, our recommendation is to have Xtracycle deliver the Swoop to you fully assembled (for an additional fee), or have it shipped to a local bike shop for professional assembly – Which is exactly what we decided to do this go around.
If you choose this option, just make sure that you contact the bike shop beforehand to make sure they’re comfortable working with the brand.
The Swoop’s frame is constructed from 4130 Chromoly steel, making it exceptionally sturdy and strong. Even when fully loaded, there is no noticeable frame wiggle, providing a reassuring feeling of stability. Riding the Swoop with a full payload is simply a delight. The robust frame ensures stability, and even while swerving along the road, it maintains a level of control.
One notable feature of the Swoop is its unique wheel setup: a 26-inch wheel up front and a 20-inch wheel out back. This configuration allows for a larger rear rack that goes over the rear wheel and can handle loads of up to 200 pounds.
The Schwalbe Super Moto-X HS 439 tires, known for their quality, provide ample grip on city streets and light off-road terrain, making the Swoop able to handle a variety of weather conditions.
Safety is paramount when hauling precious cargo, and the Tektro hydraulic disc brakes on the Swoop are up to the task. These heavy-duty 4-piston brakes offer impressive stopping power, even when fully loaded you can stop the bike quickly and safely.
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The Shimano 630 Wh battery powers the Swoop. It’s securely held in place with an Abus brand lock, providing peace of mind against theft. However, one potential downside is the battery’s charging time, which takes 10.2 hours for a full charge or 7 hours for an 80% charge. While this might sound a bit lengthy, it’s important to note that the battery’s capacity is substantial, allowing for extended ride time.
Drivetrain and Motor
The Swoop is equipped with an 11-speed SRAM GX cassette (11t-42t), the same type found on high-end mountain bikes. This cassette offers a wide range of gearing options, making it easier to transport heavier loads. The rear derailleur is also from the SRAM GX line, ensuring reliable shifting and performance. The front crank, a 42t FSA brand crank, provides an ideal pedaling ratio for climbing hills or carrying substantial loads.
The motor is another component that distinguishes the Xtracycle Swoop even further. It features the Shimano EP8 mid-drive motor, known for its gentle assistance rather than an uncomfortable shove of power. With three levels of assist (1-3), it caters to lots of riding scenarios.
The EP8 motor also features a Walk Assist mode that proves invaluable for pushing heavily loaded e-bikes uphill. Activating Walk Assist is simple: set the pedal assist level to 0, then hold down on the down arrow for 3 seconds. Press and hold the down arrow again to engage the motor for effortless pushing.
NOTE: There is a sup ‘d-up version of the Swoop available on Xtracycle’s site that offers a max speed of 28 mph. For those of you who have a need… a need for speed!
Hill Climb Test
The results speak volumes about the Swoop’s performance on hill climbs. With Pedal Assist Level 3, the bike effortlessly conquered a challenging incline, even with a total load of approximately 330 lbs during testing. It’s clear that the Swoop is well-equipped to handle steep terrain and demanding uphill rides.
What we will say is that climbing the hill without pedal assistance proved challenging. However, there was a significant improvement in performance at Pedal Assist Level 2, and Level 3 made the climb a breeze, even while in a relatively high gear setting.
Here are the results:
|Pedal Assist Level
Controller and Display
The Swoop’s Shimano E5003 controller keeps things simple yet functional. A minimalist design makes it easy to see in daylight and avoids unnecessary distractions so you can focus on the road and your cargo, for a more safe and enjoyable ride.
Racks and Bags
The highlight of the Xtracycle Swoop is without a doubt the cargo accessories. While there are more optional accessories available than shown below, let’s dive into some of the specifics of the accessories we used for this review:
The PorterRack is a heavy-duty front rack that enhances the Swoop’s cargo-carrying capacity. While installation might require a bit of finesse, the rack is designed to securely hold your gear, making it an awesome addition if you’re in need of extra hauling space.
We did have a little trouble bolting the PortaRack onto the Swoop (the bolts didn’t thread all the way in), but luckily Kent, our trusty mechanic got it to work with a bit of “mechanic-ing” by cutting the bolts down and grounding them to a perfect fit. This is one of the reasons we suggest having your Swoop sent to a bike shop for assembly.
The PorterPack is an all-weather bag that is specifically designed to attach securely to the PorterRack. With a roll-down top, it keeps your cargo safe and dry. Its thoughtful design includes two pockets facing the rider for easy access to essentials like your cell phone and keys.
The Longtail Hooptie is a versatile safety ring setup suitable for transporting kids or cargo. It includes removable foot rails and collapsible cargo nets, allowing for quick adjustments between carrying passengers and hauling goods. It’s yet another standout feature that adds to the Swoop’s versatility and is probably our favorite feature of this bike.
This handy pannier bag easily attaches to and quickly releases from the side rails of the Longtail Hooptie setup. The Everyday BikePack also transforms into a rolltop backpack so you can take the entire bag with you when you get to where you’re going!
The Dash® RM from Burley
For parents, the Dash® RM child seat from Burley is an amazing option for the Xtracycle Swoop. It can accommodate kids up to 80 lbs and easily attaches and detaches. Once the base is installed on the bike, simply set the child seat on, and tighten the clamp on the side – Easy-peasy.
We did have some concerns with how secure the child seat actually was, but we took our resident e-bike testing kiddo, Jettson, on a ride around town with zero issues. He loved the ride-along and we loved the convenience and security of the Dash®. In my opinion, the Dash® RM child seat from Burley is as safe and secure as it gets!
Reasons to Buy the Swoop
The Xtracycle Swoop is your family’s trusty sidekick on wheels. One big reason to get one is that it’s built to adapt as your family grows. With its spacious carrying capacity and premium add-ons, it can handle everything from dropping the kids at school to lugging home a week’s worth of groceries – and then some. It’s not just a bike; it’s a super-flexible family transport solution.
Think of the Swoop as an extra set of wheels in your family fleet. It can step in when you need it, reducing the reliance on a second car. Plus, it’s ready for action in all kinds of weather, so you’re good to go whether the sun’s shining or rain’s pouring. With the Xtracycle Swoop, you’re not just getting an e-bike – you’re getting a versatile, eco-friendly addition to the family that’s always up for any adventure.
Things to Consider
So, you might notice that the Xtracycle Swoop comes with a price tag of close to $5000, which might make you spit out your coffee. But here’s the thing: this bike isn’t just about the here and now; it’s designed for the long haul, making it a lasting investment for your transportation needs. It’s a versatile companion that evolves right alongside your family.
When we look at the battery charge time. Yes, it does take a bit longer to fully charge, with a 10.2-hour charge time for a full battery or 7 hours for an 80% charge. But this longer charge time and overall battery capacity is part of a design to handle extended rides.