In this test we present to you perhaps the best freeride bike under 3000€. In this review the Radon Swoop 9.0 with carbon main frame, 170mm travel, modern geometry and high quality parts. Let’s start with the Radon Swoop 9.0 review.
Radon Swoop 9.0
The four pivot Radon frame has been updated for model year 2020. The kinematic changed to a horizontally installed damper. In this version the easily accesible Rock Shox Super Deluxe Select+. The frame is equipped with several details. The chain stays are covered with a soft rubber material, which effectively absorbs the chain impact. The down tube bottom bracket area is protected from stone chips with a plastic cover. This cover does not bend around the edges. The steering agle can be adjusted from the standard 63,5 degrees to 65 degrees by turning the headset bearing insert. The manoeuvrability should be emphasized by short 438mm chain stays.
In the process of the new development the epoxy resin carries mats of carbon in the front frame triangle. The edged design of the Bonn-based company can be seen in other radon bikes. The upper chain stay is in line with the rear shock and connects the aluminium rear triangle with the carbon main frame through the the black link. The cherry red color is completed by a glossy finish. The internal wiring is fixed by aluminium inserts at the entrance or exit. Each version of the swoop comes with different components, characteristics and color combinations.
In the 9.0 version, the Rock Shox Lyrik Select with adjustable low speed rebound and compression and Debon Air air spring operates at the front. The Rock Shox Super Deluxe Select+ rear shock comes with low speed rebound and a locking function to minimize bobbing. You will not find a compression knob here.
The 780mm wide Race Face Æffect R handlebar is clamped in the 40mm short stem with the same name. Negative acceleration is provided by the Magura MT5 with 200mm disc at the front and 180mm at the rear. Due to the standard two-finger brake lever, the SRAM NX shift lever has to be moved further into the middle of the handlebar and is therefore difficult to reach. For a better ergonomics I recommend to upgrade to the Magura one finger brakelever.
The DT Swiss E1900 Spline wheelset is fitted with the 29 inch Schwalbe tire combination of Magic Mary and Hans Dampf. The equipment is completed by an SRAM drivetrain. The 170mm long SRAM GX Eagle crank is equipped with a 30 tooth chainring. Thanks to the GX Eagle rear derailleur the chain glides reliably over the 12-speed 10-50 tooth cassette
The butt takes place on the SDG Radar saddle. For me personally the saddle is not usable, because it gets uncomfortable after a few kilometers. But that varies from sit bone to sit bone. For the seat height adjustment Radon‘s own Competition Dropper Post with 125mm adjustment range is used. The post runs a bit rough, but is not a problem
On the basis of the superficial data I can say that one receives high-class configuration and a carbon main frame for 2999€. The price slash performance is unbeatable.
The uphill sitting position is relaxed and upright. The trail entrance is more likely to be reached in a relaxed manner. The range of gear ratios is sufficient for the steepest climbs and fastest pedaling passages. The SRAM GX Eagle rear derailleur changes crisply and precisely into one of the 12 gears. The four-pivot rear triangle is bobbing minimal and for short upclimbs the easily accessible damper does not necessarily have to be blocked. For my personal preferences the 125mm long seat post is too short. Either I don‘t sit high enough or the saddle hits my butt downhill. The frame sizes Large and X-Large come with a 150mm long seatpost. Adjusting the saddle height at the trail entrance will help here.
For a better rolling resistance the Schwalbe Hans Dampf with the harder Adix-Speedgrip rubber compound was mounted at the back. The front tire, on the other hand, with the soft Addix-Soft compound is supposed to provide increased grip. The Radon Swoop 9.0 shows uphill from the more relaxed side. The combination of the low bobbing rear end, low weight of almost 14.2kg and large 29 inch wheels make the bike climb good. But it‘s not an uphill race bike. The only negative point: the carbon frame has no option to attach a water bottle holder. For longer tours, you are forced to either carry a hydration backpack, die of thirst or carry a water bottle in your pocket. Silicone water bottles offer a good compromise here, because you can fold them up when empty to save space.
Once you arrive relaxed at the trail entrance it‘s time for the 170mm travel to show its advantage. From the first few meters on, it is immediately noticeable that the swoop can be circled through the trail playfully and precisely due to the short chain stays, despite the flat steering angle and 29 inch wheels. The bike invites you to take quick turns or to pull off at roots. Here the Radon Swoop 9.0 conveys its freeride genetics. At high speeds the bike remains stable due to the long wheelbase.
The Rock Shox Lyrik Select fork responds sensitively to even small bumps and delivers a high end progression for hard impacts. The rear triangle reacts progressively and is designed to use both coil and air shocks. The four-pivot kinematics damp small as well as large impacts precisely away and remains always high in the suspension travel. Unfortunately, the damper limits by insensitive response and does not follow in the case of fast successive impacts. This also means that the swoop feels tight and always provides a good platform to pull out of tight turns quickly. The preset rear shock compression fits the kinematics very well. At any time you get precise feedback from the trail. I think here you could get even more out of the bike with a coil shock. But that is already whining on a high level.
Despite a smaller 180mm brake disc at the rear, the affordable Magura MT5 offers a biting braking power with excellent dosability. The Schwalbe tires offer a good compromise between low rolling resistance and high grip. Only for hard downhill tracks it is recommended to upgrade tires with a more solid carcass or use foam inserts in the tire.
Unbeatable price/performance ratio
Agile, balanced handling
Light weight (14,2kg)
No drinking bottle attachment
Tires not the best for DH tracks
All in all, the swoop shows its fun side downhill: playful, precise handling and agile for the aggressive riding style. The rear end is sensitive and reacts appropriate to obstacles. Unfortunately the shock is not as potent as the rear end. The only disadvantage I attribute to the swoop is the lack of a drinking bottle attachment. Otherwise you get for 2999€ a nice carbon slash aluminum freeride bike to make it bang on the trail. The swoop always put a grin on my face because of its agile character. If you are looking for more performance and adjustment possibilities you should go for the Radon Swoop 10.0 or 10.0 HD. You could really claim that this is the best freeride bike under 3000€.