The spec of the RADON SWOOP 8.0 2019 sounds too good to be true. This Enduro bike rolls on 29″ wheels, featuring high-end suspension, sophisticated componentry and harmonious geometry for a price of just € 2,499. But can it deliver on the trail?
RADON has overhauled the SWOOP for the new season. Although it visually resembles its predecessor, it now it rolls on 29″ wheels, instead of 27.5″ as before. It offers a whopping 170 mm of travel on the front and rear, and a flip-chip lets you adjust the geometry in three positions. The classic four-bar linkage is controlled by a RockShox Monarch Plus shock. The cables are all routed along the non-drive side; the shifter cable is routed internally, whereas the brake line is kept completely external. The cable of the dropper post enters the frame at the seat tube, which facilitates easy servicing, but gives the bike a slightly less tidy look.
Speaking of looks: although the workmanship is of consistently high quality, the bike looks a bit rustic overall. A good example of this is the Phillips screws on the flip-chip. Even if they fulfil their purpose and ensure that the small parts stay together when making adjustments, we would have expected a bit more in this day and age. But if you put that in relation to the price, the overall package is absolutely fine.
The geometry of the RADON SWOOP 8.0 2019
In terms of geometry, RADON has ticked all the boxes that a potent 29er Enduro bike should. Long reach? Check – 476 mm in size L. Slack head angle? About 65 ° – top! Steep seat tube angle for pleasant climbing? At around 76°, this also fits very well. On top of that, the 32 mm BB drop for a bike with this much travel is surprisingly low. The 445 mm chainstays are not particularly short but should provide a very balanced weight distribution. The SWOOP 8.0 29er is available in three sizes: M, L and XL. For smaller riders, the previous year’s 27.5″ model is still available online.
In terms of geometry, RADON has ticked all the boxes that a potent 29er Enduro bike should.
|Seat tube||435 mm||455 mm||475 mm|
|Top tube||601 mm||619 mm||637 mm|
|Head tube||110 mm||120 mm||130 mm|
|Chainstay||445 mm||445 mm||445 mm|
|BB Drop||26 mm-39 mm||26 mm-39 mm||26 mm-39 mm|
|Wheelbase||1237 mm||1255 mm||1274 mm|
|Reach||462 mm||476 mm||491 mm|
|Stack||638 mm||647 mm||656 mm|
The spec of the RADON SWOOP 8.0 2019
At € 2,499 the RADON SWOOP 8.0 is the cheapest of a total of three models in RADON’s portfolio. The next model up, the SWOOP 9.0 costs € 2,999, and the top-end SWOOP 10.0 goes for € 3,699. Despite its price, you don’t have to make any compromises with the SWOOP 8.0. The bike comes with a high-quality RockShox Lyrik RC2 fork, powerful MAGURA MT5 brakes, reliable DT Swiss wheels and a 150 mm SDG TELLIS dropper seat post. For the drivetrain, RADON relies on a mix of Shimano XT/SLX components and a Race Face crank. The gearing ratio consists of 32T chainring in front and an 11-46 cassette, which is a very good choice. Only on very steep climbs, some riders might want an easier gear – in this case, it could be worth switching to a 30T chainring in front. If you’re looking for something to criticise, the only place you’re likely to find it is in the choice of the tire casing. Many riders will want to swap the Schwalbe Magic Mary and Hans Dampf Snake Skin for models with the Super Gravity casing. Alternatively, you could also retrofit a tire insert. The cockpit is perfectly dimensioned with a 45 mm stem and an 800 mm handlebar.
The RADON SWOOP 8.0 2019 on the trail
Get on and feel at home – this is the motto of the new RADON SWOOP 8.0. After only a few meters, you’ll notice the overall very central sitting position. Thanks to the steep seat tube angle, you’ll sit comfortably upright without feeling like you’re hanging too far over the back on steep climbs. The SWOOP is one of the few bikes where we didn’t have to push the saddle completely forward – perfect!
At an even cadence, the rear linkage is amazingly efficient without any noticeable pedal bob. However, when you’re putting down the power up long, monotonous climbs you do notice that you’re on a long travel bike – it’ll be worth your while reaching for the climb switch. On technical climbs, the rear end doesn’t wallow and provides a lot of traction. However, you have to pick your line carefully to avoid getting hung up on the cranks. The only negative thing we noticed was the low engagement of the rear hub, which, in view of the otherwise excellent componentry, you can easily gloss over.
Having performed so well on the climbs, we were all the more curious about how the RADON SWOOP 8.0 would descend – and the bike doesn’t disappoint. After only a few meters everything feels very familiar. The ratio of reach and chainstay length is nicely balanced, which leads to excellent weight distribution in the corners. The handling of the SWOOP is very composed and doesn’t tend to understeer. Thanks to the low bottom bracket you also feel super integrated between the large wheels.
Get on and feel at home – this is the motto of the new RADON SWOOP 8.0
The suspension is very plush and sensitive, it filters out rough, hard blows without any problems while also responding sensitively to small bumps. Nevertheless, the bike doesn’t suck up the rider’s input, which allows you to ride the RADON very actively. Of course, you shouldn’t forget what category of bike this is – if you only ride even flow-trails you will most likely be happier with a different bike. Nevertheless, the SWOOP can generate a lot of speed if you pump it. The progression of the rear suspension is nicely tuned: the bike never bottoms out harshly, making good use of the available travel.
Thanks to the low top tube you have plenty of freedom of movement on the bike to instil you with confidence, especially on steep terrain. For the majority of the time, we rode the bike in the middle of the three flip-chip settings – and we’ve been very happy with it that way. For a weekend of big hits in the bike park, you’ll be able to get even more performance out of the bike with it in the slack setting.
The RADON SWOOP 8.0 2019 impressed us with truly outstanding value for money. The geometry is spot on, the suspension is excellent and the spec is well chosen and convincing throughout. The bike climbs very well and it descends superbly on a wide variety of trails. Of course, you have to accept minor flaws in the finish, but we can’t remember ever riding a bike capable of offering such a good time for so little money. Brilliant!
- great spec
- outstanding value for money
- very balanced handling
- excellent suspension
- constantly dragging/noisy brake rotors
- low engagement hub
- frame details look a bit rustic
For more info head to radon-bikes.de
Words & Photos: Christoph Bayer