Review: My Xootr and Me! Xootr Swift

Ooh, the Xootie is lookin muy caliente with this Glamour Shots photo filter!

Hola Bike Commuters!  The Xootr Swift and me, (or as I refer to him as the “Xootie” because it rhymes with “cootie”) and I go way back: to August of 2011!  Xootie arrived at my sister’s place in L.A. by ground shipping in a shorter than average cardboard companion.  Just in time to liberate me from the four-wheeled nonsense of my vehicluar-obsessed family in L.A.  Digression: Last year, they insisted that they drive me seven blocks from Grandma’s house in Santa Monica to Auntie’s house in Santa Monica. I took my jugular hostage with a plastic Taco Bell spork in order to escape a 3-minute trip in an oversized SUV driven by my crazy half blind aunt and took off on the Xootie.

Okay, back to the REVIEW: So what does Xootr have to say about the Swift?  For a company that usually makes scooters, I was impressed!  For $749, you get a good commuter bang for your buck.   Here is the obligatory spec list with bullet-points, because they do it better than I can on the website:

Xootr Swift Fold Bicycle Features

  • A folder that rides just like a regular bike
  • Nearly all parts are industry standard…no weird and incompatible stuff.
  • One of the lightest folders out there (25lbs.)
  • Ready to go out of the box. We’ve made the hard choices for you.
  • Super stable, rigid TrusFold frame system
  • Available as either an 8 speed or single speed (black only)Note:Single speed version is sold out.

Some things I’d like to +1 include extra-sturdy frame, solid as a rock!  As the seat post is the pin that locks the rigid frame, it’s a larger diameter than normal.  So, I often locked it with a cable knowing that if some lolo decided to steal it, I’d be SOL.  Another +1 for the fact that it has similar geometry to a “regular” bike with full-size wheels.  Even though it has 20″ wheels, it doesn’t feel crunchy or cramped up like you’d think.  In fact, here’s a craptastic photo of the Xootr next to my Bumblebee Scott road-monster at home:

Due to lack of photo-taking skills, I had to edit in pink. Handlebars and seat height real close to the road bike set up.

Also, in as well as, in addition to, the Xootr Swift folding bike proved a worthy travel companion, as I have stuffed him into everything except the overhead compartment for carry-ons: the back of a Toyota Corolla trunk, large rolly wheeled suitcases, under the tables at a booth in a craft fair, the back of an eight-passenger State vehicle, tiny apartment elevators, and a dingo.  The trick with this folder is that the seat post acts as the locking mechanism for the bike, making it as easy to collapse as fainting baby goats.  The handle bars also have a quick release pin making the bike even midgier for the back of my co-worker’s Subaru.

No need to fold down the seats with this spectacular Xootie nugget!

The Xootie Swift has been tons of fun around town!  I’ve used it for every commute day and even lent it to a visiting friend (who complainted of taintal discomfort, but I blame that more on a weak sack than the engineering of the bike).  With it’s BMX-sized “bulletproof” wheels, it is a whippy mo-fo.  I’ve casually bunny hopped some spam musubis and quickly detoured from road to sidewalk to bike path in order to avoid traffic congestion during rush hour.  With the 8-speeds it’s golden for cruising on errands or commutes up to 12 miles and taking Diamondhead uphill! Hook me up with an easy gear ratio any day: I’ve got nothing to prove!

Curbs or Spam musubis, nothing stands in the way of Xootie Swift's BMX wheels.

I have had all kinds of comments shouted to me in downtown while waiting at lights or turning corners, “Nice blue on your bike” or “Cute, your bike!” or “Fancy bike, where’d you get dat?”  Confessional Digression: I have grown fond of the Xootie, but due to it’s small size  I felt like a clown on the way to a kid’s brthday party at Chuck-E-Cheese the first couple of weeks. I have always wanted to commute on a folding bike but never had a small enough apartment that it didn’t make sense to get the big kid wheels for the same price.  I’d been eyeballing origami cheap $200 single speed or 3-speed suckers since the original purchase of the Kona Dew back in 2007.  Claiming no technical expertise on the subject of bikes but lightyears of experience in good old-fashioned bikey fun, I was won over by the Xootie as it’s a mini-wheels are nostalgic of childhood, and it’s a very practical commuter choice.  Oh, the SHAME.  It’s like hanging out with my dorky little brother who is actually a lot of fun and more like me than I’d like to admit.

Spark Notes: The Xootr Swift comes in S,M,L and XL sizes, and looks more like a scooter than a bike.  Surprisingly, it’s a quick commuter considering the size of the wheels.  Eight speeds makes tackling hills a no brainer! Three months of commuting through Chinatown, with it’s streets shimmering with crushed glass vials, and no flats is a good sign for the stock tires!  I give it five thumbs up for portability, easy to fold, assemble, and carry, flashy blue color, and whippy maneuverability like Willow Smith.  I give it one big toe down for initial dork factor of riding a bike that looks like a scooter, and grip-shifters (yucky to fix when they get stuck!).  If you like rooting for the underdog, go for the Xootr Swift!  For a more tech-savvy review, check out this one from Velo Bike Parts in October 2011.

Xootie in the sky with diamonds.


15 Comments

  1. Steve A December 2, 2011 5:08 am 

    So, did you use the rack system at all? Do the “special” PB fenders need to be used or can you easily adopt their equivalent PB equivalent? How does it really compare to, for instance, a Brompton for commuting? I can’t say I’m thrilled by the ” take a flat bar or nutttin” handlebar selection.

  2. Mike Myers December 2, 2011 7:50 am 

    Would you say the price is fair? It looks pretty stripped down compared to some of the Dahon folders I’ve seen.

  3. John Jameson December 2, 2011 8:22 am 

    I have one that has served me well for several years as a 4-season commuter. I swapped out the rear wheel for a 3-speed coaster brake internal hub and slapped on Planet Bike fenders to make it low maintenance and relatively weatherproof; though I do tend to catch a ride if it’s raining or snowing, just because…why not?

    As for the rack systems…at least for me, I used one for a while and then took it off. It worked fine, but I fold mine often enough that I was happier keeping my junk in a backpack, rather than having one more sticky-outy-bit when shoving it in a car.

    The only downside I’ve seen to the Xootr system is that you have to lock the seatpost quick-releases pretty tightly or the seatpost will slowly work its way down over the course of a week. But when it’s locked right, it’s good and firm.

  4. Rider December 2, 2011 12:50 pm 

    Xootr … how might that be pronounced? My first guess was “cooter” (which is a turtle where I live), but then saw you used that as its nickname, so it must be something else.

    I hate it when the marketing minds get all too clever with names, spelling, capitalization, etc.

    And … why are the streets in Chinatown littered with glass from crushed vials?

  5. bigbenaugust December 2, 2011 1:11 pm 

    I had one once… until it got stolen in 2007. :(
    What a great bike it was.
    I get some of the small-wheel love from a mini-velo now.

  6. Mir.I.Am December 2, 2011 1:14 pm 

    @Steve A: I got the bare bones version (no kickstand, boo!) so no trial run for fenders or racks. Plus I just opt for sweaty back and backpack to hold my junk like John Jameson said above: testing foldability into trunks etc. means I sacrifice the fenders and rack for less sticky-outies.
    @Mike Meyers: for the price, I’ve always eyed the Dahon’s and have borrowed a friend’s but not for any extended period of time. Looks like you could get a similar ride from Dahon for $100 less with accessories included. I’m rarely in the market for a brand new ride for a full MSRP tag, so as a consumer I would pass up both the Dahon and the Xootr for the price.
    @Rider: I think it’s pronounced like “Zooter”, like xylophone! Everyone sees the brand and calls in the Cooter though, anyway.

  7. Mir.I.Am December 2, 2011 2:00 pm 

    @Rider: In reality it’s glass from broken car windows in Chinatown. But when I am dodging them in the bike lane, I imagine Breaking Bad and scientists having fights with lab equipment! There’s just a lot of iceheads wandering the streets so you never know! It does make the street sparkle at night… in a BAD way. 😉

  8. Shines December 2, 2011 3:56 pm 

    The Dingo welcomes the Xootr at any time. Jeeps don’t hate on their two-wheel cousins. Especially a super cutie like the Xootie.

  9. CFoo December 2, 2011 4:23 pm 

    My bike. I love it. Not very pricey. But very compatible with 3rd party components. Stems, dropbars, rear racks (mine is Topeak Explorer), mudguards. Look in the bikeforums.net forum under the Folding Bicycles section for a mega-thread of customisations. I found the stock handlebars too short and flat, and swapped it out for a mountain bicycle one.

  10. Martyrad December 2, 2011 4:50 pm 

    I had the pleasure of riding this bike for a few days while visiting Miriam. Bike rides like a dream, though I would advise properly adjusting the seat and making sure all of the sand is out of your shorts before you ride it 10 miles around Honolulu. #sandytaint

  11. gf December 2, 2011 5:02 pm 

    What a fun refreshing review. I wish more bike reviews were this lively instead of postulating on the stiffness of this or that when the reviewer has no clue and no data.

  12. Brian M. December 3, 2011 4:17 am 

    Hello all, Mir.I.Am asked me to help answer some of the questions posted through the comments. Please feel free to contact me at brian@xootr.com if you have any additional questions.

    First, our name is pronounced zoo-ter. We originally started making adult sized kick scooters, so the name flows with scooter. We are very far from marketing minds, just a small company filled with average “joe’s”. Except for the 2 brothers that engineered the scooter. They are two amazing minds, the likes of which I will never come close to matching.

    As for racks, you have lots of different options. You can even use most seat post mounted racks even though they technically do not fit our 34mm post. Just swap in some longer bolts and you are good to go. Pannier racks also work well. We have had many customers do tours in Europe with the Swift. We also have our own which was reviewed here…http://www.commutebybike.com/2011/04/29/the-xootr-crossrack-where-no-pannier-has-gone-before/

    For the PB (Planet Bike) fenders, no you do not have to use ours. They are the same as their Hardcore ATB fenders, just with the stays and mounts in the proper size and location for the Swift.

    The kickstand is an accessory as you would be surprised by the number of customers that use the Swift as their racing trainer.

    I did not realize that the handlebars or lack of options was an issue. I will see what options are available to us and try to offer an alternative or two. The nice thing about the Swift is that the only non-standard parts are the seat post, riser, and derailleur hanger so you can customize it to your hearts content.

    Thanks for the opportunity Mir.I.Am and I have to agree…I love the “style”.

  13. Steve A December 3, 2011 9:19 am 

    Now this last comment, and Mir.I.Am’s prompt of it, is one of the reasons I read this blog! Well done, all!

  14. Mir.I.Am December 3, 2011 9:58 pm 

    Muchas gracias Brian M… technical expertise from the company itself is much more insightful than my own. Sending mental mahalos your way….!

  15. Raiyn December 4, 2011 12:55 am 

    I agree with Steve. This is the way to react and promote a product. Well done indeed Brian.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *