Radon Swoop 10.0 is a 29er enduro bike with 170mm travel at both ends. Carbon front triangle with alloy stays. M, L and XL frame sizes.
Adjustable, affordable and agile, the latest Radon Swoop 10.0 remains true to its original values. Now with 29in wheels, a carbon front end and 170mm travel, the Swoop is also more capable than ever before. The Radon Slide Trail was our direct-sales Trail Bike of the Year in 2020. As good as the Slide Trail is, though, it was actually the Swoop that put Radon on the mtb map.
Radon Swoop 10.0 need to know
- Fox 38 Grip2 fork has four-way adjustable damping while X2 shock has low-speed compression and rebound adjustment.
- No geometry flip-chip, but the Swoop has an Acros Angleset with 1.5° of adjustment.
The updated geometry is not so extreme as to make it a monster truck. By eliminating the seatstay bridge, Radon has been able to achieve a relatively short 438mm chainstay length, which tucks the 29in rear wheel in under the rider and keeps the bike flickable. It’s not a new approach, Specialized did the same thing on the 2015 Enduro and the Plus-size Stumpy before that, but it seems to work well on the Swoop as the front end on the size large isn’t super-long, so the bike feels well balanced.
Gone are the geometry-adjust flip chips in the frame, replaced instead by an Acros angleset that offers 1.5° of adjustment. In the slack setting it yields a 63.7° head angle and I suspect it was fitted to slacken the bike a touch, as I can’t see anyone running a 65.2° head angle on a 170mm-travel rig.
Another neat feature on the carbon front end is the internal cable routing. Large entry and exit ports make it easy to replace a grubby gear outer, and because the cables are clamped in place at each end, they can’t migrate as the suspension compresses. This, combined with the rubber chain and seatstay protection, makes for a blissfully quiet ride.
Radon bikes ship directly from Europe, and the Shimano XT front brake hose was a touch short and the rear overly long. I can only assume that the hose lengths were designed for a bike with the rear brake on the right-hand side, which would also explain why the brakes needed bleeding after just one ride. The Swoop also ships with tubes installed, but the DT Swiss wheelset comes tubeless ready, so you need only ditch the tubes and fit tubeless valve stems and some sealant to make the switch.
Now, I should point out that the bike featured here is actually the 2020 model, which until recently was discounted to €3,129. Which, if you add up the cost of the parts alone, effectively means Radon was giving the frame away for free. Sadly, that offer is no longer available, but given that the 2021 version is the same bike bar a colour change and some revisions to the spec – the Maxxis tyres have been upgraded to 3C rubber with EXO+ casings and the chainset is downgraded from Shimano XT to SLX – I thought it was still worth taking a closer look at this model.
Most importantly, the suspension specification hasn’t changed one jot. You still get the 170mm-travel Fox 38 Performance Elite fork with the Grip2 damper. It’s exactly the same as the top-end Factory unit minus the gold coloured Kashima upper tubes, so the ride quality is first rate. Out back, the Swoop 10.0 uses the high-volume Float X2 shock to great effect. Yes, this particular four-bar suspension layout is quite progressive, but I had no issues accessing all of the travel, even when running less sag on longer, more pedal-focused rides. Being the Performance-level unit, the X2 doesn’t get the high-speed compression and rebound adjustment found on the Factory shock, just low speed, but this actually makes the bike way easier to set up. The range of available adjustment is spot on too. I weigh 78kg and was running the rebound closer to the open end of the range, so there’s plenty of scope to accommodate heavier riders running higher shock pressures.
How it rides
My first impression of the Radon Swoop was that no bike with this much travel and such short chainstays should climb so well. I was expecting a wheelie machine, and while the Swoop actively encourages you to power wheelie out of every turn and pop manuals at the most inappropriate moments, the front end still manages to stay firmly planted even when grinding up the steepest gradients.
How did Radon achieve this? Well, it has obviously traded some suspension plushness for improved pedalling efficiency, and it really works in its favour. By upping the anti-squat and progression, the bike feels tight and reactive when cranking hard. At no point does the Swoop wallow or get bogged down in its 170mm travel, and combined with the relatively steep 75.9° seat angle, your weight is always far enough forward for seated climbing, even with those short stays. The extra support in the rear suspension also helps keep the front tyre loaded on flatter corners, so not once did it feel like I was hanging off the back of the bike mid-turn.
Hit rougher, faster trails, more appropriate for a 170mm-travel bike, and the Radon Swoop 10.0 isn’t as plush as say, the Nukeproof Giga or Whyte G-180. And this is where subtle changes to the shock set-up can make a big difference to the ride. It’s also where having 170mm travel to play with gives you a huge dynamic range of adjustment. On my early rides I questioned the need for the climb switch on the X2 shock. The bike pedalled great and even with the low 343mm BB height (same as the Giga) I’d yet to clip a pedal. But as I dropped the shock pressure, increasing the amount of sag and reducing the anti-squat (thanks to the associated decrease in the virtual pivot height), suddenly I couldn’t resist the urge to reach for the climb switch on steeper climbs. Was the bike plusher? Yes, especially on that all important initial touch that takes the edge off square-edge bumps, but the change had also blunted the pedalling response.
The take-home message, though, is that the Swoop offers two distinct personalities in one bike. With 25 per cent sag it handles and pedals like a very capable trail bike. Increasing the sag improves the sensitivity of the rear suspension, which in turn makes the Swoop every bit as capable as it is versatile. With either set-up, it’s always fun, fast, playful and poppy, and because Radon has taken the middle ground in terms of geometry and sizing, it’s an incredibly easy bike to ride. If you were one of the lucky ones to grab a Radon Swoop 10.0 at the discounted price, do yourself a favour and ditch the harder-compound tan-wall tyres for something more appropriate, as they are the only limiting factor on the 2020 Swoop.