I managed to get a lot of miles in on the Ultravox TI and it became a bike I just loved to ride. The frame is certainly one of the best around and aside from the slightly disappointing wheels, this bike manages to present both performance and comfort in one package. If you’re looking for a machine to take on any kind of event or terrain, or even to build up to your dream bike, then it’s hard to look past what Swift is offering with the Ultravox TI
Top level frame
Smooth, responsive cornering
Comfortable, all-round ride
Wheels not at the same level as frame
Tyres detract from confident cornering
Frame deserves a higher spec
Set up eight years by former pro Mark Blewett, Swift is not your typical bike brand, with Blewett based in his South African homeland while the company is not ashamed to have its headquarters in the Chinese city of Xiamen. But despite its relative youth, Swift has already begun to make waves in the pro ranks, with this being the bike of choice of NFTO last year, while the partnership with Aussie Pro Continental team Drapac Pro Cycling now in its second season.
Pre-test first impressions
At first glance the Swift Carbon Ultravox Ti gives the impression of being an out-and-out racer. But while the stunning range topper from the China-based company has all the good looks and fast ride of a top end race bike, there’s more to it than first meets the eye.
TI stands for ‘Team Issue’ as this is the same frame used by Swift-supported pro teams like those mentioned above.
The frame is where Swift really specialises and is by far the standout feature of this bike. A Mitsubishi-Rayon and Toray carbon-fibre weave has been used to make sure the Ultravox TI is stiff, light and strong, and it’s fair to say this is exactly what Swift has achieved.
The box-shaped tubes help to reduce flex and the stiff head tube gives this bike a feeling of agility along with a sense that every watt of power is being transferred effectively. The slim seatstays counter this rigidity nicely, providing enough comfort to allow you to ride this bike for long periods.
A quick look at the bike’s geometry and straight top tube certainly doesn’t imply comfort, but I couldn’t find any reason why, with the right set-up, this couldn’t be a frame as well-suited to all-day endurance rides as it is for an hour-long criterium.
While it’s available as a frame-only option as well, allowing you to fully customise your ride, the Shimano Ultegra Di2 build featured here is hard to beat.
There’s little left to say that you haven’t already heard about Di2, with its smooth and reliable shifting well documented. Happily there are no deviations from Ultegra, meaning you get the excellent brakes together with a mid-compact 52/36 chainset and an 11-28t cassette.
The Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels are a reliable choice, but don’t live up to the high standard of the frame. I had no issues with them, and they proved reliable across varying terrains, but I’d certainly look at upgrades to make the most of this machine.
The wheels came shod with the latest version of Mavic’s own Yksion tyres, and while the grip seems to have been improved I’d change them too.
>>> Buyer’s guide to road bike tyres
Other than that, the aluminium 3T bars and stem are a neat choice and do the job nicely, while the 3T carbon seatpost offers extra comfort. I was pleased to see the bike adorned with a Fizik Antares saddle, a personal favourite of mine and one that should suit most riders.
Having never ridden a Swift bike before and heard little about them, I didn’t really know what to expect from the Ultravox TI’s ride.
The first thing I noticed, particularly jumping onto the Ultravox from a lower spec bike, is just how stiff and how much power was transferred directly into speed as I pushed on the pedals. In straight lines, this bike felt just as smooth and quick as any aero-specific road bike I’ve ridden.
But the real joy in this bike is its responsiveness through corners. Swooping around bends on descents and the flat felt natural to this bike. There was no twitchiness or nervousness about taking corners at speed and I felt in my element descending on it.
That said, I felt the Mavic tyres detracted from the confident cornering and it was a relief to get a more trusted set of rubber on to allow myself to really open this bike up on the descents.
>>> Winter road bike tyres
At 7.97kg, while not the lightest of bikes in this price bracket (bear in mind that this was a size 59 with bottle cages, pedals and a Garmin mount), the Ultravox TI still felt great on the climbs and can hold its own against its competitors.
With the frame starting at £2,300, only high-end parts are going to do it justice.
The specification level of our test bike felt like reasonable value, considering the performance and quality of the frame, and Ultegra Di2 is probably the level you’d expect were you to shell out over £3.5k.
The Mavic Ksyriums are below par at this price point though, and really need to be upgraded to get the most out of this bike. However, as training wheels they are a solid and reliable choice.
Head over to the Cycleworks website for more.
Richard began working with Cycling Weekly in 2013 alongside the then web editor, Nigel Wynn. Taking over as digital editor or Cycling Weekly and mbr in 2014, Richard coordinates site content and strategy with the team.
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