The Tern Swoop is an ultra low step-over model, optimized for commuting in comfort. Specs include an aluminum frame, hi-ten steel fork, 20″ wheels with fat tires, v-brakes, racks and lighting, and a quick and easy fold. The bike I rode was the Di7
model, which features a Shimano Nexus 7-speed hub. There is also a SRAM 2-speed Duo
The Swoop is a commuter-ready bike. The low stepover makes it easy to mount and dismount for everyone. The fenders and chainguard will keep clothing clean. The wide tires (Schwalbe Big Apples) make for a cushy ride. The generously sized rear rack and built-in cords allow for easy transport of luggage. In addition to the rear rack, there is a luggage socket
into which a klick-fix adapter can be installed. This system works with a variety of front bags and baskets.
The bike also comes equipped with dynamo lighting, powered by the BioLogic Joule 3 generator hub
. This hub has an on/off switch on the side, which is said to eliminate drag (“…in the ‘off’ position, the magnets are pulled away from the core of the hub”).
The Swoop’s positioning is relaxed and upright, with the flat, ever-so-slightly curved back handlebars set quite high for all but the tallest riders.
I rode the Swoop around the Outdoor Demo loop a few times, as well as on dirt for a bit. In total this amounted to 2-3 miles, including some uphill stretches. The bike felt comfortable and relaxed, not unlike a full sized European city bike. The fat tires drowned out bumps very nicely. Unlike some of the other non-Brompton folding bikes I’ve tried, the Tern Swoop felt pleasantly un-flimsy. I did not sense any play in the fold joints, nor did I feel flex in the frame while cycling. The ride quality was stable and novice-friendly. The bike cannot be called sporty exactly, but it rode faster than its looks suggest, and the gearing was low enough to make the uphill stretches painless, as well as to handle more serious inclines if need be.
As far as comparing it to my Brompton
, the Swoop is a more relaxed and upright bike. It rode a bit slower, and somewhat less maneuverably. Without a front load, the steering felt considerably more “normal” than Brompton’s distinct (some say “twitchy”) steering.