The Swift Folder dates back to the late 1990s as a collaboration between designer Peter Reich (Brooklyn) and frame builder Jan VenderTuin (Eugene, Oregon). Together they created a unique folding bike that utilizes the seat post to hold the hinge together.
Swift Folder Design
The Swift Folder design uses a rear triangle (comprised of part of the seat tube, chain stay, and seat stay) that swings forward, similar to a Brompton when the seat post is pulled upward after the unlocking of two quick-release clamps. The seat post is then slid back down to lock the rear triangle in place. While not part of the quick fold process the handlebar stem can also be lowered and the front wheel can be removed to create the smallest folding position possible for the Swift.
With the bottom bracket being part of the rear triangle the chain tension remains in constant tension which is considered an advantage for the Swift frame.
Folding bikes back in the 90s were expensive and used proprietary parts. The Swift Folder which originally sold just the frame could be assembled using off-the-shelf bicycle parts.
Xootr Swift Production
From 2004-2016 the Swift Folder went into mass-market production with a license from Xootr and the folding bike became known as the Xootr Swift.
While production ceased the reviews were mostly positive of the 8-speed Xootr Swift. There was an ease of folding although the Swift did not fold up as small as other folding bikes nor could it stand while folded. The Swift Folder however provided a rigid yet comfortable ride.
All New Origami Swift Folding Bike
Fast forward to 2023 where the Swift story picks back up and gets interesting. Paul Pingis (owner of Origami Bicycles) while on the bike forums again came across a remark about bringing back the Swift. The comment got Paul thinking about the folding bike and decided to pursue this cult classic even though he had never ridden a Swift.
Paul got in touch with Peter Reich to get his blessing on relaunching this folding bike. Peter agreed, provided some valuable advice, and also send Paul an old Swift frame.
This relaunch wasn’t just going to be a duplication of the old bike, it needed some modifications. In fact, there is a note on the frame that states “Original design by Peter Reich, reimagined by Origami.”
The first modification was to build the frame in Chromoly to improve the ride quality and give it a better personality. The Xootr Swift was an 8-speed and although it had a decent gear range Paul decided to beef it up. The new Origami Swift will now have 10-speeds with an 11-42T rear sprocket and a 58T front sprocket giving it a gear-inch range of 26 to 99! The gear shifting will be done with a Sensah RX10 derailleur.
The Origami Swift will also be equipped with Kamros hydraulic brakes. Paul states that he likes the ease of modulation with these brakes.
One of the old issues with the Swift design is that it could not stand in the folded position. This is a “must-have” in today’s folding bike world. Paul designed a dual-purpose rear rack that can handle panniers as well as act as a stand when the Origami Swift is folded. This is a tremendous added feature as the video above showed the Swift needing a wall to lean against.
The Origami Swift will include a block on the head tube to mount a Brompton luggage carrier. Bottle cage mounts were also added on the handlebar riser and the main tube to increase the overall utility of this bike.
Lastly, the rear triangle can come off as well as the fork so the Origami Swift can really collapse to a small size if you wish to pack this bike in a suitcase for travel.
The Origami Swift will be priced at $899 with pre-order pricing of $699 and a May 2023 availability date. Color choices will be green or grey along with two sizing options.
We thought we would end this article the same way we did the Origami Lotus and that is with a quote from Paul. We asked him if he liked riding his new and improved Origami Swift and does he now see why it had a cult following.
YES!!! I have had the prototype for couple of months now and it is sweeeeet! The geometry is perfect, the gear range is epic, and the ride quality is comfortable. I truly get it now!Paul Pingis, Origami Bicycles