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2013 Swobo Fillmore

Review: 2013 Swobo Fillmore Initial Thoughts

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A guest post by Laura of Loose Nuts Cycles in Atlanta, GA

In my last post, several weeks ago, I introduced you all to the Swobo Fillmore.  For the last month or so, I’ve been riding this bike and have an update for all of you interested in hearing more about it.

When this bike first arrived at Loose Nuts Cycles, I had mixed feelings.  I love a steel frame and fork and I was looking forward to my first non-mountain bike with disc brakes, but for some reason I just wasn’t 100% in love with this bicycle.  I couldn’t put my finger on it but it just wasn’t love at first sight even though, when I listed all of its great features, I felt like it should be awesome.  I should have been stoked.

Luckily, the our first ride together changed my mind.  The posture is casual and fun–like being on a fixed gear bike without all the extra work and attempted-coolness of riding a fixed gear.  I ran errands and peddled around town quite a bit that afternoon.  The bike rode really smoothly and handled Atlanta’s pot-holed streets like a champion.  It was a beautiful spring afternoon, so a lot of people were out and about.  At most of my stops and at some traffic lights, the bike received complements from cyclists and non-cyclists alike.  That might have been because it was shiny and new-looking, but either way it made me feel as if I had misjudged this bike.  It was fun, it looked cool, and it performed well.

Since then, I’ve spent a lot more time on the bike and have come up with a favorites/not favorites list for Phil (that’s what I named the bike.  Get it?  A Swobo Fillmore named Phil! I’m confident that there’s so much eye-rolling happening at my cheesy jokes right now.)  Anyway, back to my list.

First my favorites of Phil, the Fillmore

  1. Super fun city bike–it looks cool and is just plain old fun to ride.  It’s a good bike to ride if you need to remember why riding is fun. :)
  2. The internally geared 8-speed hub keeps the bike looking clean and sleek, but provides plenty of gear options.
  3. The riser bars and geometry of the frame make the Fillmore extra comfortable.  For those of you who don’t like being bent over in an aggressive race posture, this bike will feel great.  It also prevents that annoying 3-inch gap between your shirt and your pants in the back, which is nice.
  4. It rides super smoothly on the road, but also handled plenty of curb drops and gravel paths with ease.  It’s a pretty versatile and tough bike for the city.

Now for my not favorites

  1. The accessories on the bike are not the highest quality.  If I were going to keep this bike, I would spend another $200 to put on shinier fenders, better looking cranks and pedals, and a different chain guard.  I think with a couple simple upgrades  on the accessories and cranks the Fillmore could look really high-end.  I would also need add a rack, because every city bike needs a rack.  More on that coming up….
  2. The disc brakes are awesome, but it does make finding a rack a little more difficult.  I love a functional bike that I can load down with stuff as I run errands or stop to visit friends through the day.  I gave up wearing a bag about a year ago because bike riding without a bag is way more fun and less sweaty.  That means that my bikes need racks and panniers.  Well, disc brakes make it more difficult.  You have to order a disc-brake specific rack.  It’s not that big of a deal, but it is something to keep in mind.

Overall, the 2013 Swobo Fillmore has won me over.  I’m still not sure why it wasn’t love at first sight (maybe it was the accessories that were throwing me off), but I’ve definitely changed my mind.  It’s not perfect, but it is fun, tough, and smooth.   I would definitely recommend it for someone who rides for transportation and wants a bike looks good, but is also tough enough to handle frequent trips and some jumps and gravel along the way.

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