Radon Swoop 10.0 Beauty Shot


Words by Robert Johnston
Photography by Adam Lievesley


Following their previously all-aluminum Radon Swoop lineage, Radon decided to bring a carbon fiber Enduro bike offering to the table for 2020 with a new frame design from the ground-up. Sharing the Swoop namesake but featuring a completely different shock position and aesthetic in addition to the composite front triangle, this was promised to be the most capable, pedal-friendly Radon Swoop yet.

When given the opportunity to design an all-new Swoop, Radon started from afresh to produce what they believed to be the ultimate enduro bike. However, to maintain its’ Swoop name, it had to share the same DNA – this meant creating a 170mm travel 29er with progressive and adjustable geometry. Instead of keeping the flip-chip found in the aluminum models, Radon opted for an angle set to be fitted as standard, offering a full 1.5° of adjustment to the head angle with minimal impact on the other geometry figures.

The model tested here is the 2020 Radon Swoop 10.0, however they have since released their 2021 models. They share the same frame, just with new colorways and some minor component revisions, thus this review is still relevant. In fact, Radon still has some of the tested 2020 models in stock with some discounts at the time of writing, so if you like what you hear then go grab yourself a deal.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Front Triangle

This all-new Radon Swoop frame features a carbon fiber front triangle mated to an aluminum alloy rear end and rocker. Internal cable routing with clamping ports manages the cables in the front triangle, with the rear end seeing the brake hose mounted on the top of the outside of the chainstay and the gear cable passing through the inside. Radon have stuck to their familiar four-bar suspension; however, this carbon frame sees them modifying the shock orientation to sit horizontally, rather than vertically on their previous alloy models. This was likely a requirement to obtain their desired suspension kinematics, but the unfortunate side effect is the resulting inability to mount a water bottle inside the front triangle. In fact, Radon has not provided any points on the frame for the mounting of a bottle cage or any other accessories. While this may not be a deal breaker, it is certainly a shame to lose this functionality.

The kinematics have been selected by Radon to produce their idea of the ultimate enduro/freeride machine. They do not publish their kinematics figures, but there’s certainly more anti-squat present than in the previous iteration, and a good dose of progression to prevent the end of the stroke being found too often.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Bottom Bracket

Geometry of the Radon Swoop CF is certainly modern, although they have not opted to go overly long with the reach nor steep with the seat tube, at 470mm for the size Large and 76° respectively. It is important to note that this seat angle figure is an effective angle measured at Radon’s deemed height, and as such the slacker actual angle may result in taller riders experiencing a more relaxed seat angle than quoted. The chainstay length is a middle-of-the-road 438mm long for all sizes, with the bb sitting 25mm below the wheel axles. The head angle sits at either 63.5° or 65° depending on the orientation of the adjustable headset, with next to no change in seat angle or bottom bracket height, allowing riders to maintain the intended climbing position with either setting. Seat tube lengths are slightly longer than we are becoming to expect, with 420mm, 470mm and a whopping 520mm for the available Medium, Large and Extra-Large sizes. There’s no size Small on offer here, which is sensible given the 29” wheels and 170mm rear travel creating serious clearance issues for the shorter-legged riders out there.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Geometry

The carbon framed Radon Swoop is offered in two spec levels for 2021 – the 9.0 at €2,999 and the 10.0 at €3,799. These both feature 38mm stanchion, 170mm travel forks with 44mm rake; quad piston brakes and 12spd drivetrains. The brands and part tiers produce the difference in prices. The 9.0 features a mid-level build consisting of Rockshox’s ZEB Select RC fork and Superdeluxe Select+ shock; a SRAM GX eagle drivetrain; Magura’s MT5 brakes; Schwalbe super trail rubber; and an in-house Radon dropper. The Swoop 10.0 relies on Fox for suspension duties with their 38 Performance Elite FIT GRIP2 fork and Float X2 performance shock; features a mix of Shimano XT and SLX for the drivetrain and brakes; has EXO+ Maxxis rubber on both ends; and seatpost duties are handled by SDG’s Tellis dropper. Both bikes roll on DT Swiss wheels – the E1900 spline for the 9.0 which features the 370 pawled hub, and the EX1700 for the 10.0 with the higher quality 350 ratchet hub. A 35mm Raceface Aeffect R cockpit, MRP 1X chain guide, SDG Bel Air V3 saddle and Acros Angled headset are shared between both models, rounding out builds that deliver impressive bang for your buck thanks to their direct-to-consumer sales model. Unfortunately, the Radon range is still unable to be purchased in North America or Canada, but they offer worldwide shipping to most other countries.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Whip

I spent a few months getting to know the 2020 Radon Swoop 10.0, during which time I was able to test it across a huge range of terrain and really figure out where it shines, and where it suffers.

Supplied in the 63.5° setting, the first impressions indicate the Swoop 10.0 is going to be an absolute animal on the descents, with parking lot stability firmly at the upper end of its class. On the climbs the seated position for my 33” inside leg on the Large size feels more stretched than the quoted 76-degree seat angle suggests. I was quick to slide the seat forward a touch on the rails, but even with this adjustment the steeper climbs resulted in a slightly rearward weight bias and the occasional wandering of the front end. This was no doubt exacerbated by the high sag figures I was running for much of the test, but more on that later.

On the shallower climbs, this seated position was comfortable however, and the Swoop was happy to crunch some miles. The rear end has considerably more pedaling support than the previous Radon Swoop, however it is still more active than many in its class such as the Propain Tyee. It is not a terrible pedaling bike by any means, it just lags slightly behind the best climbers for efficiency. Its ability to find grip on the more technical climbs is decidedly mid-pack too, with the rear end conforming to the trail slightly when under power, but not miraculously sticking to the seemingly unclimbable, like some. The static bottom bracket position is not ridiculously low, but the dynamic position ends up being quite low, as a combination of the slightly rearward climbing position and the higher sag figures used. Add in a bit of weight transfer on a technical climb, and those pedals end up sitting close to the ground which resulted in regularly catching obstacles I thought I was clear of. The climb switch on the Fox Float X2 did help considerably to tame this, so it was not the end of the world, but I usually prefer to keep a shock in the open mode for the full duration of a ride if possible.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Footplant

Once you have gained some elevation, the way down provides an interesting ride, with a slightly different feel to most modern enduro bikes. On the flatter sections of descent, the Swoops’ mid-pack weight and mid-pack efficiency combine to feel, well, mid-pack. This is certainly not a heavyweight and spongy bike, but neither is it particularly zippy. One thing that it does rather well however is gain speed through pumping – there is a decent platform of support in the rear end that generates a healthy amount of feedback and thus acceleration when applying some body English to the bike through rollers and backsides. There is a decent amount of pop on offer too, so you can effectively ride this bike like an oversized pump track machine and be rewarded with a good bit of speed if the terrain allows for it. This is the preferred solution anyway since the low dynamic BB height forces some particular attention to timing crank revolutions.

The rougher sections of trail were the interesting part of descending on the Swoop 10.0. I struggled throughout testing to find any magic combination of settings on the Fox Float X2 that provided the level of compliance that I have come to expect from a long legged enduro bike. I experimented with everything between 22% and 35% sag; zero to lots of low-speed compression, but the story did not ever really change. It was not that the Radon Swoop was making me lose control as such, but it never felt like I had all 170mm of that suspension under my feet to keep the wheel both safe from, while also gripping the terrain below.

Testing concluded with a day spent with suspension tuning company Dialed Telemetry, which was my last resort to find some remedies to my issues. By the end of that day’s setup, in which my concerns about sensitivity were made perfectly clear, the data suggested I was far too deep into the travel and that the rear end was packing up – was my high-sag; compression-heavy plea for more rear end suppleness working against me? After 80psi extra (taking me to a touch below 300 psi) and a big reduction in both compression and rebound damping, we eventually found a better setup that had some nice data to match. It made for a fast and controlled bike, but still failed to provide a terrain-ironing bike that begged me to push through the jankiest of terrain, even with sag figures still in the 28% region. It is a shame really, as the geometry does offer oodles of stability in the slacker headset mode that would otherwise encourage some hard pushing. It is perhaps a problem that could be remedied by a coil shock, where the progressive rear end would likely play nicely, so it is interesting to see the lack of coil build options available for the Radon Swoop CF.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Drop

Geometry wise, the average chainstays, reach and BB (when running a normal 25-30% sag) produce a middle of the road bike for lifting the front end and switching direction. The slack mode spreads things out notably, with the front wheel a considerable distance out ahead. As you would expect, this additional overall length produces some drawbacks when it comes to tight-terrain maneuverability – wide setup lines are a necessity here. The 15mm front end length reduction results from the steeper head angle setting helps things in this respect, with a tradeoff of reduced straight-line stability that I would welcome for most riding. The weight of the Swoop 10.0 came to 34.4lbs, or 15.6kg with a set of flat pedals on, which was quickly added to by a pair of tire inserts that were required to add support to the flimsy tires.

Moving over to the dropper post, a 150mm dropper on the size Large is a bit disappointing, with a good chunk of extension out of the frame required for my long legs, and an accompanying lack of space to maneuver on the bike. The 470mm seat tube is also a little longer than we are becoming accustomed to, seeing, and the extra-large’s towering 520mm seat tube is even worse – so the short-legged need to be wary that they may end up with some clearance issues.

The smaller pivots on the Swoop 10.0 frame had me concerned initially that there would be excessive flex, but this did not materialize into any issues during the test period. As a system, it is decidedly average on my stiffness scale, which is a happy place to be. The front shock bolt did fail on its last testing day with no notably harsh impact to cause it, however I would not hold it against the bike as it is not the first, I have broken in my time. It is a relatively quiet riding bike too, with some early cable rattle quickly solved by a slight tug on the gear cable, and chain noise being minimal thanks to the in-built chainstay protection and chain guide.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Jump

In this respect, I would suggest the Radon Swoop 10.0 could be a great rig for those blessed to have relatively smooth bike park style trails in their usual riding schedule. It will get you up to the top of a hill without a massive fuss – albeit not at a KOM hunting pace – and provide a supportive ride for the way down that has the progression for the big hits and just enough stiffness to allow for a corner shralp or two along the way. In the right hands it could make for a fast machine without a doubt, but the lack of sensitivity brings with it a lack of confidence at times and stops it from being the natural terrain crusher that I had expected.

In terms of bang for your buck, with a carbon front triangle and general mid to high end components package, the Radon Swoop 10.0 represents some great value at its €3,799 price. It is spec’d with a parts package that is well thought out and has no components that require an immediate swap-out for anything other than personal preference. The 2020 model was fitted with standard EXO casing Maxxis rubber, which I do not consider to be suitable for an enduro machine, but they have gone to some length to improve this in 2021 with EXO+ casings in place. For me, a double down casing would be even more appropriate for a 170mm rig, at least on the rear, but not everyone may agree. A longer dropper would also be good to see on the Large and Extra-Large sizes to allow for maximum clearance.

Radon Swoop 10.0 Manual

The Wolf’s Last Word

The latest incarnation of the Radon Swoop 10.0 sees a different approach to your usual enduro machine, offering a bike park crushing machine that can still climb adequately, but it doesn’t offer quite the same sensitivity of many competitors. Their direct sales model offers an impressive value proposition, with a very high spec for the money and a rare carbon front triangle in the price bracket, so if its mannerisms suit you then it is one hell of a deal. But for me, I would prefer to see a more sensitive machine in the rough, so the Radon Swoop, despite its good looks, is off my list.

Price: €3599
Website: Radon-bikes.de


Frame: Carbon mainframe, Alloy rear triangle; 170mm
Fork: Fox 38 Performance Elite, FIT GRIP2, Boost, 170mm
Shock: Fox Float X2 Performance, 2-pos., 230 x 65mm

Brakes: Shimano XT BR-M8120, SM-RT86, 203/180mm rotors
Handlebar: Race Face Turbine R, 35 x 800 mm, 20mm rise
Headset: Acros Angleset, ZS44/ZS56
Saddle: SDG Radar, CrMo
Seatpost: SDG Tellis, 31.6mm x 150mm
Shifter: Shimano SLX SL-M7100-IR, I-Spec EV; 12s
Stem: Race Face Turbine R, 35 x 40mm

Wheelset: DT Swiss E1700 Spline 29, 30mm, 110/148mm
Front tire: Maxxis Minion DHF Skinwall Dual, EXO, TR, 29″ x 2.5″ WT
Rear tire: Maxxis Minion DHR II Skinwall Dual, EXO, TR, 29″ x 2.4″ WT

Bottom Bracket: Shimano BB-MT800, BSA, 73mm
Cassette: Shimano SLX CS-M7100, 10-51
Cranks: Shimano XT FC-M8100, 30T, 170mm
Derailleur: Shimano XT RD-M8100, 12-speed

Radon Swoop 10.0 Beauty Shot

We Dig

Supportive and progressive rear
Solid build spec
Great Value
High speed stability

We Don’t

Lack of sensitivity
Flimsy tire spec
Short dropper
Long seat tubes


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