We have very good news for those of you who appreciate locally-made steel mountain bikes. We have just received a new, and very unique full suspension bike in from Swarf Cycles, which is in the house and up on the test rota!
The mustard-yellow bike in question is the brand new Contour, and it’s designed and manufactured by Swarf’s owner, Adrian Bedford. The bike we have here is pre-production, but it’s pretty close to what potential customers can expect of a production-spec frame.
After years of playing with prototypes and various suspension designs (check out Adrian’s detailed blog post to see what the originals looked like), the Contour is set to be the first full suspension model from Swarf – a brand best known for its lovely custom steel hardtails.
Pitched as a versatile do-it-all trail bike with 29in wheels, 115mm of rear travel and a 130mm travel fork, the Contour frame is made with a combination of Reynolds 853 and 631 steel tubing for the front end, with Dedacciai steel chainstays and 4130 cromo seatstays for the back end. In between is a beautiful CNC machined alloy rocker linkage. Geometry is modern without being uber-radical, while UK-sensibility is featured throughout with fully external brake hose and derailleur cable routing, a 73mm threaded bottom bracket shell, loads of mud clearance, and plenty of room for a water bottle inside the front triangle.
Before the Contour gets covered in Pennine-filth, we took a bunch of photos (in the sunshine and everything – lucky!) for you to ogle over, so read on to check out the core specs and features of this lovely steel full suspension machine.
Swarf Contour Features
- Full suspension 29er trail bike
- Made in the UK
- Reynolds 853 steel tubing
- Single pivot suspension design w/115mm rear travel
- Designed for 130mm travel forks
- 66.5° head angle
- 75.5° seat tube angle
- Reach: 420mm (Small), 438mm (Medium), 465mm (Large) and 495mm (X-Large)
- Max tyre clearance: 2.5in
- 445mm chainstay length
- 73mm English threaded bottom bracket
- ISCG 05 chainguide tabs
- 142x12mm rear hub spacing (Boost also available)
- Full-length external routing for rear brake & derailleur
- Available sizes: Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Frame RRP: £1950 (RockShox Monarch RT3 shock) or £2150 (Cane Creek DBairIL shock)
There’s 115mm of travel on the back of the Contour, which is delivered via a single pivot suspension design that places the main pivot right in line with the 32t chainring. The frame is 1x only, which means the pivot locations can be optimised around the single chainring, rather than having to compromise across a 2x or 3x setup.
Compressing the rear shock is a set of CNC machined plates that are bolted together to form a triangular rocker link, and big sealed cartridge bearings and tough stainless steel hardware are used throughout for durability and serviceability.
Our test bike features a Cane Creek DBairIL rear shock, though the Contour will accommodate a range of air shocks and coil shocks, depending on what you want to run, and frame pricing starts at £1950 with a RockShox Monarch RT3 shock. One thing to note is that because of the tight clearance with the downtube and seat tube, the Contour isn’t piggyback compatible.
You’ll likely notice that there aren’t any pivots to be found around the rear axle. Instead, Adrian has designed the Contour with slender seatstays that are designed to flex ever-so-slightly as the suspension cycles through its travel. Not only does this lower weight, the reduction in moving parts means there’s one less set of bearings and pivots to worry about servicing. And because of the orientation of the seatstays and the way the rocker link rotates, there is minimal flex required to begin with, so it isn’t as if the back of the frame will be bending like a noodle.
The Swarf Contour is set to appear in the next issue of Singletrack Magazine in a three-way group test. We’ll leave you to guess what the theme of that group test might be…
In the meantime, mosey on over to the Swarf Cycles website for more information about the brand, and to get in touch with Adrian if you’re looking for particulars on the new Contour.
Swarf Contour Specifications
- Frame // TIG-Welded Steel Mainframe & Swingarm, 115mm Travel
- Fork // RockShox Pike RCT3, 130mm Travel
- Shock // Cane Creek DBairIL
- Rims // No-Name Chinese Carbon, 32h, Tubeless Compatible
- Hubs // Hope Pro 4, 100x15mm Front & 142x12mm Rear
- Tyres // Maxxis Minion DHF EXO 2.5in WT Front & Minion DHR II EXO 3C MaxxTerra 2.3in Rear
- Chainset // Shimano SLX, 32t Chainring
- Rear Mech // Shimano SLX, 11-Speed
- Shifters // Shimano SLX, 11-Speed
- Cassette // Shimano SLX, 11-42t, 11-Speed
- Brakes // Shimano SLX, 180mm Front & 160mm Rear
- Stem // Nukeproof Alloy, 45mm Long
- Bars // USE Nail Aluminum, 780mm Wide, 20mm Rise
- Grips // Funn Combat Lock-On Black
- Seatpost // RockShox Reverb Stealth, 30.9mm, 150mm Travel
- Saddle // SQlab 612 Ergowave
- Size Tested // Medium
- Sizes available // Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
- Weight // 13.79kg (30.38lbs)