The SwiftCarbon Story
A lot has changed at SwiftCarbon since our last review in 2016. So before jumping into the Attack G2 Disc, here's a brief summary of the brand's recent history.
Former pro racer Mark Blewett started SwiftCarbon in 2008. Setting up shop in China to be in the thick of the manufacturing and quality control process. Being South African, Blewett knew the local market and brought the brand to South Africa and in doing so built a favourable reputation.
Fast forward to 2017 when SwiftCarbon underwent an ownership change during which the brand went very quiet in South Africa. Understandably leaving existing customers a little concerned about local back-up and warranties. Thankfully, the story does not end there for SwiftCarbon in South Africa. The new owners, a large Brazilian group, bring renewed investment to continue building on Blewett’s original ambitions for the SwiftCarbon brand. These plans include growing SwiftCarbon in South Africa with a new local representative, Straightline Sport, appointed to market the bikes.
Predictably, the change of ownership has seen the new model release cycle slow a bit. You’ll recognise many of the bikes currently on offer from a few years back with several new disc brake options available. With a new factory and composite engineer dedicated to the SwiftCarbon bikes, these existing models are seeing carbon layup improves as each new batch is manufactured. These changes are apparently seeing weights coming down along ride quality improvements. That said, there are ambitious plans for all-new models, with a schedule for SwiftCarbon to try to release a new bike every year.
And Back To The Bike. SwiftCarbon’s Attack G2 Disc
I was a bit bewildered when given the choice to test the Attack G2 or the UltraVox. How do you choose? In this case, self-interest prevailed. I had owned a Swift previously, the older Attack ERA3. Shortly after buying the bike, the rim brake G2 model appeared and I had always wondered what I had missed out on with the new frame design. The short answer, a fair amount.
The Full Ultegra Build Kit
SwiftCarbon gave us their mid-range Full Ultegra Disc build to test which is priced at R55,000. There are also Shimano 105, Ultegra Di2, and Dura-Ace models available. The Attack G2 is available in both disc and rim brake models, starting at R30,000 with rim brakes and Shimano 105 groupset.
I first rode the bike on Mavic’s Aksium wheelset then later swapped over to the specified Ksyrium Pro UST Disc. The performance and ride feel was immediately evident. The UST designation means that you’re welcome (if not encouraged) to ride them as a tubeless setup. Plus they look fantastic, especially if you like to fly under the radar with the stealth black frame that I primarily rode for this review.
Endurance bikes tend to come with practical component choices such as voluminous tyres, a flexible seatpost, and even wider gear ranges. The Attack G2 Ultegra Disc, however, largely matches the parts selection found on the race-focussed UltraVox Disc Ultegra. It is worth noting that the Attack frame can accommodate up to 32mm tyres which exceeds the 28mm limit of the UltraVox.
- FrameSwiftCarbon Full Carbon Toray T700
- ForkSwiftCarbon Full Carbon Toray T800
- HeadsetFSA Orbit C40 ACB 15mm 1”1/8-1.5
- HandlebarEaston EC70
- StemEaston EA70
- Bar TapeFizik Microtex SL
- SeatpostEaston EC70 SP Zero 300 27.2
- Seat clampSwiftCarbon
- SaddleFizik Antares R5
- Left ShifterShimano Ultegra ST-RS685, BR-RS805 [F]
- Right ShifterShimano Ultegra ST-R8020, BR-R8070 [R]
- Front RotorShimano Ultegra SM-RT800 SS 140mm
- Rear RotorShimano Ultegra SM-RT800 SS 140mm
- Front DeraileurShimano Ultegra FD-R8000
- Rear DerailleurShimano Ultegra RD-R8000 11s
- Bottom Bracket SetFSA Press Fit 30 Road
- ChainwheelShimano Ultegra FC-R8000 Hollowtech 2 172.5mm 52-36T
- ChainShimano Ultegra CN-HG701-11
- CasseteShimano Ultegra CS-6800 11-28T 11s
- Front WheelMavic Ksyrium Pro UST Disc
- Rear WheelMavic Ksyrium Pro UST Disc
- TyresMavic Yksion Pro UST 25
- TubeMavic Tube
- Claimed Weight (Medium)8.03 kg
- Bike Weight (As Pictured)8.2 kg (Medium frame with non-specification aluminium seatpost, handlebar, and stem)
Endurance Road Bike You Say?
SwiftCarbon describe the Attack G2 Disc as endurance bike. If compared in isolation with Swift’s UltraVox pure race bike, there is some merit in an old school sense. But with a broader gaze of the current endurance bike market, the Attack G2’s geometry and components are more race bike than endurance cruiser. Please don’t see this as an affront on the Attack G2 Disc, it's a good bike, but its not a typical endurance bike (anymore).
Attack G2 vs UltraVox: So what’s the difference?
In the early days of endurance bikes, the defining geometry characteristic was a taller head tube. The Attack G2 Disc with a 172 mm versus the Ultravox at 147 mm. It is a significant 25mm difference. This raises the handlebar height and reduces the reach. The result is a riding position that is more upright that demands a shorter stretch and less upper body support from the rider. If you’re no longer race fit or not sticking to your old yoga routine, this slight change in position can be blessing for body aches.
In most other aspects, the geometry of the Attack G2 and Ultravox are identical. The top tube lengths, seat and head tube angles, wheels base, and chainstay lengths are all the same. I have not had the privilege of riding the Ultravox but after an unscientific comparison of notes with my colleague who tested the Ultravox, it seems the ride feeling might be fairly similar.
The claimed weights are also reasonably similar at the Ultegra level. A medium Attack G2 Disc is said to be 8,03 kg while the Ultravox 8kg. Looking at pricing, the Ultravox is around R10,000 more at the same component level.
A Word On Pricing
SwiftCarbon’s direct-to-consumer model means that you order your bike through the SwiftCarbon online store and it is delivered to you from Portugal. The local distributor, Straightline Sport, can also assist you with the ordering process.
The Swift Attack G2 Disc Ultegra retails for R55,000. This price includes all shipping and South African taxes. To view the correct Rand pricing currently, you must create an account on the SwiftCarbon website and input your delivery details. SwiftCarbon explained that there is an update coming that will make pricing far more user-friendly.
The Attack’s similarity to the Ultravox does have me scratching my head about which one to go for but with the Attack G2 being around R10,000 cheaper, it will certainly appeal to the more budget conscious rider.
There is a fleet of demo bikes available should you wish to try before you buy online. You can complete the form here to request a test ride.
Riding The Attack G2
Position the Attack G2 Disc as a slightly more comfortable performance bike rather an endurance bike and it makes a lot more sense on the road. The ride feel gives it away immediately, especially on the descents where the bike reacts to instructions sharply but with assured control. You still have to apply yourself to get the Attack on the correct line but when you do, you will be grinning. If you enjoy descending, then the disc brake edition is without doubt worth the small addition of weight. The hard deceleration that the Ultegra brakes offer before leaning into a turn is a fantastic sensation.
The racey nature of the Attack G2 frame does not meant that it is without frame compliance. The skinny seatstays offer up some dampening as the forces from the rear wheel travel up to the seatpost. Always a personal opinion but this design is attractive feature of the frame. Admittedly, the impact of frame flex can be a difficult to isolate during testing but at no time did I find the rear end to be uncomfortably rigid.
The overall impression of the Attack G2 is one of efficiency. Once up to speed, the Attack G2 rolls along the flats with ease. The bike reacts nimbly to surprise efforts, like maintaining contact with a surging group. While standing out of the saddle for a quick sprint or attacking a short climb the bike maintains composure without giving way under power.
When it comes to climbing, the Attack G2 Disc is of reasonable weight, not being the lightest nor the heaviest in its class. Granted that SwiftCarbon (nor any one else) can cheat gravity, the Attack G2 offers climbing enthusiasm. Every stroke of the pedal is focussed on delivering power with the effect of urging you to keep pushing hard.
Heading out on loops of the Cape peninsula, it was easy to forget the Attack G2 underneath you and focus on the enjoyment of riding (yes, even when the South Easter is in a foul mood). If that means attacking with your head down or simply getting out for a coffee ride, the Attack G2 is a rewarding ride.
The SwiftCarbon G2 Disc is a well-balanced bike. It is a dependable performer across the board. The Attack won't be a disappointing purchase but it does sit in a space with lots of equally pleasing competitors. The SwiftCarbon mix of pleasing looks and niche brand appeal might be enough to sway you.