Yesterday was a little weird for northern New England. Instead of our usual February temps of mid-20's and an ever-present chance of snow, we were greeted today with temperatures nearing 70 degrees and blue skies. With this short turn of nice weather, my teammate and Tyrol Sports Group co-owner Bruce Diehl invited me out on a ride to test out Swix's new ASX line of gravel bikes in their first rides on US soil.
For a little refresher, and for those of you who know Swix mostly/only for their skiing goods, the Norwegian ski company bought the Norwegian bicycle manufacturer Hard Rocx in late 2015, and in late 2016 came out with the Swix Fatbike in an effort to (re)establish their image as a year-round active brand, rather than just winter sports.
Enter the SwixHR ASX-1 and ASX-2 gravel bikes.
|Bruce sported the carbon fiber ASX-2|
|My steed, Swix's aluminum ASX-1|
Jumping on the ever-growing gravel/all-road/adventure trend, Swix's latest venture into the drop-bar market feels strong. The ASX-1 sports a 6061 Aluminum frame with a sporty geometry and is spec'd out quite nicely, featuring an FSA headset and BB as well as a Shimano 105 5800 compact groupset with flat-mount hydraulic brakes (160mm rotors front and rear), and with a chainring and tire change would make a pretty decent cross bike.
|The compact 50/34 crankset paired with an 11-32 cassette made light work of the rolling hills on our ride.|
|For my first ride on Shimano Hydraulic levers, I felt the reservoir integration was well done and made for a comfortable ride.|
The roads were what most New England cyclists expect for early spring riding, wet; and full of grit, salt, and frost heaves; all of which the 40mm Schwalbe G-One AllRound tires handled with ease. Driving these roads every day on my commute and feeling like my car was going to break in half was not a feeling that was repeated on this ride.
Even with the less-than-perfect road conditions, the bike responded well to dirty cornering at speed, wasn't terribly harsh over the winter speed bumps, and hardly flexed climbing out of the saddle.
While I rode the ASX-1, Bruce was on its carbon cousin, the ASX-2. With a slightly more relaxed geometry than the ASX-1, this bike would make a decent carbon touring bike; and is full of bosses for whatever you may choose to mount. Equally spec'd with Shimano 105 5800, Bruce had already upgraded his wheelset to Mavic's new Allroad Pro UST wheelset with matching Yksion Allroad UST tires.
Between the two of us, a majority of our two-hour ride/conversation was spent exclaiming how much we loved the bikes we were on (with a brief break for a photo-shoot), and the only gripes we had were about adjustment issues we had brought upon ourselves.
I absolutely loved the bike, although as a SRAM guy, my main modification would be to drop the front mech and toss on a clutch rear derailleur for a bomber 1x setup (fight me, Bruce).
I really hope to be able to ride this bike again (it's currently our display piece in the shop I work at) the next time the weather calls for it so I can put it through its paces. All in all, I think Swix has done a great job with their entries into the market, and I look forward to hopefully seeing them hitting shop floors in the near future.