Review: Swobo’s bomber urban single speed bike – The Accomplice
In 1992, Tim Parr brought to fruition the lifestyles brand Swobo, selling clothing at first. The Swobo brand has had its ups and downs since then, changing hands a few times. Santa Cruz ended up with the brand in 2001, but by 2011, realized that it needed to be with a company that could take it back to the basics and really give the brand the boost it needed. In 2011, Fort Collins Bicycle Co took ownership. Being a smaller, more nimble company, they were able to retool and revamp the lineup of bikes. Now in 2014 we get to see the fruits of their labor with rides like the 27.5 bomber trail bike, the Mutineer, and here for review, the urban single speed, the Accomplice.
Jump the curb for the full review.
The Accomplice is marketed as “Your partner in crime.” It’s there for you when you need it. Dependable and reliable, thanks to its reinforced hydroformed frame, wide tires, and a solid parts build. The Accomplice is a product of Swobo listening to their customers. They heard the feedback that a bomber city bike that’s simple and easy to maintain was desired.
The Accomplice frame is constructed from double butted 4130 chromoly tubing. The downtube is shaped using a hydroform process to add rigidity to the frame. It has a gusset at the headtube junction for added durability. Two water bottle bosses are present. The rear spacing is set at 120mm, and max tire clearance is set at 45mm. The parts list includes a 170mm alloy crank with 41t chainring and bash guard, both an 18t freewheel and 18t fixed cog are present, Tektro R559 calipers, and house branded cockpit. The cockpit changes it up a bit with a wide riser bar, rather than a drop bar found on the similar Swobo Sanchez. The wheels are built with Alex AT480 rims laced to 32h KT high flange sealed bearing hubs with 14g spokes. They get wrapped in 42mm Kenda Euro Trek tires that have reflective sidewalls (safety kids!) Color options include Signal Green and Matte Black. Price, a budget friendly $699 (down from the initial $799 at launch). Actual weight for the complete build comes up at 24 lbs 15 oz on my scale.
Hey, what about rack and fender mounts? Ok, there is no rack mount, and for me that is just fine. I much prefer riding with a backpack. If you really want a rack though, there are aftermarket options to be found. Fender mounts however, I miss. Good news though, Swobo is including fender mount tabs they sourced with the purchase of the bike, to be added if you want them.
I love having a single speed urban commuter in the stable. I owned a Giant Bowery for a long time, and to this day regret selling it. Having the Accomplice around has been a nice treat. There is very little to complain about with this bike, and a lot to love.
The geometry for the Accomplice is near identical to the popular Swobo Sanchez. With that track inspired geo, this bike accelerates fantastically. I gets up to speed quickly, especially given that it has a really heavy wheelset / tire combo to spin up. And thanks to that wheelset, it holds speed well too. Those 42mm tires and steel frame do a great job of keeping you comfortable. This thing can hit a pothole or jump a curb and keep going like nothing happened. Adding to that comfort is the cush saddle. I expected to want to change it out, as I prefer something with a cutout, but this one has just enough padding and width to be comfy on my commutes.
When the road turns upwards, having that wide riser bar is great. It gives some added leverage when cranking up a hill. The gearing is spot on as well. The 41 x 18 is a nice balance of flat road speed and uphill ease.
With the big industry push to disc brakes, it was a bit of a surprise seeing the Tektro rim brakes on the bike. The good news is that the R559’s have no problem slowing this ride down, work fine in the wet, and allow for a massive 45mm tire to be used. Personally, I would have preferred cantilever brakes though, because I desperately want to throw on some knobby tires and ride a cyclocross course on this thing.
The only real issue I have with the Accomplice is the BB height. It seems a bit low for an urban bike that is going to be hopping curbs. I have scraped a pedal turning a few times, and hit the bash guard on a couple of curbs when I wasn’t expecting to. These aren’t things I have had issue with on other bikes (like the cross bike I commute on regularly). It’s not a deal breaker by any means. It is something to be aware of when riding, however.
Overall, the Swobo Accomplice has found a happy home in my garage during this review. The reliability, performance, and pleasing aesthetics add up to a good value at $699. Take a close look at this ride versus the slew of other fixes / single speeds on the market and you will find this one stands out of the crowd. As always, if you choose to buy, please see your local bike shop (dealer link here). If needed however, you can order directly from the Swobo website.