Here at Swifty Scooters, we are constantly innovating and improving our products to give our customers the best experience. Ever since we transformed the scooter industry with the launch of our folding SwiftyONE back in 2011, we have been committed to making our products better, lighter, faster and more fun to ride.
We believe our products represent the quality and unbeatable style that our customers deserve. In addition, we strive to push our own personal boundaries and the status quo. As designers and creators, it's in our nature.
With this in mind, we are pleased to announce that we are on the verge of creating the world’s lightest folding adult scooter*, SwiftyONE Carbon (*with a foldable frame and 16-inch wheels). It is a truly beautiful kick-scooter, that is sure to break the boundaries in terms of both specifications and design aesthetic.
Our Story: From Steel, to Aluminium, to Carbon Fibre Kick Scooters
The original SwiftyONE MK1 scooters were all made from good old mild steel. At the time, it was readily available and easy to process, shape and weld together here in Manchester. The trade-off, however, is that steel is heavier and prone to corrosion. After a long debate and customer feedback, we moved to use 6061 heat-treated aluminium for a lighter and stiffer ride from 2015 onwards. Aluminium frames are the base for our current core range of adult scooters.
A couple of years ago we launched the special edition SwiftyONE Marine scooter, weighing in at an impressive 7.8kgs. We managed to save just under 500g by introducing a new aluminium front fork. This, along with the various upgraded componentry, made the Marine our most impressive model to date.
Because of our ambition to always work on making our products stronger, better, faster and lighter, we are now entering the world of carbon fibre. Carbon fibre is about 40% lighter than aluminium, and ten times stronger (per unit weight), which gives us the opportunity to create an awesome new product.
Of course, there are some challenges that come with producing a carbon fibre scooter. We are working hard to achieve this goal. Our ambition is to make SwiftyONE Carbon the lightest folding adult scooter in the world!
Benefits of a Carbon Fibre Scooter Frame
Carbon fibre frames are very popular in the bike industry because of these key factors: the weight, the stiffness and the moulded shape. These factors all create increased efficiency. Carbon fibre frames are incredibly lightweight which is a benefit towards active mobility, as the lighter the product, the less energy you need to push the scooter forward. The material also allows you to mould the shape to make it aerodynamically more efficient and faster, an efficient vehicle definitely amplifies the fun factor! Therefore the SwiftyONE Carbon has the potential to take you for further distances, not to mention the enviable exclusivity and style.
How are Carbon Fibre Frames Made?
Making a frame out of carbon fibre is an intricate task. The manufacturing process is difficult and workers have to be highly skilled in order to make the best quality products - It really is a craft in its own right. Designing a foldable carbon frame is difficult granted, but here at Swifty we love a good challenge! We believe we have created something really remarkable and can't wait to share it with you.
The manufacturing process is labour intensive and high tech and fascinating to be working with. It all starts with weaving the thin carbon fibre hairs into fabric material and then applying a very special thermosetting resin. This material is then rolled up and kept in huge refrigerators at a specific temperature to keep it cool before the next stage.
Following this, the material is then cut into many individual shapes, manually layered (for strength) and wrapped around a balloon or polystyrene shape. This is then placed into a mould and baked in an oven at a very specific temperature for a precise length of time. This is dependant on the complexity of the part you’re trying to make too.
As the frame gets heated, the balloon is inflated which expands and in turn forces the frame to take the shape of the mould. The heating process causes the impregnated resin to cure and set in place. The moulds are then taken out of the oven and water-cooled to bring the temperature down over time. If this isn’t done accurately, warping can occur.
It is truly a masterful process and is a form of art just as much as an exact science. Years of experience and rigorous testing is needed to get this process perfectly right. The result, however, is amazing. Holding a magically lightweight hollow structure is super special and leaves you somewhat mesmerised as to how this wonder-material performs.
Challenges in Creating a Carbon Fibre Scooter Frame
Safety is paramount. There have been a lot of documented cases of carbon fibre bicycles failing, and we want to make sure our scooters are made with care and precision. The problem with this material is that when it fails, it fails catastrophically. Unlike steel, which is much more forgiving because it bends with the rider, carbon fibre is much stiffer.
We have partnered with an amazing high tech supplier with whom we have worked very closely when developing the SwiftyONE Carbon.
One of the major challenges was how to build a strong frame design. The classic carbon bike frame is naturally stronger because they have two triangular shapes which spread force evenly throughout the frame. A scooter frame is completely open and inherently weaker. We have tackled quite a few challenges to make this work, and we have found the best technique to do so.
Our supplier is highly skilled, has years of experience and happens to supply to Formula 1 and high-end bicycle industries. Rest assured we're in good hands. A lot of science and innovation has gone into making SwiftyONE Carbon, and we are continuing to safety test the design.
SwiftyONE Carbon – The Lightest Folding Scooter in the World - the Specifications
The SwiftyONE Carbon is estimated to weigh in at around 5.5 kg. We are trying to get the figure down to under 5kgs but refuse to compromise on safety. Longevity is also a very important company value we hold true and dear to our hearts. It is essential for our products to last a long time, giving their owners thousands of miles of use.
Our current SwiftyONE MK3 is made from 6061 aluminium weighing in at 8.3kg – which is already very light! SwiftyONE Marine weighs even less, at 7.8kg.
The SwiftyONE Carbon has aerodynamically sculpted forks and frame, with the stem, footplate and handlebars also being in carbon.
We have also managed to introduce hydraulic disk brakes which will give you all-weather stopping power.
Integrating Graphene into our Scooter Frame
Swifty is also working with the Graphene Engineering and Innovation Centre (GEIC) in order to implement graphene into the frame of our scooter.
Graphene is a single layer of carbon atoms, tightly bound in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice. Due to the structure of graphene, it is the strongest material on earth (at a molecular level) known to man.
Implementing graphene into our scooter will help make the frame lighter and stronger, making it the ultimate kick scooter!
Learn more about our work with GEIC in Episode #16 of The Swifty Podcast
We are thrilled to announce that SwiftyCARBON is now available to pre-order!