My son recently learned how to ride a bike, and it’s opened up a whole new world of excitement for him. In the fearless way of all small children, he’s jumping curbs and taking frighteningly tight turns like a pro. On the other hand, I am old and have a bad knee, making it a lot harder for me to keep up with him. So when I had the chance to check out the Swagtron Swagcycle Pro, I was super excited for the assist!
The Swagtron Swagcycle Pro is a compact, pedal-free electric bike, which means it’s sort of like a bike and a scooter had a baby. There are foot pegs but no pedals, and you move forward by turning the throttle on the right handlebar.
The brakes function like regular bike handbrakes, with the left brake controlling the front and the right brake the rear. The left handlebar has a switch for the headlight and a button for the horn, while the right has the throttle and the power button and a 4-light array that shows rough battery life in 25% increments.
If you can ride a regular bike, you can ride a Swagcycle. I found the learning curve to be nearly nonexistent, as I was able to hop on and get a feel for it within minutes.
I took it to a local park with paved bike trails for safety reasons before trying it near any roads. I will admit to having some slight trepidation about sharp turns that was more on my own fears than the bike, but once I conquered that, I found myself zipping through the park, grinning like an absolute lunatic.
It is incredibly fun and intuitive to ride!
Swagtron did a lot of little things that show they thought through the design. Every control you need is easily accessible from the handlebars, and you can reach all of them without taking your hands fully off the bars.
The layout is perfect for hitting the horn and headlights with your thumb, and you can easily glance down to check the power gauge. Folding the handlebars for easy transport is a snap as well.
My favorite trick, though, is that the charging port is hidden behind a slide-out door with space to keep the charging cord. This way, you’re never without a chance to top off wherever you are, and everything stays neat and organized.
If I had to complain about one aspect, I wish the door was hinged instead of slide-off, so there was no chance of misplacing it while the bike was being charged.
Charging it is easy as well since you can use a regular outlet. There is a small LED that you can use to see charging (red), almost charged (yellow), and fully charged (green). It’s a good idea, but the LED is small, and you do have to almost look directly at it to see it well.
Charging time is 4-4.5 hours, and I found that the battery seems to hold a charge well while it’s off, so if you charge it and leave it powered off, it should be ready to go when you are.
The out of the box assembly is easy-just attach the seat and footrests to the body, and you’re good to go, as you can see from our gallery of pictures of what needed to be installed:
The Swagtron Swagcycle Pro’s ride itself is relatively smooth. The seat is comfortable, and I had no issues with being on it for 30+ minutes. I did find that the ride is slightly rough on uneven surfaces. It’s not unpleasant, but it is notable.
Overall, it rides smoothly, and I only heard the engine/gears working at any audible level on hills. I also found that I could glide along and maintain my speed if I used the throttle right, especially on slight downhills. SwagTron says you should expect roughly 12-15mph on a full charge, though obviously, you want to keep an eye on the battery meter yourself and not count on the estimate alone.
The Swagtron Swagcycle Pro can hit a top speed of 18mph, but you can actually adjust that via the companion app. I started with it at 12 mph and bumped it up slowly to 15 mph before testing it at 18 mph, giving myself the chance to feel comfortable riding.
The companion app also tells you the battery levels and tracks the current and average speed for each ride. Note that it is Bluetooth and the range is relatively small — I noticed when my son rode the Swagcycle around a small parking lot, I could see the app drop the connection and then reconnect as he swung around.
It also has a map feature, though that’s tough to test out while riding unless you mount your phone to the handlebars! I don’t know that I would use the app regularly, though it is helpful to control the speed and get a better sense of the battery level at any given time.
Swagtron definitely considered safety when they designed the Swagcycle. The throttle is very intuitive, and it uses regular bike handbrakes, so there’s no learning curve when it comes to the safety of knowing how to stop.
They do give it a small headlight, and while it feels a little anemic for, say, a midnight joyride, it’s definitely good for being seen in less than bright weather. There’s also a reflective strip on the back and a little light that flashes when you engage the brakes. Since the bike itself is black, the extra reflections and lights do provide a bit of extra chance that a driver or another bike rider will spot you!
When I first picked up the Swagcycle for review, my mom asked me, “what’s the point of this bike?” She pointed out that it didn’t offer a cardio component, so why would someone pick this over an eBike with pedal assist? After using it for a little while, I can see a few scenarios where this bike is a slam dunk.
- Commuting. I don’t live in a city, but I asked a few friends who do or who commute into cities, and they all said the idea of a bike that could get them from the train to work without them getting sweaty was incredibly valuable. It’s a little bulky to take on a crowded commuter train, but it’s compact enough that you could do it without too much trouble if you had to.
- My parents live in a shore town, and after I explained the bike to my mom, she pointed out it would be perfect for summertime. She and my father like to bike everywhere in the summer because it’s insane to drive in a shore town more than you need when traffic is high, and parking is tight. But sometimes, she’s going to meet a friend for lunch, or she wants to just quickly get into town to pick something up on a hot day. Some of her neighbors use electric golf carts, but that still needs a full parking space. This fits the bill as a quick-trip tool that can be racked on a regular bike rack, making it perfect for crowded times when you want the flexibility of a bike without the exertion.
I said at the start that my son had just learned how to ride a bike. I can ride a bike, but something about the nature of my knee issues means pedaling at 90-degree angles makes my knee very grumpy. Typically, I use an Elliptigo, but that takes a lot of concentration, and it makes me nervous when I’m focused on keeping my eyes on my son.
The Swagtron Swagcycle Pro has been AMAZING for this because I can easily ride alongside him, reminding him to watch his surroundings and making sure he’s safe.
Overall, I really love the Swagtron Swagcycle Pro. I have a few things I’d like to see improved in future iterations, though.
First of all, the Swagcycle is rated for splashes but not significant water exposure, so you probably don’t want to ride it in the rain.
It’s fine if you plan ahead, but you’ll want to be aware of that.
The other thing that would be nice would be an optional basket for the front.
I recognize this would impact the range slightly if you added more weight to it, but it would also make it even better for a short, quick run to the store, for example. Finally, it does become nicely compact with the handlebars folded, but a carry handle or even a detachable strap would make it that much better for commuting.
But all these quibbles are minor because the number one takeaway from my time with the Swagtron Swagcycle Pro is that it’s FUN. It’s impossible not to have a giant grin on your face as you zoom around riding it.
More than a few times in the past week, I’ve wished my errands didn’t take me across very bike-unfriendly highways because I would have absolutely hopped on the Swagcycle to run to the pharmacy other small errands. The Swagtron Swagcycle Pro is compact, incredibly easy to use, and quite practical, which is an amazing combo given that the price is a very wallet-friendly $599 (and currently $449 on sale!)
The Swagtron Swagcycle Pro Pedal-Free eBike sells for $599 (currently on sale for $449); it is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer provided review sample
What I Like: Easy to learn to ride; Lightweight enough to easily move around; Charges via regular wall outlet; Charging cable can be stored in the bike; Companion app helps control speed and track range; Uses regular bike parts like handbrakes to make the learning curve easier; All the controls are easy to access while riding; Headlight and brake light provide extra safety; Super fun to ride!
What Needs Improvement: A handle for transporting would be great; A hinged cover instead of a slide-off on the charging port would be more secure; It would be nice if you could easily swap for a different bike seat