Swytch are well-known for their affordable and extremely popular front hub retrofit conversion kit which fits a very wide range of bike designs. In April 2022 they announced an even lighter, smaller version based around distinctive large-smartphone-sized batteries and we reviewed and liked this innovative and cost-effective version. The upcoming Swytch Go kit moves away from the existing handlebar-mounted battery approach with a frame mounted design that's still easily removable with use of velcro straps.
Swytch Go is currently at what the brand is terming a "pre-launch stage". This means discounts are available on the introductory survey page and existing Swytch customers will be offered similar price reductions.
On a recent visit to Swytch's East London HQ, I asked Swytch Founder, Oliver Montague, why they have chosen to launch the Swytch Go conversion kit now.
"Although the Swytch Go kit has been in the making for quite some time, it's the current cost of living crisis that makes the pre-launch of this sub-£500 kit particularly timely," he said.
"Our current kit, that uses our unique and distinctive Air and Max battery system, will continue to be available, but will be joined by the Go system that will offer a more affordable 'entry-level' option with the aim of making e-biking affordable for everyone."
So what's new?
The Swytch Go has the same core specs (250W power, 15mph top speed) as the current Air and Max, but the design has been stripped back and simplified to significantly reduce the cost of manufacture, without compromising on safety or quality.
The main difference is the power pack and installation. The Swytch Go has a simple all-in-one power pack that fits anywhere on the bike frame with simple velcro straps. There is a single cable to plug in/disconnect when fitting/removing the power pack.
Thoughtfully, the new Go battery pack has been made trapezoidal so it will more snugly fit into diamond frames with both horizontal and sloping top tubes.
Accompanied by Oliver, I took a spin on the new system around the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, which is on Swytch's doorstep.
The Orbea conversion I tried was the most minimal option (without a display) but even its single level power assistance felt more than enough for the mostly flat riding and it would surely be up to at least moderate hill climbing.
I also tried out a mountain bike conversion with the display which allows the rider to change power levels and, crucially, to turn the power off (the Swytch system is relatively drag free with no power, compared to some other e-bikes).
I also got chatting to a Swytch customer whilst out, who took an interest in the new system and seemed quite impressed with the quickness with which the new battery pack could be mounted and removed. It's not as quick as the current Air/Max system, but undoing three velcro straps and unplugging a cable is still a relatively quick and painless operation.
The slightly longer battery mounting process is the trade-off for a lower retail price. This is not surprising when you consider there are over 20 custom parts in the electro-mechanical mounting system of the current Air/Max system (including the high quality, alloy clamp mount) compared to the simple and cost-effective two-piece tough plastic enclosure used by the forthcoming Go system
Availability, options and pricing
The Swytch Go, which will be available next year, has been designed as an entry level option, targeting those who want a safe and reliable e-bike solution for under £500. Swytch say it will be available from selected dealers as well as directly from them.
It's important to note that only the most common wheel sizes will be available i.e. those between 26” and 28” / 700C / 29er. Swytch say, "this simplifies the supply chain and increases individual order volumes allowing for further cost advantages."
There will be no Brompton-specific option, as there is with the current system.
There will be two Go system battery sizes, 180Wh and 310Wh (compared to the current Air/Max offer of 90Wh or 180Wh). Naturally there is a weight penalty to the bigger Go batteries against the Air/Max system. Swytch say the Go system will add a total of 3.5-4kg to your existing bike depending on the options chosen.
Commenting on cost and availability, Swytch said: 'The first Go kits will be available to order by the general public in Spring 2024. And it will be available in stores for under £500 (inc VAT) in Summer 2024 (the Air/Max system is in the £600-1000 range, again depending on options).
"Existing wait-list subscribers and existing customers are being given exclusive early access to pre-order with a significant discount between 21st - 30th September."