Tag Archives: Centennial Park

Product Review: Livelo Bicycle Hire Sydney and the Swift Ultravox


Dear Rouleurs,

A few weeks ago MMT hired a roadbike through Livelo in Sydney.  MMT has been threatening to hire a bike in Sydney for years.  He last attempted this at Easter time this year, but had his cunning plan foiled by YAFF.  MMT tried, at short notice and in vain, to book a zippy Canyon via RCC in Sydney.  So rather than give up on the idea, MMT tried Livelo.  Here’s their pretty logo.

Livelo have been around awhile.  MMT can first remember seeing a flyer for this company a few years ago.  The service seems to have experienced impressive growth, as its now possible to to hire a road bike in Adelaide, Melbourne, Canberra, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney and Gold Coast. They also hire bikes out overseas, in London, Singapore, Geneva and Auckland. Its interesting how their booking site is now listed with a .co.uk domain now.

The company encourages prospective clients to sign up and create profile.  The profile contains your personal details, but more usefully, your fitting measurements for the bike.  The company also has an app.  MMT downloaded and installed it.  The app is basically a container for presenting the website and honestly seemed pretty slow to render pages.  However, Livelo get lots of credit for at least making the effort.

The great thing about Livelo is that they deliver and collect from your door.  As MMT was staying close the CBD in Sydney, there wasn’t a delivery charge.  The delivery guy turned up in van with the bike right on time. And when MMT writes ‘the delivery guy’, he means the company owner/founder Peter Barnes. Unfortunately MMT’s Sydney address was literally just the wrong side of Camperdown, which meant a small $20 fee.  MMT rented the bike for the weekend, which meant a Friday evening drop-off and Sunday afternoon collection.

Unfortunately, MMT didn’t get to ride a top of the line Colnago, but rather a zippy SWIFT.  Now stupidly, MMT managed not to take a photo of the bike…epic fail to quote a nearby Gen-Y co-worker. However it looked a lot this one. Apparently this bike is called a Swift Carbon Di2 Ultravox.  Which makes me wonder how SWIFT didn’t get sued by the management company of 1980’s glam-pop band Ultravox.

After riding on a Trek Domane for nearly 8 months, the Swift was an absolute bone rattler by comparison.  It had a super stiff frame, accelerated very quickly and cornered beautifully, but MMT felt every bump through the saddle, from his Coccyx to up to his jaw bone. This wasn’t helped by bike being fitted with some rather worn 23 mm tyres.  MMT would have have preferred 25 mm or 28 mm.

MMT learned later that these could have been fitted, on request….D’oh.  Oh well, next rental  MMT will remember to request them.  Also the handlebar tape was the really thin stuff that the pros prefer, rather than some spongy 2.5 mm tape.  This would have kept some of the road vibration out of MMT’s hands.

This aside, it was super quick.  OMG, MMT was drafting triathletes doing circle work in Centennial Park.  MMT loves the look of shock one of these guys has, when they realise a) they have wheelsucker and b) they can’t shake MMT off.  Superb 🙂  On MMT’s second ride, the route took in some hills around Clovelly.  The Swift loves hills, it felt so much more responsive and easier to pedal than the Domane.

The other big positive experience from this rental experience was the shifting.  MMT has and is very ‘old school’ about drive trains.  MMT’s Domane is fitted with cable driven Shimano Ultegra shifters and these work just fine thanks very much.  However, the same group set with Di2 technology is so ridiculously smooth.  The only catch being that the shifting is the opposite way round and takes a little neuro-rewiring in your brain to get used to it.

So what’s MMT’s score?  Well for Livelo MMT awards 4 and 1/2 happy Marvs out of 5 and for the Swift Carbon Ultravox 4 happy Marvs out of 5.

Until next time, ride safe