First ride: Tern Eclipse S18

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Maybe you know the drill on folding bicycles, a.k.a. folders. Easy to store, easy to transport, and fun to ride! The perfect solution for the urban environment.

Folders come in many configurations, from tiny-wheeled singlespeeds to this one, perhaps the mother of all folders. The Tern Eclipse S18 is the zombie-apocalypse-surviving*, Swiss army knife of folders. It has everything you could want in an ultimate urban-assault vehicle. 18 speeds, fat tires on 24-inch wheels, disc brakes, racks, fenders and generator lighting. And to top it off a stealthy-yet-gorgeous neutral paint scheme.

This leaves very little to think about. I’m ready to go anywhere, with or without cargo, in the rain and/or dark of night. Heck, I could go on an extended tour on this if I wanted. Like Tern says, Zombie-ready.

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So off I went to get some tacos. First thing I noticed was how stiff the bike was, and how quiet. My last folder had a bit of a creak to ‘er, but Tern has improved on this by increasing the surface area where the two halves of the bike join together, and this is good. Plus the rear end is in what Tern calls Doubletruss, for more stiffness.

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Fit was fine, with the gargantuan seatpost providing ample extension, and Tern’s Biologic Andros stem allowing for reach and height adjustment.

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I also noticed the extremely luxurious ride afforded by the bigger wheels, and the high volume Schwalbe tires. Forward movement was predictable, with Sram’s 2×9 drivetrain moving the bike forward just like it should.

I did not ride down any big hills yet, but I was stoked to be braking with Avid BB7 disc brakes. One of my favorites thanks to plenty of power and low-low maintenance.

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Fit wise, the position is upright. Great for looking around, keeping you back straight and comfy. The S18 fits riders from 4’10” to 6’5”, and at 6’4” I do not doubt this to be true. Retails price is $2,100.

Maximum bike, minimum space. A full review awaits in an upcoming issue of Bicycle Times.

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