The longtail cargo bike, with its stretched rear end, has been my go-to whip of late due to its ultimate versatility, utility, and fun. And with an electric motor for extended range, there are no worries about what (or who) you might pick up during your travels, or how far you might go in a day. But longtails are long, taking up a good amount of space and being difficult to load onto a larger motor vehicle.
So when Tern showed up in the cargo bike market with its GSD, I was Intrigued. First, what does GSD stand for? Get Stuff Done is one answer. And secondly, aside from its attractive looks, what is so new and exciting about this bicycle? Tern calls it a new kind of bicycle, a compact longtail.
What makes it compact? Well for one thing, with the help of dual 20” wheels, the GSD has a length similar to your average bike. Combined with a folding handlebar and highly adjustable saddle, it’s easier to get it into the back of your SUV, easier to take on public transportation, and a lot easier to store. In fact, the GSD can be stored vertically on its tail, taking only a small footprint.
It’s also electric. Some of you are thinking that is not what you are looking for. A while ago, I wasn’t either. But once you get accustomed to the increased range and versatility you will likely be sold for life. Power comes from a 250 watt Bosch motor, putting out a maximum 63Nm of torque in Turbo mode. That’s right, the GSD controls offer four power modes from Eco to Turbo. Different levels of assistance for different needs. In Eco the motor gives you 50% more power than you pedal into it, up to Turbo where the motor is adding 275% more power to the bike. Stock battery is 400 Watt-Hours but you can also buy the GSD with a 400 plus 500Wh battery for extended range. This pushes the GSD into the touring realm.
Versatility is key. Accessories unlock the GSD’s potential. Kids? The GSD will easily take two Yepp child seats for the small ones. Big ones and adults can ride on the back using accessory foot pegs, seat cushions, and grab bars. Panniers? Enough for all your groceries. Racks? Front and/or rear for even more hauling capability. One size fits most all here with the GSD fitting riders from 5 feet to 6’5”. I’m 6’4” and had no trouble with it. Plus the handlebars rotate around the stem for further fitting options.
The build is pretty heavy, in a good, strong way. The frame, while aluminum, appears beautifully built and ready for anything. In fact, the weight capacity is 400 lbs. so there’s not much you can’t haul. The feeling of solidness is welcome here. Weight comes in under 60 lbs. in the single battery configuration. Component-wise there are a few things that stand out. Tern-specific Schwalbe 62mm tires on Tern-specific 36mm rims with plenty of spokes and Boost axles. Magura 4 piston brakes handle the stopping with great power. Super solid, top notch, up to date modern stuff. I would not hesitate to carry anything with this bike, as long as I could get it on there.
Accessory-wise you won’t need to add much to this bike. Lights, fenders, center stand and bell are all included with the bike. Optional accessories to consider include Tern’s Cargo Hold panniers, child seats, and the Shortbed tray that is on the test bike. Handlebars and pegs are also available for adult passengers as well.
In practice, it is easy to get on and go. The step-through frame and low center-of-gravity sure help. Turn the motor on, select the amount of assist you’d like, and go! Easy-peasy. The Bosch motor helps as little or as much as you need. But you still have to pedal. Power is solid, but keep in mind this is no motorcycle.
My friend Stewart and I shared the testing duties. We both found the GSD to be super-capable for a wide range of tasks. Loads included a pile of camping gear, the band’s bass drum, passengers, boxes of magazines, garage sale items and more. As much as Stewart did not want to use the motor (Out of pride I believe), he was glad to have the motor as an insurance policy in case he got tired too far away from home. Me on the other hand, I just enjoyed the lack of throttle as I bopped around town picking up random articles. But I did wish for a bit more power on some of the steeper hills. I do weigh well over 200 lbs you know. The good news is that the 2019 model will have more, power that is. The other small improvement we’d recommend would be a larger center stand as the current one is a tad small for parking on uneven surfaces.
The best thing about the GSD is its foldability and storability. The handlebar folding down made it much easier to load the bike into a SUV or minivan. As for storage, grab the rear brake, pull back and the GSD sits on its tail, taking up only a small amount of closet space.
The Tern GSD is sold with single 400Wh battery for $3999 The dual 400 plus 500Wh model will run you $4799. Panniers run $150 a pair and that rack runs $120. A lot of money? For some, yes. But this bike is a game-changer, a car-pooper, sonic reducer, life-changer. Imagine parking that multi-ton behemoth automobile and spending your time outside! Quality time! Quality life!
One of the most interesting cargo/utility bikes I have seen in a while, The Tern GSD is bound to get more butts on bikes, and that is what it’s all about, isn’t it? Click here for part 2, in which Stewart shares his touring experience!Tweet Print
Urban transportation and folding bike company Tern announced an upgrade to its Vektron folding e-bike lineup, with three new models. The new Vektron is equipped with the latest Bosch drive system, received a re-worked frame and riding geometry, and is equipped with a robust rack.
The bikes are equipped with new Bosch Active Line and Active Line Plus drivetrains. They are stated to be substantially smoother, smaller, lighter, more efficient and virtually silent. The Vektron has a completely re-engineered frame and frame geometry. The cockpit is longer for improved comfort for taller riders. The frame has been designed with additional forged and machined elements for additional strength without extra weight. The battery now reclines backward, keeping the center of gravity as low as possible for handling. The updated Vektron also stands up vertically when folded, making it even easier to roll around.
With structural cues from the heavy-duty Tern GSD, the new Vektron rack has been strengthened and increased in size. This reduces flex for more secure handling. In addition, the center of gravity has been lowered, making it much safer when riding with a child in a child seat.
The Vektron also features a new and optional Bucketload pannier. Engineered to fit the configuration of the Vektron, it can be used even when the upper rails of the rear rack are taken by other gear, such as a child seat or a basket. The Bucketload folds flat when not in use or when the bike is folded. It is also sized to provide heel clearance without interfering when the bike is folded or being rolled. And during riding, the Bucketload is roomy enough to swallow a large backpack.
The three new models include the Vektron Q9 at $2995, the Vektron P7i at $3195, and the Vektron S10 at $3595. Shipping to the US will start in fall of 2018.Tweet Print
This week, Tern launched the GSD, a utility e-bike that the company calls “category-defining.”
Tern states that “The GSD can haul two kids, a week’s worth of groceries or 180 kg (almost 400 lbs) of cargo.” But it’s a lot smaller than most cargo bikes, which tend to be highly unwieldy objects. If you have to put the bike in a small apartment or vehicle, forget it.
The GSD is actually no longer than a normal bike, so it fits on standard car or bus bike racks, and folds to reduce its height by one third and its length by 40 percent.
“One of our guiding insights was that cargo bikes are most useful in city centers, but they’re correspondingly difficult to manage and store,” according to Galen Crout, Communications Manager at Tern. “Dense urban centers bring cargo bikes to life–where groceries, schools and work are all within a bikeable distance–but they’re also where houses are small, and where bike theft is a persistent problem. We’re creating the compact utility e-bike category to let people in cities enjoy the benefits of cargo bikes without the limitations.”
The GSD is highly adjustable for a variety of different heights and sizes, and it’s meant for the whole family to be able to use. The cockpit and handlebars can be adjusted for reach, and low-step through and a low center of gravity make it easy for smaller riders to ride and handle.
The frame and components are meant to handle big loads, whether its two adults (one driver, one passenger), an adult and two kids, or plenty of cargo. The GSD rack is 80 cm (31.5 in) long and the included panniers fit a total of 62 liters.
The bike has room for two batteries that power a Bosch Performance motor, so the GSD can keep rolling for up to 250 km (155 mi) before needing to recharge.
The GSD comes with integrated lighting, fenders and panniers and will retail for $3,999.Tweet Print
Tester: Eric McKeegan
Sizes: One size
Weight: 21.5 lbs
The “last mile” problem affects almost anything and anyone that moves via high capacity transport. It is in the “last mile” that the efficiencies of mass transport can be lost in, when moving people and things from the train station or distribution hub to the destination. Meaning, if the bus drops you off a mile away from your office, and you live a mile away from the bus stop, you might end up driving into work because the time needed to walk those distances makes the car a more attractive option.
The Jifo Uno sets out to solve that. It is unapologetically designed for short trips and the smallest possible folded size. It is a simple tool, but it doesn’t skimp on the features needed to make that last mile problem disappear.
How this bike folds is the star of the show here. Lift and turn the dial on the main tube, open the quick release lever on the seatpost and flip the locking lever on the handlebar extension. Push the bar and seat away from each other and the bike folds right up and locks into position with a magnet. Then fold the bars down, lower the top part of the seatpost and you’ve got a compact package. If you need to get even smaller, the pedals pop out of the cranks with an air-compressor type fitting and click into storage ports above the rear wheel. The handlebar can be rotated to fold the levers in even closer. The basic fold is easy to do in under 30 seconds, and the complete takedown takes less than a minute. Unfolding is even faster.
Those little 16 inch wheels keep things small, but still have fenders keep your slacks clean. A rust resistant chain keeps maintenance at bay, and a chainring guard provides enough coverage to keep pant legs out of the drivetrain.
The single speed drivetrain is pretty special. It uses a 9 tooth cog matched up with a 39 tooth chainring. Most cassettes stop at 11 teeth; dropping down to a 9 allows for a smaller front chainring, but makes for a big enough gear to travel at a decent clip. The double-pulley chain tensioner is needed to keep the chain snug when the bike is folded, as the rear wheel rotates closer to the crank. As a side benefit that tension keeps the chain perfectly adjusted, even as the chain stretches over time.
As expected, this little bike is great at little rides. Since the Jifo is very much about being tiny as possible, it comes as no surprise the bike feels small while riding it. But it also feels like a quality ride. Effective brakes, a comfortable saddle and a very low bottom bracket make for an adept little transport device that can slice and dice between slower traffic. It might seem like a small thing, but not having jiggly-feeling folding pedals is a big plus as well.
The Jifo isn’t a great match for long climbs or rough surfaces. The short wheelbase and small tires make this a nervous ride on dirt or gravel, and the narrow bars and tight cockpit compromise climbing. This isn’t so much a complaint as a reminder about this bike’s intended purpose as a short trip machine.
The Jifo Uno folds into one of the most compact packages on the market today, and does so with a minimum of fuss. For last mile trips or a super-compact travel bike, Dahon has hit the mark.
As urban cycling continues to grow dramatically in popularity, Brompton, the iconic folding bike manufacturer, is launching a new and improved version of their two wheeled scavenger hunt. With events planned in five major cities across the U.S., each event will test cyclists to the max on their local knowledge, teamwork and creativity.
Available to everyone on a bike, no matter the age or experience of cycling, the Urban Bike Challenge is a bicycle scavenger hunt run via a unique mobile app. Participating in teams of two to four cyclists, the challenge will be won by the team that scores the most points. Points are awarded through the app in a variety of ways, including visiting locations, completing tasks and solving clues at locations.
“With more than 1.6 million cyclists in New York City alone, urban cycling has rapidly become a mainstream activity in U.S. cities. For Brompton, we’ve always been about celebrating everyday cycling, and the Urban Bike Challenge is a great way for both experienced cyclists and those new to urban cycling to have fun and explore their city,” said Katharine Horsman, General Manager, North America at Brompton Bicycle. “So, whether you’re an everyday commuter or a weekend recreational rider, we encourage you to sign up for a fun day of riding in the city.”
The Urban Bike Challenge series is presented by Brompton and sponsored by Ortlieb and costs $20 per entry. The series will run across the U.S. with events in:
- San Francisco – Sunday, April 16th, 2017 – in partnership with local shop Huckleberry Bicycles and the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition
- Los Angeles – Sunday, April 30th, 2017 – in partnership with downtown shop Just Ride LA, the LA Bicycle Coalition, CicLAvia and Metro Bike
- New York – Sunday, July 9th, 2017 – in partnership with NYC shop NYCe Wheels and advocacy group Transportation Alternatives
To sign up, please visit here for San Francisco and here for Los Angeles. Sign up for New York will be available in June. Additional partners and locations, including Chicago and Washington, D.C., will be announced in coming months.
“Cycling in the city can have the reputation of not being a lot of fun,” said Zack Stender, owner of Huckleberry Bicycles. “But this challenge shows off the fun factor of urban cycling, allowing people to check out areas of the city often inaccessible to other forms of transport while enjoying a day out riding with friends.”Tweet Print
Brompton, the iconic folding bike manufacturer, unveiled its New York City Edition today, in collaboration with Sarah Canner from VESPERTINE NYC. This limited edition bike is designed around urban performance and visibility.
Brompton teamed up with VESPERTINE NYC, a company that designs and manufactures high-fashion reflective wear, to create 1500 folding bikes branded with reflective graphics and accents. Additional features of the NYC Edition include lime green details, anodized cranks and hub, accented Ergon grips on a flat bar, and a low profile saddle. Each bike also comes with a USB-rechargeable rear light.
“Brompton is thrilled to bring a bike that embodies the excitement of one of the most iconic cities in the world,” said Katharine Horsman, General Manager, Brompton Bicycle North America. “Combining elements from VESPERTINE NYC’s Haute Réflecture® collection allowed us to embrace and combine safety and urban performance, resulting in a bike that will turn heads and look brilliant.”
In addition to the bike, the collection includes accessories such as a waterproof roll-top bag, a merino wool scarf and hat, and shoe laces, all incorporating reflective patterns and designed with cyclists in mind. The knitwear offers warmth, comfort, and visibility from up to 2,000 feet away, combining function with fashion that just might save your life.
“It’s been exciting to work with Brompton on this unique design for their New York City Edition folding bike,” said Sarah Canner, founder and designer of VESPERTINE NYC. “Being able to combine functional fashion and safety wear allowed me to inspire, empower, and protect people on their daily adventures in the concrete jungle. New York City is known as a style leader and this partnership will now ensure that urban cycling is as stylish.”
Bike Friday recently announced the launch of the pakiT, a folding bike that weighs between 15 and 22 pounds and fits in a backpack for easy transport and travel. The pakiT debuted on Kickstarter and surpassed its fundraising goal within seven hours.
When folded, the pakiT measures 38 x 24 x 10 inches, giving users the ability to store the bike in a closet, under a desk, in a car trunk, in the overhead bin on a train or in a storage locker. It also allows the rider to take their bike inside instead of leaving it vulnerable to theft or the outside elements. Bike Friday claims it only takes three minutes to break the bike down into a standard suitcase for airline travel.
The pakiT comes in three frame sizes and uses standard bike components, with gearing options from 1-11 speeds, including a Gates belt drive option to eliminate the potential for chain grease stains on clothing and skin. Retail pricing is estimated to be between $1,500 (singlespeed belt drive) and $2,300 (11-speed belt drive).
Tern Bicycles, in honor of its fifth birthday, teased an upcoming project to be released at Eurobike at the end of August: a Bosch-powered electric folding bicycle.
“Riders around the world are increasingly turning to bicycles as their full-service solution to transportation. And that means cargo bikes, dependable daily riders, and electric bikes that can easily tackle 25 km commutes are needed,” said Josh Hon, Tern Bicycles’ founder. “With our expertise in urban cycling, we’re excited to bring fresh design and inspiration to the market.”
Stay tuned for more next month!
Photos: Justin Steiner
All new for 2016, the Tern Bicycles Eclipse X22 is designed to pack a big ride into a foldable package. Thanks to its 26-inch wheels the X22 feels and handles like a “standard” bicycle. That’s something that the best tiny-wheeled folders approach, but never quite attain. The Eclipse is also more adept at rolling over uneven pavement, crossing railroad tracks or grinding through gravel than smaller-wheeled bikes.
Tern designed the X22 for speed. Clues are the slick Schwalbe Kojak tires and the racy paired-spoke wheels. The 22-speed Shimano drivetrain has a huge gear range. When needed, Shimano hydraulic disc brakes keep the speedy X22 in check—with plenty of power and mucho modulation.
Throwing a leg over the saddle and grabbing the Ergon grips, I found myself in an athletic, heads-up riding position. The cockpit is roomy and comfy. I was more “over the pedals” than on my personal bikes—so I slid the Ergon SMC30 Pro saddle saddle all the way back and felt more at home.
After reeling off a number of multi-hour rides, I came away impressed with the comfort of both the riding position and the contact points. The Eclipse X22 feels energetic, and it’s a lot of fun to ride. Agile handling makes it a breeze to thread through crowded confines with a flick of the wrist, or dodge potholes with a wiggle of the hips. It’s a lot of fun zipping around town on this responsive, but never twitchy, bike.
The frame and fork have mounts for racks and fenders (offered by Tern, as well as aftermarket brands)—just the ticket for transforming this speedy steed into a workhorse, or packhorse. All-weather daily driver? Check. Light-duty tourer? Go for it.
At a folded size of 16.5 x 35 x 31.9 inches the X22 is not as compact as its smaller-wheeled siblings—something to keep in mind if size and space is a major consideration. The fold/unfold operation is quick and easy via cam-actuated levers on the frame and handlepost. The closure force is adjustable, and the levers feature Tern’s AutoLoc that automatically locks the levers in place to prevent accidental opening (e.g., if the closure force is improperly set too low, or something snags the lever while riding).
To open the lever, you must first slide back the red AutoLoc button, which releases an internal catch. Which brings me to my one negative experience: I failed to fully release the AutoLoc button the first time I opened the frame lever and managed to break the plastic catch. Tern told me it is considering switching the frame’s AutoLoc design to an aluminum catch at some point in the future. It has already switched to aluminum on the handlepost AutoLoc.
Despite morphing like a Transformer, the bike feels solid and secure. There’s no undesirable play in the main folding joint or the handlebars. Both the Tern Physis 3D-forged handlepost and Syntace VRO adjustable, double-clamp stem are solidly built. While the VRO stem provides less height adjustment than the telescopic systems on some folders, I had no problem finding a comfortable stem position.
I’ve ridden a number of folding bikes over the years, but none that has had the chops to deftly dispatch the daily grind, and hold its own in a paceline with pals, as well as the Tern Eclipse X22. I’d love to have this horse in my barn.
- Price: $2,500
- Weight: 24.5 pounds
- Size: One size fits riders from 4’10” to 6’5”
- More info: Tern Eclipse X22
Tern’s all-new Eclipse X22 folding bicycle is scheduled for release in January 2016, with a suggested retail price of $2,500. I’ve had the pleasure of riding several folding bikes over the years, but this is my first time reviewing a folder with full-size wheels.
I’ve already come to appreciate the added feeling of security that the 26-inch wheels provide when rolling over uneven pavement or crossing railroad tracks. The slick Schwalbe Kojak tires are designed roll fast, but they do have puncture protection. I like that.
Another advantage of the 26-inch bike—compared to tiny-wheeled folders—is speed. The 24.8 pound Eclipse X22 has plenty of zip for fast-paced recreational rides.
Speaking of fast, the wheels roll on Kinetix Pro X Disc hubs front and rear, laced with 20 straight-pull spokes to Kinetix Pro X aluminum rims using the Rolf paired spoke design. Very sweet, svelte wheels. Just as sweet are the Shimano SLX hydraulic disc brakes. I’m a fan of hydros on street bikes.
The 22-speed drivetrain ranges between 30 and 112 gear inches. That’s plenty for my style of street riding.
The Tern Physis 3D handlepost has a large clamp that locks down securely. The Syntace VRO adjustable double-clamp stem is stiff and convenient to use. Overall the bike offers a very solid-feeling control center.
The fold is quick and easy via cam-actuated levers on the main frame and the handlepost. The folded bike is secured by a magnetic clasp on the frame and a rubber strap keeps the folded handlepost in its place. If you fold the frame but leave the stem erect, you can roll the X22 along on its wheels rather than carry it.
Welcome to the Bicycle Times year-end mega sweeps survey. This information will help us better serve you with great content. Your answers will remain anonymous and can enter you to win a new Tern Link D8 (MSRP $700).
The Link D8 is Tern’s “Jack of All Trades” because it’s good at everything. Dress it up with racks, fenders, and lights for a commute. Or, keep it simple and light for weekend rides. It also plays well with other forms of transport – 10 seconds and the bike is folded to bring aboard a bus, train, ferry, or the trunk of your car. The Link D8 is your ticket to instant transportation.
If you have any other questions or concerns about the survey, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.Tweet Print
We’ve tested folding bikes from Brompton, Tern and Dahon, and appreciate their portability and versatility for many reasons. Nearly every bike we’ve ridden has been made from steel or aluminum with the occasional titanium thrown in to lighten the load. But our world was rocked a bit when a 18.69-pound, carbon folding bike arrived from Allen Sports USA, a company best known for its innovative automobile racks since the mid 1970s.
“After nearly 50 years of manufacturing rear mounted bicycle carriers, and more recently bicycle trailers and joggers, Allen introduced a full line of folding bicycles in Spring 2014,” said company president Alex Allen. “We partnered with a German-owned folding bicycle manufacturer in Taiwan on the design and development of this line.” There are seven folding models, ranging in price from $499 to $4,999.
The flagship $4,999 Allen UltraX is designed around 20-inch wheels, and when we say there’s plenty of carbon used we’re not kidding: frame, fork, crankset, handlebars, handlebar post, rims, seatpost, brake levers, even the saddle! Allen has placed a 240-pound rider weight limit on the bike, which adjusts to fit riders up to 6-foot-5.
We’ve taken the UltraX out of the box and monkeyed with opening and closing it to understand the engineering behind the design (we’re still not down to the reported seven seconds it should take to fold it), and plan on a few excursions downtown once the Northern California deluge ends.
Look for a First Impression report soon…
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.Tweet Print
This bike isn’t like most folding bikes. On first glance, it looks similar to the standard 20-inch-wheeled folder seen on the streets and public transportation in every city. Closer inspection reveals some standout features: disc brakes, high-end Schwalbe road tires, and an 18-speed drivetrain with gearing suited to spirited riding.
The ease with which the Formula folds—a trait of the highest importance—reflects well on Dahon’s three decades of folder manufacturing experience. Within a few attempts I had the Formula folded up in under a minute. A small magnetic clasp keeps the bike closed when carrying it, and when closed, it supports itself upright. High marks all around, particularly for the simple and sturdy metal folding pedals.
Dahon designed the Formula for riders “with tougher commutes that demand speed, portability and endurance.” Claiming to fit riders from 4-foot-8 to 6-foot-4, the handlebar and seat height adjust easily with quick-release levers. I found the handlebar height adjustment particularly useful—slide it up for comfort and a heads-up position for short trips, drop it down for more speed and leverage on longer rides. The frame has mounting points for a rack and fenders, and Dahon sells versions of each designed specifically for 20-inch wheels.Tweet Print