Review: Tern Eclipse X22

Photos: Justin Steiner

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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First Impression: Tern Eclipse X22 Folding Bicycle

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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.

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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.

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The 22-speed drivetrain ranges between 30 and 112 gear inches. That’s plenty for my style of street riding.

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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.

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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.

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We’ll have a full review in the next issue of the magazine, Issue #39; hurry up and subscribe if you haven’t yet. In the meantime, you can find more information at the Tern Bicycles website.

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2015 Mega Sweeps

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).

Click here to read the terms and conditions. If you can’t see the survey below, please visit this link to take it.

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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 [email protected].

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Enter to win a ride connection prize package from BioLogic

Whether you’re on the open road or on your way to work, it’s nice to stay connected. This prize package from BioLogic includes a waterproof WeatherCase, a Bluetooth speed and cadence sensor and a Bluetooth heart rate monitor strap. Together with the free BioLogic BikeBrain app they turn your smartphone into a powerful cycling computer. All together it’s a $135 value.

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Enter to win by filling out the entry form below, or by opening it in a new window. Please read the terms and conditions before entering, and don’t delay, the drawing will be held Thursday, July 23.

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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.

Take a closer look.

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