Last Updated on February 6, 2024 by Igor Karni
Founded in 2011 in Taipei, Taiwan by Florence Shen and Joshua Hon, Tern has made a name for itself both in manufacturing traditional bikes and, in recent years, electric bikes. Its name was derived from a seabird that shares its name, and the origami design on its logo readily affirms this.
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Tern’s philosophy and reason for founding stem from its staunch belief in boosting bike travel in general. Its owner Josh Hon has stated on record that “we need more bikes on the road”. Like many other companies, Tern advocates sustainability in transportation.
2015 marked the company’s first foray into the e-bike industry when it started incorporating BionX motors into its models. This makes it one of the earliest adopters of e-bike technology in the US and arguably even on a global scale. A year later, it started integrating more dynamic Bafang and Bosch systems — vital components that set the brand’s models apart, besides of course the innovative designs they are known for.
Tern e-Bikes Review: Model Lines
|Tern E-Bike Line
|Folding, Cargo, Commuter
|Folding, Cargo, Hybrid
|Cargo, City, Commuter
Is Tern a Good e-Bike Brand to Buy?
A total of three distinct e-bike lines are currently available in Tern’s electric catalog. These include the more widely known folding cargo/commuter option, Vektron, and two other cargo-based e-bikes, the folding HSD, and the more family-friendly GSD. These models with their various, overlapping categories readily showcase what makes Tern e-bikes stand out.
There’s a clear focus on urban riding and convenience while doing so. There’s no shortage of accessories that make their cargo offerings a good, if not entirely excellent, alternative to your average car or SUV. The brand doesn’t hold back in ensuring their products’ build quality. Most of their present models easily shine with their powerful motors, respectable riding ranges, sizable load capacities, seamlessly complemented by a nifty folding feature.
Tern Vektron Folding Model Line
While the Vektron may be considered as a folding e-bike first before anything else, its design allows it to fit right into the cargo and commuter categories as well. In particular, this is proven by the inclusion of largish rear rack bosses and the way you can easily charge its removable battery while you’re out commuting.
It even comes with a 4A charger, which only makes it a faster charger than most models. We’re referring to the latest incarnation of the Vektron, specifically the S10 variant when making these points.
One notable improvement of the said version is its updated frame that uses a reclining battery that improves the riding experience. The 400Wh battery may be a little low for the price but it still manages close to 70 miles (110 km) of riding range, which is still superb.
It’s hard to criticize the premium Bosch Performance Line motor it uses. After all, it delivers unmatched driving assist that can conquer the most demanding terrains, not only rough trails but extra steep inclines as well. Despite this, its power doesn’t go overboard.
Another feature worth highlighting is the 60 lbs (27-kg) capacity Atlas rack, which fits well with the Vektron’s vastly superior motor power. This limit can be further extended with the right basket and even a child seat. Other noteworthy perks include the Magura hydraulic disc brakes, bright front lights, and the URSUS rear mount kickstand.
The folding capability is almost always a given advantage. However, it has to be noted that Tern’s folding feature is obviously more user-friendly and responsive as it takes care of issues such as the prevalence of sharp, jagged edges in folding e-bikes and keeping the folding process as easy as possible.
Tern HSD Folding Cargo Model Line
The HSD line is where the brand’s folding and cargo strengths pretty much gel together, making it no less than a hybrid model. Not a lot of folding e-bikes can have as much load capacity as a Tern HSD model. It’s also the more lightweight option compared to its closest counterpart, the GSD.
Almost all generations of the HSD have equally impressive riding ranges (more than 70 miles, 110 km in most) that are slightly higher than Vektron models. The standout feature of the HSD S8i is that it actively saves space by being able to stand vertically.
It uses the same hydraulic disc brakes found in the Vektron, puncture-resistant tires, lights that are amenable to optimal aiming and positioning, and the same fast-charging 4-amp batteries. The Bosch Active Line Plus Gen 3 motor is almost an instant thumbs up due to the sheer quality of its design. It delivers excellent assistance without the unwanted noise that usually comes as a ready downside of power-based motors.
The rear rack’s max weight is a notable 132 pounds (60 kg), which is a lot of extra weight, to say the least. This makes it easy to transport children (thanks to its support for baby seats and child seats) and adults, as well as groceries with most HSD models. The front rack works well with the kickstand, which is optimally positioned to support any extra weight.
Tern GSD Commuter Cargo Model Line
The GSD is arguably the more heavy-duty option in the Tern catalog as it conforms more to the classic cargo bike design. Sure, it may be the more expensive option, but this is immediately offset by the relatively higher load capacity of 400 pounds (180 kg) – a feat rarely achieved by cargo e-bikes in this price range.
Moreover, the Bosch CX mid-drive system that the S00 uses isn’t exactly a pushover. The same can be said for the removable Bosch PowerPack 500 battery, which could give you a whopping maximum range of up to 160 miles (260 km) in a single charge. You can add a second battery to attain that range, and the fact that you can charge both batteries simultaneously with the quick 4-amp charger only makes things sweeter. It’s safe to say that you’re already getting your money’s worth with these specs alone.
Tern’s superior kickstand design shines through in plenty of GSD models. It stows without much difficulty and imparts better overall stability when in use. The handlebars lend themselves to imparting the best comfort while riding, and they go well with the included plush saddles and wider tires. This combination makes lazy weekend rides with the family and regular trips to the grocery a relatively comfortable and even enjoyable experience.
What Riders Love About Tern E-Bikes
The company’s substantial expertise in designing folding bikes and established manufacturing lines provide it with plenty of leverage. These qualities provide the fuel for Tern to continually make improvements in all their product lines. This could not be more obvious in the number of variations that can already be found in the Vektron, GSD, and HSD lines.
Without a doubt, this consistent drive to better its product development, which is readily reflected by the products they unveil in the market on an almost yearly basis, is what endears most riders to Tern models. They don’t sacrifice quality and, more importantly, they deliver what riders want in cargo and folding e-bikes. For that, it smoothly earned the respect it gathered over the years.
What Countries Does Tern Ship To?
Tern accommodates local and international shipping and has designated each country they support into three regions. Most East Asian and Southeast Asian countries are included in Region 1, Eastern and Western European countries in Regions 2, and the US, Canada, and Russia, as well as certain South American countries in Region 3.
Read also: Check out the most popular e-bike brands.
Take a look at this quick video introduction of Tern GSD: