Tern Link D8—Folding Bike Perfection Anyone Can Afford.
I was having a little difficulty starting this post, yet I know what I want to say. It came to me during a series of Facebook messages with a friend in England about a iTune app called 53. It made me remember how resistant to change I have been through the years, like many I’m sure. My first exposures to folding bikes in the past was less than stellar, but now I love them.
As a part-time bike shop mechanic in the early 90‘s, I would work them (folding bikes) over when needed, yet we had none on the sales floor. I don’t think it was the looks that shunned my interests, it was the way they rode. With major frame and handlebar flex, poor folding and just a general cheapo feel, I had no desire to ride them more than a basic test hop after the service was complete.
All that has changed in force. Modern folding bikes (the better ones) are rock-solid, fun-riding everyday bikes. Add in a reasonable price point and you have the Tern Link D8. Here is a bike you can enjoy and ride as your only bike in the stable. It’s light, stores and secures easily, has many gears and rides great. It fits a wide varieties of body sizes and styles. It looks sleek and has some nice pieces. It is just one great little bike.
With a strong aluminum chassis, the fold and hinges are designed to add to the versatility. At the frame joints they achieve a firm connection with contoured plates that maximize contact when unfolded. The latches look and work well, lock down easily and match the flow of the frame. The fold of the bike happens quick and makes it small enough to carry easily and store almost anywhere.
This Tern comes factory equipped with light-weight fenders and a full-sized rack. They add to the utility just like the folding aspect. The nicely designed BioLogic tail light / rear reflector snaps out of the way on the seat rails. The one I’m testing even has the optional front carrier block. Mine came with the front rack, but a bag or basket can be had that also snaps onto the carrier that bolts to the head tube of the bike. Very handy indeed.
The one-piece handlebar stem fits riders of all statures and no real flex is noted there either. The bars have a quick release to allow them an adjustment in angle and to minimize the fold size if needed. On the bars you find a twist shifter to control the 8 gears and a pair of brake levers that fit your hands in a comfortable way. The ergo grips do the same.
During the ride you find good handling that is secure yet agile. The Schwalbe tires match the bike and provide a good combination of smoothness and grip. With flat protection and reflective sidewalls, I was pleased with them on every ride I took. The beefy rims, spokes and hubs appear to be made to handle any abuse you want to dish up. Plus the color matching to this matte black bike rounds out the sleek look the Tern Link D8 offers.
Going through the gears is easy and you will find the range there more than sufficient. I took some fairly steep climbs in stride and was able to maintain a brisk pace on the flats. The Tern never missed a beat as I worked the gear set through its paces. The front sprocket has a outer chain guard the will keep your cuffs clean and out of harms way. The drive train is just one more part of this popular folder I could find no fault with.
You might know that I have my own Tern (the Link P9) and that I recently spent a couple months with their top-end machine, the Verge X20. It is natural to want to compare them both with the D8. A quick glance would make you think they are the same bikes. But with just a little time many of the differences stand out strong. Of course the Verge X20 has a completely awesome drivetrain and the rolling pieces are exceptional. The weight of the Verge is almost non-existent.
It is the Link P9 that shares the most with this D8. They are kissing cousins with just minor variances in the two. A slight weight gain is noticed in the Tern Link D8. It’s not much and the other things that they don’t share are the tires, hubs, the amount of gears and other very minor things. On my scale I found this—P9 25.5 lbs.—P9 with fenders and rear rack 27 lbs.—D8 with fenders and rear rack 28.5 lbs.—D8 with fenders, front and rear rack 30lbs.
From this I concluded the basic D8 is only 1.5 lbs heavier than the P9. And that the fenders weigh .5 lbs, the rear rack is a pound and the front rack with the carrier block is 1.5 lbs. The slight difference of the Tern Link D8 is due to the minor items speced on the wheels and drivetrain. As you can see, no matter which one you choose, they are all pretty easy to pedal and carry around. BTW, the Tern Verge X20 pushes the scale at 20.5 lbs.
From a price standpoint, the D8 is a great deal. It is set at a place where picking one up for yourself won’t set you back much. The P9 isn’t that much more, but the Verge is in a whole different ballpark. The D8 is so popular (major sales from what I’ve heard) because of the great features, fantastic ride, incredible convenience and the low price. That’s a group of selling points that can’t be denied. My wife and I are in the process of picking out a companion to our Link P9 and the D8 is in the major running there.
That is one more factor I haven’t covered yet. Having the two matching folding bikes has been a dream. We have taken them on many local and semi-distant rides. For a while it was the P9 and the Verge, and lately it has been the P9 and the D8. Slipping them in the back of the wagon to enjoy touring rides out-of-town is the feature I like best. Others will like the security of being able to take them to their offices or apartments on upper floors. All will like them for the fun and smoothness of the ride.
So if you have been hesitant to try a folding bike, everything has changed. They ride like regular full-sized bikes but offer so much more. Consider what one can do for you. The line of Tern bikes has one for every interest and pocketbook. I have moved into the future, something I find surprising, yet I couldn’t be happier about.
How about you? Turbo Bob.
“No excuses.”—Ted Smith
You can find all the info on Tern’s website or FB page
I got my Tern from NYCeWheels
This is one of the videos I took of the Tern Link D8