Tern / BionX Folding E-bike—The Perfect Combo.
I would think you are either a big fan of Tern folding bikes or a one of BionX E-bike conversion systems. Maybe you just have a curiosity of the two and want to learn more. Now that Tern and BionX have teamed-up for the long run, you will get a chance for yourself to see what a great partnership this will be. This bike is an experimental prototype, but there is nothing temporary about this wave that will be coming to your town. The two companies inked a deal and you are the beneficiary.
With dozens of bikes being made (or already made) (and many more coming), this combo is headed your way. I got to ride two of the demo bikes, one a Tern Node D8 and this one, a Tern Link P9 with the BionX E-bike power source. The bikes Tern are producing with the BionX will be Link D8s and Node D8s. With about a month of riding this Link / BionX, I am ready to spill the beans (in a good way). This post is about the bike I spent time with, but I will do my best to relay the info about the bikes you will see on the dealer’s sales floors.
The BionX kit chosen is the S350DL. This is a high-power, direct-drive, 48 volt kit with torque sensing control and regen capabilities. The battery is a sleek frame-mount and the silent motor is in stealthy black (to match the Node and Link). It weighs in at 14 lbs. and comes with the G2 display console. As a package for any bike these are fantastic, but when added to the Tern line of rock-solid folding bikes they become magic.
As with any BionX, the smart and safely programmed unit works to make your legs feel supercharged. The torque-sensing control is the most natural way to get the electric-assist on any bike. It also has a throttle lever (button) that will over-ride the pedelec control at your command. The display reads out so many things and includes a clock (my favorite). With four levels of sensitivity and regen, it can tailor your ride every time you mount-up.
Now onto the bike. As you might know Tern makes some sleek, smooth and great riding folding bikes. They have up-scale components and features so many have come to love. There is a wide variety of them to choose from, my wife and I personally owning a pair of the Link P9s (the bike this test subject is based on). Folding bikes ride so nice and are ultimately convenient, that is part of why the Tern bikes are so popular. Add in the electric-assist from a top-end company and you will be feeling all the reasons I am smitten with this bike.
People are hooked on bicycle weights, so lets go this route for a moment. Link P9—25.4 lbs., Link D8—26.7 lbs., Node D8—29.3 lbs., Verge X20—20.5 lbs. So you can see that when you add the 14 lbs. of the BionX you will end up with a E-bike that weighs just over 40 lbs., ultra light in the electric bike world. I threw in that last one (the Verge X20) just to show you how light you can go. This makes the bike easy to ride and pedal, and easy to lift and carry. The battery can be removed to help this, but I left mine on the whole test and it still popped in the trunk with barely a grunt.
Another thing weight related is the balance of the bike. It is exceptional. With the battery in the center and pretty low, and the motor very low, the bike has a great feel. It is maneuverable but not skittish. The power is right on the money getting you to speed in a hurry and up most any grade without raising a sweat (you or the bike). This baby is perfect for trails, roads, commuting and just plain old-fashioned fun. Anyone who has felt the thrill of an E-bike or a folding bike can appreciate this Tern / BionX without a test ride, yet even a quick blast will get you hooked.
It does come with a fairly low capacity battery (6.6 Ah), yet due to the fact this is a 48 volt system,, that extends your range unless you have the lead foot (hand?) of a race driver. I took some very long rides with power to spare (35 miles plus). Usually on the longer rides I am more careful of using too much of the assist, yet on this Tern / BionX I never let that bother me and never saw the power meter leave me empty.
The display does keep you mostly abreast of your power draw. It has a section that shows the amps used and the amps regenerated as you ride. It allows you to choose from 4 levels of sensitively to help your range and determine your workout quotient. And like a cycle computer it shows total miles, ride miles and times, maximum speed reached and the time of day. It has a nice backlight for riding at night and a theft mode too.
Every time I stared to ride I envisioned my own Tern with this set-up. I have been a big fan of the BionX for years and this combo has strengthened that bond. This matching isn’t really new as NYCeWheels has been installing BionX kits on customer’s Tern bikes for a long time. They are the experts on electric and folding bikes so this is no surprise. That is one reason I mentioned the Tern Verge X20 above. After my time on this bike my dreams of a Verge with the BionX seems to be a reoccurring one. The most awesome folding bike with the most awesome E-bike conversion kit, yes, the stuff dreams are made of (and at less than 35 lbs).
There was only one negative I felt on the bike. Like all BionX conversions, the rear brake has a switch to put the bike into full regen mode as you slow. As it hits maximum regen the motor acts like a strong drag brake while it converts itself to an alternator to make the power to feed back to the battery. It was just a little too much slowing for my likes. There are modes in the system to adjust this, but I strongly advise you don’t attempt the change yourself. If it really bothers you, then get the help from a Tern or BionX dealer to slightly lessen it. You might like this, but I would make the change if it were my bike.
Well, keep in touch with your Tern dealer if a bike like this interests you. They should be arriving soon and you won’t want to miss it. Me, I am slated to hand this bike to the next Tern rep in line for showing it off. It will be a sad day, but the memories will linger in the best of ways.
It takes two to tango—Tern & BionX—a dance you might want to do yourself, Turbo Bob.
“Bicycle means simplicity and simplicity means happiness!”—Mehmet Murat ildan.
Tern on the web and Facebook
BionX on the web and Facebook
NYCeWheels on the web and Facebook
I’ve been having a tough time posting my You-Tube video links here lately. If this doesn’t take you right to my video of this bike then you can still find it in the folding bike or electric bike section.