Tern Cargo Rack—A Great Up-grade for Our Folding Bikes.
There was a lot of excitement in the Tern camp last Interbike. Much had to do with some new bike models, yet this cargo rack generated a lot of the buzz. The more I saw and learned about it, the more there was to like. Although I have been fairly pleased with the optional base racks on our Tern Link P9 folding bikes, I could see these new ones in our immediate future. Now that they are on, I thought I would clue you into their benefits.
A bike rack isn’t a complicated thing, but the time and thought that went into these speaks differently. Each aspect has been worked out in detail so they could be as useful as possible. Designed to fit Tern 20” and 24” folding bikes, I am sure they can adapted to many other models. They are rock solid and very adjustable. Without a doubt they solved the two issues I was concerned with.
Our racks serve as much as a vehicle for our BikeSmart pannier bags than any other use. The forward mounting meant heels hitting the front of the bags in most situations. Also, without rear support risers, the rear part of the bags would contact the fender and sometimes the tire when heavily loaded. Now with these new Tern Cargo Racks, that is a thing of the past.
From the beginning, here is why these are so much better than their previous offering. Number one is the ease and compact nature of the rack for initial shipping. Because the racks are broken down into three pieces, they lay flat in the shipping carton. I am sure warehouse and bike shop storage space is improved too. They are easy to assemble before installation with all the hardware included.
Next up is the extra strength for carrying heavy items. 22 lbs. was my old limit on our rear racks, now 55 lbs. is possible. That is well over twice as much due to the ’Double Truss’ design. I always knew the bikes could handle the weight, but the racks were the weak link for the big loads. 55 lbs. is a lot and I don’t know that I will ever use this feature, but if I do, it will be done with a smile.
Height adjustment is now possible. If you are riding with extra deep panniers, then the rack can be set much higher to give them ground clearance. The panniers can also mount to the upper or lower rails to add to their versatility. The side mount links have several holes so you can choose your settings. I was going to set mine on the lowest setting for our Link P9 bikes, but went up 2 holes to make room to clear the magnet holder (that keeps the wheels together when folded).
Like many racks on the market now, the upper rack is designed to mount different bags without the use of separate adaptors. These Tern Cargo Racks are compatible with the KLICKFix series of bags. If you have tried direct mounting bags before you know how handy that can be. Easy on and off with a solid snap makes quick work of parking, locking and taking your bag with you.
I already mentioned the great flexibly of the adjustable mounting rails. The strong front rails are extra long and the smart design lend then to many frame styles and heights. It was easy to get them on the bike and set all the rails correctly. Leveling the rack before securing the mounting bolts was easy too. I was ready to go before I figured I would be.
I liked the built-in hold-down straps on our old racks, but these are that much better. They are more robust and have more mounting places to secure the load. The ends have double hooks and they will do the job with most any package, no matter how unusual the shape is. Plus the straps stay attached to the rack so they are at the ready when you are.
There is a large mounting bracket for the rear reflector. In addition to that, it is designed for the wired rear taillights that come on some of the Tern models. On those models there are wires from the bike to the light, but fear not, they won’t be dangling in the breeze. There is a spot for internal routing to keep the wire out of sight and away from snagging objects on the road.
If there is one drawback it is the increased weight of these racks. My scale showed our originals at 1 lbs. and the new one at 2 lbs. That is a lot in extra bike heft under normal circumstances, but nothing if you have them loaded down to the max capacity. Just by looking at them you can tell they are super heavy duty with the ability to do their job well.
As I was mounting the racks to our 2 Terns, I was a little concerned they might interfere with the fold, but was sure they had been designed as perfectly in this respect as all the others. Once the last bolt was tightened and the racks were set to level, I folded the bike with the confidence this wouldn’t be a problem. To my delight, I was right, the racks gave plenty of room for the bike to fold normally with no clearance issues.
We have a multi-day bike trip coming soon so I will be able to put them through their paces. Without a doubt, having our bags more rearward to keep our feet from hitting them will be a big plus. When we are on rides like this, our bags seem to be extra full, so having the rack keeping the bags from rubbing the wheels will be great. I am convinced I will be as happy with these new Tern Cargo Racks as you will.
With their accessories, as with their folding bikes, Tern has just what we need, Turbo Bob.
“Good bikes are not cheap—cheap bikes are not good”—Bike quote from ?
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Here are two videos I shot. One before the install and one after.