Terning toward Interbike with Josh Hon and four new folders

The Tern Eclipse X20: 24-inch wheels, high-end components and a Eurobike Award winner. All photos courtesy of Tern Bicycles.

With 115,234 people, the city of Peoria, Illinois, has roughly double the population of Friedrichshafen, Germany, its sister city. But while Peoria jealously guards its reputation as home to a 17-foot-tall woman, Friedrichshafen has the greater claim to fame: Eurobike, the world’s biggest bicycle show.

The Eclipse X20. Bigger wheels, faster bike, slightly larger fold than the Verge X20, according to Tern’s leader, Josh Hon.

During the end-of-August show, Tern Bicycles announced the addition of four machines to its folding bike lineup: the Eclipse X20, the Castro D8, the Swoop Duo and the Swoop D7i. Tern also received two Eurobike Awards in the Urban Bike category, one for the 24-inch-wheel Eclipse X20 and the other for the 20-inch Swoop D7i.

Josh Hon, now readying for next week’s Interbike show in Las Vegas, agreed to answer a few questions about the new bikes—and about a couple of generator hubs from Tern’s sister company (there’s that word, sister, again), Biologic.

Josh Hon and a Tern folding bicycle. Folders are gaining in popularity because of the increasing interest in bicycles for transportation, not merely recreation.

With 24-inch wheels, is the Eclipse X20 simply the bigger brother of the Verge X20?

They are very similar bikes, yes. Definitely similar genes. But to say the Eclipse is the big brother implies it is better; we prefer to think of each having unique benefits. All things being equal, larger wheels roll faster than small wheels. So if you are after all-out speed, the Eclipse X20 is superior. In fact, the Eclipse X20 may well be the fastest folding bicycle every developed. It is very, very fast. Compared to the Verge X20 it’s a bit heavier and doesn’t fold up quite so small. Personally, I love the Eclipse X20—it’s my new favorite in the Tern range.

The Castro D8 gives step-through frame fans several more gears than the original Castro Duo. How is the 24-inch-wheel size doing for Tern? You seem pretty committed to the size factor.

We love the 24-inch wheel size because it rides like a full-size bike, but folds really small, only very slightly larger than a 20-inch wheel bike. There are a lot of riders out there who feel funny on 20-inch wheels. But with 24-inch wheels (and Big Apple tires), they look at it like a full-size bike. If you ride one of our 24-inch wheel bikes, you’ll know why we’re so excited about this category of bikes.

A new family of ultra-low stepover folding bicycles joins the Tern lineup. This is the Swoop Duo, which features a two-speed hub. The Swoop D7i, with a seven-gear rear hub, captured a Eurobike Award.

The two Swoops provide riders with the lowest step-over frames of any of the six Tern families. The form factor is similar to the Dahon Ciao D5. So Tern now has three families of 20-inch bikes: lightweight performance (Verge); value (Link) and low step-over (Swoop). Does anyone carry all the Tern models at once?

Our distributors decide what to carry depending on what works for their markets. Each market is quite different and so our goal is to offer a good range from which our distributors can choose. Yes, some of our larger distributors do carry all six frame platforms, but nobody carries all 26 of our models.

I noticed the Swoops are available in different color combinations.

Actually, most of our bikes come in multiple colors. It sounds like you might be on the U.S. site; check our global site where you can see the many color options. Colors and graphics are becoming ever more important.

I take it that the optional generator hub on the Swoops powers the headlight, not the tail light also, correct?

With most Tern models, the dynamo hub powers only the front light. But we do have versions of the Verge S11i, Eclipse S11i, Link P24h and Eclipse P24h in which the hub powers both the front and rear lights.

The lightweight Biologic Joule 3 generator hub, also a Eurobike Award winner, comes in 100mm and 74mm widths, for traditional and folding bicycles, respectively. Another hub, the 100mm Biologic Joule HG, eliminates generator drag in the off position.

I like that the BioLogic Joule 3 generator hub is available in a 100mm width as well as the 74mm your folding bikes use. Seems like a great way to break into the larger non-folding bicycle market. But it also makes me wonder: how long before we see the PostPump [combo seatpost/floorpump] in diameters other than 34mm? I’d like to add one to my Bianchi Pista.

Actually BioLogic is aimed primarily at cyclists with traditional bikes. The main market for the Joule 3 will be people with 100mm front hubs. And we’re working on 27.2 and 31.6mm sizes for the Biologic PostPump. We’re just not ready yet.

The other BioLogic generator hub, the Joule HD: is it also available in the same two configurations? 32 hole, 100mm with disc mount and 20 hole, 74 mm? I like the on-off function on this one, but why would Biologic offer the Joule HD and the Joule 3? Is the weight difference between the two that dramatic?

The Joule HG only comes in a 100mm size. Yes, the weight difference is that dramatic. The Joule 3 is the lightest hub on the market at 358 grams for the lightest configuration. The HG is 600-plus grams. The Joule 3 has very low drag, but it isn’t zero. If you are on a long tour or do the bulk of your riding in daylight, then the HG hub makes a lot of sense [Riders can eliminate generator drag with the HG by turning it off–ed.]. The Joule 3 is great if you want something very light and always ready.

Headed to Interbike next week in Las Vegas? So is Tern Bicycles–and its folders aren’t the only thing on the menu the evening of September 18.

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About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
This entry was posted in Equipment, News, Tern Bicycles and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Terning toward Interbike with Josh Hon and four new folders

  1. Pingback: Tern’s Josh Hon: “The image of cycling has changed profoundly.” | 16incheswestofpeoria

  2. Terence says:

    Wonderful bike can’t wait to buy one when I saved the cash

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