Tern Unfolded UPDATED

We left Taipei and the Tern launch to get to PressCamp before asking Josh Hon more about it. He followed up in email.


Added a video presentation of Josh’s response to questions about the brand.

Tern Bicycles: Josh Hon

Telling the world about Tern

Josh answers questions about the Tern brand.

The ride is attributed to the OS hinge. How much larger is it and stiffer?

Well we’ve got a lot of things all contributing to the stiff ride.

First is the frame with OCL Joint. The joint is taller and all things being equal, a 15% increase in height translates to a doubling strength.

The OCL Joint is also optimized so material gets put where its needed for stress.

The Joint is also manufactured by the same guys who do all the Syntace stuff – so precision is on a completely different level. Precision is key because it means we eliminate slop and play.

Bottom line – we took our five new frames to the Taiwan R&D center and had them put them on a vibration test rig. Every new Tern frame went up to 150,000 cycles without failure before we stopped the test. Other frames failed at less then 1/2 the cycles.

We’ve also got a patented DoubleTruss technology where the seat stays wrap around the seat tube and go all the way to the hinge. This turns the entire frame behind the hinge into a 3D truss shape which improves stiffness and power transfer to wheels. See pic below.

The same patented technologies that went into the frame joint also go into our handlepost joint. As you know, that thing is mighty stiff. The handlepost joint has the same attributes as the frame joint but it also benefits from more surface area contact with the fork steerer. An unnamed manufacturer has 16mm of contact between handlepost and fork steerer. We’ve increased that to 40mm – a 150% increase. Some of the stiffness also derives from our patented new Flux technology where we’ve gotten rid of the headset top cover and simply machined the top cover interface into the base of our handlepost.

The frames and handlepost together have five all new patents.

We’ve got all sorts of really techy details that we’d love to dive into (and we will) but in the end it all comes down to the ride.

3D truss frame

How does Biologic fit in?
BioLogic is an important sister company. As you know, we’re all about urban transport. Better bikes is one way to come at the problem. Another way is to develop gear like the Blast air horn, Biologic Bike Mount for iPhone™, Arx grips with integrated tool, that makes city riding safer and more convenient. We’ve got all sorts of cool products in the pipeline for BioLogic and they’ll be rolling out in the months ahead.
Wherever we travel with folders in the States, they attract attention, are a novelty. Will Tern expose Americans to  bikes that fold? Will they get it? Seems like a good opp with 24-inch wheels too.

We think that if you get people on the new Tern bikes, a lot will really get it, because they ride so well. Small wheeled folding bikes are knocked for their flexiness and sometimes funky aesthetics. Most riders demand bikes that ride well. It sounds simple but that’s what it boils down to. Most riders don’t want a compromised ride even though they appreciate the portable aspects of a folding bike. But what if you could deliver a folding bike that didn’t compromise on the ride, looked great, and delivered folding convenience? I think you’d have a compelling product and we think we have it.

I’d also add that urban cycling is about a lot more than just a folding frame. So its not JUST that our bikes fold. There are many other important things like integrated lighting and dynamo hubs for safety, adjustable stems for comfort and super functional racks for shopping or longer excursions.

Tern headtube with new badge

As soon as Tern starts shipping, we’ll have one on test. See more Tern photos in our photoset from the launch.

Tern Logo

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