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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 07-29-12, 02:20 PM   #1
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Tern Link P7i - The First Week

The Commute:
8.5 miles r/t per day.
1 mile to train station, 25 minute Amtrak ride, 3 miles with a 35 MPH downhill (315 ft vertical in 1/2 mile) ending at a 1 lane underpass with a stopsign.
3 full folds per day (train, office, train).
Year round commute in rain or shine, hot (102 degrees) to cold (7 degrees F). Light and pitch black.

I have been doing this commute for 8 1/2 years -- (870 commute days, 7500 miles) on first a Downtube IXNS (9 speed) and a Downtube 8H (8 Speed internal). Each of these bikes lasted for about 2 1/2 to 3 years before the frame cracked at the seatpost insertion area. So I decided to get a Tern as an upgrade with the hope and expectation that it will last me 4-5 years or more.

The box was mildly damanged in shipment. One axle bolt had poked thru the box. But otherwise it looked
OK and nothing inside looked damaged.

Assembly and prepping for riding was straightforward.
Brakes needed adjustment & much tightening.
I tightened the pedals some more, as well as checking all nuts and bolts on the whole bike.
The Headset was not quite at 90 degrees.
Almost everything else was ready to roll. Tires inflated to 85psi and it was ready for a test ride.

The ride is very nice. The position is more forward than Downtube 8H.
I had no problems at all on the downhill at 35mph, very stable and stiff frame.
Stopping power is slightly weaker than 8H with Koolstops.
Seatpost slipped a little bit (similar to others on the Tern forum), but it got better after tightening the seat binder quick release.
The Front Light is weak. There are no specs except for "10 Lux" and it might be good as a secondary light to be seen, but for dark suburban roads I will still use my 180 lumen Fenix flashlight.
The Pedal / chain friction seems fairly high (under no load)

Biologic Chain cover - will it help or hinder when it's wet? does it hold moisture and promote chain rust?
Rear Fender - hopefully not too short for rain.
Magnetix barely works to keep the bike together and wheels do not stay parallel. I would really like some kind of locking latch here.

As expected, the top gear is a little low with the Nexus 7 vs. the S-A 8 speed on the Downtube 8H.

Using a GPS on my test ride, I found my speed at my normal pedal cadence is:
4th - 13 mph
5th - 14.8 mph
6th - 16.3 mph
7th - 18.6 mph

Not too bad actually.

The Andros stem is rattling. It gets better with tightening, but then was worse within a ride or two. It's either the big metal plate-on-plate, or the 'j' safety hook, or both. I need to see if a thin silicone pad will help.

The Cables stick out of the bike too much when folded. I'm using my velcro ankle straps to tuck them in -- otherwise they seem too vulnerable on the train.

The MAGNETIX bolt/plate part fell off the front wheel during my 4th ride (30 miles riding) and was lost. From the forum this is a common issue & needs a look at more secure mounting or tightening.


1 test ride and 4 commute days... 39 miles....8 train rides....12 folds and unfolds....1250 ft of vertical climbing.

No rain or nighttime test yet.

1st gear is harder than the SA 8 speed... it is not "direct drive" and makes for a little more effort up a steep hill.

Cables on the front fork are exposed when folded , so I use my velcro ankle strap to lash them closer to the frame.

A little seatpost slippage (seems to be a common problem) but is now down to 1/2 'mark' on a 3 mile ride, which is OK for me.

The magnetix piece fell off.

The brakes are a little spongier than the Koolstop I was using -- a longer stopping distance.
Very stable on my 36 MPH downhill!
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Old 07-29-12, 07:04 PM   #2
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Pics please...
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Old 07-29-12, 07:30 PM   #3
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Nice review. Appreciated.
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Old 07-29-12, 07:41 PM   #4
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My gut feel on the chain cover: Road grime gets splattered on the chain while riding in the wet. This comes from the front wheel (obviously) but also from the back wheel. The front wheel spray is probably OK. The rear is more problematic as it hits the brake bridge, stays and other obstructions, turning into a blizzard of droplets flying in all directions, each droplet fully loaded with industrial grade grinding paste.

So it's hard to say how it would fare against a naked chain under these severe conditions; I think it would be better. It would be very interesting to hear your experiences with it.
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Old 07-30-12, 02:56 AM   #5
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Nice review. I own a Tern Link Uno myself and I must say, I'm very impressed with the joints; they look sturdy. On the other hand, I have no problems with the locking mechanisms on my Dahon Speed P8 either, so it might be just a placebo effect. As for the Uno, the ride is very stiff, stable, and efficient. The one thing I do agree with you on though is that the magnets are not enough to hold it together while folded, particularly while carrying by the saddle. To add to that, unlike my Dahon, the handlepost sits on the outside while it's folded and if you're carrying with the right hand, the handlebars end up hitting your leg while walking and this ends up disengaging the magnets. I'm still trying to find the best way to carry it while folded. The seatpost has given me no problem so far, though; knock on wood. All in all, I'm very happy with it. If they could come up with a single accessory that will keep the wheels parallel and together, I would jump on it.

Last edited by Training.Wheels; 07-30-12 at 03:14 AM.
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