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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 03-06-13, 07:46 AM   #1
JugglerDave
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Tern P7i 1000 Mile Report

Summary: I'm enjoying the bike immensely and I have had no mechanical issues. A few minor items were quickly replaced by excellent customer service by both Tern corporate and ThorUSA (the dealer from which I purchased). It's suiting me well for my daily bike+train commute in the Philadelphia area.

I have commuted almost daily on my 'new' Tern P7i since late July 2012. I have done 117 commutes (8.5 miles
round trip plus two 25 minute Amtrak rides daily). This includes folding and unfolding the bike three times (Train, Office, Train).
So that's about 350 folds.I have one very steep downhill in the morning; I hit 35 MPH and then have to brake at the bottom for a one lane railroad underpass. In the afternoon that same hill is a 315 ft vertical gain in about 1/2 mile -- grade is 7-9% with a short section at 18%.

The built in front light is great. It's not quite bright enough for the midwinter dark morning commutes (I use an extra Fenix 180 lumen flashlight was well), but for most of the time it's nothing to switch it on even on just 'gray' days, so I'd presume I'm safer than when I went without a light unless it was dark.

The Shimano 7 hub has very different gearing and feeling from the SA 8W on my previous bikes -- there is no "direct drive" gear and in gear 1 it is definitely harder going up the steepest hill. But I love the fact that I can shift while pedaling and I haven't even had to adjust it even once in 1000 miles / 7 months.

The stock front brake pad was soft and wore out quickly -- 500 miles. I replaced it with Kool Stop dual compound.

The warranty items I have had replaced were:
1 - the Magnetix plate fell off the bike during the second or third ride; due to undertightened nuts from the factory.
2 - I couldn't get the "FreeDrive" chain cover to stay on, after partially removing it for a flat tire change. Tern kindly sent me a new one.
3 - the plastic handlebar grip "T Tool" insert cracked and wasn't holding the tool securely. for items 1 and 3 ThorUSA sent me a new one quickly.

My previous two bikes (Downtube IXNS and 8H) lasted about 3500 and 3800 miles respectively before the frame broke near the seatpost (same failure both times).

I am hoping and expecting that due to the design and construction of the Tern that I can get at least 4 years / 6000 miles plus out of it!
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Old 03-06-13, 08:05 AM   #2
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Very nice report. It's always nice to read critical user experiences so that the rest of us get a feel for how the bike performs over the long haul under daily use (or abuse!).
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Old 03-07-13, 05:24 AM   #3
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Cool info.
That is some serious mileage!
Glad to see someone putting bikes to the test.
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Old 03-07-13, 09:36 AM   #4
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Very good report. Thanks.

>> My previous two bikes (Downtube IXNS and 8H) lasted about 3500 and 3800 miles respectively

Is this normal? What is the expected service life of a typical folder? I already have on my Brompton half of that distance.
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Old 03-08-13, 03:29 AM   #5
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Isn't the bike heavy ? I was also considering between P7i and D8, and decided to take the D8.
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Old 03-08-13, 06:42 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by OndrejP_SK View Post
Isn't the bike heavy ? I was also considering between P7i and D8, and decided to take the D8.
I didn't consider weight when deciding amongst bikes -- I only have to carry the bike down and up one flight of stairs daily. I roll the bike through the train stations and the office.
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Old 03-08-13, 06:45 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kamtsa View Post
Very good report. Thanks.

>> My previous two bikes (Downtube IXNS and 8H) lasted about 3500 and 3800 miles respectively

Is this normal? What is the expected service life of a typical folder? I already have on my Brompton half of that distance.
While I would expect more mechanical wear with the folding mechanisms and other moving parts than standard bikes; I was disappointed that the frame broke. I can understand why -- the seatpost is very long and has lots of mechanical leverage and stress on that part of the frame. The Tern has a longer seatpost than my Downtubes and also the frame design seems better -- the seat tube part of the frame is separately welded between the two parts of the rear triangle so I'm hoping for more strength & durability there.
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Old 03-08-13, 07:44 AM   #8
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If I may, approximately, what is your weight and height?
Is the seat post extended to its maximum?
Any photos of the breaks?
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Old 03-08-13, 09:50 AM   #9
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If I may, approximately, what is your weight and height?
Is the seat post extended to its maximum?
Any photos of the breaks?
Height is 6 ft even. Weight is 175 lbs.

The seatpost on the Downtube was extended very near to maximum but still within the original 'max' line. Sorry I don't have pictures handy. The seatpost is 500mm long.

As a counterpoint, on my Tern there is marked seatpost; I ride at position "7" which is 3" / 7cm from the 'min insert' line and about 8" / 20cm from the end of the seatpost. The seatpost is 590 mm long, so that's quite a difference from the Downtube's 500mm.

There is a lot of fore/aft force on my ride, as I descend down a steep hill at 35 MPH and have to brake to a full stop at the bottom. There is another steep hill descent & brake approaching the train station.
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