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Tern Link D7i Unlucky?

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Old 03-14-18, 01:20 AM
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JohanNeeda
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Tern Link D7i Unlucky?

Since December I'm the proud owner of a tern link D7i. I thought is a cool bike(it is actually design wise ) but also kind of maintenance free. I have an Gazelle orange C7 plus (just to tell where my compare point is) and a no name
cheap folding bike (Formula is written on it. It is supposes to be permanent resident in my car's trunk and used as spare bike).

Since I got the D7I I was expecting the Gazelle reliability with the advantages of the folding bike. Why shouldnít I? There are good bike reviews (or advertising?). the bad ones is the eternal talk Tern vs other brand J., IGH and all the goodies for a good bike.
Unfortunately my expectation fell very short:
1) Day 0 there was a plastic cap on the hinge bolt to protect it from water. I have seen it on the dealer shop and
that was it. It disappeared without a trace
2) Day 1 flat rear tire. On the road it real hassle to change (bad start). Changed with Fischer brand
3) Day 3 deflated front tire (found it as such in the garage). Changed directly with Fisher brand
4) Day 30 worn off brake pads (about 300 Km). Change the both sets with Decathlon brand
5) Day 35 light connection broke off. About to be replaced with copper wires and automotive waterproof connections.
6) Day 36. Rust on chain is quite unbelievable. Scrub de chain, clean the chain, grease everything. Seems ok
7) Day 45. Rust on chain is quite unbelievable. Scrub de chain, clean the chain, grease everything. Feeling less confident
8) Day 50. Rust on chain is quite unbelievable. Really?

My own thoughts:
1) Not really a problem, but I bought this bike for its design.
2) and 3) I thought it was me being unlucky. But there was no puncture on any of the tires. The air chambers are old (!?) or bad quality. Schawalbe Apple paired with very cheap air chambers?
4) I'm a heavy guy (220 lbs) ridding a hilly area. But really? The other folder has Fischer pads and, after a year of so (i.e 1200 Km), they are still there about half way from the ware line. Honestly I think they are bad quality (Promox looks like the brand, but I suppose they do the entry level as well).
5) The duo dynamo and front light gives a good light but the connection between them is really bad thought of. Alu cables and crimp connections for a thing that's supposed to move? I have been in touch with Tern support to ask if there are some special crimp connections , sizes and stuff. The answer was: get in contact with the dealer (I think 5mm was a shorter and better answer).
6),7) and 8) I know here it rains a lot. However why it is only this one that rusts? We have in daily in use 4 bikes and this is the only chain that rusts. Even my daughter kids bike is OK. I recon is either the chain protection retaining water and keeping the chain wet or the chain is bad quality. Given the experience with the other stuff I would say the later. I keep cleaning it till the new chain arrives. We will see.

Conclusion
If for each problem I had with the bike I need to 1) make an appointment with the dealer 2)wait for 2 weeks 3) pay a flat 35 EUR just to look at it I have been already 140 EUR short and about 2 months out of the bike. Adding spares would have been 170 EUR . Add 50 EUR for the 2 months bus tickets 220 EUR. I have bought my other folder for less than that! Thatís about 25% of the new value of the bike. It feels really like having got a bad second had bike. As you see I compare it with a cheap folder as my Gazelle is really in another quality league. I thought Tern is about details, good engineering and design. It appears they have just a good marketing division.

Were my expectations to high? Were yours?

PS
Fischer is the brand of bike spares I can find on my local DIY Shop (I doní know about quality but better than the ones on Tern, overpriced, but immediately available).
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Old 03-14-18, 02:11 AM
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I must admit I always look at a bike from the perspective of what I am getting for my money. I look at the price and I look at the components fitted. As someone who can do their own maintenance I can look at the direct sellers on the internet or factory to retailer direct brands (shop brands) who can often offer far superior bikes for less money. The Tern business model is one of many parties needing to make a profit and larger marketing expenses plus they seem to source even frames from other companies and so all these additional costs add up.

It's common for the big brands of bikes to have a terrible entry level model with very poor components, often heavily compromised to reach a price point that appears competitive with other bikes but in the detail pretty much junk components bolted to an often reasonable frame.

The 20" wheel folding bike category is full of competitors, a huge amount of choice. Also many brands aren't consistently good or bad you can find varying levels of value in the same brand.

As you have found out you are having to spend more money to replace parts that are faulty or below acceptable quality for you very early in ownership which I think is typical of a poor compromised bike.

I don't know if its the same with Tern but some of the European models of Dahon bike seem to be downgraded here and there compared to the US versions. I wonder as the Tern management is ex-Dahon if they don't do a similar approach of compensating for the higher costs of selling into Europe by a few downgrades just so the price between Europe and the US is closer. It could be some of the smaller parts like the chain have been downgraded.
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Old 03-14-18, 07:34 AM
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Funny, enough I do the checking part myself as well. On second hand bikes, though. It never ever cross my mind that one of the most prised folding bikes could have this kind of quality problems.

For new bikes, I will not look in the shop what kind of brakes they have (usually there is nothing written on them) as I expect some good quality OEM's, nor what kind of air chambers they have under the tyres. You expect for a "name" to pay attention to this kind of details for you. This is not entry level bike either. It costs about 1K EUR. With the exception of Verge and the electric bikes this is the top EUR from Tern. One simply cannot ask to buy the more expensive Verge for some decent quality. And really for what? Bought on a retail shop, the spares cost me about 40 EUR (as I have told you, there were not even hyper quality, just decent). I have paid 100 EUR more(plenty of profit for everyone) to get this out of the box enjoying my ride and not being in the garage repairing it. It doesn't matter how much you love bikes, still you will grind your teeth when it is needed to repair them. To add to my sorrow, my garage is not heated and here is still winter, brrrrr.

If I'm looking at all the details on my Gazelle and at the fact that it costs less than the Tern (being assembled at Dutch costs, not in Vietnam - some say cheaper than China), I get the strong feeling that's not me be being unlucky. However, I have asked for a second opinion just to be sure.
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Old 03-14-18, 07:54 AM
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Interesting! MY experience is exact opposite.

My Dahon S1 has had several years of awesome performance. NEver a flat tire, eventhough it has cheap Kendas. Coaster brake performances admirably. Frame is rock solid. Not bad for a 200 bux cheap bike.

My Gazelle Oma is great bike, but also has had rust problem on the chrome parts (handlebars, headset, and crank). Lots of brown dots on the chrome, just after one season of being stored on the porch. The brake is pathetic...due to poor linkage design. Somewhat disappointed considering this is a premium bike.

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Old 03-14-18, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by JohanNeeda View Post
6),7) and 8) I know here it rains a lot. However why it is only this one that rusts? ... I recon is either the chain protection retaining water and keeping the chain wet or the chain is bad quality.
Ditch the plastic chain cover and use a good "wet" chain lube.
Steve
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Old 03-15-18, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by JohanNeeda View Post
Funny, enough I do the checking part myself as well. On second hand bikes, though. It never ever cross my mind that one of the most prised folding bikes could have this kind of quality problems.

For new bikes, I will not look in the shop what kind of brakes they have (usually there is nothing written on them) as I expect some good quality OEM's, nor what kind of air chambers they have under the tyres. You expect for a "name" to pay attention to this kind of details for you. This is not entry level bike either. It costs about 1K EUR. With the exception of Verge and the electric bikes this is the top EUR from Tern. One simply cannot ask to buy the more expensive Verge for some decent quality. And really for what? Bought on a retail shop, the spares cost me about 40 EUR (as I have told you, there were not even hyper quality, just decent). I have paid 100 EUR more(plenty of profit for everyone) to get this out of the box enjoying my ride and not being in the garage repairing it. It doesn't matter how much you love bikes, still you will grind your teeth when it is needed to repair them. To add to my sorrow, my garage is not heated and here is still winter, brrrrr.

If I'm looking at all the details on my Gazelle and at the fact that it costs less than the Tern (being assembled at Dutch costs, not in Vietnam - some say cheaper than China), I get the strong feeling that's not me be being unlucky. However, I have asked for a second opinion just to be sure.
Yes definitely cheaper in Vietnam if nothing else because the EU adds a additional duty on complete bikes sold from China but Vietnam can assemble basically chinese parts including a high quality chinese frame and get to Europe without duty. Even if you ignore that I'm pretty sure its cheaper to manufacture in Vietnam anyway nowadays so a double saving overall.
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Old 05-03-18, 09:16 AM
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Back in business

I donít know if Tern has made those bikes for a climate thatís really humid, but surely they have missed some details. Every nut or bolt that looks like stainless steel rusts. No exceptions In order not to bother with warranty and the eternal tango customer fault/fabrication fault I have changed the cog (to 20T), the chain with a Shimano for 6/7/8 speed and the crank set to Sturmey Archer RBR700. I ditched the chain cage as well. I didnít really have to change the crankset, but trying to take it off for rust removal and cleaning, it was completely stuck (drive side). The classic crank set removal tool did nothing but to screw up the threads so I had to use a ball bearing press to remove it. I like to believe this was me not using correctly the tool. For the headlight problem I have just changed the wire running from the dynamo to the headlight to a copper one and use some heat shrinking tubing to fix it on the headlight connectors.

Iím sure the Shimano 1S chain would have been better from aesthetics stand point (in combination with the crank set) as it is grey. Perhaps next time. I have given the bike a thorough clean up as rust like dust was everywhere and now it looks really neat with the difference that now it works as well.

Thanks everyone for their input.
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