Yesterday we received our first shipment of the new Tern folding bikes. We'll stock at least 6 of the 22 models in the 2012 lineup, with prices spanning from under $500 to over $2K. We're just getting to know these bikes in detail now, but are already confident that they'll appeal to a broad set of people for whom we haven't always had just the right bike.
We're excited to introduce these bikes to Portland, just as we did Brompton folding bikes in 2007. Over the last few years Bromptons have become common sights in town, and a cornerstone of our business, but it's also true that we have referred many customers elsewhere for folding bikes that aren't Bromptons, whether for reasons of price, function, feel or style. Brompton remains unrivaled in the compact robustness of its fold (and arguably in a few more ways), but what if you want bigger wheels, or 3 bikes for the price of one Brompton, or you find hydroformed aluminum sexier than brazed steel? What if you want speeds that go to 11? (It's one faster, isn't it?) It's OK: now we have something for you too.
Tern is a new brand, but its bikes may look familiar if you know Dahon, which has been the largest maker of folding bikes worldwide. Tern is run by Josh Hon, son of David Hon, the founding head of Dahon. Unfortunately the intra-family story here is not happy, with the two companies engaged in legal warfare over who rightly controls what. Meanwhile, shipping is nine-tenths of the law, and Tern is shipping bikes we like for their emphasis on urban utility, ride quality, long-term toughness and serviceability. Tern's offerings look to us like a tight cut of the best Dahon has offered, improved with special attention to the hinges and other critical parts, backed by an organization with refreshing awareness of the hazards of too many base models, made of too many special parts, too often changing, with too-thin a service infrastructure. Plus: cooler paint and graphics.
Check our new Tern product page for key details of the models we've ordered. Better yet, ride on over, give them a spin, and tell us what you think: we're learning!