When Tern announced their 2015 line, everyone in the folding bike community was excited. Tern has designed and manufactured some of the most lightweight, tightly-folding, speedy bikes on the market. Now that we’ve got them in stock, we’ve got a clear favorite: the Tern Verge x10.
Tern is taking 2015 seriously – these models are built from the ground up to accentuate sleekness, speed, and sex appeal.
The Tern Verge x10 is the standout model of the 2015 line, and for good reason.
It’s lighter, weighing in at 21.2 lbs, with an integrated chain retainer to prevent the chain from popping off. The new hub ands poke design improves its strength and durability, and the new hydroformed fork streamlines the entire model.
Technical specifications aside, this bike rides like lightning and folds like butter. The efficiency of pedal to tire is surreal.
Lightweight with a fast fold, the Tern Verge x10 perfected the 2014 model. The updates are subtle but make a huge impact.
To see more, check out the Tern Verge x10 on our website here.
A Dahon Vector conversion to 20-speed mini-Road bike
This is a guest post, written and shot by Derrick Zulueta. You can get your own Dahon Vectorhere.
Greeting! I bought my Dahon Vector P8 from NYCeWheels five months ago as a birthday gift to myself. I used it for about 4 months before I decided to convert it into a mini-road bike.
Four months gave me enough time to evaluate what I need to do for the upgrade. It took me one month to complete my project since all parts were sourced online. The installation of aftermarket parts are not much different from a regular bicycle parts (except maybe for handlepost and front derailleur), so I won’t go into detail about that, instead, I hope to share some insight on how I dealt with workaround to make it functional.
This is a challenging project since I never had a road bike, or any prior experience on customizing a bike. I really don’t know what to expect, but my goal is clear – to convert my folding bike into a mini-road bike.
After months of research on prospective parts and their availability, I watched several tutorials and know-how in YouTube, and I came up with an ideal list of components to use in the hopes of having a performance improvement as well during the conversion, namely: dropbar, brifter (integrated brake and shift lever), 20-speed drivetrain, and a bigger 451mm wheelset.
Mounting a Dropbar
Most Dahon folding bikes came with adjustable Radius Telescopic handlepost which folds INSIDE of the frame. My goal is to keep the ability of the handlepost to fold even when installed with a dropbar. I managed to find a handlepost called Radius V T-shape which folds OUTSIDE of the frame. This handlepost is very rare in the US, it come as stock handlepost from a few selected Dahon model like the MU SL. This handlepost has a length of 330mm (13 inches) and a clamp diameter of 25.4mm. The handlepost is also angled towards the seatpost when installed as opposed to the stock Radius telescopic handlepost.
Newer dropbars has a clamp diameter of 31.8mm. I bought the FSA Energy Ergo with drop of 150mm, and I found this to be ideal with my height and reach on aero position (your preference might be different). In order to mount the dropbar to the Radius V T-shape handlepost, you’ll need a bar clamp from ControlTech which has a mounting holes for 25.4mm and 31.8mm. I also installed a stem extender called Aber Halo which moves the dropbar away from the seatpost by 50mm. The handlepost is the easiest to install, you’ll just need a 10mm allen key wrench to secure it into the headset.
Selecting the Drivetrain
The drivetrain set is the most expensive component for this project, and my challenge here is selecting the right drivetrain without overspending on the budget. I chose the Shimano 105 Road groupset because it has the features of the top-end model at an affordable price. This is a commonly used component set on a lot of top road bikes and training bikes, it is exceptionally smooth, very durable and reliable group set. The set includes the Shimano 105 STI Lever, Shimano 105 standard crankset 53T/39T HollowTech-II, FD-5700 front derailleur, RD-5701 rear derailleur short cage, CS-5700 10speed cassette 11-28T, and CN-5701 10speed chain. As for the bottom bracket, the Vector frame BB shell size is 68mm English Thread. I chose the Shimano Ultegra SM-BBR60 Bottom Bracket because it is super light (only 77grams), and has better seal.
Stage 1 Assembly
I don’t have my own garage because I live in an apartment so I did everything in the kitchen! It is IMPORTANT to use a proper set of tools, don’t use anything that is found in the kitchen. In this photo, the FSA dropbar, STI brifter, Radius V handlepost, and the double-chainring crankset have been installed.
Wheelset and Tires availability
The standard 20” wheel measures 406mm. Another version of 20” wheel measures 451mm. Majority of folding bike frames will need a 130mm wheel hub for the rear, and 74mm for the front hub. There’s a very limited selection of 451mm wheelset that has those hub sizes. In US, ControlTech offers those wheelset in 6061AL alloy and 3k carbon version. The alloy version costs just a little bit over 200 bucks, while the carbon version costs almost a grand. The 451mm wheel will have a performance gain of 5 gear inches on 55T/11T gear ratio over the standard 406mm wheel, so for practicality, no question asked I bought the alloy version. There’s also not much of a big difference as compared to the weight of the carbon version as well other than looks. The ControlTech 451mm wheel with tires installed weighs around 1.6kgs, and is 600 grams lighter than the stock Kinetix Comp wheelset of the Dahon Vector.
The tire selection for 451mm wheel is also limited in US. You’ll be limited with these options:
Schwalbe Ultremo ZX 23x451mm (foldable)
Schwalbe Durano 28x451mm (wire bead)
Panaracer Minits Lite PT 451mm (foldable). Available is 23, 28, and 32mm size.
I chose the Panaracer 451x28mm size. The panaracer is designed for long mileage, and is good for touring. I believe they’re the best value. As for the tube, the ControlTech 451mm wheel will work on tubes with presta valve, otherwise you’ll need to drill bigger hole for schrader valve.
Stage 2 Assembly
The wheels, rear derailleur, and sprocket have been installed.
The Dahon Vector came with a proprietary Neos rear derailleur, it does not come with a standard rear derailleur hanger. The good news is, there’s a company here in US that manufactures a wide variety of rear derailleur hanger. They’re called Wheel Manufacturing, and the RD hanger for the Dahon Vector is model #27.
Short reach and Long reach Caliper Brakes
I made a mistake when I bought two SHORT reach caliper brakes (Shimano 105 brake caliper) for my project, and I learned it the hard way. In terms of reach, the short reach brake caliper essentially should work on a larger diameter 451mm wheel because the rim will now be closer to the brake pads. The Shimano BR-5700 brake caliper which has a reach of 39-49mm has no issue when installed on the front, however the rear will need the LONG reach. The only way to mount a brake caliper on the rear is to use the Tektro r559 long reach 55-73mm. They’re good quality caliper brake but the brake pad is so-so, so I replaced it with a nicer pad from Koolstop.
Brake caliper nowadays are being offered for recessed mounting. The Dahon Vector frame and fork do not have a recessed mounting. I found this wonderful article from SheldonBrown which guides me through the installation process.
Helpful article from SheldonBrown:
Mounting recessed calipers on frames that do not have recessed mounting
For Rear: Front calipers for recessed mounting have bolts that are long enough to mount in back, if you substitute the appropriate washers and a 6 mm nut.
For Front: Here are 3 options:
1. Drill out the back of the fork crown (8 mm or 5/16 drill bit). This is actually quite easy to do with a handheld electric drill, since you’re only enlarging an existing hole. That’s it if you can get two front calipers. Sometimes, you may have to deal with a pair of brakes, with one long and one short bolt. If you used the long one in back, you can use the short one in front two different ways:
2. Drill out the back of the fork crown and use an extra-long recessed nut. These nuts are commonly available for use in carbon fiber forks.
3. Use the short recessed nut, but don’t put it through the back of the fork. Instead, push it up into the inside of the steerer from the bottom. You can reach a 5 mm Allen wrench in through the hole in the back of the fork, and poke the short caliper bolt in from the front. You may need to shorten the recessed nut slightly to get it to fit inside your steerer.
I have bought two front calipers with long center bolt(Shimano 105 Front and Tektro R559 front) and a pair of concave washer to help secure it to the frame and fork. I went option #3 for the front so I won’t have to drill holes on the fork.
Tricky Front Derailleur
The Dahon Vector frame doesn’t have a mount for front derailleur. The seat tube outer diameter of the Dahon Vector frame is around 40mm (don’t know the exact measurement), so you’ll basically need braze-on type front derailleur which is only available in a road groupset and a clamp/mount with an inner diameter of 40mm. I chose the Shimano front derailleur FD-5700 which belongs to the 105 groupset, and the clamp is a LitePro K-Type Braze-on adapter which is available via eBay. It requires a good amount of dexterity to precisely mount the FD so the chain guide is positioned between 1-3mm above the biggest chainring (as per Shimano spec) to achieve a smooth shifting. The FD chain guide needs to be perfectly aligned in parallel with the chainring as well to avoid rubbing with the chain when shifting to the biggest or smallest cog.
The Dahon Vector neither have a cable guide nor a barrel adjuster for cable tension. The LitePro FD clamp has a built-in cable stopper though. I used zip tie to secure the shifter cable, and I ran the shifter cable underneath the bottom bracket shell all the way to the cable stopper.
Stage 3 – Final Assembly
So here it is with the brake and shifter cable installed. I test folded it to make sure the cable is long enough to bend around the frame without excessive cable tension. I’m using a Jagwire Road Pro stainless steel cable and housing for brake and shifter.
This DIY project is really fun (and costly too), and I learned a lot from the experience. I know a lot of folding bike users have asked the same question about customizing their bike, and I hope to share this project to the DIY community ☺
List of aftermarket parts
The bike was literally stripped down. The frame, fork, headset, and seatpost clamp are what’s left on the original parts.
I just moved to NYC from Berkeley, California, where I’m used to having lots of storage space, wide roads, and no need to take public transit. Needless to say, while I was expecting adjustments, I had no idea what was about to hit me. When I decided that I needed a bike again, I immediately realized that a standard bike was out of the question: the precious little storage in my sublet is pretty much taken, so I need something that will fit in the nooks and crannies. On top of that, I wanted something that can be easily taken on the subway or the bus, if need be. So, without any prior experience, I first looked at the most popular name in folding bikes: Brompton.
What jumped out at me right away is that Brompton is easy. That’s the reason it’s the most popular folding bike around. Folding and unfolding the brompton bike is intuitive, and I only needed to ask for help once (fold the seat post in last—it locks everything together). It’s a five-stage process, but with practice, you can do three of those in one smooth movement. And that’s great for me, because I don’t want to miss the bus because I’m struggling with my bike. The R-type has rollers built into the rear rack to make it even easier to move while folded up—you just wheel the bike like a suitcase instead of carrying it.
I took a test ride on a 6-speed Brompton with a rear rack and comfort handlebars. Coming in at just under 3 cubic feet folded volume, it is one of the most compact folding bikes out there; that means you can easily stash your bike in your coat closet, or even under a subway seat! When folded, the chain is tucked away between the different pieces, so you don’t need to worry about accidentally brushing up against it.
The compactness is achieved through the use of 16” wheels. To me, being used to standard 26” wheels, the small ones felt wobbly the first time I got on, but a minute later I adjusted and was zipping away. The six gear ratios offer a surprisingly wide range of speeds—from easy hill-crawler to thigh-burning fast—and changing gears couldn’t be easier with the light thumb levers. Hopping on and off the bike is easy with the low frame, and walking the bike is a snap.
There’s so much to love about Brompton bikes: they’re built for convenience, they’re definitely the best for first-time users because they work intuitively and are easy to use, they’re compact enough to put almost anywhere, with a six speed, they’re versatile enough to handle anything the road can throw at you, and at the mid-thousand-dollar price range, you’re getting a durable, quality machine at a great price. See the Brompton Bike for yourself!!!!
There is no bike thrill quite the same as having a folding bike at the ready during your travels. The only one that comes to mind is having a matching pair, and we do. Our Tern Link P9s seem to be the go to bikes when we are on the road, and once again this month they brought the fun. With no need for a bike rack and minimum security worries, that convenience matches that of the bikes themselves.
My wife has taken up Dragon Boat racing with a local group. With a big national meet in Long Beach happening, of course our folding bikes were part of the trip. Although both won’t fit in the trunk of our mini-car, one does and the other sets in the back seat on a old sheet. The bags and other gear fit easy as can be too. Even though this motel we stayed in had some extra room to fit full-sized bikes, many we have stayed in don’t, another big plus these Tern folding bikes give us.
Our motel was a couple miles from the venue for the races and parking there was at a premium. In the morning before each day we just loaded down our panniers and hitched our folding chairs on our shoulders for the ride to the races. It was fun staying out of the car and getting some fresh sea air before each day began. From the look of the bikes all over at the event, we weren’t the only ones using two-wheels in such a manner.
There were some long gaps between many of her races and although she stayed around, I didn’t. I took my Tern link P9 down to the beach path several times during the day and soaked in all the great stuff a beach town has to offer. Long Beach is a known bike friendly town with plenty of room to ride and fairly courteous drivers to share the road with. It is great to ride together, yet sometimes a solo cruise can be even better.
I stopped in at a few bike shops and watched the water activities from the shore in other places. None of the shops I checked out had folding bikes and they enjoyed seeing mine. Like so many other times, I folded and un-folded it just to show how easy it is. They marveled at the technology and the small footprint it took in the folded form. I get this reaction all the time, from people on the street, other people on bikes, and even the pros.
At the end of each race day we headed back to the motel to take a break, get cleaned up and pack the bikes for a fun evening beach ride to dinner. These bikes both have the cool BioLogic clip on tail light / reflector, yet we have them hooked-up with more lights than that. On the seat posts are Serfas Thunderbolts that really rock and NiteRider headlights up front that do the same. The other fun and safe lighting pieces we have on these bikes are the LightMeUp Safety wheel lights. So with each ride we could see and be seen for the long night cruises.
The first evening we rode quite a way up the coast to one of the area’s bigger tourist traps. We rode by the well attended national beach volleyball tournament too. After a while we found the perfect place for dinner, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. We had never eaten there and riding the Tern folding bikes it seemed appropriate. We dined outside and were able to keep the bikes close at hand the whole time. My wife was a bit tired by the time we got back to the motel, but we were both happy and ready for a good sleep.
The next day went much the same. I was out riding getting back to the races in time to see her heats. I rode a little further this day to check out a couple E-bike shops that are in town. Still, I made sure to time things right so as not to miss any of her races. That night we ate a little closer to the motel. Everywhere we rode in the night air was kind of special as our bikes are quite a sight. On top of the folding part, the lighting really catches one’s eyes.
During the three day weekend we stopped many times to answer questions about the bikes. Fold-up bikes are becoming more popular and the people’s responses were all so positive. There is a big trend towards bicycles (like it ever stopped?) and folding bikes are a big part of it.
Well, no medals for my wife, but as we drove home we both felt like winners. Get your fold on with the Tern link p9.
“I am a bike enthusiast: there’s a certain amount of romance to bikes. They’re both beautiful and utilitarian.”—Dave Eggers.
Thanks to Gene who wrote us this great email describing his commutes on the Brompton bike. I say email, but really it’s more of a beautifully written piece of prose packed with great information. Check it out below:
Thanks for the opportunity for being a sort for ambassador for NYCeWheels. I’m out there in the city everyday with the Brompton and I’ve given away plenty of NYCeWheels cards within the past few months of knowing you. I’m that happy a customer and I’d be proud to represent you.
It amazes me how well a folding bicycle has integrated into my particular NJ-NY commute. I’m a multi-modal commuter who makes the daily journey from suburbia to Port Authority to work and back again. The bus knocks out 26 miles from my day stress-free, but still leaves me 5 miles to manage by other means. I’ve traversed it initially with subway, later by walking, and eventually using my old mountain bike, but the best solution I’ve found was a Brompton introduced to and sold to me by NYCeWheels.
Now there’s no more need for pick-ups and drop-offs at the bus stop. No more throwing the bike in the underfloor compartment of the bus. No more stifling subways cars or congested sidewalks. No more daily contributions to the MTA.
Infusing pleasure into travel
What can be said about cycling everywhere is that it infuses pleasure into the travel. What I enjoy most out of all this is that the commute is now a highlight of my day. In contrast, walking or taking the subway was something I had to get over with. I used to be upset if I walked into work with sweat on my back. These days I’m rolling into work a little out of breath and sweating beads of pure satisfaction. I’ve gone beyond needing to cover those miles to wanting to cover those miles, and I admit I occasionally jump off the bus a few stops early so I have more miles to bike home.
A bicycle is liberating, but a folding bicycle grants me even more access than I thought possible. It’s been by my side in the supermarket, at the bank, at the convenience store, at the barber shop, in a packed subway car heading into Chinatown, and at my desk at work.
Accomplish more with a folding bike!
Often discreet and always quick, it deserves the title of “sidekick”. I can accomplish more things in the day than if I were limited to public transportation and walking, and I can accomplish surprisingly more with my folding bicycle than I can with the limitations of a fixed bicycle.
I have yet to be denied my folding bicycle in an establishment. Sitting in a fully packed bus during rush hour with my brompton bike, my bag, and my helmet all on my lap makes me smile with a sense of satisfaction.