A Total Eclipse of the Heart

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Tern Eclipse S11i

 

With its graceful, classic lines and handsomely matching saddle and handlebar grips, at first glance one might mistake the S11i for a casual around-town cruiser. However, after spending more than 17 miles in its saddle, I can tell you there is more to this folding bike wonder than meets the eye.

Tern Eclipse S11i

Nice touches: 11-speed internal hub and disc brakes

My first impressions of the Eclipse S11i as a comfort cruiser were immediately dispelled when I unfolded the frame and hopped on board. The 11-speed internal hub is smooth and quiet, almost surreptitious, and I found that transitioning from easy acceleration to cruising speed was a breeze. At top velocity, I felt upright and at ease–a feeling which belied the high speeds of which this bike is capable. Balancing out the bike’s speediness is a pair of powerful disc brakes, giving the Eclipse some serious stopping power.

Tern Eclipse S11i

A very portable package

The S11i utilizes the same state-of-the-art folding design as the rest of Tern’s folding bikes, packing down within a matter of seconds into an easy-to-hoist package which I had no trouble toting up and down stairs. This portability is doubly impressive considering the bike’s big 24-inch wheels and thick tires, which are plush features in the world of folding bikes.

The S11i’s compactness is an important selling point for the daily commuter, as it can be stored in the corner of an office as easily as in the closet at home. Indeed, a look at some of its finer details reveals this bike’s true character as the ultimate tricked out commuter. A sturdy rear rack comes standard, ready to haul substantial amounts of cargo, front and rear fenders keeps your work clothes dry, and an integrated dynamo and headlamp mean you will never be without light.

The S11i is also among an elite group of folding bikes with adjustable handlebars, allowing the rider freedom to choose between a more upright cruising riding position or a more horizontal, sportier ride. Tern even built this bike with an internal gearing system to help minimize the need for roadside maintenance. Even the subtler accents, like the slim, sleek saddle, ergonomic cork grips, and  give the S11i a plush-meets-performance feel.

Tern Eclipse S11i

Comfy ergo cork grips

Though the Eclipse was designed with commuting in mind, its well thought out features make it an extremely versatile ride. In fact, in my view it turns out to be one of those rare bikes that fills two or three niches perfectly. From commuting ten miles to the office, to bar hopping ten blocks down the road, or even some light touring into the countryside, the Tern Eclipse S11i is a bike that can handle just about anything you throw at it–and look damn good at the same time.

 

About the Author
Miles Schneider is a folding and electric bike specialist at NYCeWheels in New York City, an electric violinist, and a dog lover.