Tern Folding Bike Up-Grades—Fenders and Racks, by Turbo Bob

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We’ve been riding our Tern Link P9 for close to a year now. Even though it doesn’t rain here much, it is nice to keep the puddles from finding their way on our clothes and carrying our goodies in shoulder bags can get a little old. After my couple month test run on the Tern Verge X20, I had been anticipating my coming time with the Link D8. The fact that it comes factory with a rear rack and a pair of fenders got me thinking.

Our P9 could be so much better with those on-board, so the chance to try them out on the Tern Link D8 was going to be part of the thrill. One bonus I didn’t figure on was that the D8 would come to me with the Tern Kanga front rack and luggage truss. I really like this accessory and the truss can match-up to the Tour Bag and Holdall Basket too. We might get one of those in the near future.

Right away I decided we needed the rack and fenders so I got NYCeWheels involved. You might already know how quick and easy it is to get your folding bikes and folding bike accessories from the NYCe crew. That’s where I got my Tern Link P9 and just recently had them ship me the awesome Tern multi-tool.

The short wait and excitement of getting a package from them is almost as good as what’s inside. My new folding bike accessories arrived packed well and in perfect shape. Plus, they came with all the needed hardware.

Installing my new folding bike Accessories!


Getting started on my Tern Link P9!

Getting started on my Tern Link P9!

Installing the new parts was simple, but I do feel I should add some tips to help make it go smoothly for you. And of course if you don’t think it is for you to take on the task, ask a bikey friend or local bike shop (NYCeWheels?) to do it for you. It really is just a matter of installing and securing a few nuts and bolts, yet doing it right is pretty important to any bike lover and their bike.
I put on the fenders first. Right away I found that the threads in the frame and fork would need a thread tap run through them to remove the layer of paint there. A standard metric tap 6×1.0 is the right tool to use. Be careful to keep the paint and metal chips that will be made away from the chain, gears, derailleur and wheel bearings. Cover them with a rag while you clean out the threads and blow or wipe the bits away when your done. Check carefully which threads the allen screws go in before you run the tap through them.
Even though normal thread tapping requires cutting oil, you can do this step with the tap dry. This is really the only semi-complicated step, as the install is pretty straight-forward. The only two other even partially tough parts are making sure things line-up (don’t strip the screws) and not over-tightening the fasteners. I like to use anti-seize (a lead-based lubricant) on the threads, but a little oil or grease will work fine. This will help to keep the threads from rusting and allow them to be tightened evenly. Just a little goes a long way, so add it sparingly.


Tern racks and fenders

Tern racks and fenders

The fenders have a metal ‘L’ bracket that is connected to the frame and fork with the longer bolts and locking nuts. Use the washers too. The longest one is for the front and the shorter one for the rear. The ‘L’ bracket on the front fender goes to the rear of the front fork. The ‘L’ bracket on the rear fender goes on the front (lower) part of the support of the frame there. Run the nuts down, but leave them just a little loose while you install the support arms.
The support arms are held in place with the allen screws (and washers) to the front fork and frame. The rear support rods bolt in the lower, most rearward threads, the other ones are for the rack (at this point make sure to use the shorter allens where the gear set is, if it goes in too far it can lock-up or damage the gears). To install the rods into the fender fixtures, loosen the allen bolt there a little. The rear support rods are going to need to be reformed (bent) a little to help them line-up. I held the lower part with a crescent wrench and gently reformed the upper part inward on both sides. Line everything up and don’t tighten-up things yet.
Now, push the rods all the way into the fender fixtures and tighten-up those allens. Then tighten the other screws. The ‘L’ brackets have an elongated slot. Make sure the fender is pushed toward the tire as you tighten those bolts down. While you do this, do your best to keep the fender centered in the frame and over the tire. Without over-tightening anything, put a wrench on all the fasteners to make sure they are perfect.

Installing the Kanga Rack

The kanga rack is much easier, but be careful to let the allen screws line-up so you don’t cross-thread them in place. Screw in all four of them before you tighten them all the way. Also, be careful not to scratch the frame while you do it. The washers are already on the allen screws. Don’t forget to use some kind of lube on the threads. Give the screws a good firm tightening and you are done. One more thing, the rack has a place for a rear reflector or light. My folding bike came with the BioLogic combo unit that clips on the saddle, so I fished out a regular rear reflector out of my spare parts bin and screwed in place on the rack,

Tern Link P9

All done and ready to roll

The Portage rack comes with a cool three banded hold-down strap. The rack and strap weigh only about a pound. The fenders weighed in at 8 ounces. The front Kanga rack and truss add about a pound and a half. I didn’t add the front rack to my bike, but have had a good chance to try it out on the Tern Link D8 I’m testing. It comes with a great strap that encompasses your cargo and has a wide range of adjustability. The front Kanga rack will hold 15 lbs and the rear Portage rack is rated for 22 lbs.
Well, there you have it, three well made and light-weight Tern accessories that can add much utility and comfort to your folding bike. If you’re like me, you’ll have these on your Tern folding bike before the week is through.
Carry a load on your Tern and stay clean while you do it, Turbo Bob.

“Society is singularly in debt to the bicycle, since bicycle mechanics developed the airplane as well as the automobile.”—James E. Starrs, The Noiseless Tenor.

More Blogs by Turbo Bob

Dahon Bullhead: Good folding bike parts make the difference

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My Dahon Bullhead folding bike

My Dahon Bullhead folding bike

For the past several weeks, I’ve been evaluating a Dahon Bullhead folding bike for the folks at NYCeWheels in New York. The Bullhead may be Dahon’s best secret: a folding bicycle that can easily serve as a rider’s sole machine, let alone as an excellent addition to his or her fleet.

It wasn’t that long ago that you couldn’t find a folding bicycle that was also a pleasure to ride. You could find one to throw in a boat, but you didn’t really want to take it on a 20-mile ride. If you could stand riding an early, cheap folding bike from the dock to the bar and back, you were lucky.

Happily, that’s no longer the case. Take the Dahon Bullhead: Its 2-inch-wide Schwalbe Big Apple tires provide enough air volume to smooth out any ride. But the supple casings within those tires reduce rolling resistance as well, making it a comfortable bike to ride at a good clip, whether you’re on the road, the local bike trail or headed down a gravel driveway.

That gravel driveway, by the way, was part of my first trip on the Dahon Bullhead. It’s the first part of every ride I take, though I regularly walk bikes with skinnier tires up to the asphalt road that runs in front of my house. In fact, I spent a few minutes just tooling around in the loose stuff. It reminded me of the revelation from my first ride on a mountain bike in the early 1980s.

You can ride this folding bike anywhere.

Proper parts make the difference. The Big Apple tires provide plenty of flotation. You never have the grip on gravel that you do on a hard road, but handling is always secure. The Dahon Bullhead’s frame, obviously designed for a tire of this width, also offers ample clearance for fenders, which come standard and much appreciated, given the record central Illinois rainfall this spring.

So, yes, I like the tires. But there are a lot of other folding bike parts, and folding bike accessories, that add to the experience. Here are just a few:

Dahon Axis stem.

Dahon Axis folding bike stem

Dahon Axis folding bike stem

Leave it to Dahon, just about every part they add to a bicycle has a special name, including the Axis stem and the Dahon Fusion headset. For this review, let’s just refer to Axis steering system, which includes a very adjustable stem designed to mate with a plastic keyed cylinder that fits over the fork steerer tube and occupies the space between the upper headset bearing race and the top cap.

This is the way every bike with an Aheadset-type headset should work. The headset bearing adjustment is divorced from the handlebar stem. When the top cap is tightened, it distributes force through the cylinder to the bearings. You don’t have to readjust the headset every time you remove the stem (and you’ll remove the stem every time you fold the Dahon Bullhead).

The stem is tightened over the cylinder, anywhere along its length. If you assemble the Dahon Bullhead from a box, you may find that the keyed part of the cylinder is out of alignment. No problem: you can turn the cylinder without affecting headset adjustment. Just slip the stem in place, turn it to line up with the front wheel and tighten.

BioLogic PostPump.

Dahon Biologic seat post pump

Dahon Biologic seat post pump

This is the feature your friends will remember after you put the bike back in the boat (or car or closet). It’s a seatpost and a floor pump, and regardless of your opinion of its performance as a pump (I liked it), it has the undeniable attraction of being as unexpected as a wedding ring inside an ice cube or a Jeep that gets decent gas mileage.

To use the PostPump: 1) Open the quick-release seatpost binder at the top of the seat tube, 2) pull the post out of the frame, 3) flip the foot of the pump open, 4) pull out the hose formerly concealed by the foot, 5) screw the end of the hose onto the valve of the tire, 6) put your foot on the foot of the pump and 7) raise and lower the saddle with both hands to add air to the tire.

Is it the best floor pump in the world? Well, no. Like so many combination tools, the BioLogic PostPump has its limits. It doesn’t have the air volume of a standard floor pump, so it takes more pumping to bring a tire to full pressure. And you’ll tend to lose a bit of air as you screw the hose onto and off of the valve. But I don’t think it’s really trying to be a floor pump; instead the Biologic PostPump is one of the easier-to-use frame pumps on the market.

When I want to top off the Dahon Bullhead’s tires at home, I use a standard floor pump with a quick-release head. However, if I ever had a flat on the road, I’d be happy to have the Dahon’s ergonomically friendly built-in pump: it’s comfortable to use, gets the job done in a reasonable amount of time and disappears when I’m done with it.

It’s also the kind of design that gets attention from people who don’t ride bicycles. Which makes it even more unusual. And valuable.

Head tube fittings for Dahon front bag.

I haven’t tested any bags compatible with Dahon’s luggage truss fittings, but the attachment is in the right place: on the head tube just above the wheel. Because the Dahon front bags don’t turn with the front wheel, even heavily loaded units should have minimal effect on steering responsiveness.

U-shaped folding bike chainring protector.

This folding bike has it all

This folding bike has it all

The ground is not a pleasant place for a chainring on a folded bike. On some Dahon folding bikes, the lower end of the seatpost rests on the ground below the crankset when the bike is folded, protecting the chainring teeth. Since the Dahon Bullhead is a more traditional diamond frame, a bolt-on guard serves the same purpose. It’s a good folding bike part: the kickstand you don’t have to kick.

Speaking of standard folding bike accessories, a kickstand is a great thing to have, especially when the frame includes a kickstand plate. I don’t know why I like kickstands on folding bikes—I don’t have them on my mountain or road bikes—but they sure come in handy on a folder. The one on the Dahon Bullhead is lightweight aluminum with a grippy rubber foot on the end.