The Tern Link D8 – Quality, Convenience, and Affordability

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Searching for a Bargain. People ask it a lot. “What’s the most affordable folding bike in your store?”

Tern Link D8

Tern Link D8

The answer is the Tern Link D8, but don’t let the price tag fool you. This folding bike can really perform. At half the price of most folding bikes the Link D8 is a great option for a huge variety of cyclists. Curious but not entirely sure if a folding bike is really for you? Try a Link D8 as a starter! Low on cash in the expensive city and can’t afford $100+ a month for a MetroCard? Get a Link D8 for a new enjoyable way to commute! Buying your first folding bike online and don’t know how you feel about having a bike shipped to you? A Link D8 is an inexpensive investment and comes fully tuned by NYCeWheels’ master mechanic! Nervous about your local shop saying “we can’t do adjustments on that thing”? Link D8s have standard gear, brake, and drive train components that any bike mechanic can adjust! Whatever you’re looking for, the Tern Link D8 is a good entry level folding bike for anyone and everyone.  Also did I mention that it comes in electric?  Check out the link to learn about the electric tern link D8

So how do you fold the Link D8?

Eric Folding the Link D8

Eric Folding the Link D8

If you’re looking into your first ever folding bike, you’ll quickly discover that different brands fold in different ways. Not surprisingly, some folds can be a little trickier than others. As of February 2013 I am still a relative newbie in the world of folding bikes, but I’ve easily gotten the hang of the whole folding thing. Anyone searching for a good entry level folding bike should always try folding a few if they have the opportunity to interact with some.Folding the Link D8? Pleasantly easy: Drop the seat, flip the pedals, fold the frame, and fold the bars. Like all Tern Folding Bikes, the Link D8 has magnets to hold the front to the rear, and an easy-on-and-off rubber binder to hold the handlebars in place.

The folded bike is nice and compact. It’s easy to manage, weighing in at just under 27 pounds. It’s the small things, ironically, that make a difference. The first folding bike I ever tried folding had incredibly awkward hinges to work with and nothing to keep the bike together once it was folded. Needless to say it didn’t inspire me as a great product. If I had first experienced the Link D8 I think I would have been doing some serious looking right away at more folding models.

Low Price Does Not Equal Low-End

Link D8 folded and ready to go

Link D8 folded and ready to go

Okay, this is the lowest priced folding bike at NYCeWheels. That absolutely does not mean there’s anything “bad “about it. The 8-speed shifter is a quality SRAM part. The sub-27 pound weight is nothing to scoff at. The hinges look tough and inspire confidence that they will last for years and years. Schwalbe tires, Formula hubs, sealed headset . . . This is good stuff.

There’s really no way to go wrong considering the Link D8 as a good entry level folding bike. What doesn’t it have? Super high-end components, an ultra-lightweight but possibly easily-damaged frame, a million gears, worldwide celebrity endorsements. If these things are important to you there are plenty of other high-end folding bikes you can check out, but if you’re happy with a reliable folding bike that won’t break the bank, well, I think you’re probably starting to get the point.

With the Link D8 you’ll ride in comfort

Tern Link D8

I’ve ridden all around Manhattan on a Link D8 and the riding has been fantastic. The seat is easily adjustable and plenty comfortable. Just dial in the best riding position and then ride to your heart’s content! The gears shift smoothly and quickly with a simple twist of the right hand. It handles urban hills and flats with ease. It can be very fast while also being very stable, handling corners and sudden stops such that I have never felt out of control while riding. More than just a good entry level folding bike, the Tern Link D8 is also an all-around enjoyable bike to ride. Take one out sometime and you’ll see for yourself.

And marvel at how awesome I look in possession of a white and pink bike. Awwww yeah.

Duke’s Tern Link D8

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My Tern Link d8 in front of the iconic Duke Chapel.

Duke University is often called the “Gothic Wonderland” and “The university in the forest.” I’ve had my first taste of living here as a first year student. However what many people do not know is that first years actually live on a separate campus. We live on the original campus, the 100-acre East Campus with its Gregorian style architecture. The iconic Collegiate Gothic style architecture lies in Duke’s West Campus. This became the main campus after a gift from James B. Duke in 1924. West Campus and East Campus are separated by about 1.6 miles along the aptly named Campus Drive. Visit the school at basically any class time and you’ll see countless busses running about every 5 minutes between the two campuses.

Duke buses are usually reliable during class times, though at peak times it can take 10 minutes just to get on a bus because of the number of people waiting at the bus stop. This can cause a major issue in getting to your next class on time. In addition, on weekends, the buses only run every 10-20 minutes.

After the first couple of weeks, I figured that I could get around campus much more efficiently on a bike. During class time I figured that, on average, I could at least not be any slower than taking the bus. Shift forward to nights and weekends and suddenly the bike can cut 5-10 minutes off of each trip.

Commuting on a Folding Bike

Alright, so with that in mind, now I have to find a bike. I’m already on the Duke Triathlon Club and have my training/race road bike in my dorm. Trying to fit two full sized bikes inside my room would definitely be possible, but I would prefer an easier solution. Leaving my bike outside is not an option in my mind with the high rate of seat and wheel theft along with unpredictable North Carolina weather.

Then, as I was going through pictures from the 100k I completed over the summer, I saw a picture of a folding bike. That was the spark I needed. Sure it might look a bit weird while I’m riding it, but in terms of storage, the folding bike is a miracle. It would be incredibly easy to store in my room, lock at bike racks, and ride around campus. So at this point I was definitely sold on the idea of a folding bike… all I had to do was choose one.

Choices

When I was choosing one I had a couple criteria: 1) Quality of parts/Durability. I know you get what you pay for with bikes, and I was not interested in a folding bike that wasn’t durable. 2) Cost. Being a student, I didn’t want anything too expensive. I also wanted a folding bike in a price range that I could feel comfortable recommending to my fellow Blue Devils. 3) Looks. Okay, this really wasn’t a huge consideration at all, but I preferred a bike that would look classy because I knew it would capture other people’s attention on the road and at bike racks.

I quickly found the massive selection at NYCeWheels to be extremely helpful in comparing folding bikes. After a couple nights of research I had it narrowed down to a couple bikes. Finally, the verdict was the Tern Link D8. On NYCeWheels’ site this is listed as the most popular Tern folding bike, and I don’t doubt it one bit. I’ve been riding my Tern Link D8 for about 7 weeks now and here are my thoughts. For the record I have about 100 miles of commuting on it (winter break was about 3.5 weeks of no use).

The Tern Link D8‘s Folding Mechanism

Here is the Tern Link D8 fully folded down. Quite small and easy to manage. You can pick it up by the back of the saddle!

What good is a folding bike if it is hard to fold or doesn’t fold in a smooth manner? Luckily, the Tern here hits all the marks. The folding hinges are incredibly easy to use, adjust, and clean. I’ve never had an issue with the functionality of the hinges. The entire process of folding (or unfolding) the Tern Link D8 takes probably about 15 seconds. People can’t believe how easy and quick the procedure is. When the bike is folded, it is a little bit awkward to carry so I generally roll it or carry it to wherever I need it folded, then fold it in place. Once folded, the bike can easily fit under a bed, in a corner, etc. Basically, wherever you want to put it. Now, I would be remiss if I did not mention the 20-inch wheels. The fold will not be smaller than a 16-incher; however, the tern link D8 folds smaller than basically any other 20-inchers I’ve seen.

 

 

This has practical applications too. Like squeezing into a bike rack which otherwise would have been inaccessible.

How does a Folding Bike ride?

Let me first say that I am used to a full road racing bike. We’re talking aggressive handlebars below the saddle, a 12-25 cassette and 39/53 chainrings, and made with carbon fiber and aluminum. I’m used to parts that are built to last 10,000+ miles. So how happy am I with the performance of a $600 folding bike? In two words… Very happy. The Link D8, as the name suggests features 8 gears with a very large gear-inch range. The derailleur is a Neos derailleur which is specifically designed for small wheels. Shifting is a joy on this bike, very quick and smooth gear changes. The low end of the range makes climbing Durham’s hills quite easy while the high end makes descending them quite fun. It’s not uncommon for me to get over 22 mph going downhill on the bike without much work. After about 2 weeks, I did notice the derailleur became a bit misaligned, so I took my first crack at adjusting it. Wow, the adjustment was breeze, I just glanced in the book that comes with this folding bike, turned the barrel adjuster a couple times, and bam, I was back in action. I couldn’t be happier with the ease of maintenance on this bike. The handlebar and the bike itself is very stiff, which is nice for performance. You can actually reasonably come out of the saddle when pedaling on this folding bike, which is saying a lot for the design.

Comfort

For a daily commuter, comfort is extremely important. After all, when you’re using your bike to get around, you don’t need to be in an aerodynamic tuck, you want to be relaxed and show up to your destination ready to work. I found the seat on the Tern Link D8 to be very comfortable. Maybe it’s because I’m used to race saddles, but I have absolutely no comfort problems with the saddle. The handlebars’ placement is also very well done. They allow for a quite upright ride while being surprisingly maneuverable. This bike can weave like crazy. I’ve had several other people test ride the bike and they were all quite happy with the comfort of it. The frame on the Tern Link D8 is quite stiff though, so if you’re used to riding a full suspension mountain bike, which eats potholes for breakfast, you’re going to have to adjust your riding style. If you have to go over a bump, do not sit on the seat; you’re better off standing on the pedals. Of course, the best plan is to avoid them entirely, but that’s not always possible.

Appearance and accessories for the D8

I love the lines, paint job, and subtle branding on this bike.

First of all, I must say that I love the styling of the Tern Link D8. The paint scheme is very well done and not flashy at all. The lines are smooth and connected. It looks like it belongs on the road underneath a commuter. This folding bike just looks classy. Maybe you have to be a cyclist to understand that sentiment, but this is one beautifully designed bike.

This bike also comes standard with some of the necessary folding bike commuting gear . You’re complete with fenders for rainy days and wet pavement. The back has a rack which is KLICKfix compatible and also has 3 elastic bands which will hold a bike lock and, most likely, your small to medium sized laptop bag. There is also a place for you to attach a front rack or one of many Tern Luggage accessories.

Overall Impressions of the Tern Link D8 Folding Bike

In the folding bike world, if you’re looking for a multifunctional, affordable, durable bike… The Tern Link D8 is a great choice. You get great performance and durability from the components and frame. The accessories it comes standard with are very useful; in fact, you’d most likely end up buying them separately if they weren’t standard. The comfort and ride is great whether it’s your first time on the bike or whether you’ve been using it for months. On Tern’s website, they describe this bike as “The Jack of All Trades” and I don’t think I could come up with a better moniker for it. The Tern Link D8 is a great bike for utility that is fun to ride. I’ve had a blast using my bike instead of the bus at Duke, and it’s led to some great conversations with people I never would have met otherwise.  Don’t take my word for it, view the Tern Link D8 at NYCeWheels and see for yourself!

Tern has really hit the nail on the head with their "Jack of All Trades" bike!

Carpe Viam,

Clancy

David Clancy is a student at Duke University and studying Statistics, Mathematics, and Environmental Science. He is a member of their triathlon club and is the author of the blog College Tri.

The Tern Link D8: First Folding Bike Ride

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Without a lot of experience riding folding bikes, I set out to test ride a Tern Link D8 through the streets of Upper East New York City. Recently having moved here from New Orleans where the streets are flat, my first impression was the great 8-speed gear ratio. Perfect when you want to go fast on flats yet comfortable when you need an easy gearing to go up those long thigh-burning hills.

At first glance, the handle bar hinge seems a bit overkill with two bolt clamps and locking joint surfaces, but rolling downhill proves why they are there: complete stiffness. I kept pedaling to go faster and make the frame flex and just could not get the bike to give. The seat stays extend a little further past the seat post which suggests why I was impressed. So, do all these extra bolts, clamping, double locking mechanisms make the Tern Link D8 more difficult to fold? Surprisingly not at all. Tern actually started using what they call “N-Fold Technology”, which makes the Tern Link bike only an 1.5-inch smaller when folded but the Tern Link D8 can actually be folded in less than ten seconds!

Climbing Hills on the Tern Link D8

Now came the time for climbing back up that hill I just sped down. I played with the gear ratios and was happy with the results: easy climbing in a nice up-right position, especially since II was riding with a 10lbs. messenger bag. Red light! Green light! Time to start pedaling again from zero on an uphill. Standing up on the Tern Link D8 on an uphill climb was a little different than what I was used to, but halfway through the hill I was feeling pretty confident with the handling of this folding bike. Though it took a few pedals to get used to climbs on 16-inch wheels, the bottom line is they have a great acceleration and are zippy for maneuvering through city traffic, up or down hills.

Tern Made Folding Bikes Easy

Tern thought about the little things that make life simple when they created the Link D8, included a rear rack, rear and front fenders and even a chaining guard. If you need a front rack, they even thought of that too, there are two sockets welded in the head tube instead of mounting to the handlebar, which would defeats the purpose of: a) folding and b) sturdy.

Overall, the Tern Link D8 is a very versatile folding bike. The wheelbase gives for a great city ride experience since it distributes the riders weight evenly. When the Link D8 is simple and quick to fold, not to mention an elegant and compact design. Discover more about the Tern Link D8!