Urban transportation specialist Tern Bicycles has unveiled the GSD – an e-bike that defines a new category: “compact utility”. The GSD is designed to carry two kids, a week’s worth of groceries, or 180 kg of cargo, but it’s only 180 cm long – shorter than a Dutch city bike.
With Tern’s best-in-class folding technology, it packs down small enough to fit in a VW Touran or an urban apartment. It adjusts to fit riders from 150 – 195 cm, so mom, dad and the kids can all use it. A Bosch Performance motor, with up to two batteries, powers the GSD for up to 250 km. It comes fully equipped with integrated lighting, rack, mudguards, double kickstand, two XL panniers, and even retractable passenger foot pegs – everything needed to shift to a bike-centric lifestyle.
“Most of the e-bikes on the market today basically look like standard bicycles with motors and batteries grafted on,” said Josh Hon, Tern Team Captain. “That means that all of the valid compromises that were made in designing a muscle-powered vehicle, are carried over to the e-bike, where they don’t make as much sense. The Tern GSD is the result a fundamental insight: when you design a bicycle around an electric drivetrain, you don’t need to compromise key functionalities like comfort and cargo capacity to optimise for speed.”
“With a Bosch drivetrain, 20” wheel bikes ride just as fast as 700c bikes but thanks to smaller wheels, deliver punchier acceleration. The smaller wheels also allow us to maximise cargo capacity. And with top speed removed from the optimisation equation, we were free to design the GSD with a comfortable Dutch-bike riding position. Best of all, we were able to fit all this goodness into a package that’s only the size of a standard city bike.”
“One of our guiding insights was that cargo bikes are most useful in city centres, but they’re correspondingly difficult to manage and store,” according to Galen Crout, Communications Manager at Tern. “Dense urban centres bring cargo bikes to life – where groceries, schools and work are all within a bikeable distance – but they’re also where houses are small, and where bike theft is a persistent problem. We’re creating the compact utility e-bike category to let people in cities enjoy the benefits of cargo bikes without the limitations.”
Fits the Family
The GSD is an e-bike that everybody in the family can ride. Tern’s patented adjustable stem, special cockpit geometry, and super low step frame make the bike easy to handle and ride, even for very small riders. Taller riders will appreciate the expanding cockpit and handlebars that can be adjusted for height and reach. Heavier riders will appreciate the massively buttressed frame and fork, and components that are designed to handle loads of up to 180kg.
Just as a scooter is easier to ride than a motorcycle, the GSD rides and handles better than many e-bikes on the market today. The GSD’s smaller wheels, low frame, and centrally mounted motor and batteries give the bike an extremely low centre of gravity. Coupled with an extended wheelbase, the GSD is remarkably stable and easy to handle. This extra stability is critically important and appreciated when the GSD is fully loaded with cargo, especially with the wriggling child variety. And since e-bikes are typically ridden at higher average speeds, this extra stability adds to safety.
The GSD is built to carry stuff, lots of it. The frame, fork, and components have been tested to exceed 180kg of total weight for the rider and cargo. The GSD comes standard with an 80cm integrated rear rack and side panniers with a total capacity of 62L. The GSD fits two children in Thule Maxi child seats or one adult passenger. Additional carrying capacity can be added with lower deck supports, a rear tray, and a front tray. Tern will open source the frame attachment point dimensions so riders with an interest can also design and build their own custom cargo accessories.
Portable and Storable
Despite its extra large cargo capacity, the GSD packs small to fit into tight urban environments. Since the GSD is no longer than a standard bike, it will work with standard bike racks on cars and buses. But even better, patented Tern folding technology lets the GSD pack even smaller – three seconds is all it takes to reduce its height by one third and its width by 40 per cent so the GSD can fit inside mid-sized cars like a VW Touran. With two GSD’s packed in the back of the car, family bike adventures will never be the same again. The GSD is even designed to fit into small elevators with a specially designed rack that allows it to stand vertically.
Whereas many cargo-oriented bicycles use mostly standard bicycle parts, the GSD goes a step further with some of the most robust parts available. Examples include Magura 4 piston disc brakes, custom 2.4″ Schwalbe Super Moto-X tires, Boost thru-axle hubs, and custom 36mm width double-joined rims.
“It’s a bike that fits a family, but it’s also a bike that the whole family can share” said Hon. “When you’re investing $4,000 in a new electric bike, fundamental versatility makes a world of difference.”
Visit the GSD microsite at www.ternbicycles.com/gsd for the latest updates.