Tern Link D8 with BionX Review

Tern Link D8 With Bionx Electric Bike Review 1
Tern Link D8 With Bionx
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Motor Suntour Cassette
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Removable Battery Pack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Display Throttle
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Portage Rack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Rear V Brake
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Steel Fork
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Electric Bike Review 1
Tern Link D8 With Bionx
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Motor Suntour Cassette
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Removable Battery Pack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Display Throttle
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Portage Rack
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Rear V Brake
Tern Link D8 With Bionx Steel Fork

Summary

  • High quality folding frame from Tern combined with sophisticated and quiet drive system from BionX
  • Four levels of pedal assist and regen as well as regenerative braking and variable speed trigger throttle
  • One of the most compact folding ebikes around, display panel and battery pack are removable for convenience and reduced weight

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Video Review

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Introduction

Make:

Tern

Model:

Link D8 with BionX

Price:

$2,700 USD

Body Position:

Upright

Suggested Use:

Travel, Urban

Electric Bike Class:

Throttle on Demand (Class 2)
Learn more about Ebike classes

Warranty:

5 Year Frame, 2 Year Electronics and Battery

Availability:

United States

Model Year:

2015

Bicycle Details

Total Weight:

42 lbs (19.05 kg)

Battery Weight:

6 lbs (2.72 kg)

Motor Weight:

9 lbs (4.08 kg)

Frame Material:

7005 Aluminum

Frame Sizes:

(Folded Size 38 cm x 79 cm x 72 cm)

Frame Types:

Folding (Patented OCL Joint, DoubleTruss Technology)

Frame Colors:

Black with Blue Accents

Frame Fork Details:

Hi-Tensile Steel

Attachment Points:

Fender Bosses, Rack Bosses, Bottle Cage Bosses

Gearing Details:

8 Speed 8x1 Suntour Neos 1.0, (12-32T)

Shifter Details:

SRAM MRX Comp Half-Twist on Right Handle Bar

Pedals:

Folding Aluminum and Plastic Platform

Headset:

Flux, Cartridge Bearings, Tri-Seal Technology

Stem:

Physis 3D, Forged Aluminum

Handlebar:

Flat (Aluminum)

Brake Details:

V-Brakes

Grips:

BioLogic Ergo

Saddle:

Velo

Seat Post:

SuperOversize, 6061 Aluminum with Micro Adjust Clamp

Rims:

Aluminum (With Brass Spoke Nipples)

Spokes:

Stainless Steel

Tire Brand:

Schwalbe Citizen with Puncture Protection, 20" x 1.6"

Wheel Sizes:

20 in (50.8cm)

Tire Details:

Reflective Sidewalls

Accessories:

Front and Rear Fenders with Mud Flaps, Rear Portage Rack with Bungee Cords

Other:

Magnetix 2.0 Folding Clasp Connector, Water Bottle Cage Bosses on Right of Main Tube

Electronic Details

Motor Brand:

BionX

Motor Type:

Rear-Mounted Gearless Direct Drive Hub
Learn more about Ebike motors

Motor Nominal Output:

350 watts

Motor Torque:

40 Newton meters (10 Nm Nominal)

Battery Brand:

Panasonic

Battery Voltage:

48 volts

Battery Amp Hours:

6.6 ah

Battery Watt Hours:

316.8 wh

Battery Chemistry:

Lithium Manganese Cobalt

Charge Time:

3.5 hours

Estimated Min Range:

35 miles (56 km)

Estimated Max Range:

50 miles (80 km)

Display Type:

Backlit LCD (Removable, Symmetrical Integrated Buttons for Right or Left Handed Users)

Readouts:

4 Proportional Assist and Generate Modes, Lighting Controls, Battery Voltage, Trip Distance, Odometer, Chronometer, Average Speed, Clock

Display Accessories:

Independent Button Pad (With Variable Speed Trigger Throttle) (With Variable Speed Trigger Throttle)

Drive Mode:

Torque Sensing Pedal Assist, Trigger Throttle (Throttle Will Not Activate Below 2 mph, Assist Levels 35%, 75%, 150%, 300%)

Top Speed:

20 mph (32 kph)

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Written Review

The Tern Link D8 with BionX is an ultra portable folding electric bike with a higher-end drive system from BionX. It folds perfectly with the battery attached but you can also take it off to reduce weight or charge separately. The motor offers excellent torque, multiple levels of assist and regen, regenerative braking and throttle operation and it runs extremely quiet. Both Tern and BionX are respected manufacturers, known for quality builds and good support. In my opinion they’ve created one of the most functional, well balanced and beautiful folding electric bikes around with the Link D8. Its smaller 20″ wheels enable the super small form factor (when folded) but aren’t as smooth as the larger 24″ wheels chosen for the Node D8. Depending on your needs, either bike performs well but costs a bit more than some entry level folding ebikes that lack assist and some of the nicer accessories in use here.

The motor driving the Tern Link D8 electric is a 350 watt gearless direct drive hub from BionX. It’s located in the rear wheel and painted black to match the Tern frame. Note that this motor has a larger diameter and higher weight than some equally specced gearless hubs but delivers increased toughness and quieter operation. I’m not aware of many folding electric bikes that offer regenerative braking or regen modes but the Link D8 with BionX has both. There are actually four levels of regen here to help you recapture energy while simultaneously slowing the bike and sparing your brakes when coasting down hills. This feature can also be used as a form of increased challenge if you want to raise your heart rate and don’t have any hills around to climb. While this bike does not have a rear quick release mechanism (only on the front wheel) the rear wheel remains easy to service because the motor has a built in torque sensor vs. an external dropout strain gauge.

Powering the Tern Link D8 is a BionX-made Lithium-ion battery pack containing Panasonic cells (known for being super high quality). It offers 48 volts of power which is above average. This has several benefits including increased torque, improved climbing ability and more efficient electricity transfer. In terms of overall capacity, this pack is slightly smaller than the stock BionX kits but that enables the folding feature mentioned earlier and keeps the overall weight of the bike down. At 42 pounds (with the 6 pound battery attached) this isn’t the world’s lightest folding ebike but that’s due in part to the high quality fenders and rack that add utility. You could always remove these extras to shave a bit off and reduce any rattling noise that can develop over time with use, folding and storage.

The control panel on this bike is one of my favorites because it’s slim, removable, backlit and packed with readouts but not overly complex to use. It’s a second generation display from BionX with four buttons (two on each side) that are symmetrical – designed to be usable on the left or right hand side. What I’ve found is that I usually only press the upper right hand button on the display to get the bike powered up and then rely on the stand-alone button pad and throttle which are mounted on the right handle bar. Many ebikes forego throttles but it can be useful when your legs get tired (especially on a smaller bike like this) or when trying to balance groceries or packages. The rear rack helps out with the latter experience but you get the point… imagine crossing a puddle and wanting to keep your feet raised temporarily but still needing to move forward, that’s where throttles can really shine. On this system (as well as other BionX) you have to get the bike up to 2 mph before the throttle will activate and this is a safety feature. Aside from the display and buttons I like the ergonomic grips and simple grip-shifter on the right side of the handlebar. You might consider adding a bell and lights to this setup depending on your intended use. I should mention that only the right brake lever has a motor cutoff and regen activator built in. If you brake with the left lever, regenerative braking will not activate. This is a minor gripe and again, a design feature related to all BionX kits at the time of this review.

The Tern Link D8 with BionX combines two proven platforms. The locking mechanisms and folding design from Tern are superb and I love the magnetic clasp designed to keep the bike from unfolding. The silent and durable motor from BionX feels zippy and the removable battery is very convenient. I’m a fan of pedal assist but see the value in throttles so it’s nice that this folding ebike offers both. The eight speed cassette delivers a good range for climbing or pedaling fast (which can be precarious on a smaller 20″ wheel bike like this). I like the reflective sidewalls on the wheels and am okay with the standard v-brakes and plastic folding pedals. The crank arms on this bike are actually quite long for a smaller bike and that makes pedaling feel natural. While many folding electric bikes opt for rear mounted batteries I love that this one has a more balanced weight distribution and appreciate that they even added water bottle cage bosses on the side of the downtube so you can still bring some fluids along (you could also store water in a bag on the rear rack). If you’re looking for quality but need an extremely small footprint on your boat, RV or closet then the Link D8 would be an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • Solid two year warranty on the frame, drive system and battery pack – Tern and BionX are both large, well established companies
  • Beautiful aesthetic with matching black and blue frame, custom black hub motor and black battery casing featuring co-branded Tern + BionX art
  • Just about every drive mode you could ask for including four levels of torque sensing pedal assist, four levels of energy regeneration and variable speed trigger throttle
  • Independent button pad on right side of handle bar is easy to reach (to change assist mode or use the throttle) doesn’t require that you take your hand off the grip to use
  • Battery pack can be charged on or off the bike, does not have to be removed for the frame to fold completely
  • Motor is powerful, durable (thanks to the gearless direct drive configuration) and very quiet to operate
  • Full length front and rear fenders with mud flaps, rear carry rack includes built in bungee cords for securing cargo
  • Several nice extras including reflective sidewalls on tires and backlit LCD display panel for improved safety during evening and night riding, ergonomic grips for improved comfort and magnetic clasp for secure folded position
  • Good weight distribution with the 9 pound hub motor at the rear and the 6 pound battery pack mounted forward on the downtube
  • BionX battery has a deep sleep protection feature that keeps it from discharging in a way that could hurt the battery over longer periods of storage
  • Satisfying to pedal thanks to the longer crank arms and eight speeds cassette, good for climbing or riding faster

Cons:

  • Smaller 20″ wheels allow the bike to achieve an extremely small folded footprint but don’t offer the same cushion or gap-spanning potential as larger wheels, consider the Tern Node D8 which has 24″ wheels if this is a concern
  • Only the right brake lever cuts power to the motor and activates power regeneration mode, it would be nice if both did
  • Rear wheel does not feature quick release, will have to use traditional tools during maintenance or fixing a flat

Resources:

More Tern Reviews

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Tern Vektron Review

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Franco Bujosa
3 years ago

Where can I purchase this? I have looked online, even Tern’s website and NYCEWheels and with no success. When will you review the Tern eLink?

Reply
court
3 years ago

Hi Franco! I reached out to Tern regarding availability of the Link D8 and they said “If interested in locating a Tern Link D8/Node D8 with BionX please contact north.america@ternbicycles.com so we can assist you in finding a Tern retailer in your area.” sorry I can’t be more specific… I feel like NYCeWheels should be able to special order one for you? I hope to review the eLink eventually and will post it here as soon as I do :D

Reply

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youth
2 hours ago

I actually neglected maintenance on the Rock Shox too & this is the result. Rust developing beneath the seals where it's in contact with a foam internal wiper. There seems to be corosion inside the leg too near that spot, but I can't tell how much. Fork is still functional.

[MEDIA=imgur]p4UGwy9[/MEDIA]

Calicoskies
9 hours ago

I started this and will post in separate thread once I have bikes and have time to give my feedback. Just thought others may want the information so far. Hope to have bikes on Friday June 22, 2018.

Voltbike Yukon 750 Limited 2018 Edition Fat Tire Owner Review – Ordered May 27, 2018 and added second bike to the order on June 1, 2018. I live in North Carolina. Arrived June XXX. Original order was for son and then decided Dad wanted one also. I already have two e-bikes, one I built and one from Electric Bike Company. Read my review of EBC by seeing my posts under CalicoSkies. Very happy with the EBC bike and have over 1000 miles of trouble free riding.

VoltBike showed as being in stock when we ordered but they were filling backorders first. I did not have much luck with the email system on their website but when I called they answered every time. The credit cards (used one for each bike) were charged and one worked but the other had 2 fraudulent charges as well as the VoltBike. This type fraud was reported by at least one other person on the forum. The card that was compromised was the one that was used via online order and the one given over the phone for added bike was fine. The VoltBike legit charges are International charges so you may need to call credit card company to approve charge, as we both had to do with our USA bank cards. I contacted Voltbike via email concerning the card fraud and did receive response back that the problem was located and a security firm was hired to correct, so that was good response and action on their part.

Three days after the charge on June 13th received a email saying bikes were shipped and given a tracking number. Tracking number did not show on YRC Freight until the next day (normal). I opted not to pay for residential shipping but the 2 bikes appear to be shipping to the home anyway. Tracking shows a delivery date of June 22nd.

Dewey
11 hours ago

I agree, I run a BBS01 kit mid-drive on a pedal bike converted from derailleur to an internal gear hub, and because my bike has vertical drop outs I use an Alfine chain tensioner. I just finished a 1 month test ride of a Gazelle EasyFlow with the same Shimano Nexus 8 IGH the shop fitted to my bike and the difference when shifting is night and day, the EasyFlow’s frame was designed for an IGH with horizontal sliding reversed track style fork ends/drop outs with tensioner bolts, as a result the Gazelle has much tighter more precise gear shifting.

Mr. Coffee
24 hours ago

I just wanted to make a shout-out to Google Maps and their bicycle mode. You guys are awesome.

This afternoon I pulled into a small campground to get off the highway and into some pleasant shade. On a lark I pulled up Google Maps to get an estimate of how far it was to my destination. Google Maps put up what seemed an unlikely route to me: down a short trail to a fire road and then along a country road most of the way into the town I was headed towards. This turned out to be an amazing choice!

A few days earlier I had a tedious stretch on the shoulder of a four-lane highway. At one point Google Maps directed me off the highway and onto what appeared to be an abandoned road (but still quite ridable) for about 3 miles. I don't know if this qualified as a shortcut but it definitely improved the esthetics of the ride.

jasonatepaint
1 day ago

Don't get confused so easily.... I was being nice and just moving the conversation along... I'm here to talk about the bike, not win internet fights.

Ravi Kempaiah
1 day ago

@imboJim , @.R.

A lot has happened with Haibike in 2017. Their parent company is Accell but Haibike itself was started as a standalone German company by Susanne Puello's father several decades ago.

She (Puello) went on to head the Accell's Winora and Haibike brand. In early 2017, because of differences between them and the Accell's team, they left company they had started and built.

https://www.bicycleretailer.com/international/2017/03/27/susanne-puello-leaves-accells-winora-group-citing-irreconcilable

http://www.bike-eu.com/home/nieuws/2017/03/accell-group-comments-on-susanne-puello-leaving-winora-group-10129443

While Haibike was bringing in lots of revenuw, other brands under the Accell were going bankrupt.
On top of that, Dick's sporting good's contract fell through and this made things worse for Accell.

https://www.bicycleretailer.com/north-america/2017/11/16/accell-adapts-north-american-operations-due-lower-sales-through-traditional

Then she joined hands with KTM and launched PEXCO E-bike brand and will be rolling out the famed Husqvarna brand E-bike.
http://www.husqvarnagroup.com/en/node/4077

This had ripple effects in the North American quarters. They had let go of all the Haibike employees early 2018 and amalgamate the brand with Raleigh, Lapierre, Izip etc.

The excess inventory that was left in 2017 had to be liquidated at astonishingly low prices. Every company wants to grow, Kalkhoff wants to grow, BULLS wants to grow, Trek wants to grow, (Juiced, M2S, Rad, FLX) wants to grow, every other manufacturer is going full force ahead. They have to compete with direct to consumer companies, Lunacycles, tons of Chinese import bikes. So, there is a lot of reorganizing thing going on both within the dealer network, and in sales channel etc.

Dealers were not happy with the liquidation process and prices. They were used to good margins and suddenly, they don't want to deal with extra work for less money. It's like parents got their kids hooked on cookies and chocolates and suddenly they are switching to veggies. So, some dealers dropped off and started focusing on different brands.

Anyway, Trek or Specialized has not changed. @imboJim , you could always get a Trek bike and they will reply back to your messages. It's very rare that you can drive 50 miles without finding a Trek dealer. Haibike may not because the personnel were let go and it's under transition. They do make awesome bikes and they are spearheaded by a team which has very experienced folks like Larry pizzi etc. I think they are in it for the long haul.

Overall, business is bound to change as the market evolves.

phil cord
1 day ago

Hey foodie/courier. One of my planned projects is an espresso cart/bicycle trailer. It seems the coffee cart can be made as a trailer or joined to a bike making a tricycle. I have seem a bike cart by a company called "Wheely's". Good idea. I don'

Mike's E-Bikes
2 days ago

The bearing failures on Bosch mid drives are more common than reported on forums like this. The challenge with the Bosch, is that they have designed the unit with a very small chain ring, coupled with internal nylon gears that increase the speed transmitted from the riders cadence to 2.5 times. There is much more stress and higher bearing loads with this design right at the crank on the drive side, than there would be with more standard and larger chain rings. They do this to allow the motor to spin at higher RPM's, where its easier for the motor to maintain a consistent torque level across the range of gear changes. I'm not knocking their design - it's just a different design path Bosch chose to go, but each design path has it's pro's and cons. We'll probably see more mid-motor designs come out on the market with larger chain rings and multiple chain rings, to allow various riders who wish to have a certain cadence and to take better advantage of evolving and improving technology. We are still in the very early technology stages in terms of mid drive designs on e-bikes, so one can expect a lot more to come.

mrgold35
2 days ago

I'm starting to see the sun starting to pop over the Sandia mountains during my 5:30am work commute. Some pics I took when I ride the bike bridge next to the I-40 over the Rio Grande River in ABQ, NM (2016 Radrover). Miles of excellent paved, hardpacked, and single track bike trails running north/south along the Rio Grande river. I sometimes take detours in the afternoon and ride those trails before heading up the bridge to ride home. A lot of folks either ride 2-4 mph or walk their bikes up this bridge because of the steep incline. I can ride 10-15 mph up this incline with my Radrover depending on headwind (10-15 mph, gust +20 mph) and heat (+95 degrees most days in summer).

bob armani
3 days ago

This is a great suggestion as an alternative. My thoughts when I first saw this bike was to put a Badass box on it to get some added speed out of the Bosch motor.

bob armani
3 days ago

So cool and a perfect place for an afternoon ride indeed. Great pics, thanks for sharing!

pkhutch
3 days ago

Hello All, I am new to this forum, but anxious to get some advice and feedback. I've had a BH E-Motion 2 wheeler for 5 years, and have *loved* it. But--it got stolen, AND I've developed some serious back problems that will soon severely limit my ability to ride an upright bike. So I'm researching recumbent tadpole trikes, and so far I'm really intrigued. The Catrike Dumont is by far the most comfortable. All the Catrikes have to be refitted for electric assist (and those that come already configured for e-assist are too expensive!). I've done a decent amount of research on the Copenhagen Wheel and it looks like a very promising alternative to the usual wiring and re-configuration. Does anyone have any experience with this? Pros/Cons about the wheel? I'm very appreciative of any advice you can give. Paula

nebula722
4 years ago

I like thumb throttles as they are easier to use with gloves on.   Does this bike have a cruise control?

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

+nebula722 Very interesting, this is great feedback that might help others to consider what it's like riding an ebike and how to use this feature. Definitely makes me think differently about the feature. Thanks!

nebula722
4 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com I set the cruise control at a speed a little lower than I want to go and then I pedal and add some speed to it.  This is really a power lock as it does not apply more power on a hill.  I leave the cruise set where it is and downshift till I can make it up the hill.  I use it as soon as I turn out of my driveway and I use it often.  With the cruise on I pedal as hard or soft as I want.  Perhaps this is a feature seniors will use more often than younger riders. 

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

+nebula722 I'm really glad you brought it up, most people don't think or talk about it but it sounds like you've found a good use for cruise control on ebikes. I'd like to hear how it comes in handy for you - when do you put it to use?

nebula722
4 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com IZIP has a lot of interesting products.  When I purchased my Magic Pie with throttle and pedal assist I laughed when he told me of the cruise.  I use it constantly to my surprise. 

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

Great question! No cruise control here, I actually know of very few ebikes with that feature but many of the 2015 IZIP models will have it: http://electricbikereview.com/category/izip/

wojtek1425
4 years ago

Do you really think the all four regen modes matter?
After riding the ST1 for over a year I still can't find any significance in the two modes it offers. It looks more like a gimmick than a significant feature.

visualray
1 year ago

I have a Tern Link D8 with a 250W Bionx, and I can say that I use all the regen modes. When you're going down a super steep hill, it makes it so that I hardly use my brakes plus it does put a decent amount of energy back for the short amount of time.

wojtek1425
4 years ago

I wanted to do a comprehensive review of ST1 but stumbled on the issue of two regen modes, and even the tech support could not offer a reasonable explanation other than design features (in this case the wagon is ahead of the horse). Having said that I saw some designs with more significant energy return modes (forgot where). With regen modes being presents in many electric bikes, it is time to evaluate them and see who the winner is.

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

+wojtek1425 Great question, this is something I'd like to test but I haven't had the time to focus on it. Currently doing my best just to keep up with the site and add some new sorting features and reviews from Interbike :)

wojtek1425
4 years ago

I know nothing about BionX, but wanted to know best case scenario percentage-wise. How much power can you possibly get back? I tried the ST1 but 1 bar was all I could get (long downhill coasting)

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

The four levels of assist and four levels of regen on BionX are pretty well spaced out. I could see myself using the first, second and third levels of regen when riding on flats or coasting down hills. The fourth level is pretty aggressive but I think they added it to balance out the four levels of assist. If they only had one level then it would likely feel too powerful and be less useful for actual fitness training or small hills... you'd have to pedal while going downhill vs. the very light regen level 1 that can actually still let you coast. I don't think it's a gimmick.

Marc Ariss
4 years ago

I try and I try to find something about folding bikes I like.....still no success, good review though.

markharrispt
4 years ago

Tern, like dahon, Brompton etc are a good frame to build an ebike on. More integrated battery solutions, integrated motor solutions, & disk brakes, a minimum.

hassmann2000
4 years ago

Very nice. 

Way over my budget though. 

There's a bike called the "Cyclomatic folding bike" which is similar to this but is about £500 (or less). 

It's obviously not as nice as this bike, but would you recommend it anyway?

ElectricBikeReview.com
4 years ago

Interesting... I've reviewed a very similar bike to this called the EG Vienna http://electricbikereview.com/eg/vienna-250-ex/ and thought it was decent. I liked the suspension elements but felt the body position was more squished. Could be good for a shorter rider. The battery and motor size is also significantly smaller and the bike doesn't have regen. It's a trade off but yeah, those bikes seem to work alright :)