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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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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TrevorB
4 hours ago

For touring and eMTB factory middrives are only way to go. Tour needs the extra range that only middrives can deliver. With eMTB is power delivery and most importantly for FS low unsprung mass.

Cruising and commuting then there not lot in it, comes down to personnel preference. Middrives can be lot lower maintenance commuters especially with IGH enclosed chain cover or belt drive. Most of hub commuters need to be rear hub motor with derailleur.

Another big plus for middrives is standardized interchangeable batteries. Bosch are leaders here with 3 types, rack, powerpack and powertube. Rest offer combinations of standard and bike specific batteries. If you only own one bike it doesn't matter, but for 2 or more in household being able share batteries is big plus. Wife and I have totally different bikes and motors (both bosch) but we can share batteries on long ride, alternatively I borrow hers for bih MTB rides. If I get trekking bike we'll have spare battery (MTB's) for touring.

Alaskan
5 hours ago

I have loaded all the maps for my home state of Washington as well as those for British Columbia Canada and still have about 140 mb of space remaining free in memory. More memory is always better but 1 gig seems to be quite adequate and the savings of $200 is worth it. As far as I can tell the only difference between the two models is the amount of memory. It appears that the firmware version is the same across the board. From what I have heard Bosch will not be selling the Nyon into the North American market...ever. Supposedly they are working on a whole new display device. IMPO the Nyon is near perfect. The only gripe I have with it is that it takes about 20 seconds to boot up before you can select your assist level. and go I do miss he instant start on the Intuvia.

Alaskan
6 hours ago

Tiny, I happy to join a club off which you are a member. I have ridden it two days now and have put 45 miles on it. It is sunny dry in western Washington today and supposed to be close to 60 this afternoon. Nancy and I are going out riding for the first time on our two ebikes in a couple of hours, hoping to do some multi day, b&B touring this summer in the San Juan Islands and Vancouver Island.

My modifications include:

Nukeproof platform pedals with metal pins
Replaced the Thudbuster seat suspension with a body float. (they are made in our home town of Bellingham)
Replaced the Selle Royal 'Saddle with a Brooks Aged Leather B17
Replaced the Eron black rubber grips with Ergon cork grips (to match the seat)
Orlieb locking Handlebar bag
Busch & Muller rear view mirror - large and ungainly but the enhancement to situational awareness and safety is huge.
Added the supplemental chain that secures into the Abus Frame lock https://www.greggscycles.com/product/abus-pro-tectic-4960-chain-216801-1.htm?variations=1215974,1215960&_vsrefdom=adwords&gclid=Cj0KCQjw5fDWBRDaARIsAA5uWTiblSsSmqkZTxUb9ojihK0mCGE_-JvPxx3L8Byw07zV1Px0ZTZeRvAaAiHaEALw_wcB
Topeak Trunk bag (modified with a racktime mount to fit the OEM rack)
Install a stem mounted bottle cage mount with a Wolf Tooth Doubler to accommodate a bottle and ahttps://www.ebay.com/itm/Portable-Bluetooth-Speaker-by-CLEARON-Wireless-Waterproof-Speaker-with-Bike/112807527286?hash=item1a43da4376:g:KRYAAOSwp7FaftPi)
And most significantly replaced the Intuvia display with a Nyon.

I'll do a full ride report after 100 miles. So far I love it. The pluses have been great while the few minuses are minor.

mysteryna
7 hours ago

I've recently seen numerous used 1GB Nyon display-only units listed on eBay for ~[COLOR=rgb(65, 168, 95)]US$100[/COLOR]. Pair that with a separately purchased Nyon controller, and the total cost, [COLOR=rgb(65, 168, 95)]less than US$200[/COLOR], seems like a bargain next to the 8GB upgrade kits priced at ~[COLOR=rgb(184, 49, 47)]US$500[/COLOR].

So what's the catch?
Why are there a bunch of 1GB units available?
Are these 1GB units significantly different beyond their storage capacity?
Different processors? GPS differences?
Are they considered "End-of-Sale" or "End-of-Life" by Bosch?
What is the latest 1GB firmware version available?

Bravo, courageous @Sweetwater! I'd love to hear more on your 1GB Nyon experiment. I had considered going the same path you're now on, but could find no prior success stories online to bolster my own confidence. (background chicken clucking sound)

----------------------
Alternate Android Nyon Bosch-eBike-Connect APK download links:
https://apkpure.com/bosch-ebike-connect/com.bosch.ebike
https://apk-dl.com/bosch-ebike-connect
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.bosch.ebike

mrgold35
11 hours ago

I've had a Fox Flux MTB for +4 years. It has never felt too hot in southwestern summers of up to +100 degrees. The only issue I have in summer is when the occasional bug getting caught in the openings and I feel it crawling on my head. I add a skull cap when it gets cool in the spring/fall and wear balaclava in winter (or wear two balaclava when the temps gets as low as the mid teens).

rich c
20 hours ago

I also wear a Giro. I bought an expensive skull cap (dew rag) to wear under it. It wicks away the sweat, has a rubber strip on the forehead to prevent anything from running in my eyes, and keeps my balding head from getting an odd sunburn pattern.

bob armani
1 day ago

I thought this would be a speed pedelec (28 mph) E-bike at that price point. Perhaps is it because of the drive belt??

justin70
1 day ago

Did you end up getting this bike? How do you like it? Any update or review?

christob
2 days ago

Hi; not sure of my helmet model (maybe "Max"; brand is Specialized) but it is pretty common, probably @$50 at the LBS? Has 15 cutouts / openings scattered across the top, and 6 in the rear--yet I feel like it is almost as warm as a winter hat, when I'm riding! And so far, my morning rides have been under 45°F, with my afternoon rides generally under 65°… I can't imagine how sweaty my head/hair will be when summer actually arrives, with this helmet...! :mad:
My head has always been a chimney... I never wear winter hats (just ear muffs) except in the most brutal cold because I'll just start sweating within minutes; even simply standing still in a hat, in the cold...
So I have been surprised that despite the 21 cut outs for airflow, my bike helmet instantly warms up my head… Perhaps a $50 "general" helmet with 21 cut outs simply isn't as well designed / engineered for airflow as a more expensive helmet… But I'm wondering what helmet options are out there, which are noted for either better airflow, or allowing head heat to escape more readily?

MisterM
2 days ago

Court - I'd like to see you make a series of what ideal specs you'd look for on each type of bike (step thru, commuter, urban, emtb etc). I see a lot of people struggle with what type of bike to buy and what to look for, and end up buying some lousy (or vastly overpriced) bikes. Often you add your opinions tangentially in some of your reviews, but I haven't seen one where you put all the pieces together.

Maybe do reviews on your Top Pick bikes side-by-side comparing best vs value for each segment. And maybe special vids where you see time-sensitive deep-value bikes.

Of course, everyone has an opinion, but you get to ride so many bikes and see significant variation in build quality/support etc that your views would be helpful. Most everyone else has a vested interest in selling their own product.

If you don't want to do more vids, perhaps live streaming would be an alternative - think you'd drive more engagement and perhaps could get some Patreon subscribers.

Finally, while you do a great job with vids, I suspect you're getting burned out doing same thing over and over and traveling so often. Curious if you have other irons in the fire?

John from Connecticut
2 days ago

Hello,

Shipping time for my Schwalbe order took 10 or 11 days. Bike24 shipped the same day I placed my order ( Germany is
6 hours ahead of EST ) The 'delay' was when DHL, the shipper handed off my package to the USPS / Customs. Getting from
Germany to the NYC was the longest delay.

I can't complain because I bought Schwalbes for my Commuter bike via Amazon. The dealer was in Western New York.
It took 8 days to go all the way from their shop to Central CT...NY is next to CT : ) , but the shipping was $8.50

John from CT

Chris Hammond
2 days ago

The motors are actually different. Both are made by Bafang. The RCS is wider and designed to fit the dropouts of a fatbike, its also rated at 750W. The CCS is narrower and rated at 650W. I'm guessing Tora would be the only one who could tell us what is different internally.

nebula722
3 years ago

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

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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
3 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 :)