Tern Node D8 with BionX Review

Tern Node D8 With Bionx Electric Bike Review 1
Tern Node D8 With Bionx
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Folded
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Removable Battery
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Display Panel
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Cassette Derailleur
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Center Fold Lock
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Folded Top View
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Gearless Motor
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Rim Brakes Fender
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Stem Fold Lock
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Electric Bike Review 1
Tern Node D8 With Bionx
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Folded
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Removable Battery
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Display Panel
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Cassette Derailleur
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Center Fold Lock
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Folded Top View
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Gearless Motor
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Rim Brakes Fender
Tern Node D8 With Bionx Stem Fold Lock

Summary

  • High quality folding frame from Tern combined with sophisticated, durable and quiet drive system from BionX
  • Four levels of pedal assist and regen as well as regenerative braking and variable speed trigger throttle
  • Smoother riding electric bike thanks to larger 24" wheels vs. traditional 20", 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:

Node D8 with BionX

Price:

$2,750 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:

45 lbs (20.41 kg)

Battery Weight:

6 lbs (2.72 kg)

Motor Weight:

9 lbs (4.08 kg)

Frame Material:

7005 Aluminum

Frame Sizes:

(Folded Size 39 cm x 86 cm x 84 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 Road Cruiser with KevlarGuard, 24" x 1.6"

Wheel Sizes:

24 in (60.96cm)

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

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

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)

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 Node D8 with BionX is a mid-sized folding electric bike with larger 24″ wheels meant to smooth out the ride and improve handling. It features a higher end drive system from BionX that’s durable, powerful and quiet to operate in a range of modes including pedal assist and throttle. Even with the battery attached, the Node folds completely but you can opt to remove it for reduced weight or convenient charging. 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 Node D8. Depending on your needs, they offer a very similar ebike called the Link D8 that uses 20″ wheels allowing it to become even more compact when folded. Either bike performs well and the Link is $50 less, but overall these are higher end and that’s reflected in the price and 5 year frame, 2 year drive system warranty.

The motor driving the Tern Node D8 electric is a 350 watt gearless direct drive hub from BionX. It’s located in the rear wheel for improved traction. 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 Node 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 brake pads 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 is still easier to service because the motor has a built in torque sensor vs. an external dropout strain gauge.

Powering the Tern Node D8 is a BionX made Lithium-ion battery pack containing Panasonic cells. 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-with-battery feature mentioned earlier and keeps the overall weight of the bike down. At 45 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 trying to balance groceries and packages. The rear rack helps with this 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 a throttle 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. I’d 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. Other grips include basic grips (no lockers to keep them straight), basic plastic folding pedals vs. aluminum, basic v-brakes vs. disc (they get the job done pretty well and keep the price down), and lack of suspension or the ability to add a seat post shock due to the extra-long length required.

The Tern Node D8 with BionX combines two proven platforms. The quality locking mechanisms and folding design from Tern are superb and I love the magnetic clasp meant to keep the bike from unfolding. The silent and durable motor from BionX feels zippy and the removable battery is 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 provides good range for climbing or pedaling fast (which is less wobbly on a bike with larger 24″ wheel size). I like the reflective sidewalls on the wheels and the Kevlar lining to deter flats. 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 combined with a “full frame” feel that doesn’t feel squished. If you’re looking for quality and can trade some space for improved ride quality then the Link D8 would be an excellent choice. It would be useful on an RV, Boat or cabin where space is limited but you plan to bike frequently and for longer distances.

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 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:

  • Larger 24″ wheels provide a more comfortable ride and elevate the frame for larger riders but limit how small this bike can get when folded, consider the Tern Link D8 if space is very limited in your intended use
  • 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:

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Ken Sanders
3 years ago

Really like that BionX system.

Reply
Court Rye
3 years ago

Me too Ken, they’ve been ahead of the pack with hub motor design for several years and the software and integrated update network that dealers use to troubleshoot and fix stuff is pretty amazing… this application is neat because it addresses a new niche of people who want folding but appreciate the more traditional size and ride quality of a full size bike :D

Reply
Anonymous
4 months ago

Every bike I read about lately that seems perfect doesn’t seem to exist any more. I don’t see a 24″ electric folding bike on their site at the moment. Did someone else add the Bionx to the Tern D8?

Reply
Court Rye
4 months ago

Good point, this was one of the only 24″ folding ebikes I have ever seen… it’s an uncommon wheel size, folding or otherwise! Not sure what to tell you. I guess it just wasn’t popular enough and people wanted the smaller wheels or preferred thicker tires that approximate 20″+ diameter since they add comfort.

Reply

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Start a new node d8 with bionx thread on the Tern Forum page

palermo131
3 years ago

How come you guys don't publish price ranges? Seems that would be a vital part of any review.

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

Great question! I do sometimes mention price in the reviews but many times the product isn't out yet (like in this case... it's a 2015 bike and I just got a first look at a trade show). I do publish prices back at the site along with all of the specs that the manufacturer provides for accuracy and even then, sometimes I have to change them because they change throughout the year. Here's the full Link D8 writeup with price http://electricbikereview.com/tern/node-d8-with-bionx/

Zeev Kirsh
3 years ago

i tried this exact 24'' model with bionx at greenpath bikes in broolkyn this week. there is clearly something wrong with the throttle. it is producing oscillating thrust . i thought it was just an idiosyncracy with my particular bike i was testing, but if you're having the same problem. there's an issue with it for some reason. it's clearly not supposed to be that way. 

good job!

ol1bit
3 years ago

I enjoy your reviews, but not my kind of bike.

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

Thanks! Yeah, this one's unique... if you don't need it to fold then there are other options that can do similar things. The BionX system is pretty great and I do like Tern frames so this is a good setup :)

Clouds Rain
3 years ago

Nice review.

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

Thanks :D

nebula722
3 years ago

At least the battery is not over the rear wheel but the battery is high.  I wonder if the bikes rides better than a rear rack mounted battery?  This is a really cool bike considering it folds up and can be put away.

nebula722
3 years ago

+ElectricBikeReview.com So am I.  I presume your impressions are positive as mine are.

ElectricBikeReview.com
3 years ago

This design definitely rides better than something with a heavy rear rack... It's about as good as I've seen from a folding setup with 24" wheels and you can still put a carry rack on the back for actual storage. It could be a little bit nicer if the battery was actually inside the downtube but then the frame would have to be reinforced which would add weight and the price would go up. Given the BionX drive system in use here, I'm very impressed with the bike :)