Tern Bicycles has just celebrated its 5-year anniversary by introducing its new project, the Tern Vektron. The Elektron is a folding electric bike created from the partnership between Tern Bicycles and the leading electric drivetrain manufacturer Bosch.

Bosch doesn’t make the e-bike, they just worked with Tern to incorporate the system into their folding bikes with some frame modifications. The system includes the electric motor installed on the drivetrain, the battery mounted on the seat tube and the system controller on the handlebar.

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Notice that this is the pedal assist system and there is no throttle mode, so you will always have to pedal. However, the assistance will absolutely help you travel faster and go to more places. You can easily change between different levels of assistance like Eco, Tour, Sport and Turbo. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to ride faster than 20mph according to the US laws.

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The battery life of the 400Wh Bosch battery is rated at 31-62 miles on a single charge. It is more than enough for me to commute to work in a whole week.

The Vektron is essentially a Tern folding bike, so you can see it looks just like existing Tern bikes with familiar frame design and folding mechanism. Besides, it features some high-end components like Deore hydraulic disc brakes, an integrated 150 lumen Valo 2 light, and an included cargo rack.

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This sounds like a perfect folding electric bike, but there are some reasons you shouldn’t buy it. Firstly, the Vektron is super expensive. You will have to cash out around $3,500 to own the bike in the United States. This is unaffordable for most riders, especially when considering other folding electric bikes on the market.

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Besides, I see many presses state that this is the world’s most compact folding e-bike but that’s not true. I can be folded small, just like other Tern bikes, but there are a lot of lighter and smaller folding electric bikes. The Vektron weighs more than 47 lbs. If you compare it to the recent $450 Xiaomi Mi QiCycle, the Vektron is significantly larger and heavier. Obviously, we have to pay a premium price for the Bosch system.

Another concern is that the design looks so outdated with visible engine and battery. It will make the bicycle bulkier and prone to damages. Most modern e-bikes will integrate the system into the frame and try to make it less pronounced.

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The Tern Vektron will be released in Spring 2017. What do you think of the folding bicycle and will you order one?

7 COMMENTS

  1. It’s a real stretch to compare a Chinese electric folder (Xiaomi) with a Bosch-engineered mid-motor. Have you ridden Bosch before? $3500 is mid-entry price for a good Bosch e-bike.

    • Hi,
      I was only talking design when comparing the QiCycle to the Elektron. I tried the Xiaomi and it was a very weak bike, so I believe the expensive Bosch motor should have a better performance.

  2. Not trying to be mr-smart-pants here, but a folding bike with a low-hanging derailler is just wrong. So is an ebike without suspension. These bicycle manufacturers might benefit from hanging around motocross folks for awhile. I appreciate terns efforts to bring us a dandy folding ebike and sure nothing against the Bosch setup, but no one can convince me they need $3500 usd for an ebike when a small street legal motorcycle is similar priced (suspension and everything) My personal favorite would be something like the dahon jetstream p8 scaled down to a 16in wheel (305) version with a gates belt igh and a simple hub motor, and the more suspension travel the better. Also be careful of mid drives because most laws prohibit ebikes to shift gears, going OUTSIDE the definition of a bicycle. They could build it I feel they just choose not too. Just my 02.

  3. I’ve been commuting year-round in Chicago for 14 years on a series of folding bikes: Strida, Dahon and most recently a Tern Verge S11i. Although I don’t feel the need for an electric assist because of age (66) or infirmity, I *do* see how it might be a good thing to sweat less on hot, humid days or keep up a little higher speed (I don’t have hills to worry about).
    I’ve been very happy with my Verge, aside from a frame recall; I have about 4,200 miles on it. My average daily commute is about 7 miles, though I have done a century on this bike with no trouble.
    I’m not ready to just go out and buy an e-bike, but I will certainly be watching the roll-out of the Elektron and I think it’s likely I would consider one as an addition to my stable of bikes. I’ll bet my wife would like it, as it would allow her to keep up with me on longer rides!
    I agree with Jamie about the low-hanging derailleur; that’s one reason I bought the Verge (11-speed IGH). I’m sort of hoping that as the e-bike matures, an IGH version with a belt drive will be released. Maybe by the time I break down and go electric, such a bike would be available.
    Also, as much as I’d hate to ride this nice a bike in salty, slushy conditions, a little e-boost would be really useful on snowy days… not so much to reduce my energy output, but to help power through snow on un-plowed streets. (Obviously with studded tires!)

  4. I’m hoping the electric folding bike Brompton is planning to make will be the deal breaker. My guess is that Brompton will make a much lighter weight e-folding bike though it may also be expensive. At this time I ride an eJoe Epik SE. It slows considerably when going up mounds despite 2nd or 3rd [no difference]extra assistance that can be used. I like the fact that Enzo makes ‘glow in the dark’ ebikes though at this time lacking the power of an eJoe. I would like to see Kalhoff make an electric folding bike. I’d like to know the ideas of others
    Thanks Gary

  5. I bought a Tern Vektron this past Spring (2017) and couldn’t be happier. I am a long time bicycle rider and commuter and have previously always used more traditional frames. The Tern is a game changer in my opinion. For one thing, it is fast and easy to use and gets me OUT of my car on urban trips, which was the main goal. This is one reason I don’t see the argument in the comments here about how a motorcycle is the same price…that’s irrelevant if your goal is to reduce carbon footprint. Secondly, I recently took it on a bike camping tour with panniers and it was a joy. I didn’t tire during the day and it was very well balanced (and I’m a novice at touring, so my gear was definitely not aero nor lightweight; I used what I had on hand). But, most of all, this bike is FUN to ride; that extra boost from the motor takes a lot of the effort out of acceleration at stops as well as flattening hills and demolishing headwinds. Yes, it means less exercise, but you do still get some (and I do plenty of other things for that anyway) and it increases your personal range as well as your joy factor. In summary, I not only find this bike to be the perfect urban workhorse, but it’s a good bike for touring (if you have access to charging, which one can easily do at cafes). The only complaint I have is I wish the battery charged up faster; if it’s fully decharged, it takes a few hours, or overnight, to fully recharge. Perhaps battery technology will improve over the next few years to eliminate this concern.

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