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Tern GSD Review: more practical than you can shake a stick at

Tern specializes in folding bicycles, both electric and non-electric, but they fancy themself a transportation company. For those of you undergoing car replacement therapy, the GSD is one of, if not the best, compact cargo bikes on the market today. Every inch of the bike is covered in useful features, coming together in a dense product that continues to impress with each mile.

The GSD is designed for dense urban use, where storage space is a bit tight, and Tern has designed a brilliantly simple solution to this problem.

In my case, I used the GSD primarily in the suburbs, where I was able to flex the battery range a bit more. I had a blast taking the kids around, running extra errands, and lowing my environmental impact, and saving some money along the way. I even took it off-road for a bit.

Attempting to maneuver around tight cornering was quite entertaining. The rear of the bike is intentionally made to hoist up on its rear to allow for access in elevators, and to store neatly upright in an apartment or office. It makes for compelling pictures too:

  • Motor: Bosch Cargo Line 250W Mid-Drive
  • Battery: 36V 14Ah (500wh)
  • Range: 20-40 miles (32-64km)
  • Gearing: Shimano Deore 1×10
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Brakes: Magura 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes
  • Tires: 20 × 1.8 Schwalbe Big Ben
  • Price: $4,999 (S10 LX Model)
  • Extras: Gates carbon belt drive, front suspension, throttle, automatic headlights, brake lights, welded rear rack, step-through frame, wide fenders, Star Gazer stem

A couple of years ago, Tern came out with the mighty GSD. This bike was so influential that several bike companies blatantly copied them, enough that it could be said that the GSD started its own genre. I rode the original one some time ago, and I was impressed by the build, but left waiting for accessories that took a bit of time to be released. This time around, the bike-specific gear is totally worth it for cargo capacity, and I’m really glad to see Tern taking the bike into the next decade with improved strength, additional features, and the latest and greatest Bosch motor.

One of the most exclusive improvements, is that the Tern GSD (and HSD model) are the first electric bikes to pass the new strength standard established in Germany. The tests are designed to push bikes past their load ratings in a number of ways to ensure that they can withstand peak loads beyond their rated maximums. And, they passed with flying colors.

The GSD now uses the new generation of Bosch motors, specifically the Cargo line. This motor is a dream, it provides even and stable power whether under a heavy load or riding all alone. Like all Bosch motors, the pedal assist is smooth and gutsy, all the way to 20mph. The bike comes equipped with hardware to house two batteries, but you’ve got to buy that upgrade on your own. The display doesn’t give you a lot of detail, but the main functions are nice and tight in a small package. If you’re comparing this to other cargo bikes, you should know that since the GSD is using a Bosch motor, you’re trading name-brand durability, in-store support and continuous software updates, in exchange for not having a throttle.

The GSD rides very comfortably, despite the odd shape. It kind of looks like the rider is on stilts, but it keeps the center of gravity low which makes a big difference cornering and with overall balance. Speaking of balance, this bike is awesome for towing kids! I’ve been using the bike with the clubhouse rails, which has been really fun and exciting for the kids, and leaves me not worrying. Depending on your needs, these can accessories can add a ton of value to your quality of life on the bike.

The starting S10 Model has a $4,599 MSRP, and the options can take you up to the 1000W R14 model, which is $8,399. The exact model in this video is the GSD S10LX, with just the 500Wh battery, kid rails, and a set of tow bags to boot. As it stands, the equipment in this review costs $5,489. Oh, and I used an Ikea box to fit in the rails.

My family and I really enjoyed our time using the bike instead of a car. Rather than being stuck in traffic, we had quality time together; which made all the difference in the rest of our day. The extra capacity was quite invigorating since we didn’t have to fear a surprise pick-up or Costco run. For the admittedly high price, you can get a lot of use out of the GSD. If this bike was in your garage, I’m confident it would be your daily driver.

The GSD is another interesting and intensely practical look at what an electric bike can accomplish. The days of using bikes exclusively for recreation are over. The advent of electric bikes has opened a wide variety of uses, and the GSD is the king of the hill. Unless you’re looking for a special use bike like a pedal taxi or something, within the typical cargo bike space, the GSD is the flag runner. Directly pragmatic features, packed into a Swiss Army Knife frame, and customizable for your needs, with quality always top-notch. This is the cargo bike to beat.

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