Why you’ll love it: The sturdy geometry, fast fold time, and pedal assist make the Tern Vektron a real car replacement for city dwellers, even if they don’t have much storage space.
I have lots of bikes — too many if you ask my wife. I didn’t really think I needed a folding bike, and yet, I’ve found myself at the shops, at the bar, and even at work happily wheeling a folding bike into a locker or corner more often than I ever thought I would in the last month.
The Tern Vektron is the bike that changed how I look at folding bikes. It’s not just the motor, I have tested other electric folding bikes. Nor is it just the intuitive folding mechanism and adjustable fit. It’s the incredible practicality of the bike that makes it a great choice, even if you don’t intend to fold it very often.
The plethora of well thought out design tweaks make the Vektron a stand out bike. The right pedal detaches, making the bike a lot less wide when it needs to be stowed, but Tern goes the extra mile and includes a place to store the detached pedal behind the saddle. The Vektron folds easily, and when folded it can be rolled along on its back wheel like a shopping cart. This feature alone has saved me from missing more than one train.
Of course, the mid drive motor on the Vektron didn’t hurt in that regard, either. By placing the motor at the crank, where the power from the rider also comes from, Tern makes a bike that feels just like a regular bike but faster. There are none of the unexpected torque-wheelies or lurches in speed we associate with cheaper e-bikes here.
The included rack and Tern’s optional “dry goods bag” make this bike a more than capable grocery-getter. I also dramatically reduced my need to carry cargo when I cycled to the office because using the electric motor on the middle setting, I didn’t get sweaty.
The included battery is easy to charge and also powers the built-in lights. About the only problem we had with the Vektron was a connection issue with the front light, but Tern’s customer service was great and this was quickly remedied. Indeed, this process was so easy that I was still able to get the bike to my in-laws who are still raving about the bike, which fits happily in the footwell of their car or the storage compartment of their boats and lets them whiz around Palm Springs.
REI buyers loved the Vektron as well, with one saying his wife had overcome her fear of riding in traffic thanks to the boost in speed the mid drive motor provided. Reviewers at Bike Radar said the Vektron will “quietly conquer any urban challenge” and thought it would be a great choice for urban cyclist with longer commutes or heavy loads to haul.
The Vektron featured more points of adjustment than any non-Tern bike we tested, meaning that everyone I allowed to borrow the bike, including all my naysaying cycling buddies, could dial in a comfortable position that allowed for great handling even with the electric motor boosting the bike to 20 miles per hour.
Tern makes a range of Vektron models, those who think they will be heavy users or who are perhaps upgrading from a cheaper e-bike might want to go up to the s10, which offers a brand name motor and more robust luggage attachments, but I put the Bafang motor on my review bike through a lot of work without issue.
Pros: Great ride feel, solid construction, motor helps, compact
Cons: Some issues with the light, expensive
Buy the Tern Vektron at REI for $2,199