TERN VERGE P10 FOLDING BICYCLE
Whilst some other folding bike manufacturers focus on making bikes fold as small as possible Tern produce a number of bikes in their range that fold fast and ride fast.
The Tern Verge P10 is one such bike. It features an intriguing blend of components from both the road bike and mountain bike world to come up a unique blend of qualities in a folding bike. Richard Peace reports on the fold and the ride.
The Verge’s design is based around an elegantly simple hydroformed aluminium alloy curved frame with a single main frame member and a mid-frame hinge.
Unusually it features 451mm diameter rims – only a little bigger than the standard size used on 20”- wheeled folding bikes which feature 406mm diameter rims – but designed to give a faster and more stable ride.
Racing pedigree comes from the Schwalbe Durano tyres which are touted as being fast (recommended running pressure is 115psi) yet tough for racking up the miles on roads that may not the be kindest to the tyres. Hence they incorporate puncture protection in the form of a Raceguard puncture protection belt and a double layer of nylon in the casing.
The mountain bike inspired element comes in the form of a ten speed, wide ratio 11-40 tooth gear cluster with Deore changer and derailleur, the latter featuring a ‘clutch’ style mechanism to stop the chain bouncing around on the bike.
To round off the package are a number elements for convenience and comfort, including a Porter+ saddle, quick release pedals and wide, tactile BioLogic Arx grips and even a kickstand. Tern also sell mudguards plus rear and front racks that can be fitted as optional extras for a fully equipped ride.
For a relatively large folding bike weight is impressive at 12kg (as measured on my Park Tool digital scales). This pretty light weight is achieved no doubt by carefully putting the alloy only where needed on the frame but also by using some lightweight components such as the Strut seatpost and the Kinetix Pro Disc wheels that use paired spokes.
The Fold and The Ride
Folding is quick and easy; break the frame in half with the tension-adjustable hinge then swing the two halves together so that they stick together with the rear magnet. You have to watch the two magnets together but once they are ‘in range’ of each other they feel to stick together pretty powerfully. Unhinge the handlebar post, fold down and secure with a rubber strap, then slide down the seatpost. The pedals quick release if required and clip under the back of the saddle. A tool free operation that take I managed to accomplish comfortably in under a minute.
The 12kg folded package is pretty light to carry around though at 80cm x 74cm x 38cm it is certainly one of the less compact folds out there. Still, it is easily handleable and still plenty light enough and small enough to make feasible train commuter – it is certainly a machine that I would be very happy to use for a regular rail style commute, folding and unfolding several times a day to get on and off different forms of transport. However, if you need to get the bike along lengthy concourses, through ticket barriers and the like when it is folded you might be better looking at Tern’s slightly heavier BYB model which is made to ‘trolley’ easily and quickly over longer distances than you can comfortably carry.
The only slight weak point to pay attention to is the fact the magnets on the Verge – and the two halves of the bike – can spring apart if the front wheel is knocked or twisted when the bike is folded, but with a little care in handling you should be able to avoid this. It would be nice to see some kind of anchor bolt mechanism used instead though, especially as the company have designed and use such a thing on their BYB folding bike.
It’s worth noting the bike is pretty light and portable when not folded, especially when using the Porter+ saddle which is designed to be hooked over your shoulder and means you can get the bike up a flight of stairs easily for example.
Is the bike really as fast as it looks? In a word yes – the wide gear range and low bottom gear combined with the narrow, high pressure Durano tyres mean not only is it quick but it’s impressively easy to pedal up steep hills at a good lick. The aerodynamic modelling of the sexily smooth frame lines and the minimalist aero style wheels with paired spokes no doubt also add to its speedster credentials.
Perhaps more surprising for such a quick bike was how comfortable I found it. There is plenty of cushioning from the Porter+ saddle and the handlebar stem is adjustable fore and aft with an Allen key, even though the bike arrived set up for a fairly upright ride which I found very comfortable. The BioLogic Arx grips were chunky and tactile and also added to the comfort.
Hydraulic disc brakes mean extremely keen stopping power and they should prove pretty low maintenance. The Durano tyres also get good reports for durability from seasoned road riders for speed as well as maintenance, as detailed above. In other words this is about as low maintenance as a derailleur chain driven bike gets.
Does the £1300 price tag represent value for money? There really isn’t much else like it around in the world of folding bikes from other companies. Dahon’s UK offering is much restricted and based more on utilitarian machines with smaller wheels than the Verge. You would get a mudguard equipped, six speed Brompton folder for around the same price or cheaper. It would weigh about the same and fold smaller. But gears, braking and ride quality are all superior on the Tern.
In other words £1300 certainly doesn’t seem unreasonable for a bike packed with original design features that folds quickly and speeds along like a road bike.
This is one of the briefer bike reviews I’ve written for the simple reason the bike itself is simply yet effectively designed and does exactly what it is meant to do – provide a stable, fast and comfortable ride.
In summary the ride feels responsive and very fast and hill climbs with ease yet the Verge P10 is one of the most comfortable bikes, folding or otherwise I have experienced. I’d be more than happy using it to commute or fitted with racks for fully laden road touring.