Tern (company)

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Tern Bicycles
Industry Manufacturing
Headquarters Taipei, Taiwan
Key people
Florence Shen (general manager), Joshua Hon (vice president)
Products Folding bicycles and cycling accessories
Website ternbicycles.com

Tern is a privately held company that designs, manufactures, markets, and sells versatile bikes for everyday use. The company is based in Taipei, Taiwan and has offices in the US, China, Finland, and the UK. The company's primary products include folding bicycles and cycling accessories,[1][2] which are currently sold in 65 countries.[3] Though founded only in 2011, the company's bikes have already received a number of international design awards, including iF and Red Dot awards.

In 2013, the company secured from private investors US$4.3 million in funding, which the company will use to accelerate global expansion and to ramp up its product development.[4]


Tern was founded by Florence Shen and Joshua Hon, wife and son of David T. Hon, founder of the established Dahon brand of folding bicycles.[5] Initially the company was the subject of litigation between Dahon and the founders,[6] but a settlement was reached in 2013.[7]


Tern's public debut at Eurobike 2011

Tern held a "rock concert style launch" on June 18, 2011 at an international press conference in Taipei, Taiwan that was attended by bicycle media from around the world.[8][9] Reception to the new bikes and brand were overwhelmingly positive with one reporter commenting that the test bikes at the launch "weren't compromised by having a pivot in the middle, and didn't feel like folders. The ride was responsive and comfortable.”[10] The Arctic tern was the inspiration for the company name, due to the fact that it travels the longest distance of all migratory animals and is light and small, qualities the company attributes to its bicycles. The company's graphic symbol is of an origami tern taking flight.[11]


Tern debuted its products to the general public at the Eurobike trade show in August 2011 in Friedrichshafen, Germany to much industry and public interest.[12] The company used up-cycled shipping containers for its booth, avoiding one-time-use booths made out of wood, as part of its environmentally-conscientious philosophy.[13][14]

Tern showcased its 2013 product lineup, which included the award-winning Eclipse X20 and the new Swoop series (Swoop Duo and Swoop D7i), at Eurobike 2012.[15]


A folded Link D8


The Tern lineup has bicycle models with 20”, 24”, and 26” tires. The 20” bikes include the Link, Verge, and Swoop series, while the 24” models features the Eclipse, and Node bikes. The Joe series are the only Tern bikes to use 26” tires.[16] In August 2014, Tern announced its first electric bike, the eLink. The eLink weighs 21 kg and folds in under 10 seconds. It is equipped with mudguards, rack, chainguard, lights, and features a Shimano Nexus 8 internal hub and Schwalbe Big Apple tyres. The bike uses a 250W Bafang mid-motor with four levels of power support. The 36V lithium battery with 374Wh allows for a range of up to 50 kilometers and retails for 1699 Euros.[17]

The Tern-Xtracycle Cargo Node folding cargo bike can fit in elevators and stores in places traditional cargo bikes usually can't.

Tern partnered with cargo-bike specialist Xtracycles to create the Cargo Node, a folding cargo bike that uses the Tern Node bicycle and Xtracycles' rear cargo extension attachment. The companies announced the product via a Kickstarter campaign on September 17, 2015 and raised US$153,638 to help fund the project.[18]


Besides bicycles, Tern also features a line of bike accessories under the Tern name as well as "Built for Tern" items under sister brand BioLogic.[19][20] Items range from carrying bags and cases, to racks, fenders, a multi-tool, and a bicycle floor pump built into a seatpost.


Tern uses a number of patented technologies in its products, foremost of which include the OCL joint and award-winning Physis 3D handlepost.[21][22] The OCL joint features "floating point technology," which allows the lever to fold flat and brace against the joint for protection in transit, thereby avoiding the possibility of the locking linkage being snapped in half by a sudden impact to the lever. The joint is also fully serviceable with the company claiming the bearings can be replaced in five minutes.[23]

Tern bikes fold using an N-Fold technology that rotates the front wheel 180 degrees while keeping the handlebar facing straight. It has been described as “very intuitive” and "takes about 10 seconds" to fold.[24]

Tern introduced its Physis 3D forged handlepost in 2013, something the company claims gives a "stronger, stiffer, better ride" due to the elimination of welds and optimization of the distribution of material for strength.[25] The Physis 3D handlepost received a 2013 Taipei Design and Innovation (d&i) Award for design.[26]


Tern Verge X10, winner of a Taipei d&i Award, folded
Tern Eclipse S11i

Tern bikes and technology have received several international design awards, including Eurobike and Red Dot awards, as well as a number of consumer awards.[27][28][29][30]


Bike Model Year Awarded Award Received
Verge X18 2015 Taipei Cycle Design & Innovation Award[31]
Link + Trolley Rack 2014 Taipei Cycle Design & Innovation Award[32]
Swoop Duo 2014 Taipei Cycle Design & Innovation Award[33]
Verge S11i 2013 Taipei Cycle Design & Innovation Award[34]
Swoop Duo 2012 Eurobike Award[35]
Eclipse X20 2012 Eurobike Award[36]
Verge Duo 2012 Red Dot Design Award[37]
Verge X10 2012 Taipei Cycle Design & Innovation Award[38]
Eclipse S11i 2011 Eurobike Award[39]


Accessory/Component Brand Year Awarded Award Received
SportCase phone case BioLogic 2015 COMPUTEX d&i Award[40]
Perch bicycle wall mount Tern 2015 iF Design Award[41]
Kinetix Pro X wheel set Tern 2015 Taipei Cycle d&i Award[42]
Perch bicycle wall mount Tern 2014 Eurobike Award[43]
FixKit multi-tool BioLogic 2014 Taipei Cycle d&i Award[44]
Physis 3D handle post Tern 2013 Taipei Cycle d&i Award[45]
PostPump 2.0 seatpost BioLogic 2012 Red Dot Design Award[46]
Joule 3 dynamo hub BioLogic 2012 Eurobike Award[47]

Advocacy and Events[edit]


On March 5, 2015 Tern announced the introduction of two limited-edition folding bicycles created for Ekocycle, an initiative launched by The Coca-Cola Company and global music artist and entrepreneur will.i.am, to encourage the use of recycled materials in consumer products. The Tern bikes for Ekocycle feature hydroformed frames made from a minimum of 10% recycled aluminium. Other components also include recycled content, including rims made by a factory that is solar powered and virtually grid neutral. With 5 patented technologies, the Tern bikes for Ekocycle fold in under ten seconds to effortlessly go on trains, buses and subways or fit under a desk. The limited-edition Verge X20 for Ekocycle includes lights powered by a dynamo hub which generates its own electricity while riding. The Tern bikes for EKOCYCLE will be available at Harrods U.K.[48]

Tern-VVS Stuttgart transport project presentation display. (L to R): Gudrun Zühlke (ADFC Baden-Württemberg), Thomas Hachenberger (CEO VVS), Werner Wölfle (Green, Administrative Mayor of Stuttgart), Horst Stammler (Geschäftsführer VVS)

Transit Programs[edit]

In April 2012, Tern announced it was partnering with the Munich Transport Authority to promote the use of portable bicycles on the city’s public transportation network. Tern offered a special edition Link D7i to help reduce bicycle park congestion and crowding of train cars.[49] The company has since added Stuttgart and Hamburg(with the Link D8) to this project and is also cooperating with Trenitalia, Italy's national railway operator.[50]

SXcycles & SXSW[edit]

In March 2012, Tern became the first bicycle brand to offer a bike share program for badge-carrying attendees of Austin, Texas' South by Southwest Interactive festival (SXSW). Called SXcycles, the program offered a transportation alternative during the congested event.[51] SXcycles attracted the interest of celebrities like film director Judd Apatow[52] and actress Lena Dunham. Tern supplied 150 of their Link D8 bikes for use by attendees. Tern was invited back again to run SXcycles in 2013,[53] and 2014[54]

In March 2014, Joshua Hon was part of a panel discussion on urban transportation at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Conference.[55] The panel explored the so-called “last mile” in urban transportation and how cities can efficiently connect homes, offices and other individual endpoints to the larger grid.[56]


Tern participated in the 2013 Velo-city cycling conferences in Vienna by having a booth and giving a workshop presentation about how folding bikes can increase the value of existing public transport infrastructure.[57][58]

Folding Bike Races[edit]

In May 2012, IG London Nocturne announced that Tern was the official sponsor of the IG London Nocturne Folding Bike Race.[59] In January 2013, Tern sponsored the Tern Folding Bike Race at the London Bike Show with Keith Henderson coming in first place on a Verge X20 bike.[60][61] Henderson again pulled off a win on his Verge X20 in the IG London Nocturne Folding Bike Race on June 8, 2013.[62][63] Henderson won the Folding Bike race yet again in 2014.[64]

ECF Cycling Industry Club[edit]

Tern announced in October 2013 that it had joined the European Cyclists' Federation (ECF's) Cycling Industry Club, an organization that aims to double the use of cycling in Europe by 2020.[65]


Joshua Hon, Vice-President of Tern, being interviewed by Fortunes From Fun.

Tern has been featured in a number of interviews on TV shows, including Fortunes from Fun, a show that airs on Channel NewsAsia.[66] In it, Hon states: "If you want to be a good business and to have-long term health and sustainability, fun is a very important component of that because fun allows you to relieve stress. And in the development process of products you need to have this creativity. We look at fun as not only good for the people who work here, fun is just good business."[67]

Tern has also been featured on Managing Asia, which is produced by CNBC Asia and hosted by Christine Tan. In this interview, Hon shares his philosophy of making every employee feel that he/she is a "boss" of the company so that everyone is paying attention to costs and waste because "You're much more successful as a company if everybody is paying attention to these things rather than just one guy at the top." Hon also reveals the company's plan to invest future profits into advocacy and environmental issues to help encourage people to use bicycles more and rely less on motor vehicles.[68]


Florence Shen and Joshua Hon, the company’s general manager and vice president are the wife and son of David T. Hon,[5] founder of the Dahon brand of folding bicycles.

From 2011, Tern was the subject of litigation between Dahon North America Inc. and Joshua and Florence Hon. Specifically, the lawsuit charged that Joshua Hon and Florence Hon breached their fiduciary duties as officers of Dahon and unlawfully appropriated company assets, resources, and intellectual property to start the competing companies Mobility Holdings and Tern.[6] On April 2, 2013, industry media reported that Dahon unilaterally declared its legal disputes with Tern were settled. On April 9, 2013, Tern confirmed that an agreement had been reached concerning Dahon North America's legal proceedings against "Tern, Dahon and Hon Industrial, members of the media, former component partners, PR representatives, and former employees of Dahon & Hon and Dahon North America."[7]


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