Urban dwellers, you need Tern's GSD

Could this folding cargo e-bike be the answer to your city cycling needs?

Even though she rides bikes, my wife typically humors me when I get excited by whatever latest superbike comes in for testing. All that changed though when she saw a very different looking bike built up with two kid seats.

Tern's GSD is a 20-inch wheeled electric, cargo, folding bike that can be configured with all sorts of human- and stuff-hauling accessories.

Immediately she asked if she could ride it. Then she preceded to ride it by herself, then loaded up the kids, and then she had her friend ride it. It's an understatement to say Tern's GSD is unlike most other bikes.

There's an option for two batteries to expand the electric assist range
There's an option for two batteries to expand the electric assist range

So what is the Tern GSD?

Tern labels the GSD as a compact utility e-bike for families. It features 20-inch wheels, a long rear rack and a folding stem and handlebars.

The motor is a Bosch Performance unit adding assistance up to 25kph in Europe and 20mph in the US. The available dual battery set up is claimed to allow a range of over 250km/155mi. 

The GSD can be configured with up to six panniers, one or two kid seats, front and rear baskets, a rear rack seat cushion and has space for two batteries. It supposedly can haul up to 181kg/400lbs including rider weight.

The telescoping seatpost and adjustable stem/bars are reported to allow riders from 1.5m to 1.95m (4'8" to 6'4") to ride the GSD. 

The wheelbase is similar to a regular bike at 1,240mm, but unlike a regular bike the stem and bars can be folded down to make the overall height of the GSD low. The GSD's other party trick is that it can be stood up on end, resting on its rear rack. 

Watch Tern's GSD in action

Tern GSD specs

  • Frame: Tern 7005 aluminum multi-truss design
  • Fork: Tern 6061 aluminum, 1.5 taper, Boost 
  • Wheels: 20in Tern Atlas, 36mm wide, Tern Boost hubs
  • Tyres: Schwalbe Super Moto-X, 20 x 
  • Crankset: Tern GSD custom
  • Shifters: Shimano Deore
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano Deore
  • Cassette: Shimano 11-36t, 10-speed
  • Chain: Corrosion-resistanat
  • Brakes: Magura MT5 hydraulic discs, 180mm rotors
  • Handlebars: Tern Sweep
  • Stem: Tern Andros
  • Saddle: Tern GSD with handle
  • Seatpost: Tern Telescope

Three color options are available
Three color options are available

How it compares

While the small-wheel, cargo e-bike niche is decidedly unique, the GSD isn't alone. Yuba's el Boda Boda V2 takes on similar errands although it has larger 26-inch wheels and tires. And it doesn't fold. 

Urban Arrow's take on the e-cargo bike goes along the lines of the Dutch-styled bakfiets type of bike where the cargo is in front of the rider. 

The GSD's party trick is standing vertically on its own rack
The GSD's party trick is standing vertically on its own rack

Additionally, a lot of the big and small players have tried their hands at the long-wheelbase cargo bike category including Surly with its Big Dummy, Felt's cleverly named Bruhaul, Trek's Transport+, and various Xtracycles

Tern's GSD does have one feature that none of the others can boast; it can be tilted up on end for easier storage if your horizontal space is more limited than your vertical space.

Tern GSD pricing and availability

In terms of replacing a car, the GSD seems like an absolute bargain at $3,999 for the single battery, and $4,799 for the two battery GSD (international pricing TBD). Of course the bags, child seats and other accessories tack on additional dollars. 

Tern has set availability for the start of 2018.

Russell Eich

Tech Writer, US
Russell fell head over heels in love with bikes in the '90s, and has been involved in the bike industry ever since. Between wrenching in bike shops, guiding professionally, and writing about bikes, Russell has honed an appreciation for what works, gained knowledge of what doesn't, and can barely contain his enthusiasm for what comes next. His two-wheeled passion continues in the Rocky Mountains high above Boulder, Colorado.
  • Discipline: Mountain, road, cyclocross
  • Preferred Terrain: High altitudes, forgotten singletracks, bike parks, roads without cars
  • Current Bikes: Custom Meriwether steel hardtail, Specialized S-Works Enduro 29, Kona Jake the Snake, Trek 69er, and a bunch more
  • Dream Bike: Yeti SB5c, Intense Tracer 275C, Black Cat custom road
  • Beer of Choice: Gin + Tonic
  • Location: Rollinsville, CO, USA

Related Articles

Back to top