Sunday, May 20, 2012

Flight of the Eclipse - Part 1

Preliminary evaluation
I want to give the Tern Eclipse S11i a proper review.
This will be done on stages.
The first phase will be a short-distance ride (below 30km) to break-in the bike and get used to the settings.
After a proper set-up, it would be taken for a longer ride (100km).

First impressions 
The Eclipse S11i is right on top of the food chain.
If you are to put down money for this bike, you'll get plenty back in return.
For starters, its one of the most elegant rides around incorporated with state-of-the art components and quite a luxurious setting.
From the colour matching KORE saddle to the Ergon GP-1 cork handled grips, this bike exudes class.
And frankly, for an asking price of RM7.7k, its not a lot.
To put it in perspective, any guy who wants and Eclipse S11i knew exactly what he wants.
I will get into the details when I get the full-review published on BaikBike.com

A cockpit view from the Eclipse
 The Circus Bear syndrome
A lot of guys whom I met are skeptical about riding a folding bicycle with small wheels.
They said it felt like a Circus Bear.
The Eclipse S11i dispels this fear.
A 24" wheelbase is slightly smaller than any standard mountain bike and being a heavy guy myself and standing at a height of 5' 11", the Tern Eclipse 'fitted like a glove'.
As a matter of fact, it looked great!

Ride handling and performance
I took the bike to the Subang Jaya Cycle Fest at USJ5.
This is a short ride from my home in USJ26 and after making the proper seatpost adjustments as well as the right steering height on the Andros stem, I was able to ride upright in total comfort.
Now, like I said earlier about fitting the bike correctly, I've added a saddlebag, rear blinkers and a Minoura water bottle cage holder on the handlebar stem.
For navigation, I've mounted an EDGE800 GPS on the handlebar.
This enable me to track my route as well as clock-in the required mileage to break-in the hub gear.
And additional gadget that I've bolted on the left handlebar was the Biologic Android Phone case.
The built-quality for this mount was awesome!
At 6:45am, I set the Eclipse S11i's dynamo hub to power-up the Valo light which is integrated onto the Andros stem. This is a wonderful feature and yield's clean power.
Since I am no stranger to the Andros and Valo system, I was really impressed with the brightness and efficiency of the dynamo-powered light.
Getting the bike to roll while cranking it was effortless with the Shimano Alfine-11 Internal Hub Gear (IHG).
It was smooth and seamless.
As for the Avid Elixir hydraulic disk brakes, some adjustments are needed for the rear brakes as its not really rolling smoothly. Other than that, no issues on the stopping power..

A solid bike: The Tern Eclipse S11i
 One thing that I've really enjoyed with folding bikes that came with a set of 'balloon' wheels are the Schwalbe Big Apple tires.
They are the ultimate comfort factor and having a puncture protection feature which is superior to any tires in the market, the pairing was perfect.
The Tern Eclipse S11i came with a pair of Schwalbe Big Apple 50-507 24" tires. My only concern, is the availability of the spare inner-tubes for this particular size.
For 2012, the Big Apple came with a set of new threads, much better if compared to the earlier model.

The first 23km
So far, so good..
I am very impressed with the smooth Alfine drivetrain and how simple the bike is set-up. 
As far as looks is concerned, the Eclipse S11i is one classy bike that generated a good first-impression.
Some of the guys whom I met were really impressed with the basic features that comes with the ride. 
I've got so used to my 20" Dahons, the Tern 24" foldie offered a totally different perspective.
Come this weekend, I will put the Eclipse S11i through the second-phase of testing on a long distance ride.. 
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