Wednesday, July 3, 2013

First impressions: Tern Eclipse X20

A Legend in the making...

You don't come across 24" folding bikes that has the appeal of a slick machine which is performance-orientated.
This is the "in-between sized" bike which is right in the middle of the 20" and 26" rides and I must say that the guys from Tern Bicycles has come up with the sexiest 24" bike in its class with the introduction of the Eclipse X20.
So, basically, in keeping tradition with the high-end Tern folding bikes, the Eclipse X20, which is aptly called the "Pirate-Ninja" had taken form and also won award at the 2012 Eurobike show.


Tern's winning bike at the 2102 Eurobike
Production and preview

Between second quarter this year, the Pirate-Ninja went into production.
It was headed for the US and Europe and parts of Asia, particularly: Japan.
I got in touch with Josh and asked if I can place an order via K2 Asia, which he had gladly obliged.
We had an email conversation about the development of the bike sometime in May last year. 
So, that said, it took nearly a year to realize the Eclipse X20 project.
The luckiest guys in this Region were the Singaporeans who got a taste of what to come.
Among the bikes that were shown, the Pirate-Ninja was one of them.
It was well-received and even the Tern Guys were there. Among them were Josh Hon and Eric Lin, the Tern product development manager who is also behind the Pirate-Ninja's design team.
The Pirate-Ninja was so hot, a Singapore dealership was taking pre-orders at SGD$3,300 (RM8.3K) for the bike. But they won't get anything until late this year or in early 2014.


Fast and Furious: the Eclipse X20
Opening the box and straight to the road...

I was really impressed with the overall quality, fit and finish of the bike.
It took me about 15-minutes to assemble the bike.
I rode it for a short distance and found that there's plenty of raw power coming from its drivetrain.
Even on short-spin, this bike meant serious business. It also rolls very well compared to the Tern Eclipse S11i which I tested earlier.
It has a versatile gearing range with 20-speed transmission:  two chainrings and ten cogwheels.
In keeping with its premium setting, high-quality components were used.
You can clearly see the fine workmanship on the bike's VRO stem that gives it a real superb handling and stability on the road.
Once deployed, the lock-up on its hinge was solid. There were no "rattling" and "squeaky" noises coming out of the bike's frame.


The Kinetic Pro wheels and American Classic front hub

SRAM Force rear derailleur
Stable: The X20's VRO stem

Clean lines: the rear hub and cogwheels

The 50/34T FSA chainring
A definite "WOW" factor..

Everything on this bike screams: "Wooohoooo!!!" 
It has all the good stuff you will find on high-end bikes. Not as close as the Verge X20, which is still the most expensive Tern folding bike in Malaysia.
I particularly love the colour treatment to this bike and all the bells and whistles that are thrown with it as a complete package.

Minor tweaks

I had the bike tuned by Master Johnny Ng from My Bicycle Shop in Bandar Utama.
Later, I added a Minoura Space Bar and a vertical bottle cage holder and a Topeak MTB Rocket hand pump mounted on the stem.
As I intend to use this bike on the road, I've replaced the Black MKS MT EZY quick release pedals with the MKS Step-in Urban Superior pedals...
The haze was a hamper over the last few weeks as I had no time to really put the bike to its full test - covering short, medium and long distance rides.
Well, seeing as it is, I am gonna take the Pirate-Ninja for its maiden ride over the weekend...

Addendum

I need to clarify a bit on how the bike was made available in Malaysia.
This is in particular reference to a statement made by a forum member on the Tern Forums about: "Note: one lucky guy in malaysia got his X20 thro' special arrangement by Josh Hon."
It was sourced through K2 Asia, Malaysia's official distributor for Tern Bicycles and with some assistance from Joshua Hon.
The offer was made more than a year ago and Josh had kept his promise.
So, that said, the bikes I ordered through K2 Asia: Tern Eclipse P9 and Eclipse X20 were delivered to me in Malaysia by its local distributor, not directly from Tern Bicycles.
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