Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Test ride: Tern Eclipse P9

A practical folding bike

I made plans to outfit Michelle, my wife with a 24" folding bike and my choice was the Tern Eclipse P9.
Why? It has a nice price point (RM2.8K) with some really good features.
The "P" designate on Tern's bike denotes "premium" components. 
This means the bike is packaged with lighter and better performing parts.

Michelle's Tern Eclipse P9
Built to perform

The Tern Eclipse P9 is one of five choices in the Eclipse family and it ranked fourth after the Eclipse P24h.
I picked this bike for its value for money as well as its design. Its aesthetically pleasing as well as it rides. 
It took little effort to assemble the bike straight out of the box.

Pre-ride tune-up

To get things rolling, I sent the bike to Master Johnny Ng's shop for a tune-up.
The shifter tension was set properly and Johnny had the intuition to mark the cable tension setting on the shifter's nob.
After the tune-up, we took it to a series of rides around the Putra Heights loop.

The avid brake lever and SRAM attack 9-speed grip shifter

Sturdy: The Physis-3 and Andros steering system

The mechanical disk brakes
On the straight a flat road, this bike can easily clock up to 24km/h. 
It takes little effort to cruise at that speed.
And the 9-speed transmission on the Eclipse made it easy to tackle hills and undulating terrain.
It takes a little getting used to when transiting from a 20" folding bike to a 24" ride.
I found the N-fold system really practical and fast, as the bike folds in a flash.
Lock-up on the physis 3 handlebar was also solid.
The disk brakes are pretty responsive after the tune-up and since its a mechanical system, maintenance is not expensive.
As premium-item, Tern packaged the bike with a set of Schwalbe Kojak 24 x 1.50 which is considered as one of the best for trekking bikes.

The Eclipse P9 experience...

Once on the road, this bike is firm and sturdy.
There were no flexing or jittery movement and having clocked in more than 150km, the bike dispels the impression that folding bicycles are clumsy, unsafe and inefficient.
We took this bike for short and middle distance rides around the Klang Valley and saw the potential of having it as our travel companion in bikepacking rides throughout the country.

Michelle during a climb to Genting Peras in Hulu Langat, Selangor
The Eclipse handles very well, and is very easy to maneuver and on climbs, we had no issues cranking it up the Genting Peras hill in Hulu Langat.
This is basically a 10km straight climb and the 9-speed ride had passed with flying colours.

Further upgrades

I've added a Selle Royal gel seat to the bike which became a highly appreciated addition.
For the pedals, I've replaced it with a pair of MKS EZY Esprit quick-release pedals.
And when it comes to safety, I've place a Cateye Rapid 3 blinker on the seatpost.

Standing tall among the road bikes.. 

Who should ride this bike? 

Basically, if you are shy of being seen on a small wheeler like the 20" or 16" and suffer from the "Circus Bear Syndrome", the Tern Eclipse P9 is an ideal choice.
Its slightly smaller than a 26" and the 700cc bike and it easily stands out in terms of performance and built quality.
The Eclipse is also designed to fold in a compact for to enable you to lug it into trains and buses.
I see this as an ideal way to pack and travel. Once folded, its doesn't get in people's way.
Right now, the Eclipse P9 is still under Tern Bicycle's inventory and if you want more details you can log into Tern's Eclipse P9 website 

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