Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Earth-roamer: Tern Verge S27h - First impressions

It's finally here and nobody knew it...

I picked up a brochure at a bicycle shop. It's Tern Bicycle Malaysia's 2015 catalog with a price list.
And down there, I spotted a familiar shape.
It's the Tern Verge S27h 20" folding bike.
This is one of my most anticipated bikes for 2015. Not that I need it, but it's just the right "weapon of choice" for the bicycle adventurer.
Personally-speaking, I don't give a fuck about the X-series Verge, bet it the X-10, X-18 or the X-20. 
But the S27h speaks to me. Why? Because straight out of the box, you just need to get it tuned and add panniers for your next big adventure!

Built like a tank: the Verge S27h


The bike, folded..
Who is it meant for? 

Well, put it this way: if you want something light and fast, this bike is not for you.
Those who know what they want, read on...
Okay, basically, the Verge S27h is a bike meant for the long-hauler who intend to port his or her own luggage to explore foreign lands and unfamiliar territories.
There are racks on the front and rear of the bike which is ready to haul panniers.
Slap-on an Ortlieb front and backroller including a rack-pack, you are in business!
So, if you've had enough of living in a pressure cooker and want to give it all up to hit the road, well, at least for a few good years, this bike has all it takes.
And to all you weight weenies out there, the Verge S27h weights about 16kgs. So, this is not a light bike. But it's compact enough to be packed in a suitcase for transport on land, sea and air.

The Andros stem 
Avid mechanical disk brake and the SRAM Dual-Drive III hub gear and cassette

These balloon tires are meant for comfort in any road conditions


The low-down.. 

The bike has a 27-speed drivetrain powered by SRAM. It's basically the Dual-Drive III system which is proven. Not like the failed NEOS Trinity 3x8 which is basically a Sturmey-Archer system.
What I like about the Dual-Drive is the fact that it's easy to service and it's also pretty hardy.
With a 27-speed drivetrain, you can tackle virtually any terrain.
The extra gear ratio also makes hauling all your gear an ease. With the extra weight, you can use a gear to match the momentum that you are lugging with the extra burden.
For control of your ride, there's the proven Andros stem and steering system. This is pretty heavy and we do have some experience with it. This is one of the few steering system where you can adjust the height of the handlebar to suite your riding style.
To illuminate your path in low-lighting condition, there's the Valo 2 headlight which is powered by the Joule III dynamo hub. This award-winning component ensures that you have enough juice to light up your bike and even rig up a Biologic Ree-charge system to power-up devices such as a Bicycle GPS, MP3 player or a smartphone.
Tern designed the Verge S27h with mechanical disk brakes. For the record, this is the only bike in the Verge platform to utilise such a system.
From experience, the Avid BB-7 mechanical disk brakes are reliable and hardy, but needs to be periodically maintained.
With a heavy load, you will appreciate the stopping power of the BB7 especially during downhill descends.
And like any touring-ready bikes, the wheels are fitted with a set of custom SKS mudguards.
So, if you ride in the rain, no splatter on your back.
To be totally self-reliant, Tern threw in the Biologic Seat Post Pump mk 2. This is a blessing as you need not carry a pump for your long journey.
It's capable of inflating your tires especially when you have a flat.

Tern's frame locking system

Another first: the integrated lock *optional item
Prior to its debut in the Taipei Cycle 2015 show, the Verge S27h is also previewed with an integrated frame locking system. This resembles the older vintage bikes that you see in the 70s. But it's optional, so, more details can be sourced from Tern's official website.
To ensure a smooth ride, Tern also equipped the bike with a chain guide. This issue was apparent on the older Link P24 which suffered constant chaindrop. 

Some personal touch to make this bike rock even harder..

If I ever get this bike, I would throw away the crappy gel saddle. 
For long rides, there's the Selle Royal Ergogel plug-in saddle. Some purists swear by having a Brooks leather saddle, but that is purely their preference.
The next thing I would discard, are the pedals. 
My choice pedals are the MKS Exim Superior quick-release pedals. These are hardy and literally bomb-proof!

Conclusion

With a pricetag of RM6,800 a pop, this bike is definitely not for the beginner.
If you are looking at doing some long rides at least six times a year, then it would be a good consideration.
The Verge S27h would appeal to people who are looking for a hardy bike that is able to take all the rigors of hard riding.
With the racks removed, the Verge S27h can be a robust town bike. This means that during off-touring seasons, you can rig it for short runs to the grocery shop or engage in a multimodal commute, or go bikepacking around Malaysia.
It has a maximum rider weight of 110kgs and is perfect for small and medium-built people. For Godzilla-sized guys like me, there is another bike from the same stable. Those who are aware would know what I am talking about.
In short, there's very little fault on the Verge S27h. Only some minor things that one can solve to make the riding experience even better.

Where to buy? 

The Tern S27h is available from Rodalink stores around the Klang Valley Rodalink's Webstore with Tern Bikes and full pricing or call Johnny Ng of My Bicycle Shop in BU4, One Utama (016-632 2599) to order one (mention this blog for a special pricing).

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