New Bike Day - Tern Link B8

Byron Kidd

 If you've been a long time reader, and it has been a LONG time, you may have noticed I've not been around much lately. I've got some solid reasons for my disappearance, but you're going to have to get to know me better before you're privy to all the details.

Anyway, back to it. After my long absence, during which I watched 3 bicycles rust away in the parking lot due to neglect, it was time to get a new set of wheels. 

Tern Link B8

What was I looking for in a bicycle at this stage in my cycling life anyway? 

I wanted a versatile city bicycle, with carrying capacity for shopping runs, but also one capable of a longer social ride and a bit of sightseeing. Maybe even the odd trip out of the city by train to cycle the countryside around Tokyo. 

While I fit the upper end of the demographic, I'm not a MAMIL and have no desire for a a high end bicycle (OK, maybe just a little desire). I've been watching the Giant Escape for a long time, and honestly thought it would be my next commuter bike if I was ever in the market. Its certainly not high end, but its a solid city bike suitable for a longer ride, that isn't too heavy, nor prohibitively expensive. But now its time to choose I realize that commuting will not be the main function of my future bike.

With all that in mind I chose the Tern Link B8 Disc folding bicycle as my loyal companion for future adventures. How did that happen?

As I mentioned, there is intense competition for undercover parking at my apartment and I am still traumatized from watching my bicycles rust away. I'd like to store my bike in a clean dry environment to prolong its life and reduce the amount of maintenance required to keep it in tip top condition.

In addition, a recent excursion to the mountains after too many years of social isolation and a poor work life balance had me yearning to get out of the city. 

I remember cycling in the mountains West of Tokyo and how breaking down my bike to carry on the train would inevitably leave me covered in chain grease before the ride even began. I'd always been envious of impeccably dressed Brompton riders magically conjuring up a bicycle, giving it a swift kick before effortlessly cycling away. I wanted to add that kind of simplicity to my out of town rides.

Tern Link B8

Travel has been a big part of my life since I disappeared even during COVID times. As a result have visited many places I'd love to revisit on my bicycle, one of the first being Biwako in Shiga.

My company has a facility in Shiga, somewhere I admit was never high (or even on) my list of must visit destinations. Until I discovered that a short cycling distance from my hotel is Biwako, Japan's largest freshwater lake, around which runs the increasingly popular Biwa-ichi cycling course. This route offers a 200km loop around the lake, with shorter options for the less enthusiastic. I've been to Shiga countless times over the past few years and can't believe I've never taken advantage of this to experience such a wonderfully scenic cycling route. I hope to change this sooner rather than later.

Both the Biwako-ichi and the immensely famous Shinmanami-kaido cycling routes are easily accessible from Tokyo by Shinkansen, and taking a folding bike by train is a lot more appealing (for me) than breaking down a full size bike.

Air travel is also a big part of my career, and while I'd love to take my bicycle on business trips unfortunately, even with a folding bicycle, the hassle (for me) still outweighs the benefit. For short business trips I still feel I'd be better off renting a bicycle at my destination than taking my own.

Occasionally I find my self on site for a longer project for which I would consider taking my bicycle, but for he shorter trips, where I may not get a lot of opportunities to ride, its just a little too much hassle. Of course if the intent of my trip was purely a vacation, I would not hesitate to take my bicycle by air, its just too troublesome to fit into short business trips.

All things considered a folding bicycle seemed like a sensible and versatile option for me, even if some of those use cases fail to pan out as I have imagined.

So, off to the Brompton website I went, only to perform an Olympic record breaking U-turn after viewing the prices.

Twitter informed me that if you're lucky you may occasionally find good deals on second hand Brompton's online which was promising. But soon after someone who I've followed for over a decade, whose opinion I trust, pointed out that he'd bought a brand new Tern Link D8 for a fraction of the price of a second hand Brompton and he only had good things to say about his experience.

So being in an impulse buying kind of mood, and based on nothing but his word, a smidgen of research, and a handful of YouTube videos I ordered the Link B8. (It's all on you now Drew!)

Tern Link B8 - Omiya Hachiman Shrine, Eifukucho

I honestly considered going cheaper than the B8, as my cycling needs really are quite modest, and I'm constantly surprised how good cheaper bicycle are to ride. The dormant bike nerd in me pushed for something more expensive but honestly it was difficult for me to justify the purchase not knowing how long this cycling resurgence may last. (Answer: I'm back and in hindsight I could have gone a little higher, but absolutely no regrets.)

In the end the B8 fit my price point and feature list, with the added advantage of mechanical disk brakes, which I consider a must for wet weather cycling regardless of the extra weight they add to the package and the final decision to buy was an easy one, even if it was a little impulse driven at the time.

I've had the Tern Link B8 Disc for just over 1 month during which time I've done my shopping trips, neighbourhood cruises, longer rides across town and a handful of  rides longer than 40km. I love how smooth this bike rides, and more often than not I forget I am even on a folding bicycle.

There are many things I love about this bike, although its not all fairy-tales and unicorns, but I'll save those opinions for a later review.

For now just know I am loving the Tern Link B8 Disk and I'm happy to announce I'm back on the bike, and back on the blog!

Cheers! See you around!


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