Sometimes it seems like folding bikes get lumped into one of two categories--there are bikes that are made to tackle utilitarian projects like hauling cargo and handling slow, short commutes over craggy city streets, and there are bikes designed to fly down a neatly curated track with reckless abandon at well over 30 miles per hour.Well the Link P9 folding bike from Tern deftly disproves that false dichotomy by showing that a durable, straightforward bike can also be refreshingly light, extremely quick, and still be able to take a pounding from inhospitable city streets. Before and after spending 20 miles on the Link P9, I rode two high end folding bikes designed as lean, mean speed machines. These elite racers came with a much bigger price tag than the Tern, but I still came away with the impression of the P9 folder as being on a par with them.
My love affair with this bike starts with its sleek, sloping frame and ink-black paint job, which is accentuated with striking scarlet details. The aesthetic effect is that the bike is capable of being either subtle and stealthy, folded in the corner of a room, or awe-inspiring as it speeds down a thoroughfare.
As a folding bike, the Link P9 is built to Tern's exacting standards, meaning that is one of the quickest, most fool-proof, easy to learn folds in the shop. The main frame joint is reinforced with a super-strong weld, but unlike some folding bikes, the hinge does not leave an ugly, lumpy bulge to mar the bike's silhouette; rather, the curve of the weld waxes and wanes organically with the frame. Likewise, the hinge in Tern's patented Physis handlepost is an extremely stiff and durable piece of technology that is unobtrusive enough to go unnoticed until it is needed. Tern's proprietary "N-fold" technology lives up to its reputation both in speed and simplicity--the Link P9 folds down in about 5 seconds, to an impressively slim 25-pound package.
The Tern Link P9 continues to impress once you hop onto the saddle. It features burly Marathon Supreme tires that are substantially fatter than a standard road racing slick would be, but thin enough to keep contact area at a minimum, allowing for very little drag. The result is a bike that can burn through the proverbial Main Street or pick its way through a bumpy back-alley with equal comfort. Though this is not a bike outfitted with parts from the legendary brands, I found that by and large, the components on the Link P9 more than held their own. The single grip shift on the right side of the handlebar was easy to use, and the brake levers responded with a reassuring quickness. I also liked the single chainring setup, which seemed like a perfect marriage of simplicity and function.
Finally, although this is a no-frills kind of bike, Tern did manage to pack in a couple of smart extra features. I found the lightweight kickstand, which blends into the chainstay until needed, to be extremely handy, and a cleverly designed hex wrench stows away inside one of the handles. The frame also incorporates attachment points for fenders, rear rack, front luggage truss, and a water-bottle cage, so it would be easy to convert the Link P9 to a utility bike with just a few additions.
As someone who loves getting around wherever I happen to be by bike, and as a rider who loves to ride fast, I found the Tern Link P9 folding bike to be a pretty ideal bike. The fact that it can manage urban streets with speed and grace, while keeping its design and operation simple, make it a perfect fit for anyone wanting to get around their city fast.
If you are looking for a simple, lightweight, speedy folding bike designed to take on everything a city can throw at it, go order the Tern Link P9 today!About the Author
Miles Schneider is a folding and electric bike specialist at NYCeWheels in New York City. He plays the 6-string electric violin and loves dogs.