One of the first bikes I had the pleasure of testing out when I came to NYCeWheels was the Tern Eclipse S11i. The Eclipse is an incredible machine, decked out as the ultimate comfort commuter. From small touches like fenders and a next-generation chainguard to a high quality integrated dynamo lighting system, this might be one of the best folding bikes I've ever ridden.
On a whim, I took the demo model home with me recently, and I must say my opinion of this bike has done nothing but improve. This time around I was extremely impressed with how quiet and smooth it was to ride. The 11 speed internal hub responded quickly and easily to the Avid trigger shifters, and by playing with the Andros adjustable stem system, I was able to dial in a variety of fits, from a low racing crouch to an upright, European cruiser-style feel. The rear rack comes with a set of bungees which I found quite useful in securing my backpack to the bike. I can't remember the last time I didn't arrive at work with sweat stains down my back from that thing!
Topping off these amenities is some impressive performance. The internal hub provides an amazing range of gears, with an extremely high top gear. As a bicyclist who loves to ride as hard as possible, this was an absolute revelation--it's not often that you find a comfortable, upright commuting bike that lets you fly as fast as your legs can push you. To keep all that speed in check is a pair of hydraulic disc brakes that bring you to a stop like a brick wall--but without all the blood and broken bike parts.
My favorite thing about the Eclipse S11i folding bike this time around that I wasn't too aware of when I first met the bike, was the big, wide, plush Big Apple tires. These things are aptly named, as they allowed me to cruise through some of the most obnoxiously poorly maintained streets Manhattan has to offer on my commute. In fact, I was acutely aware that rough patches which made me pick a different route when riding the Dahon Formula, and even gave me pause while pedaling on 700c road wheels, required no effort at all to simply glide over on the Eclipse's 24-inch wheels.
This brings me to pretty much the only downside of the Eclipse S11i, which is that its bigger (by folding bike standards) wheels don't allow it to fold as compactly as its 20" cousins. Similarly, with all the extra gear packed onto its frame, the Eclipse weighs in at a considerable 31lbs or so--no problem even in my apartment building's absurdly tiny elevator, but probably not one for the 6th-story walk-up crowd.
Fortunately, Tern thought of this, too, which is why they made the Verge S11i. This impressive little bike is quite similar to its older brother, with the same gracefully arching frame, black and silver color scheme, Andros stem, and internal gearing mechanism. They even have the same chain guard! However, on the Verge S11i, Tern removed the rack and replaced the disc brakes with lightweight but effective V-brakes. These compromises do much to keep down the weight on the Verge S11i, as does its most dramatic departure from the Eclipse--folding bike-standard 20" wheels. This is what makes the Verge S11i so brilliant. You get the same awesome, fast, comfy ride that the Eclipse offers, but you'll still be able to carry the Verge S11i up a flight of stairs, and store it under you desk to boot!
Anyone looking for the luxury of the Eclipse S11i without its weight and bulk would do well to consider the Verge S11i. However, if smooth riding and big-wheeled comfort are the name of your game, the Eclipse is not to be missed. Order yours today!