Tern E-Bike Buyer’s Guide for Beginners
If you are new to e-bikes, you might be unsure how to pick one. It just so happens that here at Tern, we have e-bikes for you that are all comfy, can carry a variety of items, and are shareable with friends and family.
We completely understand the excitement of getting a new bike (yay!), but let’s be honest, it can also be a bit overwhelming. Since it’s super important that you know which e-bike you need and why you need it, we’ve created this beginner buyer’s guide to help you make a choice.
- GSD: Our Most Popular E-Bike
- HSD: Our Most Comfortable E-Cargo Bike
- Quick Haul: Our Most Affordable E-Bike
- NBD: One of the Easiest E-Bikes to Ride
- Vektron: Our Folding E-Bike
Main Similarities and Differences
Before we get into more detail, here are some key points that you can keep in mind as you read this buyer’s guide. Tern’s e-bikes’ basic features are similar, but each model has its own strengths.
- Safety first! All of our e-bikes are equipped with the Bosch E-Bike System. Bosch is one of the few e-bike system manufacturers that are tested and certified to UL 2849 safety standards—to prevent incidents due to electrical, mechanical, and fire hazards.
- Compact storage: Our e-bikes fit in spaces you might not have thought of, such as your car trunk, elevators, buses, trains, and even the corner of your living room. The (extra) cool thing about the Vektron is that it folds into an even smaller package! All Tern e-bikes can also be parked vertically (or parked vertically when folded, in the case of the Vektron) to save some space, and it’s a handy option for when you don’t have a shed or garage.
- Modularity for maximum fun and functionality: All Tern e-bikes are designed to work with a whole ecosystem of accessories. You can mix and match many different ones to find the right setup for optimal comfort and to get the task done.
- Top-notch service: Tern works with a network of knowledgeable and independent dealers who will help with your e-bike’s regular maintenance, explain Tern’s warranty in detail, and give you all kinds of useful tips to make your riding experience even more enjoyable.
- The GSD, HSD, and Quick Haul are e-cargo bikes created to do some serious hauling. If you don’t really need the extra carrying capacity, then the NBD or Vektron might be the better option.
OK, did we already mention that you can mix and match our accessories on different e-bikes? Having so many options, you can find not only the right fit for yourself but also the right fit for the job. Here are just a few examples of passenger and cargo setups that you could use.
Who says that only kids get to sit in the back? The Captain’s Chair goes on the GSD, HSD, and Quick Haul, and it’s suited for big kids and adults alike.
Pets should enjoy the ride, too! That’s why we came up with the Doghouse Mini, which also doubles as a shopping crate.
Moving out? If your big houseplant fits in the Storm Box Mini, then why would you take the car?
1. GSD: Our Most Popular E-Bike
The GSD is designed to grow with your family and get all sorts of stuff done.
The GSD keeps you going during daily school runs, commutes, moves, and other errands. Capable of doing a variety of jobs, the GSD is also suited for bikepacking or camping trips—you can fold the GSD’s handlepost and stem in such a way that it fits into your car or trailer.
If you need a bike that can transport two kids, one adult, or a significant amount of cargo, then the GSD can be your ideal second car.
2. HSD: Our Most Comfortable E-Cargo Bike
Slightly smaller than the GSD, the HSD is a powerful everyday transporter for cruising through town and going on an adventure with family and friends.
With a comprehensive cargo setup, the HSD can handle everyday or weekly hauling comfortably. And if you’re looking to bring some company, you could install one child seat and panniers, or a seat pad or Captain’s Chair for a bigger kid or adult passenger.
The HSD Gen 2 is also outfitted with the Bosch Smart System, which offers a more customized riding experience, a more powerful motor, and an extra layer of smart security. The HSD is a great choice if you're interested in a cargo bike, but are hesitant to opt for a larger bike model.
3. Quick Haul: Our Most Affordable E-Bike
If you’re in the market for a no-fuss e-cargo bike that gets the job done, then the Quick Haul might be the one. It’s the perfect choice for anyone looking for everyday biking convenience at an affordable price.
The Quick Haul gets you from A to B and can even help you move some houseplants to your new place. Shorter than a standard bike and with a sportier riding position, the Quick Haul is easy to maneuver and capable of carrying a child seat and a pannier (or two).
If you’d like to get an e-bike without too many bells and whistles, then the Quick Haul is for you. It’s suited for a variety of tasks plus sharing with your family and friends—yes, including the fluffy types.
4. NBD: One of the Easiest E-Bikes to Ride
The NBD is built to be an easy bike for everyone—for both beginners and more experienced riders alike.
Newbie riders will find it a comfy bike for some leisurely meandering, and if your parents haven’t cycled in some time, the NBD is a dependable companion that helps them rediscover their skills. The low stepover helps you to just hop on and go without too much of a stretch, and its low center of gravity gives you maximum control over the bike.
If you need a bike for daycare or school runs, park rides, or light shopping trips, the NBD will be a great fit for you.
5. Vektron: Our Folding E-Bike
Built for commuting, the Vektron offers a balanced and solid ride. You’ll feel as though you’re gliding through the city streets.
Agile and equipped with a powerful Bosch motor, the Vektron will help you get over the final hill to reach your destination. It folds small, and it’s super easy to bring (or roll) it onto buses or trains. With the Vektron, you can continue where the metro line ends—all the way to your desk.
Are you an urban dweller searching for a dependable and efficient ride to tackle your daily commute or quick getaways? In that case, the Vektron is a great option for you to consider.
Our five e-bikes may share some basic characteristics, but ultimately, each has its distinct purpose and character. If you’d like to have everything narrowed down even further, check out this chart below.
|HSD Gen 1
|HSD Gen 2
|Number of passengers
|2 kids or 1 adult
|1 kid or 1 small adult
|1 kid or 1 adult
|1 kid in a child seat
|Rear rack max. load
|100 kg (200 lb)
|60 kg (132 lb)
|80 kg (176 lb)
|50 kg (110 lb)
|27 kg (60 lb)
|27 kg (60 lb)
|S8i & P9: Active Line Plus; S+ & P9 Performance: Performance Line
|S11: Performance Sport; all other models: Performance Line
|P9: Performance Line; D8: Active Line Plus
|S5i: Performance Line; P8i: Active Line Plus
|S10: Performance Line; Q9 & P7i: Active Line Plus
|R14 & S00: Belt drive; S10: Chain
|S+ & S8i: Belt drive; P9 & P9 Performance: Chain
|S00, S7i & P5i: Belt drive; S11 & P10: Chain
|S5i: Belt drive; P8i: Chain
Hopefully, this article has given you adequate information to help you with your choice. As we cannot cover all the benefits of each Tern e-bike, we recommend you visit your nearest Tern dealer for a test ride and see for yourself! A test ride will give you the most accurate sense of how the bike performs, and you’ll get to ask the Tern dealer all sorts of questions.
In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about our safety features and the Bosch E-Bike System, check out our e-bike safety articles. You could also go to our e-bike overview page and click on “Compare” (just below each bike icon) to make a comparison list of a maximum of five bikes.