2023 was an interesting year for me since I was pregnant for 1/2 of it, then recovering from c-section and chasing our 3 kids around for the other 1/2. One of the biggest cycling surprises looking back at my biking data was seeing the most popular bike for 2023 was the Tern NBD electric bike.
The Tern NBD design and focus is to be a very easy-riding electric bike. It has a nice upright fit thanks to the 20” wheels with a super low and long step-thru frame to help shorter riders or people with mobility constraints step over the bike easily. The pedals are custom to be a wide platform but also narrow to the bike. The wheel lock and battery are easy to access without needing to bend too far over or squat near the ground.
• Very easy to ride electric bike with thought-out details in every piece of the design.
• Certified to UL-2849 requirements
• EFBE frameset tested
• Can hold 60 lbs on the rear rack
• Vertical standing
• Flat-Fold design allows you to roll this standing up in the back of many cars with your backseat folded down
• A premium bike with a premium price tag
• 20" wheels and lack of front suspension can be jarring on potholes or cobblestone streets
If you are new here, I’ve worked the last few years after closing my bike shop for Tern Bicycles and have access to a ton of electric bike options. The NBD e-bike was in my garage to take photos and videos for work and I wasn’t expecting to choose it the most!
In late February of 2023, I wasn’t having the easiest pregnancy but I wanted to move so I started to do laps around the neighborhood with the NBD and errands to the bakery and grocery store. The super upright riding position helped put all the weight on my hips and sit bones while not compressing my growing belly and tired back. I left the bike always in Turbo to have the most assistance so I didn’t raise my heart rate. In hindsight, I wish I had the Tern NBD S5i model with the Bosch Performance motor to provide more assistance and torque. The P8i model with Bosch Active Line Motor is a great setup but I have hills that are 7+% right out of my driveway and my goal was to not raise my heart rate.
Upright Riding Position
The bike geometry and positioning were initially why I went on this bike. I needed something that didn’t compress my stomach. The most upright fit Tern makes, with a shorter length reach. I adjusted the Andros adjustable stem a little bit up every ride.
Super Low Step Over Height
The ability to step onto the bike and keep it balanced is what kept me biking. The step over, or the lowest point of the bike that you put your leg over to get on the bike, is 15.4”. This is crazy low and keeps you from having to tip the bike over to get on or pivot from your hip to swing your leg over at all.
I still wanted to go out and about to run errands, so the rear rack was excellent. I strapped one Cargo Hold 28 pannier to the left side where my kickstand was and kept a few packable grocery bags inside. I kept the Cargo Hold mostly in bucket mode to simply drop stuff in but did run into rain once and switched it to the roll-top style to keep the rain out and my bread dry. I never added a front rack because I wanted to keep the bike as light as possible. I only had a RidePocket for my phone and keys on the handlepost.
Wheel Lock Happiness
I have a pretty low theft area but I still like to use a durable chain or u-lock. The NBD has an included wheel lock that I plugged in a tex–lock mate frame lock extension. (Use BIKESHOPGIRL at checkout for a coupon)
This was an easy lock to deal with when very pregnant since the frame lock is so high on the bike. I would loop the cord around the lock, through itself, and into the wheel lock. When not in use, I stored it in the provided transport bag. Typically, I use heavy-duty locks but since my routes were around the neighborhood or to a local bakery, using the frame lock and the flexible cable with steel core was enough for me.
Is the NBD Worth It?
This is something I’ve contemplated a lot. I made a video when the NBD first came out, and I happened to have a knee injury which made this very inclusive bike very easy for me to ride. If I didn’t have an e-bike and was a normal daily cyclist, the NBD would have kept me on the bike.
Is the $3,699 price tag to “keep me on the bike” worth it? There are things I wish were a bit different for my own needs, but if this is your main e-bike because it is easy to ride for anyone, maybe helps you through pregnancy, or keeps you on the bike due to injury or less mobility, I think the actual bike itself is worth it. The Bosch ebike system, the component selection, EFBE approved frameset, the very specifically engineered design tubing, and geometry, the custom setups like pedals, suspension seatpost, and tall handlepost – those all cost additional money. They also equate to a great riding e-bike that is an investment to last a long time.
Is it worth it for you? Let me know in the comments!