Tern HSD – The Crossover of Electric Bikes

Tern HSD Crossover Electric Bike
Tern HSD Crossover Electric Bike

Updated December 13, 2019 – Read my Tern HSD review here!

A couple of years ago Tern launched the GSD, a surprisingly compact and capable cargo bike (read my review here). This week they have launched the Tern HSD “Haul Stuff Daily” which I am naming a crossover electric bicycle.

This isn’t a gigantic 3-kid-hauling cargo bike but it is more capable than a single-occupancy bike like we see all over. Maybe you only have one kid to bring so you don’t need a full cargo bike or you want to be able to pick up groceries on the way home without feeling like your bike is going to tip over. The HSD may be for you.

Meet the Tern HSD Crossover Electric Bike

3 different models with several different color options and a lot of accessories to make your bike even better for daily life by bike. Depending on your country you may not have the full-color line-up available, for example in the US I don’t believe our importer ordered all available colors. 

HSD P9 starts at $3,099, HSD S8i $3,699, HSD S+ $4,999 more on these below.

  • Gross Vehicle Weight (rider and all cargo) 374 lb
  • Rear Rack Carrying Capacity 132 lb
  • Height range of 4’11 to 6’6
  • All models use a Bosch system ranging from Active Line Plus to Performance
  • One battery mount
  • Suspension front fork
  • A lower step thru than the GSD – waiting for measurements
  • 8cm taller Physis Handlepost for a more upright available position which can be adjusted very easily
  • Utilizing a rear rack (think like the Tern Vektron) that can carry up to 132lbs
  • Atlas H Dropouts – sliding, ability to take a belt, and new trailer mount (?!)
  • All models come with an Abus frame lock mounted for the rear wheel 
  • Many new accessories – will post a separate article about these
  • New passenger kit coming soon
  • HSD S+ comes with a Cane Creek Thudbuster ST
  • Belt drive options thanks to the new dropouts
  • Flat fold design from the GSD for easy transportation
Tern HSD Flat Fold

Model Line-Up of the Tern HSD

The idea that there are multiple models at launch is exciting to see as this must be a bike that Tern believes in. If you remember the Tern GSD they launched with one model, the S10, and a year or so later the S00. 

Tern HSD Blurred

If you look at Tern’s site some of the areas of models are pixelated and I haven’t been able to find full spec so they must be coming with new not to-be-released yet product. This is good and bad – bad as it may mean delays if spec’d parts are delayed from other brands. Good as it is wonderful to have the latest and greatest.

I do like the price range though and $3100 with carrying capacity is a very affordable electric midtail cargo bike. Not sure what I mean by midtail cargo bike? Read more here.

The Missing Pieces

The timing of this release is for Eurobike – a huge bike tradeshow in Europe. There are still a couple of big unknowns which in my opinion is big and could define this bike in many different ways…

What’s the passenger kit? Can it carry 2 small kids as long as they are under the 132 lb weight limit of the rear rack? Will it be an evolved Clubhouse or something else completely different.

Tell Us About the Trailer Hookup The screenshot below from Tern’s HSD video is the closest I could find to the trailer attachment they mention on their website. I’m looking forward to learning more about this!

Tern Trailer Attachment

Tern HSD vs Tern GSD

The most common question flying around the internet right now. Some folks are having buyer’s remorse (don’t!) and saying this is the bike they really wanted. Well let’s begin with, this isn’t available yet and won’t be until at least Spring of 2020 maybe even later if there are delays like they had with the Tern GSD. The GSD is a wildly popular bike so I’m sure you’ll be able to sell it next year! 

How do the HSD and GSD differ?

The following bullet points are directly from Tern:
        • HSD is shorter in length
        • HSD is lighter
        • HSD is easier to vertically park
        • HSD doesn’t carry quite as much cargo
        • HSD can carry 1 kid, not 2
        • HSD is rated to 170 kg, instead of 200 kg
        • HSD has a suspension fork
        • HSD has a lower step frame, by 4 cm
        • HSD’s riding position is different and much better for taller riders – the cockpit is longer and the handlebars are 8 cm higher
        • The riding position is also better for shorter riders, with a shorter cockpit and a lower stepover
        • HSD only comes with a single battery
        • HSD comes with Bosch Gen 3 motors vs. Gen 2 for GSD
        • Gates Belt!! Two of the HSD models come with belt drives
        • HSD has an optimized trailer mounting location on the dropout
        • HSD has a custom Tern Atlas dropout that slides and has a break for a belt
        • Every HSD comes standard with keyed-alike frame lock
        • HSD is cheaper, with the HSD P9 cheaper than the GSD S10 by $800

For me, personally, this will most likely become our yang to the Urban Arrow Family, and depending on how the Passenger Kit works out it may replace my wife’s GSD as we have 2 children but she uses the GSD as her daily commuter without the kids but then carries them to the pool, zoo, etc. If it doesn’t carry 2 kids, then it will be the single occupancy bike that can pick up groceries and carry our 18-month-old. The HSD is a bike that makes sense, much like driving a Subaru Outback. It’s not too big but very capable. It has some extra room to carry things but not so much that you feel like you are driving a massive bike around all the time. 

A New Market of Crossover Electric Bikes

I look forward to getting in a Tern HSD to review and then I can really tell you what I think about using the product in daily life. Mark my words, this is the beginning of a new market of electric bikes – the crossover electric bikes. Electric bikes with accessories designed specifically to make biking even more useful and to replace car trips.

Updated December 13, 2019 – Read our Tern HSD Review

My Tern HSD review is here

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