Over at Tern, we launched two new products the Tail Hitch L for the Tern GSD Gen 2 electric cargo bike and the Bike Tow Kit which attaches to the Tail Hitch L. I have tested both of these products a good amount and wanted to share some tips and tricks, along with answering FAQ. If you are more of a video person, look toward the bottom for a video version of this article.
What is the Tern Bike Tow Kit and Tail Hitch L?
The Tail Hitch L is a bracket that attaches to the back of the Tern GSD Gen 2 cargo bikes to extend the trailer hitch mounts away from the bike. Why? Well as the Tern accessory team developed new accessories like the Storm Box and folding Sidekick Double Wide Decks, they could interfere with the trailer mounting points and accessories. By moving the mounting point back, you won’t experience that any longer.
The Tail Hitch L also allows for a 2nd accessory launched today, the Bike Tow Kit.
The Bike Tow Kit Allows You to Tow a Bike with Your Tern GSD
As a mom that has carried her kids’ bikes in various fashions, I am thrilled to have a product specifically designed for this use. I’ve towed my daughter’s 24″ bike to school so she could ride home, my mountain bike to the trail, and even electric bikes to meet up with people for them to demo the bike.
Tern Tail Hitch L and Bike Tow Kit FAQ
General tips for both products:
- Make sure your Atlas Lock Stand is serviced and working well
- Anything you are towing from a trailer, cargo in the trailer, or a bike should be included in the formula of your bike’s max gross vehicle weight. The GSD Gen 2 MGVW is 440 lbs, which means the bike and accessory weight, humans, cargo, and towed-behind items should all be less than 440 lbs. The exception is if you have a cargo trailer with brakes.
- The Lockstand Quadstruts and Lockstand Extensions are not required, but I came to prefer using them when using a trailer or bike tow kit as it adds another layer of stability
- Both of these accessories stick out the back and remove the vertical standing feature of your GSD
Tail Hitch L Tips & FAQ
- The Tail Hitch L is designed for the GSD Gen 2 – it will not work on a Gen 1 GSD or HSD or other bikes in the Tern line-up. We do our best to make things backward compatible, unfortunately, this isn’t one.
- The trailer and load should not exceed the max towing capacity of 60kg/132lbs
Bike Tow Kit Setup
The Bike Tow Kit is rather easy to install but will need to be set up for your unique fork for different widths and axle setups.
The Bike Tow Kit comes with a bunch of parts and clear instructions to help you figure out what setup you need for your bike. There are 4 different towing tubes, and 3 pairs of different towing tube ends. I started adding colored electrical tape to the ones I used the most to make the swap faster. I switched between a thru-axle fork and quick-release wheels for my kids’ bikes. This required me to unbolt with a basic 5mm allen tool the Tow Kit and switch the different tow tubes, and towing tube ends that changed the inner diameter for different axles.
Bike Tow Kit Tips
- Max bike weight is 30kg/66lbs
- It is not designed or safe for passengers to ride the towed-behind bike, please don’t try it
- When towing an e-bike, I pulled the battery and put it in my pannier
- I added a rear light to the back of the towed bike. I may put a flappy reflective triangle on the saddle or rear rack
- You don’t want anything on the front of the towed bike like a rack. This is in case you go down a ditch and the rear bike rotates up.
- Practice riding in a calm area, especially before towing a bike with a passenger on the GSD. I found it rides beautifully, but you do need to understand your turning radius and watch for any cuts in the road that your wheel could drop down in just like you would with the bike you are riding.
- Backing up is a new skill to develop, especially in gravel, use your GSD brakes to control the speed, make small changes and maybe have a friend help with the rear bike if you are in a tight spot.
- Speaking of backing up – in some of my early test rides I strapped the front wheel to rest on my pedal against my frame. Well, this prevents you from being able to back up because the pedals have to be able to spin. So, keep your front wheel mounted securely somewhere else.
Who is the Tail Hitch or Bike Tow Kit for?
As a previous bike shop owner, this would be my preferred way to drop off service bikes or demo bikes. As a mom, this is the best option I have seen to bring a kid’s bike along with you. I’ve never been a fan of the bag and drag, and this is truly designed for the purpose. As a mountain biker, this is going to allow me to bike to the local trails easier without having to get in the car. I love that our product team keeps developing small accessories like this that will make a big impact on people being able to choose a bike over a car.
Let me know if I missed anything or you have any additional questions! Until next time, stay well, stay good, and remember to bike more and worry less ✌🏼