Dahon and Tern took a break from fighting each other in court to battle for customers at this autumn's trade expos, where their respective product launches were the talk of the show for folding-bike fans.
"Tern is a small bird that makes a global journey," said Josh Hon in his Steve Jobs style launch of the new brand at Eurobike. The company’s 2012 range features 22 models, about a third of which will change yearly. It includes the Biologic brand of accessories that produces such specialities as a hub dynamo recharger for iPhones.
The Tern range comes in variants of five broad designs: Castro (26in-wheeled urban bikes with integrated rear rack), Eclipse (26in-wheeled sporty models), Joe (26in-wheeled folders), Link (20in-wheeled utility bikes) and Verge (20in-wheeled sporty models).
The latter model – based on the previous Vector frame from Dahon – stood out, with options to have everything from two-speed automatic shifting (via a cableless SRAM Automatix hub) to 30 derailleur gears.
Tern's Verge X30h – yes that's right, 30 gears on a folder!
Dahon weren't able to display the Vector at Eurobike because of the ongoing legal battle. After Tern accused them of design patent violations, the Munich District Court issued a preliminary injunction preventing them from selling or even marketing various products on German soil.
One bike they were able to showcase was the new ‘autofold’ Jifo 16. This folds extremely quickly into a small package for "that last mile". It uses an innovative linkage system to speed folding and features internal cable routing. More new technology was in evidence with the launch of a model featuring NuVinci's continuously variable gear changing, the Mu N360.
Dahon's Jifo 16 unfolded – the process is said to take just seven seconds
Dahon also introduced a non-folding Flat Pack design, meant to minimise a full-sized bike’s footprint for easier storage. For 2012 their range has been "streamlined to 34 models" – previously the majority of their bikes lasted only a year or two before being replaced with new designs.
In other folding bike news, Brompton have introduced new taller bars for taller riders and a new day bag from Ortleib that fits on their front luggage carrier. Though it might not seem like groundbreaking stuff, it continues the tradition of organic refinement that has seen Brompton’s sales grow rapidly in recent years – so fast, in fact, that at times they've struggled to keep up with demand.
This new day bag from Ortleib is designed to fit on Brompton's bespoke front luggage carrier