Bike test: Tern Cargo Node

Tern Cargo Node
Tern Cargo Node: a utility bike that goes some way to solving the problem with storage
Alix Stredwick, founder of CarryMe Bikes CIC, reviews a cargo bike that folds down for storage

Cargo bikes are awesome for carrying loads but can be awkward to store. To overcome this, Tern teamed up with Xtracycle to create a folding ‘longtail’ cargo bike that can fit in your hallway, a lift, a large car boot – and probably the train.

If you’re familiar with the way the Brompton’s front end folds back on itself, you’ll get the hang of it easily. Tern says it can fold in 10 seconds. It does. A well-placed magnet and an easy-to-use strap keep the top tube and front wheel in place.

My mum (age 70) described the folding mechanism as making the satisfying clunk of an expensive car”. Her slightly arthritic fingers also had no problem pulling back the chunky, user-friendly levers for the hinges.

Tern Cargo Node folded

The Cargo Node’s maiden voyage was to transport as many child seats as possible for the Hackney Family Cycling Library, which it did with aplomb. The two Xtracycle oversized pannier bags held five child seats using their handy straps, although I still needed to use bungees. With 160kg capacity (including rider), heavier loads than this won’t be a problem.

Also carries children

As a shortish woman (just over the 5ft 2in min height), I found the handling of the bike fully loaded pretty easy. It’s not step-through but the top tube is quite low. A stand-out feature is the Andros ‘no-tool’ adjustable handlebar stem that creates a convenient range of reach. However, at its shortest reach the wonderful Valo 2 dynamo light won’t shine directly onto the road.

Recently the Cargo Node has been officially approved for child carrying, but unfortunately I didn’t get to try the compatible Xtracycle passenger rails, seat pads and footrests. A friend who bought one praises the ride as “more like an ordinary bike than any other child-carrying bike I have tried”, while pointing out that it would be even better if it balanced on its sturdy Xtracycle Kickback™ bipod kickstand stand when folded.

Overall, this is an extremely user-friendly cargo bike, with a price that reflects its quality specification.

All information correct at time of publishing.

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Tech spec

Tern Cargo Node

Tern Cargo Node geometry

PRICE: £1,750

SIZES: One size

WEIGHT: 24.5kg

FOLDED SIZE: 520×1320×830mm (claimed), 670×1335×805 (measured)

FRAME & FORK: Aluminium frame with Xtracycle Leap rack, cromoly fork. Fittings for head-tube rack and front low-rider

WHEELS: 50-507 Schwalbe Big Apple tyres, doublewall aluminium rims, Sapim Leader spokes

TRANSMISSION: VP alloy pedals, 48-32 chainset, KMC 8-speed chain, 11-34T 8-speed cassette. Shimano Rapidfire shifters, Microshift front and Shimano Altus rear mechs. 16 ratios, 23-106in

BRAKING: Tektro hydraulic disc brakes

STEERING & SEATING: Flat aluminium handlebar, Tern Andros adjustable stem, Physis integrated headset. BioLogic Como DLX saddle and BioLogic seatpost

EQUIPMENT: RP mudguards, Xtracycle Bipod kickstand, Xtracycle Leap rack including CarryAll panniers

Other options

Yuba Mundo

Yuba Mundo Classic $999

Non-folding steel longtail with 26in wheels, 7-speed derailleur gears, and V-brakes. ‘Lux’ version available with hydraulic discs, lighting, and fatter tyres.

Bike Friday Haul-A-Day

Bike Friday Haul-A-Day $1,250+

20in-wheel longtail that can stand vertically on its rack, creating a tiny footprint. At 15kg, claims to be “the lightest longtail cargo bike”.