Tern’s new Quick Haul Long electric cargo bike shows it’s not the size that matters

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Tern, one of the leading innovators in cargo electric bike design, has just announced its newest model. Get ready to stretch, because here comes the Quick Haul Long.

Tern’s electric cargo bikes have always been known for two things: high-quality heavy-hauling designs and relatively smaller footprints, at least as far as cargo e-bikes go. Years ago, the company basically invented the compact cargo e-bike category.

Tern’s engineers have long been offering just as much — or more — cargo hauling abilities in e-bikes that don’t take up as much space in riders’ garages or living rooms. Look no further than the vertical parking feature built into their rear racks that allows the bikes to take up the same amount of floor space as a coat rack.

Now, with the new Tern Quick Haul Long, the company is finally filling out in the length department with its lower cost model, while still incorporating more of the size and capabilities of its longer GSD model.

The GSD has long been Tern’s flagship longer cargo e-bike, but it also comes with a flagship price, starting at around $4,500 and increasing quickly from there for the even higher-end components. The Quick Haul, on the other hand, is the brand’s smaller and more budget-friendly cargo offering. Now Tern is combining the two, bringing GSD features to the Quick Haul, but leaving the higher price in the dust.

Starting at US $3,799, The Quick Haul Long is still compact by modern cargo e-bike standards, but incorporates more of the GSD’s DNA for even more capability. It’s also now one of the most affordable premium cargo e-bikes on the market available from the higher-tier brands.

“The compact cargo bike category came about when we launched the GSD in 2018,” explained Josh Hon, Tern Team Captain. “Customers loved how such a small little bike could handle so many tasks typically done by car. Since then, we’ve learned a lot about how to make cargo bikes even better, and we applied those insights to the Quick Haul Long. The bike retains the GSD’s core features but it comes at a more accessible price, without compromising safety or reliability.”

The Quick Haul Long sticks with Tern’s typical 20″ wheels, keeping it the same length as a typical larger wheel city bike. However, its long rack and 190 kg (419 lb) weight rating means it can handle significantly more utility tasks. Just that rear rack alone is rated for 90 kg (200 lb), and also has a built-in tow mount for pulling trailers or towing other bikes. Carrying two kids on the rear rack is a breeze, and the bike’s lower center of gravity and stiff frame are optimized for stable, smooth riding.

Even the front cargo mount, which supports an optional front rack or basket, is rated for 20 kg (44 lb). Anyone who has ever loaded up the front of their bike in addition to the rear will know that’s a serious amount of weight, helping to balance out a load and provide more mounting options.

The bike is said to fit riders from 5’1″ to 6’1″, or 155 to 185 cm. The low step-through frame is designed to be easy to mount, as well as easy to hop forward on, especially when you’ve got a couple of wiggling kids on the rear rack and need some extra stability at a red light. For more stability when parked, the bike features one of the strongest dual kickstands I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen a lot of kickstands. I’ve had a motorcycle or two that I wish Tern had built the kickstand for.

Powering the bike is Bosch’s Cargo Line mid-drive motor, meaning you get the backing of the leading German drive maker as well as all of the warranty and service/support that comes with it.

The bike also features Bosch’s batteries with multiple size options, letting riders dial in the capacity and range they need (and that fits their budget).

And while Tern’s heritage comes from the bike experts of Taiwan, you’d almost think they were a German company based on how much emphasis they put into the engineering and safety certifications on their bikes, including testing to the new DIN79010 standard at the bike’s max capacity of 190 kg (419 lb).

As Hon continued, “The cargo bike segment has exploded in popularity in recent years, with just about every brand introducing their version of a ‘cargo bike.’ But unfortunately, testing and safety standards haven’t kept pace. Germany has recently published the first national testing standard for cargo bikes – DIN79010. We believe that any cargo bike claiming a MGVW over 120 kg should be tested to the DIN 79010 standard—but very few have been so far.”

Electrek’s Take

This definitely feels like Tern’s shot across the bow of budget brands with their popular low-cost cargo e-bike models. There’s no way Tern can compete directly with a $1,500 cargo e-bike, but it can offer significantly better quality components for a compelling price, at least compared to all the $6,000 cargo e-bikes out there.

For those who are trying to decide whether to save money on a budget brand or upgrade to a premium model, this is about the best price you’ll find for a premium electric cargo bike.

I still believe that budget cargo e-bikes have their place, and to be fair, I got my sister one for her family. But we can’t kid ourselves and pretend like there isn’t a quality difference. For someone actually replacing a car and relying on their e-bike daily, that quality difference translates into everyday reliability and the peace of mind of knowing that the bike is designed to last for years, not for a year.

Of course, the fact that the bike runs a Bosch motor is always going to be a double-edged sword in the US. Bosch systems are famously pedal-assist only, meaning no throttles. The Bosch name carries a lot of weight in Europe, but Americans seem to opt for throttle-enable electric bikes nine times out of ten, so it’s an uphill pedal to try and sell non-throttle e-bikes in the States. In Europe though, I can see this thing crushing the pricier alternatives from German and British e-bike brands.

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