So last week Tern launched the new version of the GSD, a compact cargo bike that we’ve raved about before here at ebiketips. And we got to have a play with one of the new bikes, the £5,499 GSD S00. It’s the middle of the three builds, with an Enviolo cargo transmission. I got the opportunity to try it out, and also dropped it down to ebiketips reviewer Jez Ash, who has a first-generation GSD as his day-to-day workhorse bike.
First things first: Tern would have to do quite a lot of work to make the next-generation GSD into a bad bike, considering how good their first effort was. So it likely won’t be a surprise that the new bike is really good: everything that was likable about the original bike is still there. It’s got a huge carrying capacity for a bike that’s no longer than a standard city bike, and the carrying space is very configurable, so you can shift shopping, or people, or a mix of both, very easily. It’s easy to adjust for riders of any size, and it’s easy to ride: there’s no learning curve like you’d get with a bucket cargo bike, it just feels like a normal bike, and it fits through most of the gaps a normal bike would.
Some things that Tern has changed aren’t really that noticeable in use. The frame has been significantly beefed up, using a tube profile with an internal reinforcement strut in the main tubes, but the bike didn’t look like it was going to fold up before. Your passengers will welcome the integrated footrails though; those were a cost option before. Our test bike had the additional Sidekick Wide Decks fitted too.
They’ll also enjoy the fact that the rear wheel is fully enclosed: there are plastic screens along the inside of the rear rack, so if it’s raining (or the road is wet) there’s less chance of getting splattered. If your passengers are a bit smaller then the bike still accepts two Yepp child seats, and the Clubhouse enclosure for bigger kids has been redesigned so you can fit it with a child seat in the rear position.
All the new GSD bikes have been specced with the 85Nm Bosch Cargo Line motor, which is the most powerful of all Bosch’s units. Previously the top-spec bike – the equivalent of this bike, although now there’s a £8,299 build with Rohloff’s E14 system – got the 75Nm Performance Line CX motor, and the other bikes had 63Nm Performance line motors. So could Jez tell the difference, riding the old bike and the new back to back? “I’d be hard pushed to notice, really”, was the verdict. Possibly that’s to do with the two bikes having different transmissions: Jez’s GSD is a 10-speed derailleur, while the new S00 uses Enviolo’s Cargo transmission. It’s a good choice in terms of longevity and service interval – the Gates Carbon belt and fully enclosed hub will require minimal maintenance – but the continuously-variable Enviolo hub is a lot less efficient than a derailleur, so you’re losing some of the extra power there. The cheaper S10 build of the bike, which is more efficient and lighter, will be the best one to wring the maximum performance out of the new motor.
Some things that have been changed make an immediate and noticeable difference. The new GSD comes specced with a short travel SR Suntour fork, that we first saw on Tern’s HSD bike. “The fork is a good idea”, says Jez. “I had initially thought it might be unnecessary but with the small wheels it does make sense and helps improve comfort”
The riding position has been changed too: the seatpost angle has been slackened considerably, and that means if you’re a taller rider (like me) then the bike has a much longer effective top tube. I definitely prefer the position on the new bike. For shorter riders it’ll feel similar to the previous version.
Another thing that’s been improved is the kickstand, with the new GSD getting a newly-designed Atlas Lockstand that’s more heavily built, locks into place, and is released using a lever on the handlebars. “The kick stand is a big improvement, although it's a bit hidden behind the pannier”, says Jez. “I'm likely to upgrade ours, especially now we’ll have 2 kids on the back... although I gather you don't get the natty bar-release if you retrofit to the old bike”.
Jez was also impressed with the new Cargo Hold panniers. “The panniers are amazing: I love the mag catches, and they have so much more capacity than the old ones. I think the new pricing is a reasonable deal, to be honest: you get a better motor, the suspension fork, and the improved kickstand.” The panniers are still extra though, so budget for them.
So it’s a thumbs-up from me and Jez based on a weekend with the new bike, but we’ll be getting a new GSD longer term for a full review: watch out for that on ebiketips.