Thursday, June 23, 2011

Tern, what's ur story?

Yesterday I had a lively FB chat with my good bike crazy pals, Matt, Steve, Bro Al and many others. The topic of the day was Tern.  More information here
In a nutshell it is a new bicycle company led by Joshua hon with a group of ex-Dahon staff.  I had a look at the press release and also the video teaser.  Well, it was sure was slick, stylishly executed... but something felt missing. It felt too posed and fake.  come on, cycling in the middle of the express way, with no cars...ok maybe 1 car... right... try telling this to urban city riders.  Warning...   Ok, if u are Dahon Zealots that love Dahon to death... maybe I would suggest that it is time to click away.  To clarify, I have always admired Dahon as it has set levels of standard that many folding bikes are matched to..  I tried my friend's Dahon P8 and it rides well and last well. This is the problem. It has too much legacy...Tern claims that their bikes would last better...
I quote from the report  "Tern designers have spent a lot of time examining the durability of the bicycles in their folded position, too. A patented floating linkage removes any additional stress on the steel rod in the hinge clasp, and the rounded edges of the hinges removes sharp edges which can tear carry bags or injure others on public transport. The safety catch itself is made from engineering plastic..."  Hmm...So does it means Dahon models are not sturdy enough and not designed well?  For the record, I haven't had a chance to really see the bikes up close and personal so this is just my direct honest opinion looking at the press release kit and video. From this perspective, I find there is just so much in common to Dahon. It just looks like a glam up Dahon with really nice paint and graphics.  Come on, customers are not stupid...
So what does the brand stand for? In this increasingly congested , competitive folding bike market...the brand message needs to be crystal clear. I am also very surprised that brands are not moving beyond the hardware to the "heartware"... What's the story? What will touch the customer in a "primal" and emotional way? 

And to cap it off, here is another perspective from a rider based in Taiwan.... Comments? Opinions? Fire away!

1 comment:

  1. I think you have to give it a few years before we understand where Tern and Dahon is going to be. After all, this year's Dahon was probably designed by the same team. Tern's line... well, the team hasn't really come out with anything spectacularly new, it seems.

    But now that we're at the inflection point between Dahon and Tern, in the next few years, there is pressure on Dahon to see what exactly they can come out with, since I suspect Tern will probably come out with more of the "old" Dahon, while Dahon has to assemble a new team with, perhaps, a radically different vision.