There’s one big Problem with electric bikes being an eco-friendly alternative mode of transport: Many people already own several bicycles (guilty!). It isn’t really reducing carbon emissions if the person who buys an ebike was It is already riding a bike, skateboard, or scooter.
Many companies make bikes larger or more car-like to attract non-bike riders. This approach, however, I believe is wrong. I ride a bike; I don’t ride motorcycles. Big bikes are heavy and scary, especially if you’re smaller or mobility-challenged. I’m not chasing thrills on the highway; I just want to go to the grocery store without worrying about parking.
The Tern NBD accomplishes this task with one specific design feature—a step-through so low that the whole time I was riding it, all I could think about was comedian Frankie Quinones’ CholoSpin. It’s easy to cruise the bike homey. It’s way too expensive if you yourself are not mobility-challenged, but I have to admit that for weeks, it was the easiest bike to grab on my way out the door.
Let’s talk about this frame. Step-through cruiser bikes are a common term for electric bikes. Because the top tube of a cruiser electric bike is shorter than that on a regular bike, it’s much easier to climb through it instead of over it. A horizontal top tube is easier to transport, but that’s a different story. The top tube in practice is always straight. The top tube has more space than you would expect, although not always as much.
Because the NBD’s top tube sits so low, it is directly above the Bosch Performance motor. Your leg must be lifted about 15 inches above the ground. This is 4 inches less than my Tern GSD’s already low step-through. It’s so low that my muscle memory couldn’t handle it—I kept automatically flinging my leg over with many extra inches of clearance.
I’m not mobility-challenged. However, this bike would be very accessible for me if I had hip or knee issues. The problem that it solved for me was much more shallow—I like wearing long, floofy dresses around the house, but I usually have to change out of them to skateboard or bike around. With the NBD, I didn’t have to worry about flashing my neighbors when I biked to get burgers with my kids.
Pretty much everything about the NBD is designed for extreme comfort and ease of use—more or less, just like a CholoSpin. You can easily sit on the handlebars, which are designed to allow you to reach your hands. The grips have large ergonomically-designed handles that are easy for wrist rest. Bosch’s display is large and bright. The buttons are big and well labeled with touch bumps.