Snaking gently through the gridlock amid a cacophony of car horns while riding my trusty Tern Verge S8i, I pull up on the sidewalk near a subway entrance in Brooklyn. With one hand on the seat, I unclasp the bike's two joint locks located on the top tube and handlebars, and in one swift, smooth motion, fold the front wheel until it magnetically locks next to the back wheel. With one hand on the seat, I roll the collapsed bike down the steps and into a packed subway car, where I'm able to neatly place it between my legs.
Given America's historic love affair with the automobile, it may be hard to believe that the number of bicycle commuters in U.S. cities has increased 60 percent in the last decade. One driver of the movement is the folding bike that allows riders to store their equipment while they move seamlessly from the street to urban transportation. Sure, road bikes are better for long distances and mountain bikes are essential for off-roading, but both require storage racks and sturdy locks to avoid theft. The gentleman commuter should choose Tern's Verge S8i folding bicycle ($2,100), a machine that adapts to his lifestyle, rather than vice versa.
The Verge S8i takes about 10 seconds to transform into its small stature and can be easily kept under your office desk. Additionally, many businesses will allow it inside while you run errands, and the S8i can be stowed away in the overhead bin of an airplane should you choose to bring it on vacation.
Smaller wheels and a step-through frame are the hallmarks of the S8i, but it's also fairly lightweight and durable and sports an impressive groupset.
Engineered to be ultralow maintenance, the S8i eschews a traditional metal chain in favor of a Gates Carbon Belt Drivetrain, thus requiring no messy oil that can splatter on your office pants. The Shimano Alfine internal gear hub quietly shifts between eight gears, and Shimano Deore hydraulic disc brakes provide stopping power even in slick conditions. Its Andros handlebars can be adjusted by hand, with options to set up high for a more comfortable ride, or down low in more of a racing position.
Rounding out the bike's features are front and back lights that are powered by pedaling, puncture-resistant tires and front and rear fenders that protect from rain and road debris.