Tern revamps the HSD Cargo eBike: A review of the stronger, smarter 2023 models

Tern HSD Cargo eBike 2023
The 2023 Tern HSD cargo eBike is compact yet powerful. It offers enhanced cargo capacity, more strength, smart features and a range of customizable options for the modern rider. Images © Tern

Since its inception, Tern has been dedicated to building high-quality cargo bikes, a commitment that was made evident with the 2019 release of its HSD cargo eBike. Designed to offer the load-carrying capacity of a cargo bike with the simplicity and ease-of-use of a city eBike, the HSD quickly made a name for itself. Now, in 2023, Tern is once again breaking new ground, with a reimagined HSD that’s touted as “stronger and smarter”.

According to Tern’s spokesperson Josh Hon, the company has made several improvements based on feedback collected from riders and their team over the last four years. These improvements, combined with the new Bosch Smart System’s upgraded power and electronic intelligence, make the new generation HSD a serious contender in the eBike market.

The 2023 HSD line-up is not just a single model; it comprises five distinct models. Four of these models are powered by a Bosch Performance Line mid-drive motor, capable of amplifying rider input by up to 340%, reaching top assist speeds of 20 mph (25 km/h in Europe), and producing 75 Nm (55 lb.ft) of torque. The standout S11 model gets a Performance Sport motor, enabling pedal-assist speeds up to 28 mph. Three of these models feature a low-maintenance Gates CDX Belt Drive, while the other two utilize a KMC chain and Shimano Deore derailleur.

Each of these models comes equipped with a Bosch PowerPack 545 battery, providing up to 76 miles (121 km) of range per charge. There is also an option to upgrade to a 725-Wh version for those who require longer distances. Notably, the motor, battery, charger, and display of the Bosch Smart System have been certified to meet the UL 2849 safety standard, giving users additional peace of mind.

Tern HSD Cargo eBike 2023 Rear and Front Racks
While the rear rack can comfortably accommodate up to 80 kg of load, an optional front rack or basket can be added for extra cargo space.

The S-class models feature a Connect Module offering GPS/GSM tracking, motion sensors, and a high-decibel anti-theft alarm. It can also be paired with a smartphone via a companion app for added convenience and security.

From a design perspective, Tern has reported a 15% increase in stiffness at the head tube and a 39% increase at the bottom bracket in the new 6061 alloy frame. The rear rack has been revamped and can now haul up to 80 kg (176 lb) of gear, enough for a passenger or substantial cargo. Additional modular accessories are available to customize the HSD according to personal needs. The maximum gross weight, including the rider, stands at a hefty 180 kg (almost 400 lb).

Tern HSD Cargo eBike 2023 Transport
To facilitate between-ride transportation in the trunk of an SUV, the HSD’s seatpost can be lowered and its handlebars can be folded down.

Although the HSD isn’t a folding bike per se, the seat post can be lowered, and the handlebars folded down for easy transport. Additionally, the eBike can stand upright for storage in elevators or apartments. Other noteworthy features include a custom Suntour suspension fork, 20-inch Schwalbe tires, integrated front and back lighting, Shimano or Magura hydraulic disc brakes with 180/160-mm rotors, stainless steel fenders, and a kickstand.

The price of the 2023 HSD cargo eBike models starts at US$4,299, and they are set to be released in the US in the fall. Whether you’re a cargo eBike enthusiast or a city commuter in need of a reliable, high-capacity hauler, the Tern HSD line is certainly worth considering.

Tern HSD Cargo eBike 2023 Lock Unlock with Smartphone
Unlocking convenience with the 2023 Tern HSD: Control your eBike’s security directly from your smartphone.
Tern HSD Cargo eBike 2023 Integrated Lighting
Stay visible and safe with the 2023 Tern HSD eBike: Features integrated front and rear lighting for enhanced road safety.

Product page: HSD