Sunday, July 05, 2015

Another Tern Frame Failure (Shearing into half)

Update June 21, 2016: The initial incident report is here

Andrew from London shared with me an accident that happened to him in June 2015.

The bicycle involved was a Tern Verge S11i which was not part of the recall. It just sheared into half while he was approaching a traffic light. Luckily he was slowing down and that section of road was not too busy, or he would suffer more serious injuries.

Here are a few of my thoughts:
  • Most of the incidents failed at the front weld of the folding joint
  • Tern Verge bikes are sold as high-end bikes, this type of catastrophic failure is shocking. It can easily get people severely injured or even killed
Here are some of the pictures Andrew sent me. The complete set of pictures is available here.

 Here is the email sent by Andrew:

Hi Cuppa,

Thanks for the reply, sorry it's taken so long to get back to you. 

I do want people to know about this problem. Had I known before purchase I wouldn't have bought one, especially as frames are failing outside of the recalled batches. 


My Tern Verge S11i failed while approaching a red light in central London at around 8:30am on a Thursday morning. Luck would have it that I was already slowing for the lights and was in a gap between traffic. 500m later and I would have been passing Kings Cross and the situation would have been significantly more dangerous.

As with previous recalls, the failure happened to the front weld of the OCL hinge joint, snapping the frame in two. I hit the ground and was knocked unconscious for half a minute until I was assisted by passers by and helped out of the road. 

Images in my frame and fortunately light injuries, along with Tern's website reporting that my frame was not one affected by the recall can be found on my Flickr album below.  

I want to get the message out, because I don't want anyone else to be put at risk. I am a cyclist, work for a cycle clothing company and everyone has the right to know that the gear they are riding is fit for purpose. 

Tern have yet to approve any of my posts on their forum about this failure. I understand but don't condone their desire to keep these failures under wraps. This has to stop.


Anonymous said...

My 6 month old Tern Eclipse sheared in half 18 months ago. At the time Evans cycles were adamant that it was my fault due to poor maintenance and denied there was a problem with the frame. This week I received a recall email from Evans stating the frame is unsafe and should be returned immediately (they obviously don't have it on record the 2 pieces of frame were returned to them)

Cuppa Chai said...


If you could provide me with more information on your Tern Eclipse, for example, pictures or/and correspondences between yourself and Tern, I am glad to post those here to create awareness. Thanks