The new Short Haul compact cargo bike from Tern rolls along on 20” wheels, with the compact size and “practical pricing” of £1,100 making it the brand's most accessible cargo bike yet. The long-tail design has a maximum gross vehicle weight of 140kg and is capable of transporting up to 50kg of cargo on its rear rack, with the option to add an additional 20kg up front.
Tern’s main aim is to get more journeys completed by bike, and realises that for many people the price of cargo bikes has always been off-putting. This is where the Short Haul comes in, as it’s the brands cheapest cargo bike by quite some margin.
Tern has released just one specification level for the time being, the D8. It'll set you back £1,100, has 8-speed Shimano Altus gears and hydraulic disc brakes, but forgoes electrical assistance in order to keep costs down.
If you think that the Short Haul looks familiar then you’d be very right, as it is in fact the sister platform of the Quick Haul cargo bike (from £2,800) that our sister site eBikeTips looked at a few months ago. The main difference (other than the price) is the lack of electrical assistance, as the Short Haul relies purely on human power rather than a Bosch motor.
The Short Haul’s alloy frame is designed to be predominantly loaded at the rear, with the frame and fork mechanically strength tested to EFBE's stress tests up to the 140 kg (308 lb) maximum gross vehicle weight.
The Atlas Q rear rack is capable of handling up to 50kg and like on larger Tern cargo bikes such as the HSD, it’s bolted to the frame. This means that you can happily give lifts to a child in a seat, or a bigger kid using one of the other rear-rack-mounted options.
There’s also a double mount point on the headtube, which allows you to fit Tern’s Hauler or Transporteur rack up front for an additional 20kg carrying capacity. Tern’s ecosystem of accessories is also compatible thanks to the Short Haul using the “Upper Deck System”. That includes child seats, dog baskets and a plethora of other options.
For even more storage, the Short Haul can also be used with water-resistant storage compartments such as the one behind the seat tube pictured below.
The alloy frame is paired to a steel fork, which Tern says is designed to last. The wheelbase measures 116cm, similar to most city bikes, and the total length of the bike is 172cm.
The bike is designed around 20” wheels and comes with Schwalbe Big Apple tyres which measure 2.15” across. There’s also a Pletscher rear-mounted kickstand, and the mudguards get stainless steel hardware for increased longevity.
The gears are an 8-speed Shimano Altus setup and changed via a trigger shifter on the 31.8mm low rise bars. Hydraulic disc brakes also come as standard, again courtesy of Shimano, and the seatpost has a 31.6mm diameter with quick release clamp.
The lack of any electrical assistance means that the bike will likely appeal to riders who live in flatter areas; if that’s not you then you can always check out eBikeTips' e-cargo bike recommendations for under £3,000 here:
Tern has designed the Short Haul to fit riders of different heights from 147 - 190 cm (4’10” - 6’3”) and weighing up to 120 kg (264 lb). It also has a low stand over height (49cm or 19”) to make mounting and dismounting easier. Unlike on some cargo bikes, because the seat tube is angled back, the reach also increases as you put up the seatpost. Dave found on the similar Quick Haul that this made it feel less cramped despite him being rather tall.
For extra convenience, the rear rack design allows the bike to be vertically parked, so rolling it into an elevator and taking it upstairs is just as easy. Tern also says that the horizontal tube in the centre of the bike makes a convenient carry handle, making it easier to navigate stairs with the Short Haul.
The D8 has a total weight of 16.1kg (35.4lbs in old money) which is relatively light for a cargo bike; the lack of battery obviously helps in this regard.
Tern seems most proud of the way the Short Haul handles, saying: “Most cargo bikes are big and unwieldy. But with an extra-long wheelbase and low center of gravity, the Short Haul delivers a stable ride, even when carrying heavy loads. The Short Haul offers the best of both worlds, packing a sturdy build and a hefty cargo capacity into a compact package that simply rides better.”
Obviously we can’t yet comment on the ride quality, but we have a Short Haul on its way in for review so stay tuned for that.
The Short Haul will be available from around July with the D8 model costing £1,100. There are three colours advertised, a burnt orange, tan, or black.
Would you consider ditching the car for a Short Haul? If not, then let us know what’s stopping you in the comments section below
Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...