Review: The ‘simply capable’ Tern Quick Haul D8

A mighty little hauler that will help you do more by bike

Tern Quick Haul
(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)
Cycling Weekly Verdict

The Quick Haul is an impressively versatile, utilitarian and durable e-bike with the potential to replace many car trips for single city dwellers and urban parents alike. With a wealth of accessories available, the Quick haul can be customized to best suit your individual needs. And thanks to its compact frame, nimble handling and smooth electric assist, it’s also plain fun to ride.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Quiet and smooth Bosch Active Line Plus motor

  • +

    Nimble ride feel

  • +

    Compact one-size-fits-most frame

  • +

    Integrated lights, fenders, chain guard, kickstand and bell

  • +

    Rear rack doubles as a vertical bike stand to save space

  • +

    Versatile and customizable thanks to a wealth of cargo carrying accessories

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Extra, costly accessories are needed for full utility of the bike

  • -

    Hauling capacity sits at the rear, meaning you can’t keep an eye on the cargo be it little humans or groceries

  • -

    Look to the P9 model for a more powerful, Class 3, motor

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Earlier this year, my colleague Hannah Bussey reviewed the car-replacing Tern GSD S10 Cargo, a bike which, she says, changed her family life. On the other side of the world, I meanwhile spent some time, however brief, on the new and compact Tern Quick Haul D8, and walked away with a similar feeling: with its cargo ability, wide array of utilitarian accessories and capable electric assist, the Quick Haul has the potential to replace many car trips for single city dweller and urban parents alike. 

Now arriving in stores across North America, the Quick Hail D8 is Tern’s take on an everyday electric bicycle. Meaning, it’s a bike that sports all the essentials for everyday riding — durable tires, fenders, lights and a smooth Bosch engine— paired with  153lbs  (70kg) total cargo capacity and all wrapped up in a relatively nimble and compact package. 

Sportier and less bulky than the Tern GSD or HSD, the Quick Haul is the cargo bike for  smaller hauls (compared to the GSD) and smaller budgets. 

I was given 10 days to put this bike through its paces on day-to-day trips like hauling groceries or review gear, picking up my nephew from pre-school and general around-town errands. Here’s how it went.

The Quick Haul D8 at a glance:

Tern Quick Haul

The Tern Quick Haul D8 with mini storm box

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

Tern’s “simply capable” daily all-rounder might be pared down from Tern’s more robust and higher-end GSD or HSD e-cargo bikes, but still comes stocked with:

  • Bosch Active Line Plus motor provides up to 50 Nm of torque and 270% support. The Class 1 will assist up to 20mph
  • Bosch PowerPack 400 with a range of: 33.6 - 65.2 miles or 54 - 105 kilometers
  • 1x8-speed Shimano Altus groupset with trigger shifter & Shimano hydraulic brakes
  • A EFBE-tested Steel frame that can handle a combined rider + cargo weight of 330lbs (150kg).
  • Stock fenders, chain guard, kickstand and bell
  • Stock integrated lights (Herrmans 120 lumens)
  • Frame weight: 50lbs (22.8kg)
  • Cargo capacity: 110lbs (50 kg) on the rear rack, plus an additional 44lbs (20 kg) on the optional front rack
  • Tern Quick Haul D8 starts at $2,999

Unique features I like:

Tern Quick Haul

The glove box

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)
  • The Quick Haul has a shareable, one size fits most frame. With an adjustable stem and seatpost, the stock bike will fit riders 5’3” to 6’5” (160 - 195 cm). An aftermarket shorter seatpost is available to support shorter riders 4’9” - 5’11” (145 - 180 cm)
  • The rear rack doubles as a stand for when you want to park the bike vertically to save space
  • A long wheelbase and a low center of gravity makes for stable handling, even when loaded up
  • The low, 490mm standover height makes for easy mounting and dismounting
  • Standard 31.8 handlebar and stem diameter makes swapping parts easy
  • An arsenal of extra accessories are available including:
    • A frame-specific glove box to carry tools, a lock, pump, wallet, etc.
    • Various front racks for carrying extra cargo
    • A variety of child seat options
    • Rear cargo trays
    • Front baskets
    • Panniers
    • Dog carriers

Tern Features the Quick Haul Doesn’t Have:

Tern Quick Haul

Regular chain drive instead of a Gates belt drive

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)
  • A Gates belt drive
  • Internally geared hubs
  • Suspension
  • Folding ability
  • The adjustable Andros stem
  • The Phylis folding handlepost
  • Telescopic seatpost

The Quick Haul for everyday riding:

Tern Quick Haul

Long tail cargo rack in the rear

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

I picked up the Quick Haul at Clever Cycles in Portland, Oregon, and happily pedaled the 10 miles (16km) home.  

From the outset, the Quick Haul is a very enjoyable ride. The position is relaxed, and easy to personalize with the adjustable seat and handlebar height. 

While it may sound like a lot, 50lbs isn’t all that much for an e-cargo bike. It’s certainly less than Tern’s other e-cargo bike models, and the Quick Haul is also shorter than many other cargo bikes — less than 6 feet. 

The compactness, weight and 20” wheels make the Quick Haul surprisingly nimble. The handling wasn’t at all unwieldy or sluggish. It handles very much like a regular bike and maneuvres easily around the urban cityscape and its unique challenges, even when loaded up. The wide Schwalbe tires and low center of gravity kept the ride stable and while many e-bike manufacturers and riders will look to suspension for added ride comfort, Tern was right in deciding that the Quick Haul doesn’t need it.

Tern Quick Haul

The very smooth and quiet Bosch Active Line Plus motor

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

Bosch is a top name in the e-bike motor game, and one that proudly wears the German engineering badge of approval. And my first ride on the Bosch Active Line Plus on the Tern Quick Haul impressed: it’s very quiet and incredibly smooth.

There are four power modes — Eco, Tour, Sport, Turbo — and toggling between them is done using the Bosch’s Purion display, which features two big push buttons on the side. The + increases the assistance, the - decreases it. The motor engages quickly and switching between modes is speedy yet smooth.

The Purion display is functional and easy to use but extremely limited. Displayed are your speed, trip miles, whether your light is on or off and the battery status. No trip time or even time of day, let alone any GPS capability which would be super handy if this bike were to indeed be a car replacement.

During my time with the Tern, I came close to running out of battery only once, and the marketed battery range of 33.6 - 65.2 miles seems pretty accurate.

The electric assist is an enjoyable and unobtrusive aid most of the time, but being a Class 1, the motor isn’t the most powerful. When cruising along at a 80 to 85 rpm cadence and somewhere in the 17 to 20 mph range, it works like a charm. It’s like having a tailwind all the time.

Going uphill, where the cadence drops, or when pushing the bike well above its assist, the motor runs out of steam quickly, or worse, seems to work against you. Perhaps, I’d prefer the Class 3 motor with a 28 mp/h better, but then again, this bike is meant for utilitarian purposes, not speed.

Tern Quick Haul

The Purion display, while easy to use, is rather basic.

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

In an effort to keep the price down, compromises had to be made. One of which is the drivetrain. The Quick Haul features a regular chain drive instead of a Gates belt drive with internally geared hubs. While this might require a bit more maintenance, especially for those who ride a lot and those in rainy climates, I don’t find that to be a really big drawback.

The 8-speed Shimano Altus groupset is pretty basic but does its job capably. I personally like the feel of trigger shifters and while 8 speeds aren’t much these days, the motor will make up the rest.

Living in the Pacific Northwest where rain is common and the weather is often gloomy, I very much appreciated the everyday essentials the Quick Haul comes stocked with like the integrated lights, the chain guard and fenders —even a bell. It just means you’ve got one less thing to think about when you run out of the house. While not light, the robust Schwalbe Big Apple tires offer plenty of traction, flat protection and even a reflective stripe for added visibility.

Once home, the Quick Haul rear rack doubles as a bike stand, allowing you to stand the bike up vertically. This is a wonderfully ingenious feature to save space in your garage or apartment.

The Quick Haul for hauling a kid:

Tern Quick Haul

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

For this, I roped in my four-year-old nephew and he was more than happy to oblige. I set the Quick Haul up with the Storm box and Storm Shield, which I quickly nicknamed the Popemobile. The swapping between or, in this case, adding accessories isn’t the fastest process the first time around, but easy enough to accomplish with the help of Tern’s instructional materials and Bike Shop Girl’s YouTube videos. Once safely secured I set off to pick up my nephew from preschool. It had been raining and he was pleased to see that at least one of us would be enjoying a dry excursion thanks to the Storm Shield. 

We got a post-school snack at the coffee shop, visited the library and then headed to the park. After tiring of the wet playground equipment, I loaded my nephew back into the Popemobile and took a detour via the skate park for a little extra excitement. Now I’m by no means suggesting that you follow my lead and take the Quick Haul over a pump track or into a skate bowl, but my nephew’s screams of delight are the best sound I’ve ever heard. And the bar for best school pickup has been set. 

When asked what he thought of this bike setup versus the Burley trailer or Brompton, my nephew gave me two thumbs up and shouted, “a 10 out of 10. No, a THOUSAND out of a THOUSAND!” 

The impressive array of child carrying accessories allow you to set up the Tern Quick Haul to your specific needs from all encasing carriers to a simple pad and footrest combination and everything in between. And with a 110lbs / 50kg carrying capacity, you could fit two smaller children quite comfortably. 

If only the carrying capacity was just slightly higher, one could give a friend a ride home after a night out as well… Alas, at 110 lbs, passengers are limited to small humans or any size dog.

The Quick Haul for hauling stuff (like wheel boxes!)

Tern Quick Haul

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

One day while in the possession of the Quick Haul, I had to deliver some bike wheels in their  boxes to the other side of town. So I grabbed some bungee cords and set off.  With the hauling capability on the rear of the bike instead of the front, you have to place a certain level of faith in your ability to safely secure your cargo — be it alive or inanimate. Once riding, you cannot keep your eyes on it. 

While I checked my cargo at every stop light, I had nothing to worry about. Tern’s rear racks and child carriers are robust, well thought-out and, most importantly, secure. While my review bike didn’t come with the cargo or short bed tray, the stock rear rack provided enough of a platform and bungee mounting points to transport my cargo. If you were to make the Quick Haul your regular hauler, however, I would suggest the addition of a rear tray and/or the front hauler. 

Perhaps that is the biggest downside about this bike: you have to factor in a few extra hundreds of dollars to set up the bike for your specific needs. There’s an arsenal of accessories available and you’re going to want at least some of the extra capability that these accessories can provide beyond what the stock bike can. $140 front hauler rack, $440 for the storm shield and mini box, $65 for the glove box…these accessories add up quickly. 

But once you’re all set up, you can carry up to 150lbs in addition to the rider, which is a lot of groceries and/or a big market haul. 

Who is the Quick Haul for?

Tern Quick Haul

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

The Quick Haul is a wonderfully versatile, entry e-cargo bike. The bike isn’t too big and neither is the price tag. In fact, the Quick Haul costs as much as just 33 tanks of gas for my car — which is a rather shocking realization.

Whether you’re a parent looking for an active and fun way to do daily school drop-offs or a single urban dweller looking for a gas-saving grocery getter, the Quick Haul will enable you to do more by bike.

The Quick Haul is utilitarian and built to last, while at the same time nimble and genuinely fun to ride so you can use it for a fun weekend jaunt as well. 

Value

Tern Quick Haul

(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

The Tern Quick Haul strikes a good balance between electric assist, utility and cost. 

You get a quality motor, a built-to-last frame and a fun, capable ride. Sure, some compromises were made in the components but even those are perfectly adequate for daily commuting. 

What’s more important is what you stand to gain: money you’d otherwise be spending on gas or public transportation; time you’d otherwise be spending in traffic, looking for parking or transit; and all the health and mental benefits of spending more time outdoors and being active.  

The Tern Quick Haul is a great starting point for anyone looking to do more by bike.