When purchasing a new bike, it’s normal to compare and contrast to make sure you get the right bike for you – at Pusher of Pedals we’ve been lucky enough to ride both the Tern GSD and Babboe Curve Mountain. In this head to head we look at both the pros and cons of each bike which hopefully lead you to make up your mind on what might be for you.
Starting with the Babboe Curve Mountain, Babboe is a Dutch brand and you can see that in the bikes styling, with step through access and Dutch styling evident throughout the bike, it’s shaped in what is known as a tadpole design. Two wheels at the front and one at the rear increases the bikes stability and makes it super easy to ride.
In between both wheels is a huge crate for kids, shopping, dogs – whatever you want to put in there. There is space in there for four kids plus all their snacks and needs for the day, there really is a large amount of space – enough for an adult and two kids if need be. On the inside, there are three point seat belts for your little ones, battery pack under the seat and that’s it. A minimal fuss free space with a solid floor.
As for the bike itself, it rides well. The three wheels offer much stability, you must be careful heading in to corners though, you can’t just turn the bike in to a bend. You must slow down, it has a tendency, if you’re used to riding road bikes and turning in to corners, to ride up on its outer wheel, cocking the inside and can, if going much too fast, topple. As the rider you have to control your cornering, leaning into the corners as if you’re riding a motorbike if you’re going too quickly.
This is not a fault of the bike, riding a cargo bike of this size means you, as the rider, have to change your riding style remember what you have on board and ride appropriately.
With front and rear Hydraulic disc brakes, the Babboe Curve-E really does stop well and when fully laden it needs the power of the disc brakes to slow it down. It’s not a light bike, which is why you’re so grateful of a strong and powerful 36V 250W electric motor to get your off the line and also, help you up the hills. And to assist you further up the hills, the Constantly Variable Transmission (CVT) gear box means you twist the gears, on the handlebars to get the right feel for you.
Effectively, what a CVT ‘box is, is two cones which move up and down each other to give you a smoother transition through the gearbox, the gears aren’t ‘stepped’ there is, in effect just one gear. However it’s very smooth and after a few miles of riding you really wouldn’t notice the difference.
All-round, this is an unbelievably capable bike, aside from the handling, it takes no time to get used to. It’s very stable so a rider who may be less confident can ride with the knowledge that they have added stability. It can carry anything you throw at it and the motor is very good and strong. Giving you around 60km of range, which is plenty.
The Tern GSD is a bike with a completely different design to carry out the same purpose. If you want something which looks and feels more like a conventional bike then the Tern GSD is a very, very good option.
With a low centre of gravity and nice small wheels, the GSD really does handle much more like a conventional bike, it takes a little bit of getting used to because the longer wheel base means that you don’t feel the turn straight away and if you’ve a front rack mounted, that does not move so you’ve no understanding where the front wheel is. Once this has been overcome, and it really doesn’t take long, then because of the low centre of gravity you can really start to trust it through the bends. You can lean into corners and ride it much more like a conventional road bike.
The big difference from the Babboe, though, is that your luggage, or kids, are behind the rider. So if you want to be able to see what your two (as that’s all you can carry behind) little ones are up to, then you’ll have to keep looking behind. The cargo space is also not as big as the Babboe, as there is a rear wheel in the way, which splits your cargo holder in two and because the overall length of the bike is shorter, too.
If you’ve more than two children, you would not be able to carry them all with you, which may be a downside…
That being said, for ferrying my two boys about the Tern was just about big enough, we could stow nursery bags and whatever else needed down by their feet and in the rack on the front with the two kids loaded in the back.
Where the Babboe is built and the only accessory is that of a rain cover which covers the front cargo hold like a tee-pee, the Tern is very much a configure it your way. I was fortunate enough to test the bike with and without the Clubhouse Fort+, the added protection of the cover was, obviously, hugely beneficial in winter. Keeping the rain and cold wind off the kids made riding much happier, for them.
In terms of motor, it is the same 36V 250W Bosch motor as the Babboe but, much more conventional ‘stepped’ gears curtesy of the Rohloff Speedhub which is electronic shift and has a nice neat system when you come to a stop, it shifts through the gears to make it easier for you to get going again.
The bigger, wider tyres of the Tern and the added benefit of the front suspension make riding a bit more comfortable. When it comes down to which I would take home, I love them both, it would be like picking your favourite child – they’re both very capable and very good bikes. If you’ve more than two kids then your choice has to be the Babboe, it’s a wonderful bike and you won’t be disappointed. But if you’ve two kids, I might be tempted to plum for the Tern, it just handles as to what I know a conventional bike to be.