A First Look at the Tern Orox All Terrain e-Cargo Bike


A First Look at the Tern Orox All Terrain e-Cargo Bike

Ever interested in e-cargo and mobility options, John got an exclusive first look at the all-new Tern Orox e-cargo bike. While a longer-term review is on the way in a few weeks, let’s check out what Tern cooked up with the Orox below!

e-Cargo Like Never Before

After Cari and I reviewed the Specialized Globe last year, the floodgates to reviewing e-cargo bikes opened. Reluctant to take on every single offering from various brands, I decided to wait in case something truly unique came across my inbox.

Sure enough, Tern approached me about checking out an all-new platform they were developing. It was “right up my alley,” as they put it. NDA signed, I got a sneak peek at the Orox and was blown away by the product renderings.

Technically a longtail e-cargo bike, the Orox took the same principles Tern has developed over the years with its 20″ wheeled e-cargo bikes and beefed it up, increasing the carrying capabilities, cargo space, battery capacity, and, yeah, wheel size!

Quick Hits

Two Build Kits:

  • R14, with Gates Belt Drive, 74.5 lb, in Graphite ($8,999 )
  • S12, 73.2 lb, in OD Green or Yellow ($6,599 – 800 Wh $6499 – 725 Wh – as reviewed here)


Two Sizes:

  • Medium 5’1″ – 6’1″
  • Large 5’5″ – 6’5″


e-Bike System:

  • Bosch Performance Line CX
  • Bosch Smart System w/ ConnectModule
  • Kiox 300 Display
  • PowerPack 800
  • Dual battery option to lengthen in between charge cycles



  • Max Rider Weight: 286 lb
  • Max Gross Vehicle Weight: 462 lb (on-road), 396 lb (off-road)
  • Max Rear Rack Load: 220 lb


From 20″ to 27.5″ and 29″

Tern traditionally only sold bikes in the 20″ wheel platform. The Orox is the first bike in its e-cargo lineup to sport bigger wheels.

What was perhaps the most surprising to me when I picked up the Orox from Sirius Cycles here in Santa Fe was its size. For some reason, the renderings didn’t fully depict how big this bike is. If you’ve ever ridden a longtail bike before, you know how long they are. Add a 27.5″ x 4″ tire to the mix and yeah, it’s big! But not too big. We’ll get to that in a bit.

The Orox is designed around a fat bike wheel. Its aluminum chassis is industrial-looking, in a good way. With connections normally akin to architectural feats, not bike design. You’ll see intricate structural shapes welded to round tubes on the Orox. Personally, being an architectural ex-pat, I really enjoyed spending some time combing over the details.

There are a few wheel size options available, mainly 27.5+ and 29+ depending how you’d like to use the Orox but the fenders only work with the 27.5+ configuration…

Custom Tailored for Your Use Case

The one and only model in existence currently comes with this human hauler platform, which is removable with the spin of a few bolts, exposing a large cargo deck. You could easily cut a sheet of HPDE to fit these holes with common tools, or bolt on a milk crate, or other attachment. The Orox fits a 600 x 400 mm Eurocrate, too! I wonder if the Molle Rackwald would work here?! Or a Zarges box? Hmmm…

Tern’s commercial photography depicts the Orox being used as an expedition rig, with panniers, a rack duffle, a front rack, all stuffed with the necessary equipment for touring. To keep the party rolling longer, you can run two high-capacity batteries, too.

While I am currently unsure of my use case for this bike, my initial thoughts are taking it up to the ski basin, hauling groceries, curious people (what’s it like riding on that?! Hop on, and I’ll show ya!), photography equipment, and more. Cari and I have taken a few spins around town, and it’s a hoot to ride! If you have children and need to drop them off at school or daycare, this is the perfect bike for hauling the family around.

My ideas for use:

  • Trail work tool hauler (only to be used in areas that allow e-bikes on singletrack!)
  • Kiddo hauler
  • Doggo/catto/snakeo/lizardo/tortoiseo/birdo hauler
  • Surf rig (remember this post?)
  • Camper rig (replacing our normal 4WD but not a bicycle camping/touring setup – you’ll see!)
  • Errands (duh!)
  • Hauling curious pedestrians around
  • Load it up with green chile


Expensive, but So is Vehicle Maintenance

When you consider that the average cost of vehicle maintenance in 2023 was $2236.50 (not including gas!), and most Americans use their cars for one to five-mile trips, the Orox S12 configuration’s price tag of $6,599 suddenly doesn’t seem to pinch as bad. The cost of maintenance for cars rises with each year of ownership, and most of your car’s wear and tear comes from sub-5 mile trips, i.e., inner-city driving.

We’ve been pretty good at almost reducing our around-town car use to once a week in the winter and almost altogether in the warmer months and have noticed a reduction in the amount of money we spend maintaining them and filling them up with gas.

Initial Thoughts

There are so many details on the Orox, but since this is a first look and not a full-on review, I’ll have to save a complete breakdown for a later date. After riding the bike for a week, though, I’m pleased to say that this bike has transcended the typical cargo bike detailing and has broken into a new realm of its own.

For colder-weather climates, you can swap the battery to the front frame bag where it will be better insulated against the elements, the foot rests, aka the Stow Decks, can be used to push the empty pannier bags (which are waterproof!) inboard more, and the integrated lights are a nice touch! Tern even integrated the light switches to the Magura brake lever backs.

The Orox is like the Americanized SUV to the European e-cargo paradigm. It’s big, it has a beefy rear rack that can carry up to 220 lbs, there are lights, simple controls, and clever solutions to complex mobility problems. As an industrial design project, the Orox is a well-thought-out solution that would solve 100% car dependency for many Americans.

Bosch’s large screen makes looking at quick details easy, without distracting you from the road. You can even load routes to this head unit via Bluetooth and follow turn-by-turn navigation along your route!

Having ridden the Bosche e-assist system before, this Class I (Pedal-assist only, providing motor assistance up to 20 mph) motor isn’t as speedy feeling as the Globe Haul’s Class III (Pedal-assist only, with motor assistance up to 28 mph) motor. You still have to work while pedaling it. Don’t just expect to zip around town on this thing like a Class III bike; you still have to work. To shoot the bike at a photo spot about 1000′ higher in elevation than town, I could feel my winter fitness level as I pushed it up the 7-mile climb from my house.

What is wild to me is that the Orox (73.5 lb) is lighter than the much smaller Globe Haul (75 lbs).

Speaking of which, this bike is big! Yet, a clever detail makes it manageable for even the tightest of spaces; it can stand on its rear rack! There are even integrated rubber bumpers on the back side of the rear rack.



Look, this bike is wild. It’s like the SUV of e-cargo bikes; like SUVs, it can be adapted to fit your use case. But it’s still relatively small, maneuverable, and lightweight, especially compared to the more affordable e-cargo bike options.

I’ll work on the long-term review over the next six weeks, so if there’s anything you’d like to see me do with the Orox, drop them in the comments!

Thanks to Tern for thinking of me for this first-look! Check out more information on the Orox at Tern Bicycles.