Here are a few pics of my new-ish Downtube VIII commuter.
I bought the bike for a couple reasons:
1) space between the wheel and rack for a battery for my homegrown lighting system;
2) foldability for the occasions when I leave town on a bus and need to get somewhere from the bus stop;
3) I read pretty positive reviews on this forum;
4) needed an inexpensive commuter to replace my $80 Jamis Mt. Bike (craigslist purchase) that was better, but not so dear that when (if?) it's stolen I cry.
Turns out my $16 20w halogen headlight screwed right into the front fork bridge. I've got the xenon flasher on the child seat for greater visibility, though I don't ride at night with the baby - just mornings getting her to daycare.
the only mod so far is the stem - I sliced an inch of the stock stem to leave in the post, removed the clamp (I needed to file off the welded bits) and screwed on a 1 1/8" threadless stem which fit perfect. I still want to change out the crappy SunRace twist shifter, but that will have to wait since it works reasonably well.
Downtube VIII - EBay - $244 including shipping.
Battery - 6Ah 12v battery with fuse wiring harness and protective case $27 including shipping.
Lamp casing and 20w mra6 lamp - $22
saddle and stem - leftover parts.
My general impression of this bike is very positive. It actually seems to have a stiffer front end than my dahon speed8, but with a weight penalty. Overall, i think the al frame is superior to the Dahon's, but the folding machanisms are dorky and inelegant and it is equipped with pretty bottom-tier components. Probably a bike worth buying just for the frame. I am psyched.
I am considering building a wheel on a shimano 8spd internal hub to make this the ultimate winter commuter. but then I begin to fear damage/theft, etc.