Join Date: Dec 2005
Bikes: Bike Friday Crusoe and Pocket Tourist. Dahon Curve D3 and Speed P8. Raleigh Twenty. Bianchi Eros. Highly modified Mongoose Dynametric (hybrid)
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Any of Dahon's 7 or 8 speed models would probably be fine; I've got a Speed P8. One thing to look out for on the lower end ones, like the Speed D7, is the fixed height handlebar, which puts the bars too high for shorter people like me. Then on the higher end ones, there's a proprietary type saddle. If you like it, great. If you don't, you have to change out the entire seatpost to put in a standard railed saddle. I still think Dahons are great value for money, though.
Xootr Swift might be worth looking at, if you can stretch your budget a little more. If you thought that the Giant was too expensive, then you probably won't want to spend the money for a Bike Friday, Brompton, or Birdy, or a customized Swift, but those are all good brands.