Just thinking in public about my next folder. Sometimes it helps to write it down. Nothing terribly new here, but feel free to comment.
Already have a Dahon Speed P8 (spare folder), BF Crusoe (light touring, general road riding, bike to pack on airplanes), BF Pocket Tourist (main commuting bike), Raleigh Twenty with SA 5 speed hub (just wanted one ).
So it's kind of self indulgent to get another, but what the heck. I'd like a truly "take anywhere" folder, the kind that's really simple to take inside any building without hassles, even if it needs to be bagged first. Don't need quite the gearing range I have on other bikes, but need to be able to get up some hills. Want to have some good option for carrying moderate loads, like maybe 15-20 lb. of groceries, on the bike.
So right now, I'm thinking of Downtube mini, Brompton, C, M, or S type. And I'd like to wait to get full particulars on the Dahon Curve SL.
No point in making detailed evaluations on the Curve, since we still only have limited information on it. One advantage of waiting to learn more is that it keeps me from making any decision too soon.
Brompton advantages: Steel frame is a plus for me, although not decisive. Proven smallest and neatest fold. Has been around long enough to have a track record for quality. Good front mounted luggage system. Disadvantages: expensive. At 5' 7", it seems that the M type bars would be high for me, about 3 or 3½ inches above the saddle. Yes, some people like them that high. I am aware that people even shorter than I ride them. S type bars probably about right, but still not adjustable. Gearing options I'd want would be more expensive. C type, not sure about the brakes, and also has those high bars. All Bromptons, some proprietary parts.
Mini advantages. Less expensive. Wider gearing range, although maybe wider than I would actually need for the intended usage. Few proprietary components. Big cheering section on this forum. Disadvantages: Less of a track record. Very little chance of getting a test ride, even less than with most Dahons. Aluminum frame. Some components lesser quality perhaps, like BB, headset, and front hub. Fixed height bars, although some people have modified these. Larger folded size than Brompton with chain on outside (am I wrong on this?). Less sure about how I'd carry loads. I've seen that recent picture of one with a rear rack, but how does that affect the fold?
By the way, concerning fixed height bars that are "too high", I do understand that if I'm not hammering on long road rides, this is less important. If I can get the energy and time to visit some NY Brompton dealer for a test ride, I can get a better idea on this . However, the highest I have the bars on any of my bikes is roughly level with the saddle, and I have them about 1½ inches below the saddle on bikes with drop bars.