Ok, I've been reading about folding bikes for a few months now and it's finally time for me to purchase one.
I need a bike for my multimode commute. On a daily basis I plan on taking it with me on the bus before riding 1-5 miles at the other end to my job (rain or shine). On weekends I'd like to take it on the bus to go shopping at stores that are a little too far from the bus stop (1-2 miles). On occasion I'd also like to take it on railroad, light rail, and subway. I also currently fly very frequently, but the way the airlines are going I wouldn't be surprised if I found myself shopping for collapsible shoes in the near future (so I don't want to base my purchase on air compatibility).
I don't plan on riding for fun or leisure and, as you can see, I don't really plan on riding much at all. Therefore, a major factor for me is speed and ease of folding. In addition, ability to roll while folded is a must and nonminiscule wheels to deal with potholes and city streets (sidewalks, curbs, etc) are a must. From my research the top contenders are (along with my impressions):
Carry-Me (http://www.pacific-cycles.com, hard to find documents specs and manual):
-Tiny 8" wheels (might even be too small).
-Very compact and manageable fold (35"x12"x11")
-Very light (7.5kg)
-Carrier rack, but no fenders.
-Available at specialty shops.
-Only 12" wheels (better than 8", but still small).
-Three gears (good for small hills).
-Not so compact fold (32"x25"x12")
-Fenders, but no carrier rack.
-Big 16" wheels.
-Compact and manageable fold. (45"x20"x9")
-Both carrier rack and fenders.
-Unknown price (probably close to $500 after price hike).
-No official availability.
Based on the above features alone, the Strida and the Carryme are much more desirable than the Mobiky (ironic, considering that the Mobiky is the most widely sold). However, there are a number of additional considerations which I don't know how to interpret:
-Strida advertises that their bikes are very low maintenance, the Carryme appears to be high maintenance (high pressure tyres require frequent inflation, metal parts require lubrication), and the Mobiky seems to be in between. I don't really want to have to worry about a lot of maintenance (it's one of the reasons I don't drive). Can one of you experts comment on how much of a true difference there is in required maintenance between these three bikes?
-Strida advertises a 10 second fold, Mobiky advertises a 3 second fold, and Carryme advertises "folds in seconds". However, from videos I have seen the Strida appears to fold much more quickly and easily than the Mobiky (I haven't seen any videos for the Carryme). Can someone that has used these bikes comment on the actual folding time, particularly how they compare with each other?
-I don't know anything about bikes and I don't know anything about quality parts. How do these three bikes compare with each other in terms of build quality and quality of parts?
-I know that the best thing for me to do is to just try each bike and pick the one I like best. However, I can't find a dealer which has all three models in stock, much less a local one where I can test ride. How can I make the decision about which one to buy without being able to compare test rides? Moreover, how can I decide whether the Strida is even worth pursuing (since they are so hard to find) without having tried it?
-Lastly, in your opinions, are there any other significant factors or eligible bikes that I'm forgetting?