I've read through many of the threads dealing with these two models separately, but I would need some advice and/or comparison on which to buy. I know it's kind of apples and oranges (one is a 16" wheel with internal gears, the other a 20" wheel with SRAM derailleur), though both come in red (lol). I am more inclined towards the D3, since I'd rather have a Sturmey hub with less maintenance and protruding parts, but I'm a bit worried about the short wheelbase and componentry of the D3. These are my dilemmas:
1. Frame: Cromoly (P8) vs. Aluminum (D3). I know that aluminum can be good, but I'm a bit of a steel fanatic and always have suspicions about the cyclic fatigue of aluminum. On the other hand, however, I've already read TWO scary stories about the broken stem (also aluminum) on the P8 (one here, one on the Dahon forum by another guy). So, it seems that while the P8 might have a better frame, it has some problems with the stem. I also don't know whether the stem on the D8 is similar or sturdier. I don't plan on standing out of the saddle and pumping uphills or anythign like that. Since I'm moving to Chicago, I will likely ride on flat, urban roads, but still durability and reliability are of utmost importance since I'd rather avoid any nasty accidents due to failing metal parts.
2. Gears: As I mentioned, I won't be riding uphill (or any hill for that matter). Thus, the three gears on the D3 should be sufficient (and I don't want to shell out 200 more on a SL). If the P8 came with a hub gear instead of the derailleur (as some of the non-US 2007 Vitesse models), I would go for it without hesitation. I also find it weird to have an 8-speed casette in the back with just one chainring up front, when my mountain bike has three chainrings for a similarly spaced casette in the back.
3. Components: Bottom bracket is a cause for soem worry, since it seems that the D3 has an inferior version compared to the sealed cartridge unit on the P8. Any words on that? Also, the front hubs and brakes on the P8 are much better. However, I've read about problems with the spokes on the P8 (Dahon forum).
4. Folded size: Clearly, the D3 is smaller, but many on this forum claim that the 20" bikes are not much larger folded. I'm not going to use it for commuting so much, but once or twice a year I may take it with me in a 29" Samsonite oyster to Europe and back. Weight is pretty much the same. Gaerlan's site (http://www.gaerlan.com/dahon/pack.htm) suggests that by removing the wheels, the P8 can also be be packed quite neatly. Moreover, the P8 has quick release hubs, which makes that faster. Has anyone tried the same with the D3? I mean, remove the wheels and put them in an oyster with the frame?
Any help will be much appreciated.