Last Friday I was playing hooky from work and the doorbell rang. UPS guy with a parcel for me. Well, t'is the season so I go out to sign for it and can't help but see the Giant logo stenciled on the rather large box! Yes, my sweetie got me a(nother) Halfway to replace the one that was nicked by a neighbor of hers earlier this year. It had to be one of the complex mates or a friend of theirs because there is no other access into the common area. I had been in the habit of bringing my folder inside her condo when visiting but had gotten careless that particular day. I also have a Downtube IX FS and after the loss of the 1/2way it became my full-time commute bike.
The long running Downtube thread convinced me the DT was a better bike than my faithful 1/2way but after being re-united with my Giant I can honestly say that these 1/2way's should get more respect. In a metro area where the average apt. is 300sq/ft you would think folding bikes in general would be the dominant form of single track transport but it isn't so. I go for weeks without seeing another folder and invariably it is a Dahon. The odd Brompton but never another 1/2way.
I don't know about anyone else but everytime I use my folder it has to be unfolded, folded, unfolded again and re-folded; sometimes the folding operation has to be performed multiple times for the day. Ease of fold and compact folded dimensions are important to me and IMO the folded dimension that matters most is 'width'. Height is rarely important so I rarely even ever lower the seat on either folder. Front to back is about the same for all 20" folders and 20" is about as small a wheel as is practical for a folder used as a serious commute vehicle in a metro area. Simply put the Giant 1/2way has no peer in the folding bike world when it comes to the narrowness of width of the folded bike. It is simplicity to grab in one hand and go through a relvolving door or subway turnstile. Dahons and Downtubes and just about everything else will require considerable twisting and turning to maneuver you and your bike through normal doorways and the like.
The Downtube is not significantly cheaper than a 1/2way but does not have fenders, kickstand or some method of holding the bike closed when folded. IMO these are serious omissions. Despite not having these ammenites the DT is rather heavier than the 1/2way. Mind you I am comparing the full suspension DT to the unsuspended 1/2way, not the fairest of comparo's. I couldn't believe how bone jarring the ride was on the 1/2way after several months on the DT. To be honest I wasn't all that impressed with the ride of the DT and thought that an upgrade of suspension components was in order when time and budget permitted. There is suspension alright but NYC infrastructure has a lot to answer for. So in the end the lack of suspension is the only fault I can find with the 1/2way and in a city/town with better infrastructure it shouldn't be the deal breaker.
Unfortunately my GF doesn't read this forum and none of my personal acquaintances ride bikes of any kind but I thought you guys might appreciate how appreciative I am of her right now and how worthless I feel that my present to her cannot even touch hers to me.
I agree with you about how practical the Giant Halfway is. I have ridden mine for 2 and ahalf years through Boston winters and commuter rail travel and I think the Halfway does not get the respect it deserves. It rolls easily at my side when folded something Dahons cannot do. The frame is rugged, and all aluminum thus corrosion and rust are non issues. The gearing is too low but that can be fixed easily by changing out the cassette. The rack, fenders and kickstand are valuable especially if you ride in rainy and snowy weather.