Sheldon Brown basically echoed your comments in that running high pressure tyres on a folder without a suspension is a bone jarring experience and I have found that even the 2 inch tyres on my Twenty deliver a pretty harsh ride when they are maxxed out at 70 psi.
At 45-50 psi have a bike that is reasonably fast and very comfortable which is something I look for in most bikes.
The only problem I really notice on my folder is the weight. On how it looks...well....I actually get a lot of compliments from people. Frankly, I really don't care on what others think on how it looks. I'm sold on its versatility and function.
Mine is a Downtube VIIIH, BTW.
I happened across the post about a newbie thinking folders are great for commuting, and in truth they can be. The following comments were posted, so I will give my point of view on each:
* They cost more for the same quality- TRUE, but not, technology for anything cost, and to have the ability to quickly fold and store a bike is worth how much? so they may not be for everyone, but those in need of the solution.
* Replacement parts cost more- Not really, wheels and tires are common place, so are the derailleurs, and bars.
* Replacement parts (tires especially) don't last as long- FLASE, Unless you get the cheapies, or it is a cheap folder with low end rubber
* They often weigh more- TRUE, but again it folds!!
* There are more things to break- FALSE for the most part. Some heavy use can strain the hinge
* They are often slower- FALSE, but it depends on quality. Many of the better folders are geared to replicate full size bikes, so it comes down to the engine more than the bike.
* They often don't fit as well- TRUE, it id designed to be versatile in fit, but you can customize to dial it in for your use.
* Normal load/cargo carrying solutions often don't work with them- FALSE- There are better folders with high quality front and rear racks, load that baby up!
Sorry, could not resist the opportunity to set the record straight.
Since i have bought my 2007 Dahon Mu P8 i had the chance to cruise with my wife in Toronto, the bike feels solid and fast, it is easier to ride when facing crowded streets/ boardwalk... i am just recovering from a bad illness so i can't ride more than 1 hour... when i feel it's time, i fold it and jump on the first bus/ street car/ subway i find. for me there is no reason to own a full size bike at this time.
I honestly don't think parts cost more, the parts on the Mu P8 are great, it is fast and nimble and at 11kg it's not too bad at all.... it isn't tiny but it folds pretty small.... i paid less than $500... i don't think that decent city bike (at least in Toronto) costs much less, if i am paying some extra $$$ for having folding mechanism so be it.
Well I got a flat tire today and was 15 miles away from home and I had no trouble thanks to my cayne rambler folder. It did beautifully on the back roads and highway. It did take a while to get home because I was paranoid and I stopped often to let cars pass, but other than that and the irritations of dogs bothering me, it was an easy ride. I've only known about folding bikes for a month and haven't biked more than 6 miles on average, but today was good. I'm really happy with the folders and will probably get a full size folder at some point. I don't think people know enough about them.