I am considering the purchase of a Downtube bike for commuting, light touring, and use while travelling. It seems that it would be something of a hassle to add racks and fenders to the FS or the Mini, and I definitely want an SA hub, so that leaves the 8H and the 8HN. (I really like the Mini but the racklessness is a huge minus and I'm not sure I could find useful panniers for it.)
Can 20" Downtubes be packed into a box/suitcase small enough for airline use? If so, how? I haven't flown for many years, and prefer trains to planes when possible, but I'm planning a trip to the west coast this summer and I definitely want to take a folder with me (without paying a hefty fee for oversized luggage).
I have never used a bicycle with suspension of any kind, and I don't plan to do any off-road riding. Would riding the 8HN be noticeably rougher than riding a full-sized road bike due to the small wheels? Does the front suspension reduce efficiency much? I suppose front suspension might be useful for riding on dirt paths and bad roads but I'm not sure it's worth $50.
Can anyone recommend a front fender for the 8H/8HN (I assume I'll want one for all-weather riding) and small panniers suitable for the small wheels?
(I am also willing to be convinced that the Mini is suitable for light touring use if this is the case and I'm overestimating the difficulty of installing racks and fenders.)