Mu P8, Mu XL or the Vitesse?
Which will do the following?
* fold down to a size I can easilly take onto a bus or a train
* Fold down quickly and reliably
* take a rack and loads up to 25lbs + me(185lbs)
* handle comfortably while riding
* be light weight enough to carry up and down stairs
* Be of checkable luggage size at an air port
* Be a good city bike
My fiance & I have a MU XL & a Speed P8. I really like both, but I prefer the frame on the MU. I wish I had bought a MU P8 instead of the Speed.
Carrying the MU XL or MU P8 up & down stairs is not a problem. The P8 is perhaps a bit lighter when both are set up with similar equipment (racks, fenders, lights, etc). Depends mostly on how much weight you can handle. I carry mine up stairs all the time with a rack trunk loaded down with tools, lunch, clothes, etc.
I can't speak for the Vitesse, but either of your other choices will do fine for the things you list. Both are excellent city bikes. They handle very well including when loaded.
Between the XL & the P8, it is really more your preference as to type of hubs/gearing. Both are a similar price by the time you set them up with similar accessories. Thor at http://www.thorusa.com/dahon/2007.htm has left over 2007 models.
The Mu P8 will be much easier to pack into luggage. Internal geared hubs aren't hard to remove but they do take more time, and you usually have to readjust the gears each time you do it. Packing a 20" folding bike into a checkable suitcase will require removing both wheels.
The Vitesse might be nice, but I think the upgrade in components would be worth it on the MU.
Sounds like the p8 is the way to go then. I'm in a bit of a stick. I am headed to Hawaii in August (from seattle)--and I want to have a bike with me there--but then strait from Hawaii I shall be hopping a plane to Sydney Australia where I'll be for the next three months at least and i would like to have a bike with me while I am there that is capable of getting on and off trains, plains and busses with relative ease and still be a decent enough ride for the city.
I've found that the Mu P8's frame is noticeably stiffer than that of the Vitesse or Speed