I'm answering a question from another thread, but I was asked in PM to start a new thread about this. So here it is. Hopefully it's useful to anybody interested in doing something similar.
I recently bought a Xootr Swift with the intention of using it as a commuter, towing my children to preschool, leaving the trailer there, and then continuing to my job. Total round trip: 28 miles. I made this trip on my Dahon Matrix for a few weeks before its frame broke for the second time. While it was in the shop getting its third frame, I bought a Xootr Swift to replace it.
I was already thinking of getting a small-wheeled folder to take with me when I travel, so I thought I'd see if I could combine my vacation-trip desires with my daily-workhorse needs. The Swift is my first stab at making that happen.
I test-rode the Bike Friday Tikit and the Swift, and was prepared to drop the extra dough on the Tikit. However, I didn't like how much its steering tube flexed (the handlebars were moving upwards of an inch on every pedal stroke). After just a few strokes on the Swift, I could tell it was the one for me. I'm 6'1", 215.
I took it with me on a trip to San Antonio the day after I bought it. Having it there with me was really cool; I did around 30 miles over two days.
On returning to NYC, I dropped it off at B-Fold, where I bought it, for the installation of a hub gear. There's this one hill on my commute that's steep when you're not towing 130 combined pounds of child and trailer. When you are, it's borderline-impossible. The stock gearing on the Swift wouldn't be enough for me to tackle it on a daily whether-you-feel-like-it-or-not commuting basis. With the hub gear installed, the total range will be in the neighborhood of 20–120 gear-inches. The Matrix goes down to 23, and I know I can just get up the hill using that, so 20 should be just about right.
Impression so far, after only 40 miles or so, is that it's a fun ride, and will probably suit my needs: Commuting, towing, and taking with me for fun when I travel.
I'm not sure about this, but it does seem to require more pedaling than my 700c road bike and previous 26" folder (a Dahon Matrix). I wouldn't call that my final word on the subject--it's entirely subjective, based on nothing more than thinking "Hmm, I think I'm pedaling more." And even if that impression turns out to be accurate, I'm not prepared to blame it on the wheel size.
Packing and unpacking for travel was a PITA, but I can tell a lot of that has to do with unfamiliarity. With practice, I think it'll take about 20 minutes at each end. And it has been scratched in transit. I need to figure out a good way to protect it in the suitcase.
I'm a little worried about towing my children up a steep hill with a smaller total contact patch area, but that concern will probably go away after I try it the first time, which hopefully will be Thursday, after it's back from getting its hub gear installed.
I was going to think about some new handlebars, but then I remembered I have some Ergon grips that didn't fit my previous bars. (I chopped them for commuting, and didn't leave enough straight bar to bolt them to.)
And I think I'm going to skip the B17. I love the one I've got on my road bike, but I'm more likely to be caught in the rain on my commuter, and don't want to worry about the leather. So I dunno... maybe I'll try out a Fizik or something.