I'll try to keep my concern brief, and encapsulated in bite-sized and chronological points; a story.
1. I just got a Downtube 8FS. First bike I've had since i was a child. Good bike, i feel.
2. My buddy has one of those hipster fixed-gear road bikes.
3. We bike over a few new york bridges... switch for fun at certain points. I notice that his bike obliterates mine in terms of what I called "efficiency" at that time. All the force i put into his pedals just... launches me forward. With mine, i have to put in a fair amount of energy to get going.
4. Today I go to bike shop #1, and try out a Dahon Speed p8. It's slightly better, but i can tell the problem is still there. The bike salesman explains that small wheeled bikes simply cannot go as fast because of the circumference of the wheels. I don't believe him.
5. I walk a couple blocks away to shop #2, a folding bike specialty shop. The dude tells me that the problem is "give". A bike that folds in half will absorb the energy and just kill your acceleration. I sort of believe him.
6. He has me test out a Xootr Swift. I feel that it was better in this respect by a noticeable margin.
7. He then has me test out a Mezzo bike. WOW. noticeable difference above the xootr. I still don't think it's quite as good as my friend's hipster bike, but I leave thinking i'm either going to switch to a full size or get the Mezzo despite it being way, way over my budget.
I'm asking for people to comment on folding bike acceleration. Is this something you acknowledge and just sacrifice for convenience? Or do you think i'm talking a whole bunch of nonsense? If not, which folders have the best acceleration?
I'm new to this business, so thanks for reading and for any advice you might have.