Ok, so I've had my Downtube Novas for a little over a month now. I've put maybe ~150 miles on it so far, including two group rides of over 30 miles. The last ride I went on was almost 40 miles (my legs are still recovering from that one!)
Anyway, a couple of observations from these rides:
1. The bike accelerates pretty fast. 0-10mph in no time at all, but, 10-16 feels like a pretty big deal (not easy). Also maintaining any speed over ~13mph feels like a pretty big deal. I've noticed when starting from a stop, I'll often accelerate faster than the roadies, but once they get moving, riding at a higher speed seems easier for them.
2. Downhill - it seems like this bike also rolls downhill faster. The fastest I've gone downhill was around 28mph. It was scary. lol That being said, due to the gearing, you can't really peddle any more at that speed (not that I'd want to anyway).
3. Uphill - seems ok, but sometimes, I really wish I could stand up to peddle, esp when my legs are super-tired. (I've read that standing up and peddling on a folding bike is not good for the handlebar stem). Handlebars squeak when I'm tired and peddling with sloppy form and pulling on the handlebars.
Now, I do admit, I'm not in the best shape, so the speed and distance I can go without feeling like passing out may improve with time, but it just feels like when the ride passes 20 miles, I'm pretty spent. Also, a normal cruising speed of around 10-13mph on flat roads seems as fast as this bike will _comfortably_ go.
Countless people have told me that it will be easier to go longer distances / speeds on a full sized road bike. In group rides, it does seem like they have an easier time, but maybe they're just in better shape? I don't have a road bike to compare at this moment, so I can't really say.
Thoughts? Personal experiences?