I've been lurking here for a long time and finally decided to register because I would love some advice. Last year I purchased a $50 Dahon of unknown model (its non-stainless steel, 20" wheels, and older, but its been spraypainted), and I absolutely love it. Its a single speed with a coaster brake, horrible off road tires, non-folding pedals, a non-working front brake, and it weighs a ton. But I use it every chance I get. I keep it in my trunk and hop on it during my lunch hour, or when at home I'll ride to the grocery store for smaller trips. I have even ridden to Home Depot and loaded the rack up with window blinds!
I am looking to replace it with something a little more sophisticated, multiple-speed, and a little easier to fold and carry with me into a store (I lock up my current one), or to roll around folded (virtually impossible right now). My typical uses would be to run short errands (a couple of miles), and for leisurely rides around town with my wife and friends. Every once in a while I may take it out for twenty miles with my wife. I'm about 5' 8" and 180 lbs, and in reasonably good shape.
I've been looking at around the $300 mark, which of course includes the Downtube Nova that is so highly regarded on this forum and pretty light. But I'm worried that I'm going to regret not getting a Dahon, such as the Eco C6 (which is just too expensive for me to justify at the moment). And it seems that I would have to do some work to the Nova, such as a new saddle, fenders, and a rack, where the Dahon already has the fenders and a decent saddle.
So I guess my question is would I be happy with the Downtube Nova? Or should I put off my purchase until I can eventually spend a little bit more and get the brand that's been around forever and the bike that has some of those little extras? Or are there other bikes I should be considering?
Thanks in advance for any advice!