A couple of weeks I go the wife and I went down to NYC to test ride some folders. We went to NYCe Wheels where we rode a Brompton, Tern Link D8 and, Dahon MU P8.http://www.nycewheels.com/dahon-folding-bike-mu-p8.html. Neither of us cared for the Brompton and since we won't be using them to take full advantage of the qualities offered decided not to get it. The Tern rode very well, seemed to absorb the rode shock. I didn't care for the fact that the handle bar stem couldn't be adjusted. The Dahon seemed a little more sporty than the other two but you could feel the road vibration.
Although we were looking for two bikes we decided to get only one ride it for a little longer than a test ride and then decide on which other one to get. Sorry, We bought the MU P8. I'm thinking of either another MU or the Speed P8. http://www.nycewheels.com/dahon-fold...-speed-p8.html
Maybe the Chromoly would give a smoother ride or would that be more of a function of the tires? The Speed has longer reach than the MU so my wife may be at the limit.
Yes I should have tried the Speed when I was there but I didn't think of it and we sort of ran out of time. It's 45 minutes to get to the shop if there's no traffic so I can't just pop down. Any thoughts?
The tires probably did make a difference in your tests (I'm just guessing). Both Mu P8 and Speed P8 are nice bikes, I think. (The Dahon P8s have better components than the Tern D8.) Aside from being chromo, the P8 comes with Big Apples, so that will probably help give you a smoother ride also. You can always switch bikes with your wife if she finds the Speed a bit long (and also change the Mu's tires). The Mu is the lighter bike, anyway, so easier for her to handle.
The Speed P8 is a bit smoother ride than the Mu but by far the biggest difference is made by the tires. Swap out the Marathon Racer tires on the Mu for a set of Big Apples like the Speed and you almost won't be able to tell. Of course, the Big Apples are heavier and slower too. You could also put on some Greenspeed Scorchers and get fast sticky tires which are in the Big Apple comfort range.
If you're in NYC you must also go to BFold (http://bfold.com/). This person knows folding bikes better than anyone else in the city. He can also give you an opportunity to try a Bike Friday Tikit, a Mezzo D10, and a Swift. The Tikit and Mezzo have the same size wheels as the Brompton so they'll be bumpier than a P8. But they can also be fitted with Scorchers which I think makes a big difference. The Tikit will also be the answer to all of your reach issues (it's highly customizable and comes in three sizes).