Hello friends, this is my first venture onto the folding forum.
I recently moved to the Chicago area, and I'm getting used to commuting environment (similar but not identical to Minneapolis). I'd love some advice on whether a folder is for me (6'0", 170lbs).
COMMUTE: I have a reverse commute that takes me 22 miles out into the suburbs. It's about 2 miles to METRA station, 30 minute train ride, and then another 5.3 miles to work. Full-size bikes are allowed on the train in reverse direction, but the conductor is at liberty to kick any cyclist off the train if he feels the cab is getting too full (makes me a little leery). I bike year round, so I'd need something that can take studded tires (I've got my eye on 20" marathon winters).
APARTMENT: I have a third story walk-up apartment. I can get my 60cm road bike up and down okay, but it's not too pretty. The double door entry way at the bottom is annoying. I currently have two full size bikes, and my GF has one. Space isn't a huge issue, but I would probably sell my current winter ride if I got a folder.
WHAT I WANT: I'd love a bike that packs small enough to be able to fly as checked luggage without any additional fee. It HAS to be compatible with some sort of studded tire. I would love something commuter worthy (rack and fender friendly, IGH of at least 3 speeds, capable to do road-side repairs). I need reliable and replaceable parts; they don't have to be light or fancy, just reliable. I don't really care about weight too much, it's the dimensions that make my 35lbs full size bikes awkward to carry. I don't really want to spend more than $1500. I'm also not opposed to used or vintage bikes, if they can get the job done.
What are some good bikes that fit this bill?
Would it be sacrilege to use an excellent bike like a Brompton in the winter? Would the salt/sand/slime eat away at the hinges?
This bike seems about perfect for my spec requirement; what's wrong with it?
Should I not worry about finding a spot for a full-sized bike during a reverse commute?
I'm planning on going to some shops in the area this spring to try out a few different brands. Thanks in advance for all the help!