Originally Posted by vik
How did you find the handling on the PLs? I've been thinking about a Bike Friday touring bike and was not sure what the practical difference between the NWT and PL is? I'd prefer the wider tire clearance of the PL as long as I wasn't giving up anything in terms of handling.
FWIW, I've done a few tours on folding bikes (not BF's). I had most of the weight (20-30 lbs) on the rear, and another 5 on handlebar bags. I found it did not suit my preferences.
Due to the small wheel size, any folding bike is going to have much more responsive handling than 26" or 700c. In general you get used to it, but the reality is that any folding bike is going to be substantially twitchier than even the most aggressive 700c racing bike. Loads on front and back racks might sort that out a bit, though.
You have to be careful not to put your bags too low, or you may have problems with ground clearance. The drive train is much lower to the ground, so it can get a little more abused depending on the terrain. The ride tends to be harsher, and compensating for the harsher wheel size usually results in comprising the performance - not a big deal for a tourist, though.
Airlines are charging more and more to check any kind of bag, so the cost advantage of a folder is starting to narrow. Even so, I'd say if you travel very frequently to the start of your tour (more than once a year), folders start to become worth the compromises.