I took a couple of different bike rides today, due to the fact that I had no chance to ride yesterday on account of rain.
So I decided to take two very different bicycles: a 1962 Raleigh DL-1 with 28-inch wheels, and a 1971 Raleigh Twenty folding bike with 20-inch wheels.
As you'd might expect, the two bikes handle differently. The Twenty is lighter and "snappier", but has less of a feeling of momentum behind it when you ride. The small wheels are a little slower than the full-sized wheels, but not much.
What is different is the feeling of "heft" and momentum you get in the DL-1. The DL-1 feels like a locomotive by comparison: slower to start off, and not as snappy, but with a lot of energy behind it once it gets going. The large wheels soak up bumps and go over obstacles without too much trouble. The DL-1's slack frame also contributes greatly to the unique feel of the bike.
The Twenty's wheels do have a little cushion because of the wide tires, but the bumps have a little harshness to them that they don't have with the DL-1. The Twenty's small, trim frame make it great in traffic, though less stable if you try to ride hands-free.
Both are excellent bicycles and of very good quality. Both have a place in every complete Raleigh collection.