I have been doing some thinking about low end bicycles with high end looks. Bikes that almost unanimously get condemned as a waste of money on serious bicycle forums such as this one.
Reading some of the responses on past threads talking about metal grades, cheap parts, slick marketing and the idiot masses that fall prey to such marketing, it makes one wonder if there is a legitimate place for the existence of such vehicles in the bicycle world. The forums would strongly suggest there is never a legitimate reason nor a legitimate purpose for admittedly esthetically attractive but low quality species of bicycle. Many of their critiques and conclusions are accurate when taken in the context of how they are expecting a particular bicycle to be put to use.
But I would like to question such conclusions within another context and perhaps salvage or reestablish a legitimacy for such bicycles in the eyes of the public. If you are aware of exactly why you want a bike and how you intend to put it to use, there is no reason for such bicycles to be eternally avoided. They have a place.
By way of an analogy, I've concluded bikes like the esthetically pleasing Sole' (attached picture) and others have a role to play in the bicycle culture despite their hi ten steel frames.
That analogy is this: inexpensive but attractively designed bicycles with lower grade frames are like the affordable formal wear of bicycle society. Their purpose is largely formal and for presentation and display. But that's about it.
Like all shoes can perform the basic task of being walked in, not all shoes can be run in or ski'd in or hiked in. If you are wearing dress shoes, as long as you stick to just basic walking in them, you're fine. But the second you decide you are going to use them to hike in, you're moving away from their purpose and capability. So too, all bicycle frames (except the most egregiously made) can be ridden without trouble. But not all bicycle frames can repeatedly get airborne or go off rode or perform tricks.
Inexpensive but attractively designed bicycles are like an affordable pair of dress boots or an affordable three piece suit. You own them and take them out for formal occasions where appearance matters more at the moment than performance.
So go ahead and get that Sole' if you like its style. Just make sure you know and are fine with what it can and can't do when you purchase it.
Thanks for reading.