I was recently looking for a semi-decent bike to use as a work bike, one that I keep in the back of my van and tool around campus at work on. I have a 95 Mako Blue Cannondale Killer-V as my main bike, but there is no way I was going to leave that puppy chained up anywhere. So my criteria was something below the $300 range, so if it got stolen, I wouldn't kill myself over it. Also, I clock in at approximately 320lbs.
Anyway, in my travels to find something, I ended up on eBay. There, a semi-professional vendor apparently
bought out a big shipment of brand new Olprans, which I had never heard of. Supposedly, these were eastern European bikes manufactured alongside Treks and Cannondales in Taiwan. Checking the feedback of said vendor, there were several other people who had already bought some of these surplus Olprans and really liked them, and the guy had really good rating, so went ahead and got the 22inch Extreme model with V-Brakes, paying $217 + $50 shipping.
I share this info not as an endorsement of said vendor, but as an absolute endorsement of the bike brand.
The bike arrived new in the box, and I just had to install the handlebars and pedals. I then took it to my LBS for a fine tune and adjustment (not being technical myself, just more for a safety inspection more than anything, and to make sure everything was tip top).
Anyway, this thing is built like a tank. The frame is pretty light, but the tubing is kinda triangluar and THICK. It has the lower end Shimano running gear, but still nice shifting. I swapped out the pedals and seat rather quickly, and added a Trek quick change rack on the back. I then ran it for a month and have fallen in love with it, preferring to ride it over even my Cannondale. I had a set or Aerospoke wheels added this week, as the icing on the cake.
Of course, I have now managed to blow the whole purpose of buying the bike in the first place, by loving it so much that I spent another $800 on parts. Sooooo, can anyone recommend a good work bike? But not too good? lol