Hiya. I am a tall girl 5'9" looking for a good step-thru (ladies in the US) commuter bicycle. I am not one who really wants a vintage bicycle (not interested in an old schwinn or Raliegh, love them though). What I am looking for is a European city style bicycle.
I will state...these are the ones I have considered, but also have doubts. I live in the DC area (northern virginia).
1. Electra Amsterdam Royal 8i. - I heard electra's have reliability problems. I also heard they can rust, though i am not sure this is the case here since its an aluminum bike. They are prolific in bike shops in dc though. I like thier positioning, but the build of most electras seem rickety. I have never seen a royal 8 though...so that may be different design with better components and brakes. Not sure if anybody had any experience with these.
2. Batavus Frysland - This is my personal favorite in terms of looks, also i never heard problems with Batavus bikes and seem reasonably priced compared to other Dutch bikes in the US.
3. Biria Eazy Boarding Bikes - Kind of curious...but not in thier dutch ones. Rather their German designed U frames.
4. Kronan 5 speed - I heard Kronan had rust issues, and I heard they were not as reliable as dutch bikes. But I like this 5 speed, especially the red one. Also taking its aluminum I thought it might be less prone to rust. It also has drum brakes...a feature i would prefer.
5. breezer bikes - I am considering this because breezers were designed more for north american cities, basically where it may be a little more hilly. I do not like of the handle bar layout.
6. Kettler Bicycles - Expensive as batavus and I know nothing about them other then they seem to be from germany. They seem nice though.
7. Pashley Princess Soveriegn- Very pretty bike, but not sure if its really worth more then the Frysland. Has the same utility though.
Let me be straightforward. I do want a chainguard, but a partial 9 shaped one is fine. I think I have come to the conclusion that I need more than 3 speed, but 5 would probably suit me fine. The commute I have is one and a half to two miles to a metro station. I would need the five speed for recreational riding with my boyfriend. My budget is ideally under $1000, though I can go to $1200. This bike will be my only form of transportation.
I should note, I am not interested in Gazelle or Azor, they seem overpriced compared to the Batavus bicycles.
Right now my mind is divided between a Batavus Frysland and a Kronan 5-speed Aluminum. I was wondering if anybody had any opinions on these bikes from personal experience.