If you plan to ride in "nice" clothes, to work appointments and such, the bikes with sealed Nexus hubs and chainguards, and wide fenders will do a good job of keeping you clean and dry. The back "ad" pages of UK cycling magazines are full of such bikes, from companies such as Thorn...such bikes are rare in the USA.
The Trek website shows some Euro-style commuting bikes, but I'e never seen one in a shop...they are a "special order" item. Cannondale sells a nice commuter bike in Europe, but I have not seen one in Texas...again, it may be a "special order" item.
Breezer may be the only company in the USA that focuses on "city" bikes. The Breezer website will show you the entire Breezer lineup and help you locate Breezer dealers in your area. You could phone Liberty Bicycles on 9th Avenue at 212-757-2118 for information on Breezers.
I was talking with a tech that works in a shop that sells Breezers. He says potential customers are turned off by the high price. Customers seem to think that it is okay to spend $1,000 or $2,000 for a "pretend" racing bike, but that commuter bikes ought to cost $200. But, the economics of manufacturing are that adding fenders, racks, chainguards and lighting systems to a first-rate bike will increase, not decrease, the cost of building the bike.
So, although a Breezer three-speed at around $600 is a bargain, it is difficult to convince customers of that..."Why, for $600 I could buy a Trek road bike that looks JUST like a racing bike".
The good news is that top quality "city" bikes are built to last. The cost "per year" of ownership is very reasonable. I have a bike with a four speed Nexus hub and coaster brakes as my rainy day/hurricane bike. It has been through several major storms, and more than once has taken me down streets flooded with a foot or two of water. Zero upkeep. Zero repairs. By the mile, the cheapest transportation in town.
Last edited by alanbikehouston; 11-19-05 at 11:38 AM.