I recently bought a Rivendell Sam Hillborne (nice green, cream accents, blue handlebar tape, cream fenders), and unfortunately, the freehub was defective so I brought to my LBS to have them service it. My LBS is great, but they don't carry an Rivendell or other comparable looking bike.
Because the bike was so "nice looking" and new, they didn't want to get it scuffed in the back shop area while it was waiting the service queue, so they put in the show room area. Apparently, a LOT of customers asked about it. I guess they liked the understated, classic look, and the overall aesthetic. A local bike builder even commented on the detailed build, the nice paint job, etc., and a couple of the LBS employees really liked the way the bike looked. Everybody just had to ring the brass bell!
Now, eventhough the Rivendell was pricey, the LBS had lots of bikes much more costly or at least comparable in price. So what I can't quite figure out is if many people like the "classic look" or at least more understated look, why don't more bike manufacturers produce more - what's the word, "subtle"? - bike paint schemes? I know that custom manufacturers can spend more time and money because clients will pay more, but even mass manufacturing doesn't mean that paint schemes have to be a riot of crazy colours or patterns, or that lettering on a bike should look like a rolling billboard. I'm vain enough to admit that part of the reason I gravitated to the Rivendell was its appearance, and that when I was considering other bikes, it wasn't because of major performance needs, but because I didn't want to ride a bike that looked like a candy cane! Ironically, I found higher priced bikes to be more pleasing to look at. I can see extreme or performance riders want to show their stuff, but the majority of us... ah well... getting from point A to point B is really all there is now, isn't it?
Perhaps I'm just getting old, but I don't quite get it...