First, I apologize for a "which bike?" thread, and for not knowing if there is a better sub-forum for such a thread.
I currently live in Georgetown (Washington DC, somewhat hilly) and was thinking of getting a bike for casual enjoyment, commuting, groceries, etc. For me this would be a fair-weather personal toy, I do have a car; and I want a bike as much for the beauty and function of the object/engineering as anything else. I'd wear it with normal clothes, both casual and work. It would be mostly for streets, with one or two dirt shortcuts. I doubt I'd ever go more than 2 miles on it while in DC, although once I bring the bike back to CT I may stretch that to 5 miles. I am a 6' 2.5" (189 cm) tall guy, age 29, so the bike should ideally have a suitable frame size.
My budget is limited; I was hoping to find something around $650, max $750. What exactly do I like? Well, I'm going more for a fashionable, Euro-style classic roadster. Here are some of the key features I like:
- Somewhat upright seating position (prefer "normal" handlebars to drop bars).
- Internal hub gearing (5 or 7 speeds being a good sweet spot). This is a big point for me, I like hub gears better than derailleurs.
- Fenders (& mudflaps, ideally)
- Rear rack
- Full chain cases (love this), or at least decent chain guards. No bare chain.
In addition, there are elements that I like, but which I realize I cannot be too picky about:
- CroMoly Steel > Hi-Ten Steel
- Braking system is not a dealmaker/breaker, but ideally: coaster brakes on rear wheel, roller/disc brakes on front wheel. Honestly though rim brakes are OK, just stating a preference.
- Brooks leather saddle (with springs)
- Lugged frame
- Dynamo light
- Rear wheel dress guard
- Light-colored tire walls (e.g. whitewall or cream tires).
- Matching fender colors
What would an ideal example be? Well, maybe something like these (not saying these are my dream bikes, but they're very nice):
What have I found closer to my price?
- Papillionaire Classic - ~$640 for a lugged CroMoly steel 3-speed with leather saddle / grips, rear rack, and a good choice of colors. There's an 8-speed, but it's not in the USA yet. Unfortunately, the larger frame option is not available in the US yet either, otherwise this would be pretty dang close to what I want.
- Opus Lugano - $890 - nice looking albeit in a much more modern way, but with a lot of neat features. However, too expensive as quoted to me by a local shop.
- Breezer Downtown 8 - $700 - within budget, and a decent mix of the most important features. But lacking any aesthetic soul IMHO; it's very "plain modern US."
- Bobbin Daytripper 5-speed - $650 - Nice looking, not the highest-end bike here but fits the bill, albeit in Hi-Ten steel.
- Public bikes - most are too expensive.
- Linus bikes - the CroMoly 8-speeds are too expensive, and the ones in my budget are Hi-Ten 3-speeds.
My primary question is... can you guys give any other recommendations to look at in this style, for my size, at this price point? Many thanks in advance for any help or advice.
Addendum: I really love the appearance and theory behind a mixte bike, even though I'm a guy (I'm french though, and "mixte" literally refers to a bike being unisex, so why on earth have people associated it with girls' bikes in the USA?). If there is a good mixte option out there, I'd love to hear it. So far most of the mixtes seem to come in small frame sizes and girly colors, or cost too much. I'll include some here though to continue giving you a sense of what I'm looking for:
- URL Linus Mixte 3 $650 - no chain case, hi-ten steel, but does come in a 56 cm frame; unfortunately, the CroMoly 8-speed ($850) only comes in 49 cm.
- Heritage Daisy Mixte - $875 for 3-speed - too expensive, and comes with a front rack instead of rear (looks good in brown frame with white fenders though).
- Rivendell Yves Gomez, and Soma Buena Vista frame & fork - too expensive, and biting off more than I can chew to build a bike at this point.
Thanks for checking out my thread. I look forward to any responses!