Having spent four days surrounded by beautiful bikes and getting to meet the people who make them, here are our picks of the best city cycling bikes from the London Bike Show.
Schindelhauer Viktor - £1,395
Schindelhauer have an attention to detail and beautifully understated design that would make the most demanding of design geeks weep with pleasure. Hearing Jörg (Schindelhauer, their founder) explaining to his customers the thinking behind their bikes is like listening to a cross between an artist and a Formula 1 engineer. The Viktor is a minimalist city bike, weighing in at a lightweight 8.2kg which makes it easily quick enough for a traffic light charge alongside the carbon fibre race bike brigade, and can be ridden fixed or single speed through the flip-flop hub. The integrated seat post clamp, smooth brazing (joint welds to you and I) and matt paint job deliver the slick looks, while the Gates Carbon belt drive system delivers the simplicity, quietness and reliability.
Cooper Reims - £1,599
Famous for its motor racing heritage, the Cooper company are equally at home transferring their uniquely British styling to two wheels.
The Reims uses a Reynolds 520 steel frame which makes it a solid choice for city riding with its balance between weight (12.2kg), stiffness and legendary Reynolds durability. The classic looks come from the beautifully double butted joints, choice of Primrose Yellow or British Racing Green paint work, and matching Brooks leather saddle and bar tape. Given its weighty solidity it's not one to take out up the nearest hills, but with its 20 gear Campagnolo Veloce groupset and alloy mudguards the Reims is equally at home on a leisurely country ride as it is getting around town.
Light Blue St John's Retro - £1,299
Light Blue is the latest incarnation of the historic Townsend family dynasty of bike makers in Cambridge, and continues the legacy of classic steel framed all rounders. The St John's Retro is built with a Reynolds 725 steel frameset, making it slightly lighter than the Cooper at 10.5kg, while maintaining the durability and stiffness that is synonymous with Reynolds steel frames. The good looks come from a high gloss paint finish, half chrome forks and gold lug lining along with a leather saddle and matching bar tape.
Shand Stoater - £1,950
If anyone should know how to build a bike that can withstand all weathers and terrains, it's a Scotsman. Steven Shand and his team have been producing beautiful, handbuilt steel-framed bikes from their workshop near Edinburgh since 2003. Everything about the Stoater is designed to make it comfortable, rider friendly and hardy, from the Italian tubing to the Shimano hydraulic disc brakes and 35mm cyclocross tyres, all while managing to tip the scales at a lithe 10.5kg. The high quality brazing and tasteful paintwork and branding make the Stoater a seriously good looker too.
Pure Fix Roosevelt - €499 (c£389)
California-based Pure Fix have quickly become a favourite on the US fixed gear scene since their inception four years ago, and are now making headroads into Europe. Simple but elegant fixed wheel and single speed bikes, Pure Fix bikes are great value as well as looking good. With its 4130 steel frame the Roosevelt is relatively light and rides comfortably thanks to the slightly oversized Thickslick 28mm tires. The raked chrome fork and polished silver quill stem and seat help bring a dash of classic style too.
Available online from Pure Fix.
Pelago San Sebastian - £799
Helsinki-based Pelago work to the Vitruvian motto of "Utilitas, Venustas, Firmitas" ("Utility, Attractiveness, Stability"), we think pretty successfully. The San Sebastian is their popular lightweight urban bike - it's a straight-forward, simple steel-framed machine, and comes in single-speed, 3-speed and 8-speed models. Style-wise, the Parisian handlebars, Brooks saddle and colour matched mudguards lends the San Sebastian an elegant air.