I'll probably get shot down here as these still aren't cheap enough, but i'll put the effort in at highlighting these for a few that might appreciate them.
Edinburgh Bicycle appear to have started stocking an awesome German brand bike manufacturer Kalkhoff. See history here
The three that stand out for me are (and all available in step through varieties too and electric versions at an "decent" price):Durban 7
- Total bargain base model with hub gears, dynamo hub (i'd like to highlight all three get a standlight feature so the dynamo lights stay on at the lights, which isn't always the case with cheaper ones!), rack and mudguards, the one I've linked to. Yes its not a racer, yes its not £70 and from a supermarket. But its an awesome practical bike that would be perfect for actually getting around town and using properly. Good solid German/European brand. Superb value for money.
This is something the Europeans do best - a comfortable city bike that's fully equipped with hub gears, dynamo lights, mudguards, chain guard and a rack.
Smooth stylish design, you can tell why Kalkhoff are one of Germany's most highly regarded bicycle companies.
Shimano Nexus 7-speed internal hub gears are intrinsically cleaner, lower maintenance and longer lasting than derailleur systems.
The Nexus twist grip gear shifter allows you to select any gear with a single sweep.
You can change gear whether the bike is moving or stationary and whether you're pedalling or freewheeling.
Real Shimano V-brakes are simple and reliable.
Rolls on durable, puncture resistant Schwalbe 700x42 tyres, which are equally capable on smooth roads and rough tracks.
Fitted with full mudguards, pannier rack, chainguard and kickstand.
The front dynamo hub powers the high quality front and rear LED lights, so no light batteries to replace or recharge.
Unlike some dynamo systems, the lights have a standlight feature, so they stay on when you stop at the traffic lights.
- Extra £100, but better equipped, gains shiamno hydraulic disc brakes (not the usual cheaper tektro) loses the hub gears for traditional derailleur, which definitely saves weight and i'd probably choose this one, but that's my preference to be fair :)Durban Edeavour Lite
- Obviously more than twice the price of the 7, and a proper trekking, adventure and touring bike, all the bells and whistles and oozing quality, but at £1250 you'd better hope so!
I'd say a true credible alternative to the Genesis Croix de Fer
if you'd rather the flat bar lifestyle.