I don't admit this too often, but my bike obsession is beyond embarrassing. To wit: In order to create my current ride, I spent about $1600 and a full year of my life searching out the perfect parts and gnashing my teeth over the right colors. And I ultimately decided I wasn't totally happy with either. If that sounds stupid, it is — especially since you can buy a bike straight off the shelf that's even more beautiful than mine.
Elian Cycles are handbuilt in the Netherlands and they're simply gorgeous. They make both a cargo bike and a commuter bike, but it's the latter that has us drooling. (You can tell they're built by a seasoned bike mechanic, Elian Veltman, and a moonlighting web designer, Wilco Drost.)
Elian custom builds the frames by hand, and bike nerds will notice the elegant, triple-triangle design created by the unusual weld of the seat stays — an old trick pioneered by GT that lends added strength to one of the bike's weakest points. And the parts are just as thoughtfully curated — in the pictures above, note how the stem matches the color of the frame, giving the whole thing just the right amount of flash (which is to say, almost none); also note the drop-dead gorgeous Campagnolo cranks and chain-ring. Unlike a lot of single-speeds you see, this isn't a track bike. There's already mounts for both front and rear brakes. And, if you want customizations or different parts, Elian will happily oblige.
You'd expect to pay well over $2,000 for such a carefully assembled gem, but the Elian Commuter is a relative bargain at about $1,300. Which isn't cheap, but it's also right in line with what you'd get for a comparable used bike on eBay. And just think of the time you save by getting the perfect ride off the shelf, rather than breaking your back finding all the right parts yourself.
Buy one at Elian Cycles.