I stopped by Flying Pigeon Bike Shop today to test ride the Bella Ciao Superba (the Lovely Bicycle edition) & a Pilen Lyx. Though I'm in no place to purchase either at the moment, I do enjoy test riding different bikes to get a feel for the range of what's out there (plus I like to dream). I'll try to give a short review of both here.
The ride was extremely comfortable. It reminded me a lot of my 1970 Raleigh Ladies Sport (in it's slightly sporty positioning & handling), just an extremely comfortable version. The Schwalbe Delta Cruiser tires absorbed most bumps I went over and added to the creamy feeling the bike had (both in handling and looks). I also loved the constant click-click-click of the Sturmey Archer hub (similar to my Raleigh, though a little louder), reminding me of when I put baseball cards in the spokes of my bike when I was younger. The bike was easy to accelerate and the handling wasn't overly responsive. I enjoyed the three speeds, finding them well spaced (though I wasn't able to test it on any hills). Overall, I would compare the bike to a delicious cup of rich, creamy espresso -- smooth, peppy, and well worth the cost.
Other than that, I found the Pilen to be an extremely stable and sturdy bike. I found it to be especially sturdy starting from a stop, something that I find I don't have in my Raleigh. I love the twin rat-trap rear rack and the spinning bell. I feel like it is a bike that would be very versatile -- a great city bike you could easily take on unpaved roads. Its well-made frame and sturdiness might be good for someone looking for a bike to survive the zombie apocalypse with.
I walked away from the bike shop surprised with what I found: I expected to love the Pilen and only like the Bella Ciao, though the inverse seems to be true. I'm disappointed that the Pilen seemed to have so many problems with me but know that it would be a great bike for many people. Of course, now I'm adding the Bella Ciao to my list of Ideal World Bikes (i.e. in my ideal world I would own a Dutch bike for relaxed but sturdy city rides where I need to carry things, a Bella Ciao for fast and fun rides when I want to still ride an upright bike, and a touring bike with drop bars to go on long rides with my boyfriend).