Cruising around the Raleigh Japan site, I came across this Reynolds 531 beauty:
This is a special 125th anniversary model. The picture above is 57cm, below is 53cm:
The specs on this bike, considering it retails for about $2k USD complete (take THAT, Riv and VO), are pretty swank - Reynolds 531 tubing, Shimano 105 derailleurs, cranks, brakes, and hubs, Nitto Pearl Stem & Lauterwasser bars, chromed fork, Brooks saddle, the list goes on.
I can't imagine living in Japan for much longer without one of these. But if I have to, for a bit less, about $1.2k, I can get one of these Club Specials in green and 54cm:
Or in red and 51 cm:
The Club Specials are not quite as nicely spec'ed as the Record Ace, but still are very nice, nothing at all cheesy about them. I like the color-matched fenders with retro white patch.
A little bit about Japan, gender, and color. Note that the bigger bike is green and the smaller size is red. In Japan, blue is the color of guy and red is the color of gal. This is all over the place for things that are differentiated by sex. For instance, the sign for women's restrooms is always red, guys are blue. If you go to an onsen and they give you yukata's, the woman's is red, the man's is blue.
Sometimes there is some understood colorshifting from the strict monotony of red/blue division. Green gets counted as color of guy, and orange as color of gal.
The Raleigh Club Special is only offered in two sizes in Japan - 54cm in green, 51cm in red. One for the guys, one for the gals.
I guarantee you that this is not a coincidence. Very little happens by accident around this country and everyone always gets the memo about these sorts of things.
Here is blog post about the 2013 Raleigh Record Ace (RRA) 125th Anniversary Edition that has some nice detail photos like this one: